Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church [NOOK Book]

Overview

What is a church? This can be a difficult question to answer and Christians have offered a variety of perspectives. Gregg Allison thus explores and synthesizes all that Scripture affirms about the new covenant people of God, capturing a full picture of the biblical church. He covers the topics of the church’s identity and characteristics; its growth through purity, unity, and discipline; its offices and leadership structures; its ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and its ministries. Here is a rich ...

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Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church

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Overview

What is a church? This can be a difficult question to answer and Christians have offered a variety of perspectives. Gregg Allison thus explores and synthesizes all that Scripture affirms about the new covenant people of God, capturing a full picture of the biblical church. He covers the topics of the church’s identity and characteristics; its growth through purity, unity, and discipline; its offices and leadership structures; its ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and its ministries. Here is a rich approach to ecclesiology consisting of sustained doctrinal reflection and wise, practical application.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“I believe that the doctrine of the church will be the most urgent locus of theological reflection over the next generation. In Sojourners and Strangers, Gregg Allison clears the ground by presenting a thoroughly biblical ecclesiology, at once comprehensive in scope and sensitive to nuance. A welcome addition to an important series.”
Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

“This is a timely, thorough, biblical, practical, and helpful book on the church. It helps us to understand Jesus' church, and to love her and serve her as Jesus does. Having heard Dr. Allison teach this content, I am thrilled it's finally in print.”
Mark Driscoll, Founding Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle Washington; Founder, Resurgence; Co-founder, Acts 29; author, Death by Love

“The doctrine of the church is one that continues to divide Christians, and especially Protestants, from one another. Dr. Gregg Allison has grasped this thorny nettle and produced a book that presents both the basic principles that unite us and the controversies that continue to produce different ecclesial formations. He maintains his own conservative, Reformed Baptist convictions while being fair to those who hold other views, making his book a valuable contribution to our understanding of this vitally important subject.”
Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, History, and Doctrine, Beeson Divinity School; author, God Is Love and God Has Spoken

“I am a full-time pastor, and therefore I must be a full-time theologian. As a pastor, my highest calling is to honor Jesus by shepherding his flock. As a theologian, my highest calling is to laud Jesus publically as the hope of the world. Quite frankly, I need help as I deal with real life difficulties that I could not fictionally create. Dr. Allison’s work in Sojourners and Strangers is the most helpful, theologically driven manual for leading in the church. If you buy it, you’ll wear it out.”
Tyler Jones, Lead Pastor, Vintage21 Church, Raleigh, North Carolina; Regional Director, Acts 29 Church Planting Network; Founder, Advance the Church

“Gregg Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers is historically informed, exegetically driven, and theological precise. Even more, this timely tour-de-force ecclesiology displays a love for the church and is written for the church!”
Christopher W. Morgan, Dean and Professor of Theology, California Baptist University

“No longer can one regard ‘evangelical ecclesiology’ as a contradiction in terms. Among the many recent evangelical volumes on the doctrine of the church, Allison’s will undoubtedly prove to be the standard treatment for years to come. This excellent book is biblically faithful, historically informed, and pastorally relevant. One need not agree with Allison on every point of interpretation to profit immensely from his insights. I struggle to think of another volume on the subject that combines both theological depth and practical wisdom in such readable fashion as does Allison. I cannot recommend it too highly.”
Sam Storms, Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Dr. Gregg Allison has done a masterful job of writing a thorough yet practical analysis of the church. This volume is a ‘must read’ for any serious pastor or theologian who desires to look into the heart of evangelical ecclesiology. As a conservative Christian and pastor of a local church I am too quick to recommend or make decisions regarding the ‘practice’ of the local church with little thought of accountability or connectedness to the church both universal or historical. Allison brings such breadth and depth to the beauty of the church by tracing every section through the early church, Catholic Church, Reformation, and into our contemporary culture and times. I especially appreciated Gregg’s willingness to address prominent issues churches are currently struggling with—such as church governance or the ‘multisite’ movement. This book fills the void that has long existed in most evangelicals’ libraries!”
Jeffrey T. Gilmore, Senior Pastor, Parkview Evangelical Free Church, Iowa City, Iowa

