While many Christians are disappointed with, critical of, or apathetic toward the church (pp. 11-16), Megan Hill counters by claiming the great need today is to recapture the New Testament teaching on the church (p. 13). Quoting Martin Lloyd-Jones she writes, “If only we could see ourselves in terms of it, we would realize that we are the most privileged people on earth, that there is nothing to be compared with being a Christian and a member of the mystical body of Christ” (p. 13).
In support of her thesis the author offers nine winsome chapters, each devoted to a truth found in the New Testament about the church. The church is: beloved, called a worshipping community, a body, saints designed for holiness, a family, gospel partners, and a connection to something bigger.
When it comes to the church gathered for worship, Hill ascribes to the Westminster Confession of faith’s description.
Prayer is to be made for things lawful…the reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word…singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God (p. 50).
A Place to Belong is an encouraging, insightful, even heart-warming invitation to love and be part of the local church. Unlike most books written on a popular level, A Place to Belong includes excellent footnotes, both scriptural and topical indexes, and even a bibliography. More important still is a study guide for small groups, which contains not only excellent discussion questions but also an appropriate text of Scripture to explore for further study.
With all the criticism thrown at the church in recent years, I found A Place to Belong’s portrait of the church to be wholesome, practical, attractive and, most of all, biblical. Highly recommended.
A Place to Belong, Learning to Love the Local Church, by Megan Hill (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020) 186 pp., paper $11.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher at Southern View Chapel