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Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity Paperback – December 2, 2014
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About the Author
Eric Carpenter is employed in the Quality Department at JCB, a construction equipment manufacturer. A former institutional church pastor and missionary to South Asia, Eric now desires to see Christ’s church thrive in its simple forms in the Savannah, GA area.
When not blogging about church and culture, Eric enjoys running, reading, drinking coffee, and going to the beach with his family.
Eric Carpenter lives in beautiful Savannah, GA with his wife Alice (also a contributor to this book) and three children.
Contact Eric at eric-carpenter.blogspot.com
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I can say I agree in principle with almost everything written and in practice with most. Certainly there are places I disagree, some pretty strenuously, but even though there are some portions that I found disagreement that is sort of the point of this book. We don't all agree on everything but on many issues, some of the most critical, we do agree and seek unity in spite of those other differences. The church as it exists right now suffers from an overabundance of homogeneity. The Reformed huddle together with the Reformed, the Pentecostals with other Pentecostals, the Lutherans with one another, etc. We tend to lump actual Christians we disagree with in almost the same category as people who don't believe at all and at the same time lurk around in echo chambers where we all talk about how much we agree about the things we agree on. Theological in-breeding is unhealthy and dangerous. It is good and healthy to examine what others think and to reexamine our positions. While I didn't find much that really caused me to question any positions I hold, it was still a profitable exercise to read and hear from others.
An honest and open discussion of the church is long overdue but too often these conversations devolve into accusations over disagreement. It is my hope that this book and other conversations like it serve as a baseline for substantive discussion. As we exit, and not a moment too soon, the era of Western Christendom, we find ourselves desperately in need of a new way to talk about the church, a way beyond more of the same and into the simple expression of community we see in the New Testament. I encourage you to give Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity a read and even if you don't agree with everything (or perhaps especially if you don't!), add your voice to the conversation.
24 Authors from very different ecclesiastical perspectives who were not privy to each others contributions have assembled quite a work here. Nearly half of the authors have been or are currently missionaries in diverse contexts. The authors do not agree on everything, and I would challenge some of the propositions, but there is a prevalent theme throughout the book on the simple ways to edify and serve the body.
Again, an unlike other collaborative books, these authors do not assume a conclusion and then try to sway your thinking towards it. The book is a conversation that has the potential to lead into an even larger one. This is NOT a book that is critical about other expressions of church. This is a working set of narratives that point to the "one who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)
The book is broken down into 5 sections:
1. Glorifying and Enjoying God
2. Living Radically
3. Building of the Body
4. Impacting the World
5. Proclaiming Salvation
Within these 5 headings the authors take great care to not be known by what they are against. Instead, they clearly and with humility, describe what they're for when it comes to church. Full disclosure; I am one of the authors, and I have written the final chapter. I am also an active missionary serving in the Cloud Forest Region of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador.
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This book does!
The editor, Eric Carpenter, has put together contributions from around the globe; and every...Read more