“Writing an evangelical ecclesiology is a difficult task, due to the fact that evangelicals differ on many aspects of ecclesiology. All will not agree with the positions taken by Gregg Allison in Sojourners and Strangers, but all will profit from his detailed study. He is especially thorough in his treatment of polity and the ordinances, and goes down some seldom-explored paths in his opening sections. At points, his arguments require careful reading, but often open up new perspectives. I commend it to students of ecclesiology.”
John S. Hammett, Associate Dean for Theological Studies, Professor of Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; author Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches

“In this comprehensive treatment of the doctrine of the church, Gregg Allison brings a depth of doctrinal reflection, scriptural understanding, and practical wisdom to bear. Interacting with various ecclesiological perspectives throughout church history and today, he provides a balanced, biblical, and up-to-date treatment of topics from the characteristics of the church, to church government, to church ministry—all informed by his understanding of the paradoxical nature of the church as both part of the world and yet looking to another Kingdom. This work will make a major theological contribution to the expanding literature on the doctrine of the church.”
Justin S. Holcomb, Episcopal Priest; Professor of Christian Thought, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; co-author, Rid of My Disgrace and Is It My Fault?

“Gregg Allison has done evangelicals a great service with a true theology of the church. In the endless stream of books and blogs on technique and pragmatics of doing church, Sojourners and Strangers gives an answer to the question ‘what is a church?’ that is superbly written, soundly biblical, theologically coherent, and practically applicable. His expertise in historical theology and his experience in leadership in a variety of types of churches enrich his profound biblical insights. It is a must read for all who are serious about leadership in the church of Jesus Christ.”
Gerry Breshears, Professor of Theology, Westminster Seminary; coauthor, Death by Love: Letters from the Cross

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433536038
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication date: 11/30/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Gregg R. Allison (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is secretary of the Evangelical Theological Society, a book review editor for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, an elder at Sojourn Community Church, and a theological strategist for Sojourn Network. Allison has taught at several colleges and seminaries, including Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is the author of numerous books, including Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, and Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment.

John S. Feinberg (PhD, University of Chicago) is department chair and professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of Ethics for a Brave New World (with Paul D. Feinberg) and is general editor of Crossway’s Foundations of Evangelical Theology series.

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Table of Contents

Series Introduction 15

Preface 19

Abbreviations 23

Part 1 Foundational Issues

Chapter 1 Introduction to Ecclesiology 27

Ecclesial Background and Experience

Basic Idea of the Church

Ecclesiology as a Doctrine

The Scope of Ecclesiology

The Sufficiency of Scripture

Other Sources

The Methodology for Ecclesiology

Continuity and Discontinuity between the Testaments

Biblical Language: Prescription versus Description

Basic Approaches to Ecclesiology

Concluding Question: Is Ecclesiology an Important Doctrine?

Chapter 2 The Church of the New Covenant 61

The Concept of the Church

The Concept of Covenant

Covenants That Were Operative before Christ

The Church of the New Covenant

The Inception of the Church

The Relationship of the Church and Israel

The Relationship of the Church and the Kingdom of God

The Identity of the Kingdom of God

The Church and the Kingdom as God's Universal Rule and Eternal Dominion

The Church and the Kingdom as Israel

The Church and the Kingdom as Belonging to the Son of Man/Davidic King

The Church and the Kingdom as an Inaugurated Reality

The Church and the Kingdom as an Eschatological Reality

Part 2 The Biblical Vision-Characteristics of the Church

Chapter 3 Characteristics Regarding the Origin and Orientation of the Church 103

Introduction

The Church Is Doxological

The Church Is Logocentric

Logos: Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God

Logos: Scripture, the Inspired Word of God

The Church Is Pneumadynamic

Affirming the Church as Doxological, Logocentric, and Pneumadynamic

Chapter 4 Characteristics Regarding the Gathering and Sending of the Church 123

Introduction

The Church Is Covenantal

The Church in New Covenant Relationship with God through Christ

Church Members in Covenant Relationship with One Another

The Church as Covenantal: Some Specifications

The Church Is Confessional

Personal Confession of Faith in the Saving

Lordship of Jesus Christ

A Common, Corporate Confession of the Church's Faith

A Proposal

The Church Is Missional

The Church Is Spatio-temporal/Eschatological

Part 3 The Vision Actualized-The Growth of the Church

Chapter 5 The Purity and Unity of the Church 161

The Purity of the Church

The Reality of More-Pure and Less-Pure Churches

The Unity of the Church

Foundations of Church Unity

Maintaining Church Unity

Chapter 6 Church Discipline 179

Definition and Its Biblical Support

Two Key Texts and Their Application to Church Discipline

Matthew 18:15-20

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (with 2 Corinthians 2:5-11)

