Let's start with the title. Implicit in the phrase, 'beyond church' is that there is something outside of our traditional understanding of what believe to be 'church'. Is what we know, all there is to be known? For the average believer, the assumption is that what we know, is all there is to know. In this book, you will learn that is not the case.
The invitation that is extended becomes an additional challenge. It is intriguing to imagine there can be a 'lost word' in scripture. It is more intriguing to discover what that word is - church. Thus, begins the core of this book. Let's dig a little deeper.
be an eye-opener. Most of what we do today cannot be substantiated by scripture. You will no doubt be confronted with the decision to 'experience' the lost word of the bible - ekklesia.
As you move throughout BEYOND CHURCH, Steve begins to build a case for ekklesia. In sharing his conversion and introduction into the Jesus Movement, the author helps us to see his global view of this topic, and how he successfully assimilated his experiences into the Salvation Army.
Being born again in a traditional Presbyterian system, and later discovering Christ in open participatory meetings, it is easy to see how God used these experiences to lead Steve to his grasp of ekklesia.
I particularly like the third chapter, 'How Does Ekklesia Work?' as it reminded me of my own journey and subsequent writings. As I was writing this review, I took note of the many notations that I made during my initial reading of this book.
Now if you think that I am about to do a chapter by chapter summary, I will probably disappoint you. However, I will tell you that the remainder of the book will give you a panoramic view of ekklesia. it will be as if you are looking over Steve's shoulder as he outlines critical aspects of what he calls, 'the lost word' of the bible.
Do I have any criticism of Beyond Church? Not really. As with any book, there are areas where I may disagree with the author. But I have learned not to confuse my personal preference with criticism or disagreement. In fact, I don't even think any such areas that may exist are worth mentioning. You may find areas I struggle with to be completely acceptable.
So, what is my conclusion?
Steve Simms has done a good job of presenting a challenging subject in a very relaxing style. This alone takes away the harshness of realizing that you have been led down the wrong path in an institution called church.
I was honored to have the opportunity to have Steve Simms join me on our new The Ekklesia Center Podcast. We discussed a myriad of subjects about ekklesia that will encourage you. It will also help you understand the author and his book. Click the link below to hear the full podcast. Blessings! TLK