The name John H. Armstrong may ring a bell with a few of my readers. He was the editor for a helpful book in the late 90’s called The Compromised Church: The Present Evangelical Crisis . I had the wonderful opportunity to review his new book Your Church Is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ's Mission Is Vital to the Future of the Church . I cannot at this time offer my typical full review of the book. The reason? This book is causing me to think far too deeply to rush into a half-way done review. I am still working through whether I “like” or “dislike” some of the things in the book. It is causing me to rethink aspects of my theology and practice.
By way of review allow me to offer you a quick summary, a few helpful links, and a plea to buy the book and work through it.
Armstrong has caught some flack in recent days. His name was found among the McLaren’s, Bell’s, Miller’s, Warren’s, and Pagitt’s of our day in John MacArthur’s recent book The Truth War. Armstrong has been sharply criticized for his move towards a broader ecumenism. This book is perhaps a defense of that move.
Armstrong’s major thesis is that our comfortable disunity with those in the body of Christ of different ecclesiology is sin. In the first section Armstrong gives reason for such a broader unity. He argues that the unity Christ calls for is not simply invisible unity but should be actually visible.
In the second section Armstrong calls for a restoration of unity within the church and provides a few helpful pointers towards pursuing unity. He identifies the enemy and begins paving a road towards a greater unity.
In the final section Armstrong outlines the “Missional-Ecumenical Church” as a new paradigm (or rather the recovery of an old one). He gives a few comparisons to outline this new paradigm. He closes the book by praying that the Lord may disturb us and call us toward that which he lays out in this book.
What I cannot offer is my critique or commendation of this book. I am still chewing on it.
A few links:
Should You Buy It?
I would strongly suggest buying this book and thinking through some of the issues that Armstrong raises. Whether you agree with him or not, you will learn much from what he has to say. We do indeed need greater unity within the church. I am not convinced of the sectarianism that is often rampant within our churches…but I am also working through whether or not I agree with that which Armstrong lays out. I invite you to buy the book and work through this with me.