Renowned evangelical theologian Gerald Bray provides a clear and coherent account of the church in biblical, historical, and theological perspective. He tells the story of the church in its many manifestations through time, starting with its appearance in the New Testament, moving through centuries of persecution and triumph, and discussing how and why the ancient church broke up at the Reformation. Along the way, Bray looks at the four classic marks of the church—its oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity--and illustrates how each of these marks has been understood by different Christian traditions. The book concludes with a look at the ecumenical climate of today and suggests ways that the four characteristics of the church can and should be manifested in our present global context.
This accessible introduction to the church from an evangelical perspective explores ecclesiology through the lenses of church history and doctrine to reveal what it means for us today. Bray discusses the church as a living reality, offering practical ways churches and individuals can cooperate and live together.
Solid, shrewd, and most thorough, this superlative survey of God’s people on earth past and present will be a boon not only for seminarians but also for many more of us besides. It is a truly outstanding performance.
—J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College
Here is a fresh overview of the church and its history, theology, and current challenges in today’s world. Gerald Bray is an ordained evangelical Anglican, but he writes with such great sympathy and wisdom that this telling of the church’s story will edify the Lord’s people everywhere.
—Timothy George, founding dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University; general editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture
Gerald Bray’s concisely titled book is in many ways a gold mine. Weaving together the diverse manifestations of the Christian church over twenty centuries, his narration is wonderfully accessible, even conversational, and filled with engaging details. As an ecumenical panorama of the church’s interaction with high and low theology, renewal and intransigence, politics and secular culture, the book is a model of fairness in its account of the virtues and vices of its members along with their achievements and excesses. Both central and peripheral characters are given due attention, and many surprising connections are noted in passing. As an observer of the trends and trajectories that have led to the denominational and postdenominational Christianity of our own day, Bray proves to be not only irenic and charitable but also sober and sensible in his assessments. Anyone who wonders whether ecclesiology matters—or even where it came from, in all its present diversity—should read this book.
—John L. Thompson, professor of historical theology and Gaylen and Susan Byker Professor of Reformed Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Gerald Bray (DLitt, University of Paris-Sorbonne) is research professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama; distinguished professor of historical theology at Knox Theological Seminary; and director of research at Latimer Trust, Oak Hill College, London. A prolific author, he has written many books, including God Is Love, God Has Spoken, The Doctrine of God, and Biblical Interpretation: Past and Present. Bray is a minister in the Church of England and serves as editor of the Anglican journal Churchman.