As a follow-up to yesterday’s list of my favorite books on Jesus, here are my favorites on the church and ministry. Once again, I very much welcome your thoughts and especially your own favorites. These are the ones that have shaped me and that keep me on my toes.
1. Jesus and Community by Gerhard Lohfink. I talked about this book in the Jesus list, but I wanted to include it here as well, mainly because (as I mentioned) it confirmed my conviction that the church was not an afterthought to the coming of Jesus the Messiah. On the contrary, core to Jesus’ ministry was the gathering of a body of people to continue God’s mission in the world. This book provides an excellent exegetically based theology of the church as just this very thing. Given that the church is full of sinful people (including me!) and can therefore be pretty frustrating at times, it has proved invaluable for me to remember that you can’t have Jesus without it. Or as William Willimon puts it, “The church may be a whore but she’s also your mother.” (Joey says Lohfink’s Does God Need the Church? is rockin too, and it’ll probably supplant this one when I do read it.) Continue reading