Crown & Covenant Publications has graciously published my first book, Hitting the Marks: Restoring the Essential Identity of the Church. This book explains what the Protestant Reformers identified Biblically as the three chief qualities, or marks, a group of professing Christians must have in order to be considered a true church of Christ. Further, Hitting the Marks goes on to teach how these marks can be faithfully developed in the life of a local congregation.
Why write this book? Well, let me give you a brief explanation of what the marks are and their importance, followed by a further glimpse into what the book develops.
The brief explanation is found in the video below that Crown & Covenant had produced. Here I touch upon the three marks that identify a true congregation of God's people, which are the true preaching of God's Word, the right administration of the sacraments, and the faithful practice of church discipline.
Now, a further glimpse. For people often ask, "Why these three marks?" As I said in the video, the church has marks because she has a Marker, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of who Jesus, the head of the church, is, the church as his body is to reflect him to the world. The Scriptures make clear to us who Jesus is.
Jesus is our prophet who proclaims God's Word to us, our priest who sacrificed his life for us, and our king who rules graciously over us. The Bible also teaches that the church, in union with Christ, has similar roles (see I Peter 2:9 for an example of how the church is described as a royal priesthood declaring God's truth). The church then should proclaim truthfully God's Word, express rightly the sacrifice Christ made for us through the sacraments, and govern carefully God's people with proper discipleship.
Men like Luther, Calvin, and Turretin saw these truths in Scripture, developing precisely why these marks are the preeminent ones of the church and should be her primary focus. Hitting the Marks explores these teachings, shows how churches can practically cultivate them, and then helps the reader understand how other qualities and activities of the church, from love to evangelism to youth groups, relate to these essential marks. Discussion questions are included, hopefully making this a helpful resource for reading groups or Sunday school classes.
If you would like to pre-order a copy, please visit Crown & Covenant here.