Oct. 21, 2019
Two professors from Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute — Greg Peters, associate professor of medieval and spiritual theology, and Matt Jenson, associate professor of theology — edited the new book Marking the Church, which was released in December 2016.
Marking the Church explores the intersection between theological commitments regarding the church and the implementation of those commitments. The volume offers Christians an opportunity to reflect on this interaction between the four classical marks of the church — one, holy, catholic and apostolic — and the way in which Christians experience the church in their daily lives.
Peters believes it is important for Christians to consider, read and write about the church for the sake of practicing intentional Christianity.
“About 10 years ago, I proposed to the leadership of the Evangelical Theological Society that we needed a consultation at the annual meeting each year that would look intentionally at ecclesiology,” said Peters. “This proposal was accepted so a steering committee was formed and in time we came to establish a four year arc of papers dedicated to the classical marks of the church.”
Marking The Church explores the ideas of ecclesiology pertaining to evangelical churches. Jenson, along with theology professors at universities across the United States, contributed individual chapters pertaining to different ideas surrounding ecclesiology. Jenson authored the chapter, “The Church Curved in on Itself,” which focuses on the ideas of sin, holiness, communion and mission.
“I did my doctoral work on the metaphor of the sinner being ‘curved in’ on him or herself. I've long suspected that you could apply this to the church as a whole, too,” said Jenson. “If sin is being curved inward, then holiness can be described as a being drawn outward in worship of God and mission to the world. The church is holy, then, as it worships Father, Son, and Spirit and lovingly witnesses to the one, true God as it makes its way in the world.”
The book chapters were originally delivered at the annual Evangelical Theological Society in the Ecclesiology Consultation from 2011-2014. Each author explores the Christian devotion to the mission of the church and how it can be one holy, catholic and apostolic church.
“This book shows that ecclesiology is not just an academic discipline but that one's ecclesiology affects the local church in many ways,” said Peters. “The book is structured around the classical marks of the church: one, holy, catholic/universal and apostolic.”
Learn more about Torrey Honors Institute.
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