Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church

Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church

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Overview

Offering readers rich theological reflection and practical wisdom relating to the nature and organization of the church, this comprehensive resource investigates the Bible’s teaching on everything from church leadership to the nature of true worship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781581346619
Publisher: Crossway
Publication date: 11/30/2012
Series: Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About 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 Harbor 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 TheologySojourners and Strangers; and Roman Catholic Theology and Practice.

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.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION TO ECCLESIOLOGY

ECCLESIAL BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE

To begin with the obvious, if you are reading this book, you are probably involved in a church, so you have already experienced the reality of the doctrine that I am treating. The same is true of most other doctrines: we experience the reality of the doctrine of God as we relate personally to him as Father, the doctrine of humanity as bearers of the divine image, the doctrine of sin as those fallen from what we should be, the doctrine of salvation as those rescued from our depravity and corruption, and the like.

These experiences shape our theology of God, humanity, sin, salvation, and other doctrines.

Because this may sound reasonable to some but disconcerting to others, let me clarify what I mean by it. As a systematic theologian and contributor to this Foundations of Evangelical Theology series, I firmly maintain that the source — the sole source — and the starting point of our theology is Scripture, the Word of God. So when I affirm that our experience shapes our theology, I am not advocating that experience should contribute to the content of our doctrinal formulation or be the jumping off point for it, because Scripture holds those honored positions. But our experience does influence our theology. And this is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the doctrine of the church: our weekly engagement in our church's worship service, our observation of how our church baptizes people, our participation in our church's celebration of the Lord's Supper, our engagement in our church's missional endeavors to make the gospel known, our involvement in our church's compassionate concern for the poor and marginalized, and much more influences our ecclesiology.

If our ecclesial background, our church experience, shapes our theology, then it has influenced my formulation of the doctrine of the church that you are about to read. Accordingly, I want you to know the broad contours of my ecclesial background. I was raised in a "liberal" church in which a good Sunday would find my minister reading from the latest Time magazine, while a bad Sunday would feature an interpretation of his dreams. Congregational and denominational money was funneled to support such radical movements as the Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society. Yet, it was in that church, through a parachurch movement of that very denomination, that I was genuinely confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ and experienced the saving work of God in my life. And I was not alone in this; scores of people in that church had similar experiences and made professions of faith in Christ. When we turned to our pastor for guidance in how to continue and grow in this newfound Christian life, he dismissively assured us that our recent experience would pass in a matter of a few weeks or months. And he was correct. Lacking any follow-up and discipleship, I and most of my friends shelved Christianity and drifted away from our conversion experience.

The following year, however, I became involved in another parachurch movement, Campus Crusade for Christ, through which I learned to make progress as a Christ-follower. I also became seriously involved in evangelism and discipleship of others, while minimally being connected with a local church. Eventually, this element of church involvement became more pronounced, and I even became co-pastor of a small evangelical Baptist church in Switzerland while continuing my work with Campus Crusade. Primarily, this increased local church association was with Baptist churches (Italian-Swiss Baptist, Baptist General Conference, Conservative Baptist) and the Evangelical Free Church of America. Most recently, my teaching career has brought me into association with churches in the Southern Baptist Convention.

This quick tour is intended to highlight one thing: my association with parachurch movements and my membership in various churches and denominations has shaped me and influences this present work on ecclesiology. This ecclesial background forms part of the preunderstanding that I bring to my formulation of doctrine, including my theology of the church. Certainly, many other factors contribute to my theological worldview: my deep appreciation for historical theology, particularly that of the early church and the Calvinist wing of the Reformation; my strong commitment to the first five ecumenical councils (Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople II; I also lean favorably toward Constantinople III); my cross-cultural experience; my complementarian view of human genderedness; my continuationist (not cessationist nor Pentecostal) view of spiritual gifts; and many other elements. But important for the purpose of this book, my ecclesial background and experience exert an influence on my doctrine of the church.

And so it surely is with all who read this book. Your ecclesial experience influences your ecclesiology, whether that is a well-developed, studied conviction concerning the church, or a subconscious, intuitive sense of what constitutes the church and its ministries.

To the degree that your church background intersects with some aspects of my experience, you will likely feel at home with my presentation. Likewise, to the degree that your ecclesial experience diverges from some aspects of my background, you will likely find yourself at odds with my ecclesiology. In either case, it is my hope that you will follow appreciatively the development of my ecclesiology — particularly as I ground it on Scripture, the source and starting point of theology — and that you will be benefited by the work at hand.

