The Gospel-Driven Church
Ian Stackhouse is the pastoral leader at Guildford Baptist Church, a church with a rich history in the charismatic renewal. This is significant, because from within that tradition Stackhouse has written a book that takes on some of the central weaknesses of Pentecostal-Charismatic churches. Speaking as an insider, he sees things clearly and is clear as to how things need to change so that we can pass on a church to the next generation that is healthy and strong.
One of his central concerns is that the contemporary church is too concerned with following trends and passing fads, rather than embedding itself in the central core issues of Biblical expectations concerning church. He argues that we have to stop worrying about the numerical size of the churches. This may be of some significance, but it cannot be the only marker of success. If it is, we will do anything to grow, and if our efforts fail then we will cave in to panic and insecurity as we fear that the next generation will not be enamoured with the churches we created.
He argues that the church has to go back to the solid supports that it was built upon: prayer, preaching, sacraments, and the use of the gifts of the Spirit linked to a strong theology of Spirit baptism.
This is a well argued, important book that will repay careful reading. Buy it, put it into practice and build something that will last.
Review written by Neil Hudson, Elim pastor & church consultant