JESUS LOVES THE CHURCH AND SO SHOULD YOU by Earl Blackburn
Earl Blackburn has served the Lord in the Church since December 27th, 1976. He has served seven years in Utah, twenty-two years in California, and now nearly ten years in Louisiana. Over the past several years brother Earl has battled with cancer which has caused him to appreciate the church more than ever. This book is written by a man who has a burning passion for the Church of Christ, and who desires to stir up the hearts of people all over the world to love the Church Christ loved enough to lay down his life for her.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Jesus Loved and Still Loves the Church
2. The New Testament is a Church Book
3. What is the Church? Church Universal and Church Visible
4. The Centrality of the Church in Redemptive History
5. What are the Marks of a True Church?
6. What is the Purpose of the Church?
7. Is Membership in a Church Biblical?
8. Is Membership in a Church Essential?
9. Why Should You Join a Church?
10. Which Church Should You Join?
11. What are the 'Means of Grace' in the Church?
12. What are the Privileges and Blessings of Church Membership?
13. What are the Responsibilities of Church Membership?
14. Is Church Attendance Really Important?
15. What are the Requirements of Church Membership?
16. How is a Christian Admitted into Membership and How is Membership Terminated?
17. When is it Right to Leave a Church and How Should it be Done?
18. Thoughts Upon the Church of Those Who've Gone Before
This book has been written to be read by the layperson who has many practical questions about the modern-day Church. This would be a great book for churches to have on their literature rack to give to visitors and to use with New Members Classes as well.
"Earl Blackburn's much-needed Jesus Loves the Church and So Should You is scripturally rich and timely, and succinct yet thorough. His chapters on church membership are superlative. This book should be read by every Christian particularly in our day when love for Christ's bride, the church, is on the wane. I would recommend that every church give a copy of this book to each church family and encourage group studies on it. Who can tell what God will do with such a book as this?" --Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
" I am impressed with the scope, depth, relevance, biblical fidelity, and infectious spiritual fervor of Earl Blackburn's 'Jesus Loves the Church, and So Should You.' Every pastor should lead a congregational study of this book; he should make this a priority for the health of the body itself, and personal growth of each person in the membership. Blackburn has dealt with an amazing number of questions concerning church membership, church purpose, the nature of the church, the functioning of a church, how and why to leave a church, how not to leave a church, why be a church member and what to expect a church to be. All of his discussions [short, pithy, clear, engaging discussions] are settled firmly on Scripture and illustrated through well-selected citations from some of the most spiritually-minded fathers of Christian history. Naught but good could come from engaging the entire church in a determined, week-by-week, reading and discussion of the principles to which Pastor Blackburn has given such expert exposition." -Dr. Tom Nettles, Southern Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
"Earl Blackburn loves the church of Jesus Christ, but better than that, he loves it intelligently and scripturally. Written by a true churchman for those who want to honor Christ in His own house." - Dr. Robert P. Martin, Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church, Seattle, Washington
"It is with the voice of thanksgiving that I commend Pastor Earl Blackburn's 'Jesus Loves the Church and So Should You.' There is a warm recognition of the love of Christ for each of His individual sheep all the way through the book. But, with biblical clarity, Pastor Blackburn shines the light of Christ's love on His church, both universal and local. This latter emphasis is just what is needed by professing Christians all over the world, but especially in America. The rugged individualism and emphasis upon personal freedom in our country has seeped into the mentality of American Christians so as to diminish the importance in their thinking of belonging to and being faithful to a local church. Yet Christ and His Apostles have made it clear that the local church is the authorized outpost of Christ's kingdom designed by Him to order His worship, to edify His sheep, and to take His gospel to the ends of the earth. Individual sheep must learn to love Christ's fold as He does... His local church.
Pastor Blackburn has provided two major things for Christians to understand: (1) what the Scripture says is a biblical church; and (2) how the Christian should respond to the will of Jesus Christ in their church membership. Various errors in thinking about the purpose and membership of a local church are well delineated and answered from Scripture. Building a sound biblical theology of the church, the author proceeds to well-stated and clear applications to the Christian's proper attitude toward and commitment to a local church.
This book challenges both pastor and people to have the same attitude toward the church that our dear Lord has as Head of each one. For Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her...and so should we. The great strength of this book is that Pastor Blackburn says what every pastor wants his people to understand about loving Christ's church. For this reason, I commend this book as a spark to light the fire of biblical reformation today beyond agreement to "the doctrines of grace" to their end: to bring forth a people who love Christ and love one another...in the church. " - Dr. Fred Malone, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, Louisiana.
"Pastoral, Christ-like love for the church shines forth in this book by a dear servant of God. Anyone who has met Earl Blackburn knows the message of this book flows from the center of his heart. May this book serve to kindle afresh within the hearts of God's people a deep love for His church." - Ray Van Neste, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Christian Studies, Director, R. C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, Union University
"The church is under siege by an abundance of bad ideas. This book is a must read in our day. It is a whetstone to hone the edge of a sharpened sword preparing the Christian soldier for this spiritual battlefront." - Pastor Mike Renihan, Worcester, MA
"I have known Earl for 30 years, during which time we have struggled together making decisions, studied hard to advance our scholarship in the gospel, endured the inevitable problems arising from pastoral ministry, and depended upon one another for honest counsel; agreeing with him most of the time and finding it to have been profitable when we did not. He is a serious student, excels in his grasp of technical and controversial matters, and is gifted and tireless in his efforts to pass this on to faithful men. It is my privilege to be known as one of the 'Rowdy Friends' he mentions in his Preface. His love for Christ's church is known far beyond my slender recommendation. I can commend without reserve this his latest work on a subject dear to his heart." - Pastor Tom Lyon, University Place, WA
"Having known and worked with Pastor Earl Blackburn for many years, I have repeatedly seen his love for Christ and local congregations. His insight and cogent thinking regarding practical ecclesiology have been a repeated help to me as a pastor of two Reformed Baptist churches. Many believers have been helped by his instruction concerning these things in the material he has previously written. I'm very pleased to see his booklets brought together in one work, expanded and improved by the serious study and mature reflection of our dear brother. I believe this book will be of invaluable help to the dear people of Christ's Church who read it and follow the godly wisdom expressed in it." - Pastor Larry Vincent, Mansfield, TX