Part of my journey this year and last year has been reading more about race and reconciliation, both in society and within the church. It’s been eye-opening reading a variety of books and I’ve really thought about how they fit into my daily practices and those of our family.
The summary to Scot McKnight’s newest book, A Fellowship of Differents seems to follow the lines of reconciliation and diversity. With his usual conversational-yet-scholarly tone, McKnight compares the church to a delicious mixed salad, with each element playing its part. After his salad analogy, discussion of diversity and difference ends.
McKnight spends the vast majority of the book recounting the history of the early church, primarily through the eyes of Paul and his letters. He mentions the idea of restoration and fulfillment of Israel’s journey through Jesus, but both Jesus and any history before Paul are only briefly mentioned in order to support Paul’s teachings.
As a book about Paul and the early church, this is a fine introduction. McKnight presents the letters of Paul and the history we know about him as a story detailing what the early church most likely looked like.
As a book about “the church God designed,” I was a bit confused. The book is broken up into six parts that are apparently supposed to teach about God’s vision for the church. Unfortunately, the stories told and the scriptures picked as illustrations didn’t seem to naturally fit into the heading titles.
McKnight does very little to discuss the church today. He gives short snippets of pastors he knows or of other books he’s read. I think the book would have had a better flow if he had picked fewer but more substantial stories to tell from his own life that would naturally link to the early church. There were many instances when a story was told and I couldn’t quite figure out how it linked to the broader chapter.
This book was also a bit Paul-heavy for me. I understand that a book on the early church will include a lot from Paul. However, when McKnight talks about redemption of the Old Testament laws and fulfillment of those through Jesus, I was expecting a bit more about Jesus and McKnight’s thoughts on his vision for the early church.
All in all, I had trouble rating this book. As an introduction to Paul and a history of the early church, it’s interesting and told in an easy to read and understand format. As a book about reconciliation and showing justice and redemption through the church, it fell flat.
What is your experience with church? Do you connect with bigger congregations, with house churches, with liturgy, or are you more charismatic?
GIVEAWAY! I am giving away my copy of A Fellowship of Differents. To enter, leave a comment about what your church experience. I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, June 12, 2015. (United States addresses only.)