New Testament Church Basics – Understanding Local Assembly Character and Purpose - Michael J. Penfold

Paperback, 60 pages, Published by John Ritchie Ltd., 40 Beansburn, Kilmarnock, KA3 1RL, Scotland. 
ISBN: 978-1-912522-29-3.

For one who was brought up listening to some of the same speakers mentioned in the acknowledgements at the end of this book, it might almost appear as if this book was unnecessary. Sadly, it is not. Whilst the truths the book emphasizes were well taught, and continue to be so, it is clear that in the busy schedule of modern life, and society’s increasing emphasis upon the ‘me culture’, some continue to loosen their grip upon these essentials.

From the outset, Michael Penfold states, ‘doctrine matters’. In eight short chapters, he sets out what aspects are fundamental. The local assembly: exists for divine glory; manifests the divine presence; exhibits divine design; administers divine authority; displays divine order; provides divine care; proclaims divine truth; and fulfils the divine commission. The reader should be warned. This is not ‘an easy read’. This book will challenge and may even offend. For example, the writer stresses that rather than ‘forever chasing the latest fad in Christendom in an attempt to make the assembly look “cool” in the eyes of the world’, we should be ‘starting from the premise “What saith the Lord”’.

This book is carefully, scripturally, and powerfully argued. It sets out from a simple but profound beginning the beauty of what God established for Himself and what it behoves all of us to seek to maintain. The author is to be commended for setting these truths before a new generation with such clarity.