Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review: Baptist Foundations edited by Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman

We live in an age that does not like authority. What I mean is we don't like authority that does not benefit us. We like when those in governmental positions tell us what we are doing is okay, but don't like them when they say we are wrong. For the church, many do not like the authority that the church has established. Some churches have authority figures but they really do not exercise it because it might offend people. Is there healthy church government? Yes, there is.

Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman have put together a book that teaches about church polity called Baptist Foundations. Dever and Leeman wrote a few chapters in the book, but other Baptist leaders have contributed to it as well. In the Forward of the book, James Leo Garrett wrote that the doctrine of the church has always been a concern for Baptists, which is has more truth in this day and age. Why is church polity (government) important? Leeman goes over that in the introduction to the book.

Baptist Foundations deals with the historical cases for congregationalism and the purpose of the ordinances of the church which are The Lord's Supper and Believer's Baptism. This book also makes a really good case for the plurality of elders in the church. Many Baptists think it is not for their congregation because that is what happens in other denominations which that is not the case. There have been Baptist churches throughout history that are lead by elders. By the way, the book deals with what the Bible says about elders and deacons than all the other topics.

This book also talks about the importance of church membership. The individualistic nature of our society is one of the reasons why church membership has been going through a downfall for the last few years. Churches have not taken the role of church membership seriously. Some make it look like you will become a member of an exclusive club where you dress up and look down on people. Church membership is important because it symbolizes that we are members of the Kingdom of God and the church is an embassy of that Kingdom.

This book is important for all of those in a Baptist church to read whether you are a church leader or a layperson. I think people in a Baptist church have no idea why it is important for them to know what the church believes or why they need to governed by a healthy church. This is also good for those who are not part of a Baptist church to read and understand what we believe about the church.

Thanks B&H Publishing Group for letting me review this book.

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