BASIC IDEA OF THE CHURCH

So that you may know the basic direction in which I am heading in this book, I offer at its outset a summary of my ecclesiology, beginning with a definition of the church.

The church is the people of God who have been saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and have been incorporated into his body through baptism with the Holy Spirit. It consists of two interrelated elements: the universal church is the fellowship of all Christians that extends from the day of Pentecost until the second coming, incorporating both the deceased believers who are presently in heaven and the living believers from all over the world. This universal church becomes manifested in local churches characterized by being doxological, logocentric, pneumadynamic, covenantal, confessional, missional, and spatio-temporal/eschatological. Local churches are led by pastors (also called elders) and served by deacons, possess and pursue purity and unity, exercise church discipline, develop strong connections with other churches, and celebrate the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Equipped by the Holy Spirit with spiritual gifts for ministry, these communities regularly gather to worship the triune God, proclaim his Word, engage non- Christians with the gospel, disciple their members, care for people through prayer and giving, and stand both for and against the world.

Each element of this definition requires a brief explanation at this point and will be discussed more fully as the book progresses.

The definition emphasizes at the outset that the church is the people of God or, in the words of the Apostles' Creed, "the communion of saints." In keeping with the title of this book, the church is composed of a particular people: "sojourners and strangers" (see 1 Pet. 2:11). In contrast with some common notions today, it is not a building (e.g., the red brick colonial- style building with white pillars and a steeple just a few blocks down from where we live), a denominational tag (e.g., the Presbyterian Church USA), a national or state church (e.g., the Lutheran Church of Sweden), avatars worshiping together in the virtual world of Second Life, or the Catholic Church (with its claim that "the one Church of Christ ... subsists in the Catholic Church"). Rather, the church is people; specifically, the church is the new covenant people of God. Though the people of God have existed from the beginning of the human race (one thinks especially of the people of Israel who lived under the old covenant), the church (adhering to the new covenant) did not exist prior to the first coming of Jesus Christ. He is the Redeemer who accomplished salvation through his atoning death and resurrection for the people of God who compose the church. It is through the gospel, and a response to it of repentance from sin and faith in Christ, that Christians have been saved (and by this term I mean all aspects of the mighty work of God that are commonly regarded as comprising salvation, including election, effective calling, regeneration, justification, union with Christ, adoption, sanctification, and perseverance). An additional aspect of the salvific work of God — one that is often overlooked but relates directly to the identity of the members of the church — is the incorporation of Christians into the body of Christ as he baptizes them with the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, all who are "in Christ" are de facto "in the church" and constitute its members.

The church consists of two interrelated elements, commonly referred to as the "universal" church and "local" churches. The universal church is the company of all Christians stretching from its inception (accomplished by the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and created by the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost) to Christ's second coming at the end of this present age (or, more specifically, the rapture of the church prior to his return). It incorporates both the deceased believers who are currently in the presence of Christ in heaven and the living believers scattered throughout the world. Whereas the former aspect of the universal church is gathered together as the "heavenly" church, the latter aspect does not assemble, does not possess a structure or organization, does not have human leaders, and does not have a specific space-time address. These intangibles do not render the universal church any less real, however, as the next point demonstrates.

This universal church (at least its living members) is manifested (by Christ, its head, and the Spirit) and manifests itself (through Christians associating themselves with one another) in local churches, which are characterized by seven attributes. The first three are characteristics regarding the origin and orientation of the church: it is (1) doxological, or oriented to the glory of God; (2) logocentric, or centered on the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ, and the inspired Word of God, Scripture; and (3) pneumadynamic, or created, gathered, gifted, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The final four are characteristics regarding the gathering and sending of the church: it is (4) covenantal, or gathered as members in new covenant relationship with God and in covenantal relationship with each other; (5) confessional, or united by both personal confession of faith in Christ and common confession of the Christian faith; (6) missional, or identified as the body of divinely called and divinely sent ministers to proclaim the gospel and advance the kingdom of God; and (7) spatio-temporal/eschatological, or assembled as a historical reality (located in space and time) and possessing a certain hope and clear destiny while it lives the strangeness of ecclesial existence in the here-and-now.

