(Church Times) Stephen Spencer reviews Jesus and the Church, by Paul Avis, and asks whether missiology now trumps ecclesiology

Many in…[Paul Avis’s] position might now decide that this was enough and it was time to hang up his or her pen, as it were. Not Avis. This volume represents the first part of a multi-volume project on the theological foundations of the Christian Church.

With impressive ambition and energy, Avis is now embarking on a great undertaking and widening the scope of his scholarly investigations, from what has been mainly an exploration of the ecclesiology of the Reformation and modern eras, back to the sources and character of the Church as a whole, which in this instance means an engagement with the writings of the New Testament as well as some recent theology from Roman Catholic and Protestant sources. Using a phrase from F. D. Maurice, his concern is to dig for the foundations of the Church as a whole.

The purpose of this first volume is to explore in what ways the Church is rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, undoubtedly a key question. As Avis puts it, when one looks at the history of the Church over 20 centuries, with “the emergence of its power structures, hierarchies and bureaucracies, the fact of its divisions and bloodshed, its sins, crimes and mundane human failings — we may well exclaim, ‘What has all that to do with Jesus of Nazareth?’”

Read it all.


Posted in Books, Ecclesiology, Missions