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Welcoming the Future Church (Book Reviews)

By Benjamin H. Liles

          I love how, in this day and age, we in the Church are being called to lead others to be the future church. But how can we do that when it is far possible we weren't taught right? Let me explain this better: I believe Jonathan Pokluda does a wonderful thing with and in this book. He explains things rightly, but I want to show from scripture, as does "JP" with his book, a biblical approach to doing exactly that.

          The essence of JP's book, Welcoming the Future Church, we have this amazing opportunity to raise up leaders and showing them the right way to lead successive generations. While there are those who would rather winnow the playing field with wrong doctrine and make those who do believe to fall away from faith, we ought to stay strong and teach right. That's where Acts 8 comes into play. That's right, Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.

          In the text Philip is told by God's Holy Spirit to go south from Samaria into Gaza, where an Ethiopian eunuch is sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah. It's not that he doesn't enjoy reading the passage, but he's having difficulty understanding, or as he asks Philip, "How can I understand what I read, unless some guides me?" He invites Philip to sit with him in the chariot. The passage the eunuch reads is this: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, / and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, / so he did not open his mouth. / In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. / Who can speak of his descendants? / For his life was taken from the earth" (Isaiah 53:7-8, Acts 8:32-33).

         This man wanted to know whom the prophet Isaiah was speaking of: "himself or someone else?" (Acts 8:34). Philip uses that opportunity to explain the passage: a prophecy concerning the Christ, Jesus, who gave of his life to save the world from sin and death. As Philip explains the gospel, the Ethiopian eunuch believed so much so he asks to be baptized as there is a pool of water by the road (Acts 8:36).

         That's the whole point of Jonathan's book "the Future Church." We have a calling, a duty of love -- if you will, to teach them the correct gospel of Christ in the hopes they can do the same, to equip, to challenge others to live a grace-filled, Christ-centered life even in times that keep edging us closer to His eventual return. And that leads me to saying this, JP does a great job with the book. He explains, tells wonderful stories and shows us within those stories how we are to show Christ's love in teaching and equipping others to do the same so that they can fulfill the gospel mission: to take the gospel message to the furthest reaches of the world so that all men are saved by faith.

          I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Books for a fair and honest review.

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