“On this Rock I will build my Church,” proclaimed Jesus. But which church did Christ build? Many groups claim to be a church or even the church, but which one of these, if any, is the one Jesus called “my church”?
Relying on New Testament texts, Peter J. Blackburn shows that the church is not a building or an organization but an organic body of which Christ is the head. It is Christ himself, acting today through human agents, who builds up the church. Blackburn’s interpretation of the biblical tradition leads him to understand the church as para-denominational. He suggests gently that the egos of denominational leaders, vying to be the greatest among the disciples of Christ, are missing a message of the Gospel.
Through his insightful reading of the biblical texts, Blackburn also turns the reader’s attention to what he takes to be the essentials of the Christian faith: the Incarnation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Blackburn’s succinct statement of these Christian basics is profound and a highlight of his work.
Although he occasionally cites a Greek or Hebrew word from the Bible and sometimes comments on the historical background of a passage, Blackburn writes in a popular, accessible style, with an avuncular tone. While not shrinking from teaching about a Christian’s accountability to God, the author’s work tends to avoid fire and brimstone or excessive moralizing.
In an amiable manner, Blackburn directs his readers—especially pastors, missionaries and other church notables—back to the original message and mission of the church. Christ is at work, claims Blackburn, as the head of his mystical body: the Church.
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