Local churches are led by qualified and publicly recognized men who are called pastors or elders (or bishops or overseers) who have the responsibilities of teaching sound doctrine, governing (under the headship of Christ), praying (especially for the sick), and shepherding (leading through exemplary lifestyles). These assemblies are also served by deacons, qualified and publicly recognized men and women who serve Jesus Christ in the many church ministries. Because of divine grace and provision, local churches possess both purity and unity; because of sin, however, they must also pursue greater purity and maintain unity through both divine aid and Spirit-empowered human effort. When their members persist in sin, churches exercise discipline for the purposes of restoring erring members and rectifying entrenched sinful situations, restraining such sin-saturated realities, and preserving the honor of Christ and their own reputation. Churches also develop strong connections with other churches for the purposes of cooperative and more effective ministry, the sharing of resources, mutual accountability, and the like. And they celebrate the two ordinances of their covenantal relationship with God through Christ: the initiatory new covenant rite of baptism and the continuing new covenant rite of the Lord's Supper.

Church members are equipped with gifts, given by the Holy Spirit, and they exercise those spiritual gifts in carrying out the ministries of the church. These ministries are: worshiping the triune God, proclaiming his Word through the preaching of Scripture, engaging non-Christians with the gospel, discipling their members through education and sharing in community life, caring for people through prayer and giving, and standing both for and against the world by helping the poor and marginalized through holistic ministries and denouncing the evils wrought by sin.

From this definition one can see my basic orientation to ecclesiology: from the ontology or nature of the church flow the church's functions. As will be discussed later, a third category of approaches to this doctrine — teleological approaches — exists. I will subsume this category under my ontological orientation for reasons to be discussed then.

My task throughout this book is to explain and support this doctrine of the church. Before embarking on this task, however, I must address a number of foundational issues. These introductory matters will set forth how I will construct my ecclesiology.

ECCLESIOLOGY AS A DOCTRINE

As a locus, or topic, commonly included among the other loci of systematic theology — the doctrines of Scripture, God, angels, humanity, sin, Christ, Holy Spirit, salvation, and eschatology — ecclesiology comes from two Greek terms, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (ekklesia), or church, and TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (logos), or word/study. Accordingly, ecclesiology is the study of the church, and this doctrine treats the issues of the church's definition, covenantal relationship with God, relationship to Israel and the kingdom of God, characteristics, governance, ordinances, and ministries. As a doctrine of evangelical theology, ecclesiology considers biblical affirmations about the church and synthesizes all those teachings into a coherent whole, thereby setting forth what evangelicals are to believe today about the church. This systematic theology of the church is developed in conjunction with other disciplines. "Exegetical theology seeks to determine the meaning of biblical texts. Biblical theology describes the progressive revelation found in Scripture by examining the theology of its various groupings (e.g., the theology of the Pentateuch and the theology of the Synoptic Gospels). It also traces the many themes in these biblical groupings and notes their development over time. ... Historical theology is the study of the interpretation of Scripture and the formulation of doctrine by the church of the past." Through solid interpretation of all relevant texts of Scripture treating the topic of the church (exegetical theology), careful consideration of themes about the church in, for example, Pauline literature and Peter's writings and how they relate to each other (biblical theology), and aided by wisdom from the past in terms of a chastened tradition concerning the church (historical theology), a systematic theology of the church — ecclesiology — is developed.

THE SCOPE OF ECCLESIOLOGY

The Sufficiency of Scripture

The preceding section emphasized the importance of Scripture in the construction of ecclesiology. Such attention to the Word of God is a hallmark of evangelical theology and flows from, inter alia, the Protestant affirmation of the sufficiency of Scripture. As Wayne Grudem explains, "The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly." In terms of how this attribute of Scripture is relevant for the doctrine of the church, the issue becomes, is Scripture sufficient for the construction of our ecclesiology? The answer will fall somewhere in three different camps.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Sojourners and Strangers"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Gregg R. Allison.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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

What People are Saying About This

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, Distinguished Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“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, Vintage Church, Raleigh, North Carolina; 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 of the School of Christian Ministries 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, Senior Pastor, 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, Executive Teaching 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, Professor of Systematic 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; Adjunct Professor of Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando; coauthor, Rid of My Disgrace and God Made All of Me; editor, Christian Theologies of Scripture

“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 and Chair of the Center for Biblical and Theological Studies, Western Seminary; coauthor, Death by Love: Letters from the Cross

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