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October 1972 · Vol. 1 No. 4 · pp. 135–36 

Book Review

I Will Build My Church

Alfred F. Kuen. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1972. 365 pages.

Reviewed by Waldo D. Hiebert

This book offers an intensive biblical study of the nature of the Church. Its aim is to present the plan of God for the Church as given in the Bible, especially the New Testament. The author thus describes his own experience behind the picture presented:

“One day I resolutely put aside all my books, I took my New Testament and there underlined all that concerned the church; then I picked out and classified on cards what I had found. What a joy it was to see roughly outlined and gradually taking shape a living picture of the primitive church. Each day my convictions became stronger: Yes, there was the church according to the plan of God!” (p. 12).

The major part of the book, therefore, is a close study and analysis of the Scriptures, dealing well with topics such as the meaning of the word “church,” apostolicity, tradition, the new birth, baptism of the Spirit, requirements for church membership, etc. Especially valuable is Chapter 7, “Images and Parables of the Church.” Jesus’ words to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church,” and the Pentecost experience are well treated. Special attention is given to the nature of the believers’ church as over against the multitudinest (mass) church concept.

The current problem of the apostate multitudinest (mass) church today lies behind the entire volume. The author struggles with the mass (Volkskirche) church as he has experienced it in Europe. In his insistence upon a return to the original plan of God for the church as taught in Scripture, he comes to a persuasive presentation of the believers’ church as the biblical one.

The last part of the book presents a historical analysis of the multitudinest church in Europe. He surveys the Reformers’ basic beliefs and intent to reestablish the believers church during the Reformation period. He well documents the development of a Protestant mass (state-church). It is his contention that the multitudinest church of today cannot be renewed as a whole. Renewal will require the “regrouping” of true believers of the mass church today. So say even the current leaders of the mass church, the author contends. The concluding plea of the writer is {136} for a return to the New Testament plan, allowing the Bible, rather than tradition, again to become our authoritative guide.

This well-documented book has significant value as a biblical study of the origin of the church. Missing in the volume is any treatment of the basic structure of the New Testament Church. Very little is said about leaders in the church, as elders, deacons, etc. Its primary contribution is its biblical presentation of the believers’ church, as over against the mass, multitudinest church of today.

Waldo D. Hiebert
MB Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California

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