Item description for The Church: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate (Contours of Christian Theology) by Edmund P. Clowney...
Overview Clowney addresses a variety of contemporary concerns: worship, mission, church and culture, church and state, the ministry of women, baptism and the Lord's Supper, tongues and prophecy, signs and wonders. He draws on decades of thinking and teaching about the church as well as from committed leadership and ministry within the church.
Publishers Description At a time in which the very word church sounds a tone of dull irrelevance, the doctrine of the church has suffered the studied neglect of many Christian leaders. The persistent demands to market, manage and grow the church and to meet the felt needs of churched and unchurched all threaten to quench theological reflection on the abiding nature and mission of the church. But few activities bear greater promise as a starting point for renewing and reshaping the Christian church than the work of theology. In this book Edmund Clowney takes up that task, addressing along the way a variety of contemporary concerns: worship, mission, church and culture, church and state, church order and discipline, the ministry of women, baptism and the Lord's Supper, tongues and prophecy, signs and wonders. He draws on decades of thinking and teaching about the church as well as from his committed leadership and ministry within the church. Biblical, historical, systematic and Reformed, The Church is a timely and provocative reflection on the life, order and purpose of the household of God.
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Studio: IVP Academic
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.09" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.95" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Nov 24, 1995
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
Series Contours of Christian Theology
ISBN 0830815341 ISBN13 9780830815340
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More About Edmund P. Clowney
The late Edmund Clowney was Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he served for over thirty years, sixteen of those as president. He authored several books, including The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament.
Edmund P. Clowney currently resides in the state of Virginia.
Edmund P. Clowney has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Church (Contours of Christian Theology)?
theological but understandable book on the church Oct 25, 2007
This is a theological book on the doctrine of the church. But don't let that scare you. It is not so "theological" that a layperson can't read and understand it. The author is a covenant theologian, but even if you are dispensational the book is still very worthwhile. I especially liked the chapters on speaking in tongues and women in ministry. He covered these controversial issues in a thorough and precise way. I will definitely keep this book on my shelf as a reference source.
An Excellent Examination of the Church's Nature and Mission Jan 26, 2007
Clowney sets out in 290 pages to address the issues of the church's "abiding nature and mission." This he accomplishes, addressing every facet of each of these categories, typically by juxtaposing Reformed theology with the most prevalent error of today in a given area. This has two results: to teach the reader what the Bible teaches, but also to bring to light fascinating details of, for example, the syncretism of the World Council of Churches, or the misinterpretation of Acts of the charismatics. The image of the church Clowney presents is probably unfamiliar to most Christians, as elements such as church discipline, proper worship, and a correct doctrine of the spiritual gifts are sadly lacking today, especially in my own Southern Baptist denomination.
Clowney's work is not incredibly detailed, but references a great many other works. For the seminarian or pastor, it is sufficient to grasp a basic understanding of what the church is, what it should be, and where it has fallen into error or misunderstanding. It is also suitable for the lay person (in fact, I would recommend it).
The binding is, of course, paperback, and seems sturdy and of good quality. My copy shows very little wear after its first thorough reading. I found only one glaring typographical error (bottom of pg. 283). I understand the economics of paperback publishing, but this work deserves a hard cover.
A Tiring Exercise Dec 27, 2006
The author presents a doctrinal overview of the church, setting forth its attributes, marks and ministry before dealing with such issues as leadership, women in the church, the use and abuse of supernatural gifts and the question of church sacraments.
While admiring the artful and comprehensive way in which Clowney sets forth his subject matter, I personally found too much of the book to be a tiring exercise in the retelling and listing of various doctrines of the church. That saddened me, first because I had found the author's book on preaching Christ in the Old Testament to be such a delightful breath of fresh air and also because a study of the church ought to be an exciting and invigorating topic. It seemed to me that, in these early chapter, Clowney gave us the doctrine of the church in the same timeworn generalities that systematic theologies have done in the past. All too often, I found these generalities to be divorced from the context in which this doctrine lives and breathes as it is given to us in the Scriptures. A book on systematic theology always runs this risk and my own experience in reading the book underscored that inherent danger.
On the other hand, Clowney's keen sense of the history of the church put flesh onto the principles set forth so that we were able to see how they had impacted the church in both ancient times as well as in recent history. I found those comments that traced the actions of the World Council of Churches particularly enlightening as I had not previously paid a great deal of attention to the actions of that group.
The author's treatment of the question of the gifts of prophecy in the church is of particular relevance in many of today's churches. He presents the views of his former student, Wayne Grudem, and a critique of those views is added almost as an afterthought.
God's Grace Makes a Glorious Church Jun 25, 2003
Clowney's book The Church is a work of theological art. In it, Clowney paints deep and "artistic" images of the church using her historical beliefs and many Biblical texts. Recently a very good friend of mine left the Protestant church and joined the Roman Catholic church. In my discussions with him over the years he mulled over his decision, the beauty of the Church seemed to take precedence in his mind. In his final decision, the Roman Catholic church best represented the beauty and doctrine found in the Bible. Before he converted, he mentioned some discussions he had in a class with a well known Protestant church leader. He requested the Protestant definition of the church. In the end, he was not satisfied with the answer. I wish he had read this book before he switched as I think he would have seen a representation of the church that was both true and beautiful. One of the things my friend did not do will with, in my estimation, is dealing with the polemics between Protestants and Catholics. He did not like polemical arguments, tended to avoid them, and when he did engage them, he found that popular Protestant arguments did not accurately represent true Roman Catholic doctrine. As a result, he would often defend the Roman Catholic perspective. One reason I like this book is that Clowney deals with a number of controversial topics without (for the most part) using polemical arguments. It makes for an attractive and positive presentation of the Protestant doctrine of the church. He deals with issues such as whether Peter is "the rock", whether women should be deacons, and other "hot topics", with clarity, conviction, and charity. Clowney bears his sword and deals with error, but does not malign his opponents before doing battle. As I reader, I found I was in awe of the way he wielded the sword, and hardly even noticed that he left his opponent in tatters. The one striking exception to this non-polemic presentation is his discussion on the doctrine of his former student and friend Wayne Grudem in a discussion of the continued relvance of prophecy today. Overall, Clowney's "The Church" is an excellent theological book that motivates his readers to work for the the unity and purity of the church. Not overwhelming or unnecessarily negative, it helps Christians who love the Church to see the magnificent bride God is preparing for His Son. It helps to keep us on track for the most important things in this world.
Christians - Please Buy This Book! Apr 18, 2001
In our culture, the church is almost irrelevant in the eyes of many Christians. It ultimately becomes a consumer item, and and people choose to attend the one that meets their "needs" the best. Dr. Clowney, a gifted scholar, gentle spirit, and dedicated churchman, has written an important work on what the church IS according to Scripture. Dr. Clowney, an ordained minister in the PCA, does not argue that any one denomination is the most biblical, instead, he shows what the Lord has called His church to be.
"If [the church] is to stand against the gates of hell, it must know its own divine charter, its bond to Jesus Christ, and the 'Holy Spiritual' power of its calling. For the church to be the church in the year 2000, it must be more than 'seeker-friendly'; it must be 'Seeker-sent', thrust forth by the Lord to bear his gospel of the cross to the peoples." (from the preface).
Dr. Clowney deals with both the theological foundations of the church, and many issues that are controversial in Christendom today. But his arguments are Biblical, and his tone is gracious. Give this book a chance, and let the Lord use it to give you a greater love for the bride of Christ, his body- the church!