The church today faces challenges on every front. Christians are captivated by consumerism, seduced by celebrity, distracted by technology and overwhelmed by media. Religious and secular rivals are increasingly prominent, vying for our allegiance and worship. What does authentic Christian spirituality look like in such an era?
Vaughan Roberts finds direction for today's church in Paul's prophetic letter of 1 Corinthians. Ancient Corinth was a similarly confusing cultural landscape, and the Corinthian church likewise struggled to remain true to Christ in a world of many idols. Paul's vision is clear--Christians must choose certain things and not others. We must focus on the cross of Christ, not on human wisdom. Our leaders should be faithful, not flashy. And in contrast to lives of moral permissiveness, we must live lives of holiness and love.
Following the way of Christ may look like foolishness to the world, but therein is the path of true wisdom. With a Bible study in each chapter, this book will help you choose the true spirituality of the gospel of Christ, and become the authentic church God intends you to be.
"Authentic Church is worth the asking price for chapter six alone, and Vaughan has done us a great service in expounding the timeless truths of 1 Corinthians and showing us their contemporary application. Here we have a heartwarming and winsome counter to our increasingly relativistic, feminized and permissive culture, and a timely reminder that true power is found in the weakness of the cross."
"1 Corinthians is a long letter and deals with a number of, at first sight, self-contained problems. Consequently, many of us will know parts of the letter without really having a grasp of what lay behind these issues and what was really going on in the church in Corinth. That's where this book is so helpful. Four things are worth noting. First, it is very accessible, written in an inviting and well-illustrated style. Second, it is careful and thorough. Within the confines of a shortish book, complex issues are dealt with skillfully and difficult passages are not neglected. Third, it is very thoughtfully applied. The lines between first-century Corinth and the twenty-first-century reader are wisely drawn and there are challenges for all. Fourth, while Authentic Church examines each part of 1 Corinthians in turn, the reader is never allowed to lose sight of the big issues that hold the whole of the book together. I would recommend this excellent book for anyone who wants to study 1 Corinthians or wants to think biblically about what true spirituality looks like in ordinary life. The addition of very helpful Bible study questions at the end of each chapter invites readers to look carefully at the book for themselves or with others."
"This is a superb book! Punchy yet pulling no punches on the 'hot' issues of both the church and contemporary culture; accessible though never superficial; challenging yet simultaneously encouraging; theologically judicious and pastorally sensitive—all the kind of qualities we have come to expect from Vaughan Roberts. It presents the challenge of 1 Corinthians for the twenty-first-century church, and I am delighted to commend most highly Authentic Church."
Introduction: The Authentic Church in Search of True Spirituality
1. The Cross of Christ, Not Human Wisdom
2. Faithful Leaders, Not Flashy Ones
3. Holiness, Not Permissiveness
4. Marriage and Singleness, Not Asceticism
5. Spiritual Concern, Not Unfettered Freedom
6. Gender Differences, Not Social Divisions
7. The Priority of Love, Not Spiritual Gifts
8. A Physical Future, Not Just the Spiritual Present