The church is at the very center of God’s redemptive purposes. Gregg Allison is quick to articulate this great reality in The Church: An Introduction. Dr. Allison’s work is the newest installment in Crossway’s Short Studies in Systematic Theology series, one that has been commended unreservedly by this writer.
Dr. Allison pours a sturdy ecclesiological foundation in part one and demonstrates the great need to ground this subject in the triune God. Almost immediately, the author distinguishes himself as set apart from a Classical Dispensational understanding of Scripture:
In summary, both the Old and New Testament present the one people of God in two aspects: as the people of Israel in old covenant relationship with him. Believers constitute the one people of God … Specifically, this redeemed people of God consists of two aspects: the people of Israel in old covenant relationship with him and the people of the church in new covenant relationship with him. Believers constitute the one people of God.
God redeems a people for his own possession, and his Spirit dwells among his people. Once again, Allison drives home the reality and importance of the church: “There is one people of God, who from eternity past has graciously elected all those who will believe in him by faith and walk with him in obedience, worship, love, and service.”
Next, the author focuses on the ecclesiastical framework.
Mere Ecclesiology and More Ecclesiology
Various elements of the church are explored in some detail, including the leadership, government, and ordinances of the church. As with the other topics in the Short Studies in Systematic Theology series, these are covered in a basic manner but never in a simplistic way.
More than anything else, I appreciate the tone of Dr. Allision. His books are theologically rich and practical. Both beginners and veterans of the Christian faith will benefit from this excellent discussion.
Dr. David Steele has been in pastoral ministry since 1991. He holds BS and MA degrees from Multnomah University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary and a D. Min from Bakke Graduate University. Following graduation from Multnomah University, he served eight years as Pastor to Students at Lacey Chapel. In 2000, he became the Pastor of Theology at First Baptist Church in La Grande, Oregon where he served for over eleven years. In 2012, he became the Senior Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Everson, Washington.
He is the author of Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther, A Godward Gaze: The Holy Pursuit of John Calvin, and The White Flag: When Compromise Cripples the Church.
At Christ Fellowship he leads the staff, serves as the Pastor for preaching and vision casting, and oversees Veritas (adult theological education) and Iron Men (men’s leadership development).
His personal mission is to positively influence people, impact the world one person at a time and to glorify God by enjoying him forever. His passion in ministry is preaching, teaching, and leadership development. Specifically, his aim is to educate the mind, engage the affections, equip the whole person, and encourage God-centered living that treasures Christ above all things.
He and his wife, Gerrene were married in 1991 and they have two children.