Friday, February 10, 2012

BOOK REVIEW BY RAD ZDERO

A REFRESHING LOOK AT GOD’S ORIGINAL DESIGN FOR THE CHURCH


Keith Giles’ book “This Is My Body: Ekklesia As God Intended” is 167 pages long, it has a foreword by well known house church leader Dr. Jon Zens, and it has several pages at the end of recommended resources. Its main premise is that God actually has an original intention for the church, as prophesied in the OT and as described in the NT, which we would do well to consider once again as modern day Christians.


From a scriptural and practical point of view, the book challenges the method and the mentality of the traditional/denominational church system, and calls us all back to God’s original design for Christ’s body.
There are a number of strengths to this work. I found myself metaphorically nodding in agreement on a number of points. It is very easy to read and could be considered almost a “conversational theology” on the house church movement. There are some personal stories, feelings, and thoughts the author gives, rather than just “theory”, which makes it a very accessible and practical book.
Giles provides a generous tone toward the institutional church and those who might disagree with him on some scriptural interpretations. Giles, however, does demonstrate a clear conviction that the New Testament does provide an actual model for the church’s form and function. One thing I found particularly interesting is Giles Old Testament analysis about prophecies concerning the nature of the Church to come, which is something that is almost never discussed in most simple, organic, house church books, which usually stick to the New Testament only. There is also an excellent contrast between what the New Testament church is and is not, as well as an excellent teaching and encouragement of the priesthood of ALL saints. I also appreciated much about his scriptural analysis about local and translocal leadership in the church.
There are several areas, however, I wish could have been addressed better. I felt that Giles’ discussion on several issues was not entirely convincing to me (and sometimes was absent), such as the decision making and organizing role of apostles and elders/pastors/overseers (ex. Acts 15:6,23; 1 Tim 3:4,5), the teaching and rebuking role of leaders (1 Tim 4:11, 5:17; 2 Tim 3:16,17; Titus 2:15), and the need for larger public meetings and cohesive networks of multiple house churches like in Jerusalem in Solomon’s Porch or in Ephesus (ex. Acts 2:41-47, 5:12, 5:42, 20:20).
Also, I felt there was too much fuss made against things like bank accounts, technology, etc, as tools to accomplish the tasks of the church. In light of Giles’ prior role as an ordained denominational pastor, it may be understandable that he is perhaps reacting a little too much to things that remind him of the institution, but in time perhaps he may come to a more moderate view on these items.
Overall, this is a refreshing book on the growing house church movement, it offers some personal and practical insights, it provides a fresh look at the scriptures about the form and function of the church, and it would be a good introductory read to those asking questions about whether God is calling them into this spiritual revolution. I give it at 4 out of 5 stars.
-Rad Zdero 
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RAD ZDERO, author of LETTERS TO THE HOUSE CHURCH MOVEMENT and THE GLOBAL HOUSE CHURCH MOVEMENT , www.scribd.com/rzdero, www.twitter.com/radzdero, www.facebook.com/radzdero

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