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What on Earth Is the Church?

What on Earth Is the Church?

Wipf & Stock Publishers 2016 Hardcover

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The author's focus and intention for this book was provoked by several stimuli. One is that more than 50 percent of the world's population is under twenty-five years of age, and for the most part not formed by the church. Secondly, in the coffee shop where he hangs out, when his conversation partners learn of his long career as a pastor, they inevitably ask about the church: ""What in the world is the church? What is its purpose?"" And thirdly, it is provoked by the lament of a very gifted journalist and editor who rejected his strict Christian upbringing and has been in his adult years an avowed agnostic--but who recently, while visiting a monastery in Spain and hearing the monks chant their evening prayers, sensed a longing for what he had forsaken. These three stimuli have inspired this attempt at an alternative narrative to the essence of the church, an attempt to give a definition to an inquirer from square one. This book may not resonate with those who are content with religious Christianity and its familiar institutions. Its timely message is this: the church has got to be a thrilling and purposeful dimension of the good news of Jesus Christ. ""With the humor and wonder of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy . . . Henderson's book gets it right--we are all questing for hope and meaning in a noisy world where there are so many competing truth claims. In this book we find hope and a clear call back to the church as a reimagined community bent on living lives that are wholly committed to remaking the world in God's image."" --Erik Vincent, Humanities Instructor ""This is a needed, timely book. . . . Bob rightly likens a rediscovery of the church to the restoration of a masterpiece, uncovering ages of neglect and abuse to reveal the stunning beauty of what was laid down by the artist. . . . Read this book. See Jesus' masterpiece of the church and all the skillful strokes and bold colors that are you and me."" --Shayne Wheeler, Senior Pastor, All Souls Fellowship; Author, The Briarpatch Gospel ""Bob Henderson's book sheds light upon the often elusive, enigmatic 'elephant in the room'--the church. Readable, down-to-earth, practical, illuminating."" --Ed Elzey, Musician; Mime; Storyteller ""There is an emerging generation of younger adults for whom the church is a building full of aging folks. . . . So Henderson engages them] about a topic always on his heart, and often on theirs. His tone is warm and friendly. This is an engaging conversation worthy of wide acceptance."" --Bill Pannell, Professor of Preaching Emeritus, Founding Director, African-American Studies Program, Fuller Theological Seminary ""This book is full of worthwhile information on the church through historical and Biblical contexts. I highly encourage anyone who is even remotely interested in Christianity, or the church, to read this book. It will bless and encourage you."" --Robert Hays, coffee shop manager Robert Thornton (Bob) Henderson has had a long and colorful career as a pastor, mentor, Presbyterian denominational leader, ecumenical participant, author, encourager, and missiologist through some tumultuous cultural episodes. But it was South African missiologist David Bosch who said that missiologists are always gadflies in the church, always challenging its expressions and self-understanding. In that sense, Mr. Henderson is comfortable with his role as an ecclesiastical gadfly who has influenced many emerging collegians and young adults for over five decades."

More Product Information


  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • ISBN: 1498238874
  • ISBN-13: 9781498238878
  • SKU: 9781498238878
  • Release Date: April 25, 2016
  • Pages: 126
  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Height: 0.38 inches
  • Width: 5.50 inches
  • Length: 8.50 inches
  • Weight: 0.65 pounds

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