A Study of First Thessalonians: The Model Church, Gary McBride
John Scarsbrook, Killamarsh, England
Paperback, 102 pages, Published by Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St. West, Port Colborne, ON L3K 6A6 Canada.
This is a short book amongst a number of recent very helpful books by this author. The presentation of the Thessalonian church as a ‘model’ church, as is the premise of this book, has much to commend it, although this idea has been outlined by a number of other authors.1 This is an eminently readable primer for further detailed study and is easily read in a couple of sittings. It covers each section in the Epistle in turn, with a short introduction followed by sections where most verses are commented on. Good practical application flows from sound interpretation of the text. The balance in dealing with the text across the Epistle is about right, although chapter 3 seems to get a little lost amidst coverage of the larger issues.
It is not a detailed exposition of the book, and does not set out to be so. Thus, it does not cover in detail a number of exegetical challenges, mostly eschatological in nature, for example, which phase of the Lord’s return is being referred to in chapter 3 verse 13, but covers it sufficiently to whet the appetite for further studies. The brevity does, however, raise some issues: the section dealing with differences between the dispensational and reformed/covenant view of scripture, particularly in the context of future events, is, of necessity, rather scant. Unfortunately, this results in the presentation of a ‘straw man’, which does not present the nuance of the reformed position accurately. What McBride does present might be easily dismissed and, thus, it is open to criticism, albeit this reviewer agrees with his conclusions. The comments throughout the book on the insufficiency of many contemporary presentations of the gospel are welcome (some of which are not the gospel at all), and many of the practical points raised in this regard should be adopted in our proclamation of the gospel. Overall, well worth reading and worth encouraging others to read.
- See, for example: John MacArthur The Master’s Plan for the Church, Chapter 7.
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