If you are looking for a good book to use in Elder Training on the nature and function of the church and order in the Church, than your search stops here.
If you are new to the church and wondering how it is all supposed to work, then this book would be an excellent pace to start.
The book is divided into four parts: Identity, Authority, Ecumenicity, and Activity. Each chapter concludes with questions relevant to the material in the chapter and suggestions for further reading. Reference is frequently made to scripture and includes material from both the Westminster Standards and the Continental Standards. There is a helpful Appendix summarizing foundational principles of Reformed Church government.
Identity: The author rightly point out that how we view our identity has a big impact on the decision we make in living as a community of faith. Here it is made clear that Christ owns the church, is head of the church and is the basis for unity in the church.
Authority: In this section Divine Revelation and Office Bearers are discussed as they relate to authority for living as church members.
Ecumenicity: In this section the question of how we related to churches both inside and outside our denomination is discussed. The question “How do we appropriately express the catholicity of the church?” is answered.
Activity: This section is the longest of the sections and covers a number of questions that have risen a number of times in my experience with each of the churches I have been a member of. What really is the central mission of the church? How does the mission of the church relate to the particular mission of individual Christians? Are we spending our individual and corporate resources of time and money in the right places? In separate chapters what it means to be a worshiping church and a witnessing church is paired with chapters on the practice of each characteristic. Two other important topics covered are what it means to be a teaching church and what it means to be a repenting church.
These sections are followed by a concluding chapter on the need for God-glorifying Church governance.
Michael Horton provides a concluding word which is an extended commendation of the scriptural approach the authors made in presenting the ecclesiology outlined in the book.
I received this book from Evangelical Press via Cross Focused Reviews and was not required to write a positive review.