- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Moody Publishers (March 7, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802414702
- ISBN-13: 978-0802414700
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Heart of the Church: The Gospel's History, Message, and Meaning Paperback – March 7, 2017
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From the Back Cover
What does the church believe?
Every church has a driving confession, but what is the confession of a true and biblical church?
The Heart of the Church answers with the gospel. It explains the story of the gospel, its basic doctrines, and God’s work in salvation. Fresh yet consistent with classic expressions, it helps churches reclaim their essential identity and return from distracting pursuits. For any church lacking power, any Christian feeling dry, or any person seeking truth, The Heart of the Church brings relief, direction, and light, leading to worship.
The Heart | Character | Life of the Church
This three-book series is designed for diverse readership. It avoids theological jargon and uses clear terms to keep readers tracking and engaged. Ideal for evangelism and discipleship, each book is organized simply for retention and can be read within an hour. Biblical, balanced, and historically informed, the series is useful for Sunday school, one-to-one reading, ministry training, and personal study.
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Top customer reviews
This trilogy of books are very well written with careful and thoughtful language that cuts straight to topics we all hope to read about.
While not being a ecclesiastical study in tradional terms the trilogy centers on Christ's person and work as the heart of the Church and develops many concentric circles that give a beautiful and complete look at the Gospel's affect on church life and thus the lives of members of churches.
As with Thorn's other books they are as beneficial for teaching and preaching as they are for devotional and discipling purposes. Cannot recommend enough.
I first encountered Joe Thorn's writing in TableTalk magazine, published by Ligonier Ministries. I typically wait to read the author's name in those articles until I've finished the article. That way I'm not biased for or against any one author in particular. I repeatedly find myself liking the articles he's written. Why? Because he writes so simply, but so very truthfully and thoughtfully.
This book is no different, and here's how I would describe it. Imagine Wayne Grudem's tome, "Systematic Theology", which is well over 1,000 pages long. Single chapters on Justification, Sanctification, and Forgiveness, for example, can be quite lengthy and deeply described. This one is just the opposite: It is very short, sweet, and simple. While there are some big Bible words (i.e. doctrines) inside, Thorn does an excellent job explaining their meanings and import.
The book is broken down into three parts: (1) The History of the Gospel (3 chapters, 20 pages), (2) The Doctrine of the Gospel (6 chapters, 26 pages), and the (3) The God of the Gospel (5 chapters, 22 pages). I was inspired and encouraged by chapter 8 on "Sanctification". I agree wholeheartedly with Thorn when he writes, "Putting sin to death and pursuing righteousness is what sanctification looks like in the life of a believer" (p. 69). Sanctification is something that simultaneously troubles and encourages me. I don't want to just be forgiven. I want to be different; radically changed. I can trust that God will see my sanctification through, because the change that I crave is a work started AND completed by God Himself. Thorn encourages readers, "Sanctification is the work of God in which we participate by His grace" (p. 67-68).
This book -- and I'm fairly certain the series in whole -- will be one that churches WILL want to make available in their bookstores or reader kiosks. It's that important for today's busy person who doesn't have or make much time to read good, trustworthy books. (I completed this one in two relatively short sittings.) I think "The Heart of the Church" should at least whet the appetite of Christians whom the Holy Spirit is pushing in sanctifying growth to be in God's word. Thorn writes, "God does not do this work [sanctification] in us arbitrarily. He does it through the ministry of the word." I hope and pray this book will inspire many to get their noses into God's holy, inspired, and infallible word.
RATING: I give "The Heart of the Church" 5 out of 5 stars. It is gospel-centered, clear, and concise. Well done, Joe Thorn. I look forward to reading the other two!
DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge from Moody Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review of it. All opinions are mine, and I was not required to provide a positive review of it.
The Heart of the Church is the first in a series of three which were all recently released. The first book guides readers through three parts - the history of the gospel, the doctrine of the gospel, and the God of the gospel.
Part 1: The History of the Gospel
The author anchors some of the key themes of Scripture by pointing to creation, covenant, sin, and salvation. The covenants point to the great arrival of the Savior, Jesus Christ, the One who “came to take away sin, fulfill all righteousness, establish a kingdom, and conquer the devil.”
Thorn presents the gospel simply and biblically alerting readers to the great reality of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only set forth as our example. Indeed, he is our substitute and righteousness as well. “All of this is the gospel,” argues Thorn. “It is history, and it is foundation for our doctrine.”
Part 2: The Doctrine of the Gospel
Part two is the “meat and potatoes” of this excellent book. Here, the author unfolds the crucial gospel doctrines of justification, forgiveness, faith and repentance, reconciliation, sanctification, and good works. These short chapters are basic enough for new believers but also contains substantial spiritual food for more experienced believers.
Each doctrine is explained and defended with basic biblical rationale. Readers will appreciate Thorn’s ability to articulate these weighty doctrines with great precision and profundity. While each treatment is short, there is a theological fuel here that will help feed the “spiritual fire” of growing Christians.
Part 3: The God of the Gospel
The final section builds upon the previous section and explores the important subjects of God’s justice, sovereignty, the atonement, irresistible grace, and particular redemption. Again, the author provides short explanations with strong biblical support.
The Heart of the Church is written for new believers but should be devoured by all believers. Joe Thorn has a unique gift of teaching that is warm, relational, and theologically rigorous. Pastor Thorn has a passion for the doctrines of grace that is apparent throughout the book. Readers will be deeply encouraged by Thorn’s labor - for the gospel is at the very center of this outstanding work. May that gospel continue to transform lives as people pour over this excellent work. Highly recommended!