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.
“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, 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, Beeson Divinity School
“Anyone who wonders whether ecclesiology matters—or even where it came from, in all its present diversity—should read this book.”—John L. Thompson, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Comprehensive in scope, ecumenical in tone, orthodox in confession, and insightful from beginning to end….I suspect it is destined to become the go-to classic for an overview of Protestant ecclesiology.”—Bryan Litfin, Moody Bible Institute
“I know of almost no one else who could write a book like this. Gerald Bray’s unique global-mindedness and catholic awareness are put on full display in this analysis of the development of the church throughout the ages and across the continents.”—Michael Allen, Reformed Theological Seminary
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.
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