Other Matters Requiring Church Discipline

Heretical Teaching

Divisiveness

Idleness

Leadership Failures

The Practice of Church Discipline

Part 4 The Government of the Church

Chapter 7 The Offices of the Church 205

The Office of Apostle

The Apostles and Their Qualifications

The Ministries of the Apostles

The Cessation of the Office of Apostle

The Office of Elder

Qualifications

Responsibilities

The Limitation of the Office of Elder to Qualified Men

The Complementarian Position

The Egalitarian Position

Responses to the Egalitarian Position

A Challenge from the Complementarian Position

The Office of Deacon/Deaconess

The Office of Service

Qualifications and Responsibilities

The Accessibility of the Office of Deacon to Both Men and Women (Deaconesses)

Chapter 8 Types of Church Government 249

Introduction

The Supreme Headship of Jesus Christ

Historical Types of Church Government

Episcopalianism

Description

Biblical and Theological Support

Misapprehensions and Misgivings

Presbyterianism

Description

Biblical and Theological Support

Misapprehensions and Misgivings

Congregationalism

Description

Biblical and Theological Support

Misapprehensions and Misgivings

Varieties of Congregationalism

Single Pastor with Board of Deacons

Plurality of Elders

Chapter 9 A Model of Church Governance 297

Support for Strong Connections among Congregational Churches

Biblical Examples

Lessons Learned from Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism

Historical Precedents

Intense Longing for Cooperation

A Proposal for the Governance of Congregational Churches

Excursus: Multisite Churches

Biblical Support

Theological Support

A Multisite Church Model

Part 5 The Ordinances of the Church

Chapter 10 Baptism 321

Sacraments and Ordinances: General Discussion

A Brief History of the Development of Baptismal Theology and Practice

Baptism in the Early Church

The Turn to Infant Baptism

Reformation Changes to Baptism

Martin Luther

Huldrych Zwingli

The Anabaptists

John Calvin

Post-Reformation Developments

The Current Theological Divide between Paedobaptism and Believer's Baptism: Who Is to Be Baptized?

Key Tenets of Infant Baptism (or Paedobaptism)

Key Tenets of Believer's Baptism (or Credobaptism)

Evaluation of Believer's Baptism by Paedobaptism, and Rejoinders by Believer's Baptism

Evaluation of Paedobaptism by Believer's Baptism, and Rejoinders by Paedobaptism

The Practice of Believer's Baptism

The Mode of Baptism

The Meaning of Baptism

Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

Miscellaneous Matters for Believer's Baptism

Chapter 11 The Lord's Supper 365

Historical Development: The Early and Medieval Church

The Five Principal Views of the Lord's Supper

Catholic Transubstantiation

Lutheran Consubstantiation (or Sacramental Union)

Zwinglian Memorial View

Calvinist Spiritual Presence View

Anabaptist and Baptist Views

Biblical and Theological Framework

The Institution by Jesus Christ

The Pauline Tradition

My Perspective and Matters of Application

The Nature of the Lord's Supper

Regular Observance with Biblically Prescribed Elements

Participants in the Lord's Supper

Participation in a Worthy Manner

A Symbol of Church Unity

A Proleptic Celebration

Part 6 The Ministries of the Church

Chapter 12 Ministries of the Church 413

Divine Enablement for Ministry: Spiritual Gifts

Apostles/Apostleship

Prophets/Prophecy

Teachers/Teaching/Pastor-teachers

Evangelists

Utterance of Wisdom and Utterance of Knowledge

Exhortation

Leading/Administration

Faith

Service/Helping

Giving

Acts of Mercy

Gifts of Healing

Working of Miracles/Miracles

Distinguishing of Spirits

Kinds of Tongues

Interpretation of Tongues

Other "Gifts"

The Church Worships the Triune God

Defining Worship

Regulative Principle versus Normative Principle

The Church Proclaims the Word of God

The Church Engages Non-Christians with the Gospel

The Church Disciples Its Members

Christian Education

Community Life

The Church Cares for People

Prayer

Giving

Financial Support of Pastors

Assistance for Those in Need

The Church Is for and against the World

Part 7 Conclusion

Chapter 13 Sojourners and Strangers 467

Scripture Index 472

General Index 483

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