Book Review – Body Beautiful (Melvin Tinker & Nathan Buttery)

Despite what the title might conjure up in your mind, this is actually another book on the church. The subtitle is "Recovering the Biblical View of the Church". It is written by a couple of Anglican Ministers in Hull, and their approach is to simply take 11 short New Testament passages relating to the church, and briefly expound them.

The book is 125 pages long, and fairly accessible. It was perhaps written with small-group study in mind, as it has a section of question for further discussion. The aim of the book is to present the Biblical model of the church and challenge us as to whether we view church in the same way.

The authors are particularly keen to emphasise the importance of the Word of God in the church, being the basis for what we do, and central to the life of the church. The Word of God, or the Gospel, is the ‘rock’ on which the church is built. Expository preaching and Bible ministry are seen as key to a healthy church.

They examine the "marks of a church" from Acts 2:42-47 arguing that success should not simply be measured in terms of numbers attending, but in being a learning, caring, committed and growing church.

There are two chapters looking at passages from Ephesians on the Call of the Church and Unity within the church. In a chapter on worship, they criticise Catholic and charismatic worship as being "BC" (before Christ) worship – as they go through a "mediator" of a priest or worship leader who draws us near to God. Rather they emphasise that the whole of life is to be worship, and worship should be defined as "engaging with God".

There is a helpful section on prayer. A praying church is a God-centred church and the their prayers will be God-centred. Prayer should be our natural reaction. If it is not, we are not a God-centred people.

In a chapter on the influence of the church, they encourage Christians to engage politically, but more importantly, to make a difference by being different where they are. Christians are called to be a people who leave a blessing wherever we go.

… central to all of God’s plans and purposes for his entire universe is his church.

Overall, this is a very helpful short book on the church. In perhaps a few places, as a charismatic, I might disagree with some of their statements, and a couple of the illustrations were a bit dated or Anglican specific. But on the whole, it is well worth a read, particularly if you don’t want to tackle something too long.

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