What is the church?
In a day when people increasingly view the church as a relic of the past, this may be the most important question Christians can ask themselves. The logical starting point is Scripture.
In this thorough and engaging study of the church in the New Testament, Kevin Giles concludes that the church is first and foremost a Christian community. No other category offers greater breadth and depth of insight into its nature. No other category offers such a challenge to Western individualism, nor such promise for the revitalization of the church in the postmodern world.
'What on Earth Is the Church?' is an exploration in New Testament theology, a careful study of the ecclesial community from Jesus to Paul and on through to Revelation. Each category of New Testament writings is carefully assessed, with attention given to the early, middle, and late Pauline letters, and to the theology of each Gospel.
Giles finds in the New Testament a community in transition -- never perfect, always provisional, and forever living in the tension between its present imperfection and its eschatological ideal. The New Testament does not promise an original community to be recaptured but a variety of perspectives on being the community of God in changing social environments.