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What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission Paperback – September 8, 2011
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“In what appears to be a growing tension over what the mission of the church encompasses, DeYoung and Gilbert bring a remarkably balanced book that can correct, restore, and help regardless of which way you lean or land on all things ‘missional.’ I found the chapters on social justice and our motivation in good works to be especially helpful. Whether you are actively engaging the people around you with the gospel and serving the least of these or you are hesitant of anything ‘missional,’ this book will help you rest in God’s plan to reconcile all things to himself in Christ.”
—Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; President, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; author, The Mingling of Souls
“Christ is the greatest message in the world, and delivering it is the greatest mission. But are we losing our focus? Are we being distracted, sometimes even by good things? Zealous Christians disagree sharply today over the church’s proper ministry and mission. Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert bring us back to first things in an age of mission creep and distraction. Offering balanced wisdom, this book will give us not only encouragement but discomfort exactly where we all need it. It’s the kind of biblical sanity we need at this moment.”
—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God's Story
“Among the many books that have recently appeared on mission, this is the best one if you are looking for sensible definitions, clear thinking, readable writing, and the ability to handle the Bible in more than proof-texting ways. I pray that God will use it to bring many to a renewed grasp of what the gospel is and how that gospel relates, on the one hand, to biblical theology and, on the other, to what we are called to do.”
—D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Cofounder, The Gospel Coalition
“DeYoung and Gilbert have put us in their debt with their clear, biblical, theological, and pastoral exposition of the mission of God’s people. That mission, which they rightly understand within the story line of the whole Bible, is summarized in the Great Commission and involves gospel proclamation and disciple making. This superb book will encourage its readers ‘to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship and obey Jesus’s commands now and in eternity, to the glory of God the Father.’”
—Peter T. O'Brien, Former Vice-Principal and Senior Research Fellow and Emeritus Faculty Member, Moore Theological College, Australia
“A very timely and eminently engaging book for all those who care deeply about the church’s mission in our day. Again and again, I found myself nodding in agreement as the authors made a key point from Scripture or noted the missional relevance of a given biblical passage. I highly recommend this book, not just as food for thought, but more importantly, as a call to obedient, biblically informed action.”
—Andreas J. Köstenberger, Senior Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert have written an important book on an important topic. Fair, keenly observant, startlingly honest, this book is replete with careful exegetical work. Verses are not merely cited; they are considered in context. The length of an idea is considered, all the way from its expression in the local church back to its source in Scripture. The result is a book that is nuanced and clear, useful and enjoyable to read, and that is no small gift from two young pastor-theologians who have already become reliable voices. Open this book and you’ll want to open your Bible and open your mind on everything from justice to capitalism, from mercy to love.”
—Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington DC; President, 9Marks
“DeYoung and Gilbert clear the fog that has settled over the nature of the church’s mission. Their tone is gracious, the style is accessible, but most importantly this book is marked by fidelity to biblical revelation and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The authors have succeeded in what they exhort us to do: they have kept the main thing as the main thing.”
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“DeYoung and Gilbert provide clarity to some of the most complex contemporary issues facing the church. Focusing us squarely on the redemptive nature of the gospel, they ultimately point us not only to the church’s mission, but to practical ways to understand and live it. The result is a book that will be of great help to pastors, missiologists, theologians, and practitioners.”
—M. David Sills, Faye Stone Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology, Director of the Doctor of Missiology Program and Great Commission Ministries, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Every generation is tempted to augment or diminish, even nuance or redefine the mission of the church. Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert have provided a biblical corrective and protection for our generation in What is the Mission of the Church? With a gracious and kind spirit, this book reclaims the ecclesiastical concepts of mission, purpose, social justice, and the Great Commission from those who have redefined these words with a dictionary other than Scripture. Pastors should read this book with their elders, deacons, and leadership teams to wrestle with answers to the most pressing questions about the church in our day.”
—Rick Holland, Senior Pastor, Mission Road Bible Church, Prairie Village, Kansas
About the Author
Kevin DeYoung (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, and Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He also serves as a council member for the Gospel Coalition and blogs at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have six children.
