JACKSON, Tenn. – Nov. 19, 2013 – A Union University professor and his former student recently co-edited a book about one of their favorite topics: the church.
“The Community of Jesus: A Theology of the Church” was recently released after years of theological brainstorming, said Ken Easley, a professor of biblical studies at Union.
Easley began discussing book ideas in 2008 with Christopher Morgan, who took classes from Easley for his master’s and doctoral degrees at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary before becoming a professor of theology and the dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University.
“We were both keenly aware that the role of the church in our society is changing rapidly,” said Easley, who also is the director of the School of Theology and Missions programs at Union’s Stephen Olford Center in Germantown. “We wanted to rethink this issue, first from a biblical-content perspective and then from an application-to-today point of view.”
The book has nine chapters, each written by a different author. Contributing authors include Union President David S. Dockery; Ray Van Neste, a professor of biblical studies at Union and the director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies; and James Patterson, university professor of Christian thought and tradition at Union and the acting dean of the School of Theology and Missions.
The book’s authors tackle a variety of topics, Easley said, with chapters ranging from analyzing church ethics to studying church development throughout history.
“Many volumes on the church tend to focus on more practical and ‘how-to’ aspects of church life,” Dockery said. “Morgan and Easley have encouraged readers to think theologically about the church, thus focusing on foundational matters.”
Morgan and Easley’s methodology provides “a carefully designed framework built on a thorough exploration of biblical themes” before approaching church history and theology, Dockery said. The result is a book containing fresh and up-to-date church theology from a free church perspective.
“This book has rekindled my commitment to the church, both locally and globally, as I have seen afresh the astonishing significance of the church in God’s eternal purpose,” Easley said. “As others read it, I believe they will be encouraged to sense the great privilege it is to be a part of Christ’s church.”
The book is available at LifeWay Christian Stores or at online retailers such as amazon.com.
By Beth Knoll