Review of “Rediscover Church (Why the Body of Christ is Essential)”
Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman
‘Heaven touches down on planet earth through our gathered churches. And when this happens, you offer the citizens of your nation, the hope of a better nation, the residents of your city, the hope of a better and lasting city’ – Jonathan Leeman; Rediscover Church
‘Rediscover Church’ by Jonathan Leeman was written in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time in history where every believer experienced first hand the isolation and vulnerability that comes by being outside of God’s physically gathered people. In his book, Jonathan seeks to remedy the wounds left by 24 months of socially-distanced fellowship, and pastor us to forming a biblically-based and Christ-centred view of the church and worship in our own lives.
Upon this foundation, the book builds a case for what is it to truly ‘Rediscover Church’.
The book opens with a fundamental question which we should always be asking (regardless of being in a pandemic or not) – ‘What is a Church?’ For myself, I considered my preferences as to what I want church to be for me, but also what I don’t want it to be. In setting the scene, Jonathan explains that the Church is not about that; COVID stripped away our stylistic preferences and so as we return to gather and worship, it is God’s word which ought to take centre stage. The timeless truths contained within scripture have outlasted any fad, and it is only the faithful teaching of this that leads to genuine heart transformation in the life of believers and unbelievers alike. A complete definition of church is offered and duly considered in light of scripture.
From here, Jonathan asks prodding and at times uncomfortable questions such as ‘Who can join the church?’, ‘Do we really need to gather?’ and ‘How do I love those who are different to me?’ and it is in answering these that we unpack what the Church is and how she carries out her fundamental role in glorifying God on earth. We are led to consider things like the role of each member in carrying out this mission, how scripture lays out the credentials for those in leadership not in terms of qualification but rather character, and the centrality that God’s word holds in worship, guiding our attitude to loving discipline and corporate confession of sin.
Without giving much more away about the contents – because I really think everybody should read this book as we come back to a more ‘normal’ church and weigh it up against their own ecclesiology – I will offer the definition of church that forms the spine of this book:
[Church is…] A group of Christians who assemble as an earthly embassy of Christ’s Kingdom to proclaim the good news and commands of Christ the King; to affirm one another as his citizens through the ordinances; and to display God’s own holiness and love through a unified and diverse people in all the world, following the teaching and examples of elders.