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What makes a church a church?
Is it "where three or more are gathered"? Is it songs and a sermon on Sunday? Does it require structure and leadership? How do you know?
The Character of the Church dispels confusion by describing the five elements of a biblical church. Concise, accessible, and historically informed, it teaches God's design for church so you know what to look for in one—or even how to lead one.
Useful for training in membership classes, discipleship groups, and elder boards—and even for devotional reading—The Character of the Church is at once theological, practical, and experiential. Readers will not simply be informed, but led to a deeper appreciation of the church of God and its essential marks:
This book will bring churches and Christians back to the biblical picture of a local body, perfect for any believer eager to grow and help others do likewise.
Four thousand churches close their doors each year. Clearly, something has gone wrong. A big part of the problem is many churches have forgotten their true mission, which is why one of the greatest needs in the church today is a biblically faithful ecclesiology. That's precisely what Joe Thorn has provided here. Always the caring pastor and careful theologian, he is the ideal person to write this book. Regardless of your tradition or tribe, The Character of the Church will stretch and strengthen your understanding of the local church's function and form.
Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, North Carolina, and author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.
In a culture where individualism and relativism shape the way many Christians understand the church, Joe Thorn gives us a biblically authoritative and spiritually refreshing perspective on the beauty and unity of the local church—and God's design for it. The Character of the Church is well-informed and accessible. It will encourage anyone who reads it to love the Bride of Christ more.
Thomas J. Terry
Owner and artist, Humble Beast Records, and pastor at Trinity in Portland, Oregon.
In my time as a pastor, Joe Thorn has served me as an insightful, encouraging counselor and faithful friend. Joe is passionate about the church as an institution. His passion is driven by his concern for the glory of God and his care for the people who constitute the church. I wish you could sit with him in his favorite cigar shop to laugh and talk about the beauty, majesty, and character of Christ's bride.
But what you hold in your hands is the next best thing: the thoughtful, biblical reflections of a shepherd who can explain clearly and concisely the connections between those vital aspects of the church's character, and her ability to perform the mission given to her by Jesus. Your vision of the distinctive nature and qualities of the church will be challenged, clarified, and restored.
Senior Pastor, Calvary Community Church in St. Cloud, Minnesota