Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Review: Word-Centered Church by Jonathan Leeman

What is needed to build and grow a church? Some would say lots of passion. Other would say fog machines, laser lights, and loud music. Many churches think that using the latest gimmick will help a church grow. How did they do that in days of old when technology was not as advance as it is today. Granted we can use technology and other things for the glory of God, but is that what builds a church?

Jonathan Leeman wrote, "What is the one thing we need to create and grow a church? Leaving aside the matters of the ordinances and ministerial office, what is absolutely necessary? A building? A program? Answer: God's Word working through God's Spirit." The Word of God is the tool to be used to build and grow God's church. Leeman shows how central the Bible is to the church, in his book, Word-Centered Church. Some of you might be thinking, did he already write about the importance of the Bible in the church. The answer is yes. This book a revised edition of his previous book, Reverberation: How God's Word Brings Light, Freedom, and Action to His People.

Leeman shows us what the Word does in the life of the church. First, God acts through His word through the use of human preachers. The Bible is used to invite people to come to faith in Christ through the preaching of it and show us how we can be free in Christ. The Word also calls the church to gather in one accord.

Next, Leeman deals with the purpose of the sermon. The Word is used in the sermon to expose our sin and rebellion toward God. The Word announces the gospel message where it is pointed to Jesus. Every sermon must have Christ especially if it is expositional, which Leeman fully endorses as the proper mode for sermons to be delivered in the church.

Finally, Leeman talks about the impact the Word has on the church. The church is to sing songs praising God for all He has done through the cross of Christ. The church is to pray for God's will to be done. It is not a bad idea to pray God's Word back to God, not reminding Him of His Word, but as declaration for us in trusting God in His Word. The church is to disciple all believers. What is the proper method? Using the Bible. Yes, there are many good books to use, but the Bible must be the center of all discipleship. The church is called to scatter and invite more people to hear this gospel message.

Leeman is a gifted writer. I enjoy every book he has written including his previous one. I am delighted to recommend Word-Centered Church to all church leaders and teachers.

Thanks Moody Publishers for letting me review this book.

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