3 books on the church
Joe has written three small books on the local church that are useful for training in membership classes, discipleship groups, and elder boards—and even for devotional reading. These books are at once theological, practical, and experiential. Readers will not simply be informed, but led to believe in, rejoice in, and be transformed by the truth of God for his gathered people.
The Heart of The Church
The first in Joe Thorn’s three-book series on the confession, nature, and expression of the Church, The Heart of the Church explores the center of the Church’s life and identity: the gospel.
Drawing from Scripture, church history, and theology, Thorn portrays the gospel in all its kaleidoscopic glory. He expounds its:
- Contents—the basic message of Scripture culminating in Jesus
- Details and definitions—the moving parts of the gospel truth
- Practical implications—the basic marks of every gospel believer
Without the gospel, the church does not exist. This book is Thorn’s full and detailed exploration of the message that is indispensable to the church’s life and identity.
The Character of the Church
The second in Joe Thorn’s three-book series on the confession, nature, and expression of the Church, The Character of the Church explores what the church is fundamentally like.
For a local church to actually be a church, certain marks are essential. A church that follows the apostles’ pattern is one where:
- The word of God is faithfully preached
- The sacraments are rightly administered
- Leadership is biblically formed and functioning
- Discipline is practiced with grace
- The mission of the church is shared by all
Joe expounds each of these in detail, yet leading readers to a clear understanding. A book for laymen, The Character of the Church helps Christians know plainly what makes a church a church, and how to conduct themselves accordingly.
The Life of the Church
The third in Joe Thorn’s three-book series on the confession, nature, and expression of the Church, The Life of the Church explores what the church does because of who it is.
The Life of The Church portrays the fundamental practices of the church:
- Community—what it really means to have all things in common
- Worship—the purpose and nature of our weekly gathering
- Public life—the role of the church in a lost and broken world
If you wonder what it means to be saved into a body of believers, why the various parts of a worship service matter, and how to engage in the world as a citizen of heaven—or if you’ve never even considered those things—then The Life of the Church is for you. It answers this critical question: “Why does the church exist, and how does it shape my life?”