In this book, Barry Harvey offers a doctrine of the church that combines Baptist distinctives and origins with an unbending commitment to the visible church as the social body of Christ. Writing from a postliberal, post-Constantinian perspective, Harvey outlines how the church, in its current Western setting, needs to recover and reinvigorate core ecclesial practices in order to "remember the scattered followers of Jesus into the earthy-historical form of the crucified and risen Christ." These core practices include the theological interpretation of Scripture, the development of sound doctrine, the centrality of baptism and the Eucharist, the exercises of spiritual discipline, and the cultivation of the church as a distinctive social body. This book will serve as a useful text for students of ecclesiology, systematic theology, missiology, and ethics.
From the Back Cover
"Barry Harvey has written a small Summa for our time, a fine compendium of ecclesial wisdom for making Christian witness to the principalities and powers of our age. With massive learning, both theological and biblical, he offers us a real masterwork, a splendid demonstration of theological thinking at its best, fully mature and fully engaged with church and world alike."--Ralph C. Wood, Baylor University
"Barry Harvey contends that Free churches in North America, and throughout the world, do not merely exist in a state of division. Like the dry bones of Ezekiel's vision, they lie scattered and lifeless. But this book is not merely an exercise in social criticism. It constructively shows how to understand what it might mean for Christ's dismembered body to be re-membered. Harvey's aim is to enable readers to imagine such a future so that they may desire it. If he is successful, there is yet hope for renewal."--Curtis W. Freeman, Duke University Divinity School
"In this masterful account of the contemporary church, Barry Harvey demonstrates the frightening relevance of God's question of Ezekiel to our day. His scholarship is profound, although he displays it gracefully, and his insights penetrating. While accurately describing the political, social, and economic forces that have severed the sinews of Christ's body, this marvelous work also represents a fresh breath of the Spirit, offering a rich account of the ecclesial practices that may yet clothe us with new life."--Elizabeth Newman, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
"This book serves up impressive scholarly breadth, grounded in many streams of the Christian tradition and argued in ways that remind all branches of the church of their best insights, instincts, and practices. Engaging social theory and politics, economic analysis and the humanities, Harvey offers an exciting and pastorally relevant ecclesiology grounded in scripture, tradition, and critical thinking. This book is valuable for students, scholars, clergy, and lay people interested in how we ended up in our current situation in matters of church, politics, and culture."--Michael L. Budde, DePaul University
About the Author
Barry Harvey (PhD, Duke University) is professor of theology in the Honors College at Baylor University, author of Another City: An Ecclesiological Primer for a Post-Christian World, and coauthor of StormFront: The Good News of God. He lives in Hewitt, Texas.