Well, I haven't finished it yet. And a lot of book reviews either badly misrepresent the book (causing friction) or are inadequate (also causing friction). I wish to do neither, and because this book is SO important, SO significant, I really don't want to put anyone off, yet feel I must talk about it.
This is the antidote to church book porn as blogged by Paul Mayers.
This is a stream of clean, wholesome nourishment that has risen above the detritus of deconstruction.
To me, this book should be required ready for all who wish any kind of role in church leadership, regardless of church background.
Liberals and conservatives will HATE this book, if they ever read it, and will use the same reasoning to discard its interpretation of scripture.
OK, what book?
From here in the UK or here in North America.
This is not a highbrow, intellectual book. No-one is going to praise its astounding intricacy of theological perception. It isn't *that* big and the words are in fairly large type. Even the way it's written is relatively simple plain English, obviously for ordinary people.
What makes it so special then?
It describes the biblical functioning of the church, under the guidance of Jesus as the head, directed by the Holy Spirit. It explains what the church is, what it does and how it should live and grow. It describes the ministries required and how they function, authority in the church and the relationship between local eldership and apostolic teams. It gives understanding as to why fellowship is such a fundamental requirement in the church, and why churches that do not have true fellowship cannot function as church. It even tackles the issue of church membership!
I am sure that to some, this will be 'no big deal'.
For me, this has been, so far, a concise description of how I've long known church should be.
Is there stuff I don't like?
Sure. I don't like the North American confrontational manner that comes through in places. Derek Prince lived in the US and even became a US citizen, I *suspect* in order to be more effective in an intensely anti-European environment. He talks about churches from a US church standpoint, and for those of us in other countries, there is often a mis-match with what we see in the church in our own countries. But theologically, for me, this book just seems to line up with the truth, especially in the broader principles. I don't find all of it comfy, but I do find it good.