2006 / 280 pages
I reviewed a similar book a couple months ago, but this is a really even better read about being what the Heidelberg Catechism calls "a living member of" the church.
Wayne A. Mack and Dave Swavely write from a Presbyterian perspective on how you and I can build up our local congregation. They deal with, first, realizing the importance of the local church and therefore committing ourselves to church membership, basing their argument on the Bible's stress on the local church, and quoting Chapter XXV of the Westminster Confession, Jay Adams, and Charles Spurgeon.
After nailing down these foundational issues, they deal with how to choose a good church, expounding the importance of such traits as devotion to the apostles' teaching, a God-centered focus, and a loving concern for the needs of people (including the need for church discipline). The traits they enumerate fit very closely with the Belgic Confession's list of the marks of the true church.
As far as life itself "in the Father's house" is concerned, the authors deal with the following:
- relating to church leadership;
- fulfilling our roles as men and women in the church;
- participating in worship services;
- using our spiritual gifts;
- confronting one another in love;
- preserving unity in the body; and
- praying for one another.
The conclusion deals with the all-important issue of motive, what they call "The Heart of the Matter" - gratefulness to God in Christ, and service to Him and our neighbor. The following features increase the book's value:
- the introduction by John MacArthur;
- a study guide that goes beyond just the details in the book to challenge us to demonstrate our love for the body of Christ; and
- an extensive Scripture index.