The Church: A Theological and Historical Account
“I know of almost no one else who could write a book like this. Gerald Bray's unique global-mindedness and catholic awareness are put on full display in this analysis of the development of the church throughout the ages and across the continents. Bray manages to show the diverse forms of basic creedal orthodoxy in different ecclesiastical traditions. Especially to be praised is his constant assessment of how various forms of biblical exegesis have marked developments within the tradition. From the Jewish roots of Christianity to the nature of the modern ecumenical movement, readers will glean guidance for the road from Bray's assessments. I fully expect that members of various Christian traditions will better understand their place in God's family by leaning into this narrative and thematic analysis.”See All
“ Michael Allen
Associate Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“Comprehensive in scope, ecumenical in tone, orthodox in confession, and insightful from beginning to end, this book sets a new benchmark for textbooks on ecclesiology. It's everything a Christian professor could hope for in a course text. Yet beyond its usefulness in academia, Dr. Bray's warm heart for the church comes through on every page, making the book spiritually enriching as well as intellectually informative. Part history, part theology, part prescriptive wisdom from a senior churchman—this book does it all. I suspect it is destined to become the go-to classic for an overview of Protestant ecclesiology.”See All
Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute
“Gerald Bray's concisely titled book is in many ways a gold mine. Weaving together the diverse manifestations of the Christian church over twenty centuries, his narration is wonderfully accessible, even conversational, and filled with engaging details. As an ecumenical panorama of the church's interaction with high and low theology, renewal and intransigence, politics and secular culture, the book is a model of fairness in its account of the virtues and vices of its members along with their achievements and excesses. Both central and peripheral characters are given due attention, and many surprising connections are noted in passing. As an observer of the trends and trajectories that have led to the denominational and postdenominational Christianity of our own day, Bray proves to be not only irenic and charitable but also sober and sensible in his assessments. Anyone who wonders whether ecclesiology matters—or even where it came from, in all its present diversity—should read this book.”See All
John L. Thompson
Professor of Historical Theology and Gaylen and Susan Byker Professor of Reformed Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Here is a fresh overview of the church and its history, theology, and current challenges in today's world. Gerald Bray is an ordained evangelical Anglican, but he writes with such great sympathy and wisdom that this telling of the church's story will edify the Lord's people everywhere.”See All
Founding Deacon, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture
“Solid, shrewd, and most thorough, this superlative survey of God's people on earth past and present will be a boon not only for seminarians but also for many more of us besides. It is a truly outstanding performance.”See All
Professor of Theology, Regent College
Renowned evangelical theologian Gerald Bray provides a clear and coherent account of the church in biblical, historical, and theological perspective. He tells the story of the church in its many manifestations through time, starting with its appearance in the New Testament, moving through centuries of persecution and triumph, and discussing how and why the ancient church broke up at the Reformation. Along the way, Bray looks at the four classic marks of the church—its oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity—and illustrates how each of these marks has been understood by different Christian traditions. The book concludes with a look at the ecumenical climate of today and suggests ways that the four characteristics of the church can and should be manifested in our present global context.
This accessible introduction to the church from an evangelical perspective explores ecclesiology through the lenses of church history and doctrine to reveal what it means for us today. Bray discusses the church as a living reality, offering practical ways churches and individuals can cooperate and live together.