Greg Gilbert (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of What Is the Gospel?, James: A 12-Week Study, and Who Is Jesus?, and is the co-author (with Kevin DeYoung) of What Is the Mission of the Church?.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, I should clarify that I listened to the audio version, so have not been able to read footnotes, of which there apparently are many.
That said, a few comments:
* I agree with the main thesis, that the mission of the church is first and foremost the Great Commission. I'm not sure whether I would limit it to only that however,--surely the mission of the church can have a wide angle as well as a zoom perspective, just as the authors note regarding the word "gospel" in Scripture. That said, it is very important to say that only in Christ can one enter the kingdom of God, find shalom, etc.
* There are many good observations about the Kingdom of God, the biblical use of the word "gospel," etc.
* The authors attempt some meaningful exegesis, sometimes helpfully.
* There is a good warning against expecting too much success in establishing shalom here and now, while still in the "not-yet" stage of redemption history.
* The text alone (minus the footnotes I couldn't hear) leaves one thinking that John Stott and especially Christoper Wright must be some evil liberal heretics. I didn't notice anything positive said about either man. Wright in particular gets picked on as an example of someone who is confused about the mission of the church. Someone who had never read him (as I have) would get the impression from this book that he believes things that I am sure he does not.
* On the other hand, Tim Keller is quoted positively several times. This is good (in my mind), but curious...Read more ›
Without giving away the mission of the church as defined and defended in this book, I can say that DeYoung and Gilbert do a fantastic job of discussing issues like helping the poor, economics and social justice, the Kingdom, the gospel, and how a church can make an impact on the world without sacrificing the truth and absolutes.
The strengths of this book lie in its simplicity and clarity, exposition and insightful interpretation of the Scriptures, and it's very clear explanation and application of the gospel as revealed in the 66 books of the Bible. I recommend this book especially for pastor's young and old, leadership teams of churches, missionaries, and Christians who want to know how they can be purposefully a part of the only organization of which the "gates of hell will not prevail.Read more ›
First, the points made in this book are built on Scripture explanation and Scripture application. The authors aim to clarify the misunderstanding and misapplication of various Scripture passages. For example, take the topic of Social Justice and the Poor; the authors aren't merely citing various passages of Scripture to make their point. Instead, they carefully take every commonly used passage of Scripture concerning Social Justice and the Poor, and proceed to explain each individual passage in its own context. At the conclusion of each chapter, the reader walks away with a better understanding of God's Word, rather than a fistful of arguments.
Second, this book is well researched. If you desire to read one book on the mission of the church, then DeYoung and Gilbert have read and consulted most if not all of the classic and recent books on this topic. Earlier this year I read a handful of books on the topic of Church and Culture. A few of the more helpful reads were: Tim Keller's Generous Justice, David VanDrunen's Living in God's Two Kingdoms, and James Davison Hunter's To Change the World. In this book, DeYoung and Gilbert pull from some of the key points made by Keller, VanDrunen, Hunter, as well as other authors. Therefore, if time is of essence, I would recommend reading just this one.
Thirdly, DeYoung and Gilbert wrote with a pastoral approach. This book did not read like an academic monograph.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is by no means loaded with theological technicalities too difficult for the average Christian to understand. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Family Hobbies
Important book for evangelicals. The authors make great case for the essential mission of the church being the great commission. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Pen Name
Good content but the book's been written multiple times before. I already have books that make the same argument for the same reason. Sorry I spent the money.Published 5 months ago by Just Another Jim
Using it in a Men's group study. Somewhat technical, but a good look at the topic. Not yet finished.Published 6 months ago by Jerry L. Hutter
Summary of Contents of the Book
The book is broken down into 3 parts: Understanding our Mission; Understanding our Categories; Understanding what we do and why we do it. Read more
This is a fantastic book. I did not expect it to be as good as it is. It is a book on missions, but there are topics covered in this book that you do not find in a typical... Read morePublished 13 months ago by H. R. Skyles