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Re:Train Books #3

December 3, 2009

Click here to view the Re:Train Books Series.

Here is a list of the books & articles I read for my class on Missional Ecclesiology with Dr. Gregg Allison at the Resurgence Training Center (Re:Train) at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA (Oct 2009).


Vintage Church, Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears

I recommend this book to every Pastor and church leader. This book will challenge you on where you are not being missional, will break down your pre-conceived ideas about the negative spin you’ve heard about in the use of technology, multi-site, and church planting and will force you to deal with what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about it all. It’s all for the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Vintage Church is an attempt to help out Pastors and church leaders by speaking of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s experience (w/ Mars Hill Church in Seattle) while staying rooted in the good news of Jesus Christ. There is a “Team Study Pack” available that I would suggest you purchase to use with your board or elder team or core-group. A huge benefit to the church today.


Soon-to-be-published-by-Crossway Book by Dr. Gregg Allison.

As a super huge blessing to the Re:Train students, Crossway allowed us to have a digital copy of a yet-to-be-published book by our prof, Dr. Gregg Allison. All I can say is that it is a great book. It is centered on the theme of Missional Ecclesiology. You can view a series of blog posts by Gregg Allison on the Resurgence on this very topic…very helpful & well thought out. Not sure if I’m even allowed to say the title, so just let me say, get the book when it comes out. If you care about the church and want to be solid in your ecclesiology, get it and read it. Oh…I should probably say that it is a large book.


Evangelical Ecclesiology: Reality or Illusion?, John G. Stackhouse Jr. (editor)

We actually only needed to read the chapter in this book by George R. Hunsberger: an essay titled “Evangelical Conversion Toward a Missional Ecclesilogy”. It is a very well written piece on the issues that evangelical churches must begin to deal with if they want to continue being the church. So Hunsberger necessarily defines the church and its sent-ness in order to dive into the larger scale of his argument. With some historical references, Hunsberger gives church leaders a wake up call calling us back to what it really means to be the church. Here’s a summary quote:

“The church…has the vocation to be a community, to be a certain kind of community, for a divine purpose. Evangelicalism has not always or in all its accents supplied a rich-textured missional ecclesiology. Living its own conversion, mission, Bible, and gospel more completely and being more converted to its own convictions give promise for the renewal of an evangelical ecclesiology and the church’s recovery of its missional character.” (p.132)


Multi-Site Churches, 9 Marks e-Journal, May/June 2009. Volume 6, Issue 3.

The link above is to a free .pdf of the May/June e-journal. You can access all their archived editions here. This issue we read for class was a mix of various discussions on multi-site church. The contributors were Dr. Gregg Allison, J.D. Greear, Greg Gilbert, John S. Hammett, Jeffery Riddle, Matt Chandler, Thomas White, Grant Gaines,  Jonathan Leeman, Bobby Jamieson with Introduction and Summary by publisher Mark Dever. I found it interesting how there would were so many “against” and very few “for” multi-site churches. Much of what I read in the “against” section was weak and basically an argument out of silence or an argument that takes the regulative principle too far. I however, line up very well with Dr. Allison in that I am FOR multi-site churches that remain clear on what constitutes a church and continually and humbly pursue its purity.


The Essence of the Church: a Community Created by the Spirit, Craig van Gelder.

Craig van Gelder mentions four purposes for his book, “The Essence of the Church”. First, he wants “to translate available scholarship and research [on the church] into an applied perspective for ministry,” (p.9) basically putting it all in laymen’s terms. Then he hopes “to integrate diverse perspectives” (p.9) thereby bridging multiple disciplines into one. Thirdly, he focuses primarily “on the church within the context of North America” (p.10). And last (but definitely not least) of all, his “goal for this book [is] to work from an understanding of the Triune God–Father, Son and Spirit–as being central to our understanding of the church.” (p.11) A good book, but a little disjointed because of the huge area of issues trying to cover in such a short book (200ish).


The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative, Christopher J.H. Wright.

Behemoth of a book. We were allowed to skim this book, but had to fully read a summary by the Docent Research Group which was provided to us by the Re:Train people & is only available by payment. The summary was very well written on a very large and comprehensive book. Christopher J.H. Wright’s thesis (p.17): “Mission is, in my view, a major key that unlocks the whole grand narrative of the canon of Scripture.” Wright would say that when it comes to the Bible, everything is mission. And when it comes to his ecclesiology, he says, “Mission was not made for the church; the church was made for mission–God’s mission.” (p.62) I’m not sure that I would go as far as Wright does in his bent that absolutely everything in the story of God has to do with mission, nevertheless, “The Mission of God” describes a broad reach of mission and it would be important for leaders in the church to have such an understanding.


On another note, we also had to read & study these crucial passages of Scripture:

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 4:54 pm

    Mark,

    Thank you again for posting the books and your reviews. They are very helpful. David

    • December 3, 2009 4:57 pm

      This one was a little late…sorry. Glad you appreciate it though!

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