This collection of a dozen addresses given on the church as Christ’s bride at the 2014 Annual Conference of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary unpacks three overarching themes: looking at the loveliness of Christ’s bride, walking in the path with Christ’s bride, and sharing in the sorrow and hope of Christ’s bride. Specific topics addressed include the beauty of the church’s essence, communion, holiness, unity, diversity, membership, preaching, worship, sacraments, discipline, mission, persecution, and future glory.
Together these chapters form an appreciative and practical book on the doctrine of the church, stirring up believers to have greater devotion to Christ’s bride. Two chapters are written by each author, including Michael Barrett, Joel R. Beeke, Gerald Bilkes, Conrad Mbewe, David Murray, and William VanDoodewaard.
Table of Contents:
Looking at the Loveliness of the Bride of Christ
1. Our Devotion to Christ’s Bride—Conrad Mbewe
2. The Bride’s Spiritual Essence and Communion in the Body of Christ—Gerald Bilkes
3. The Healthy Holiness of Christ’s Bride—Michael Barrett
4. The Unity and Diversity of Christ’s Beautiful Bride—David Murray
Walking in the Path with the Bride of Christ
5. The Beauty of Church Membership—Joel R. Beeke
6. Preaching to and Shepherding Christ’s Bride—Michael Barrett
7. The Beautiful, Biblical Worship of Christ’s Bride: A Puritan View—Joel R. Beeke
8. The Beautiful Sacraments of Christ’s Bride—Gerald Bilkes
9. The Bride’s Beautiful Discipline—David Murray
10. The Mission of Christ’s Bride—William VanDoodewaard
Sharing in the Sorrow and Hope of the Bride of Christ
11. The Persecution of Christ’s Bride—William VanDoodewaard
12. Christ’s Bride United with Her Bridegroom in Glory—Conrad Mbewe
Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Seminary) is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan; editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth; editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books; and a prolific author.
“Not many people are prepared to place the word ‘beauty’ in the same sentence as the word ‘church.’ For too many, the experience of church is far from beautiful. But to see the church through Christ's eyes, as this book helps us to do, is to discover a spiritual glory that derives from her marriage union to the beautiful Savior. Just as the church says that her bridegroom is ‘altogether lovely,’ so the Son of David says of His bride that she is ‘all fair.’ May these studies enable us to see the church, as M‘Cheyne expressed it, ‘dressed in beauty not her own.’” — Iain D. Campbell, pastor, Point Free Church, Isle of Lewis, Scotland
“Compressed in this volume is the fruit of much sanctified thought, reading, and scholarship, setting forth Scripture's teaching on the church: its nature, worship, holiness, mission, unity, and hope. Thoroughly orthodox, it is also consistently practical, teaching its readers how to love, treat, and value the church. In a day when the church often suffers at the hands of friends and enemies alike, this book will prove a necessary and useful corrective. It teaches a better and more excellent way. I commend it most readily and warmly.” — Malcolm H. Watts, minister of Emmanuel Church, Salisbury, England
“To be with several hundred people at the annual Puritan Reformed Conference and hear these addresses is an exciting and moving experience, a taste of better times for the church of Jesus Christ. The next best thing to being present is to read the messages given there. In this symposium of loving, intelligent, and challenging addresses, you will meet careful theological exegesis, biblical doctrine, practical application, and fresh insights into ministering to the people of God. John Rabbi Duncan said that when he got to heaven, after seeing Christ, he was longing to see Christ’s bride. Reading this book will give you an understanding of what Duncan was anticipating.” — Geoff Thomas, pastor, Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystwyth, Wales