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Spring 1989 · Vol. 18 No. 1 · pp. 81–82 

Book Review

The Church in a Pagan Society

David Ewert. Luminaire Studies. Winnipeg, MB and Hillsboro, KS: Kindred, 1986. 205 pages.

Reviewed by Gary L. Janzen

In the Epistle of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul pointedly addresses specific areas of dysfunction in the church which meets in the city of Corinth. Dr. Ewert, in this particular volume, very effectively moves the reader from the Corinthian setting to our own contemporary setting. He accomplishes this through his very readable and interesting style of writing. The author lightens the material and communicates to a broad spectrum of readers through the use of contemporary language, practical illustrations, and applications of the exhortations. In his writing, he paints vivid mental pictures which help the reader visualize what is happening in the church.

This volume is the compilation of the twenty-five articles which Dr. Ewert wrote on 1 Corinthians, and which were published in the Mennonite Brethren Herald. Therefore, each chapter is written in a brief and concise manner, yet there is a scholarly respect for the text of Scripture being addressed. This makes the book an excellent resource for small group Bible studies and a resource for the average layperson in the church, as well as for the serious student of the Scriptures. Another feature of the book is the “Personal Response” questions at the close of each chapter. These questions challenge the reader to think more deeply through the passage being studied and the practical application of it in one’s personal settings. This adds to its usefulness as a Bible study resource.

Dr. Ewert speaks directly to the issues at hand, and does not leave the reader to question his position regarding particular issues facing the contemporary church. At the same time the reader is sometimes left to question how the author reached his conclusions. The author also does not address some of the alternative viewpoints regarding some of the more controversial issues represented in this Epistle. Therefore, the reader should not consider this volume a comprehensive work, but an excellent resource in our continued efforts to “rightly divide the word of truth.” {82}

This book is to be recommended for those who desire to deepen their understanding of the Scriptures, and who are willing to grapple with the agenda facing the contemporary church in our society.

Gary L. Janzen, Pastor, Zoar Mennonite Brethren Church, Inman, Kansas

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