Discover the biblical characteristics which must be present for the authentic church to exist.
What exactly is a living church?
Author John Stott explains, 'We need more radically conservative churches: "conservative" in the sense that they conserve what Scripture plainly requires, but radical in relation to that combination of tradition and convention that we call 'culture'. Scripture is unchangeable, but culture is not."
The Living Church brings together a number of characteristics of what the author calls 'authentic' or 'living' church. The marks, being clearly biblical, are timeless and need to be preserved.
We are encouraged to become learning churches, caring churches, worshipping churches and evangelising churches.
John Stott unpacks the Bible's wisdom rigorously with a teacher's skill and applies it faithfully with a pastor's heart. Becoming a living church is not an impossible goal.
Preface: ‘Emerging churches’
The postmodern world
1. Essentials: God’s vision for his church
A learning church
A caring church
A worshipping church
An evangelizing church
2. Worship: Glorying in God’s holy name
3. Evangelism: Mission through the local church
Forms of evangelism
The church must understand itself: its theology
The church must organize itself: its structures
The church must express itself: its message
The church must be itself: its life
4. Ministry: The Twelve and the Seven
An every-member ministry
The pastoral ministry
The example of the apostle (the shepherd)
The invasion of false teachers (the wolves)
The value of the people (the sheep)
5. Fellowship: The implications of koinonia
Our common inheritance
Our common service
Our mutual responsibility
Some practical illustrations
6. Preaching: Five paradoxes
Biblical and contemporary
Authoritative and tentative
Prophetic and pastoral
Gifted and studied
Thoughtful and passionate
7. Giving: Ten principles
Springing from the Trinity
Creating equality according to our means
Careful supervision and friendly rivalry
A harvest with symbolic significance
The result: thanksgiving to God
8. Impact: Salt and light
The truths of salt and light
Weapons for social change
Conclusion: Looking for Timothys in the twenty-first century
A threefold appeal
Where are the Timothys?
Three historical appendices
An autobiographical sketch
I. Why I am still a member of the Church of England
II. I have a dream of a living church
III. Reflections of an octogenarian
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