John’s book seeks to answer the question “How can we (Christians, churches) move closer to the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17?”

At first glance it seems like doctrinal differences between churches pose an insurmountable barrier to unity. However, John believes lack of love for Christians in other traditions is what actually stands in the way.

John’s beliefs are rooted in his own experience. As he has taken initiative to build relationships with Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians he has realized his attitudes rather than his doctrine were what prevented him pursuing unity whole-heartedly.

John is advocating a unity-in-diversity in which churches who affirm the historic creeds and make Jesus central can join together in mission even though their beliefs and worship styles are not identical.

I liked John’s comments about the Bible, that everyone interprets it; and so it is wise to be humble rather than holding prideful certainty about one’s own beliefs being right and other Christians’ beliefs being wrong. This humility opens doors for shared mission between Christ-centered, historic-creed-affirming churches.

John points out, as churches grow closer to Christ they will grow closer to each other.

This sounds so simple, yet the implicit message “If you are not pursuing unity you are not as close to Christ as you could be” is radical and thought-provoking. It lays out a challenge to all Christians to examine their hearts and repent of attitudes and behavior that oppose unity.

I hope Christians will read John’s book and consider whether pursuing unity has the priority it ought to have in their lives. And will follow John’s example and suggestions for bringing Jesus’ prayer closer to fruition.

Note: although I’m no longer a churchgoer, I posted this review because John is a friend of mine and I believe what he says in this book will move the church in a positive direction.

  6 Responses to “Review: Your Church Is Too Small by John Armstrong”

  1. Thank you Helen for a well-written and clear review. You have understood my vision and the thought of my book very well and written what is a fair and very encouraging review. Your mention of your “friendship” refreshes me since I also count you a friend. Readers should know by now, however, that you do not write “puff pieces” thus review is not based on our friendship alone.

  2. Hi Helen-

    I’m a first-time visitor to your blog; a mutual friend of ours is reason enough for the visit. I read a little about who you are and love the part that you are now a “stay-at-home-mom”.
    I’m also happy that you read John Armstrong’s new book and I like your honest review.
    You said- “This sounds so simple, yet the implicit message ‘If you are not pursuing unity you are not as close to Christ as you could be’ is radical and thought-provoking. It lays out a challenge to all Christians to examine their hearts and repent of attitudes and behavior that oppose unity.”

    And then added-”I hope Christians will read John’s book and consider whether pursuing unity has the priority it ought to have in their lives. And will follow John’s example and suggestions for bringing Jesus’ prayer closer to fruition.”

    I think you got the heart of this book and that is the heart of John’s life-calling to the churches. And this is what John himself models as well as anyone I know in America in his life and in every relationship he has. I heartily recommend him to you as a spiritual advisor and guide. He will patiently love you back to the Church of his love and its Founder .(see Ephesians 5:25-27)

    John Paul Todd

    • Hi John Paul, thanks for your comments.

      John (Armstrong) is one of my favorite Christians and I listen to what he has to say with interest.

  3. Hi Helen- I’m participating in the blog tour this week as well. It was great to read your review to see what other bloggers are struck by! I’m glad to know you are encouraged by John and his book.

   
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