In this day when Christians and churches are widely dispersed throughout the world, the ques- tion ‘Who is the church?’ could easily be dismissed as irrelevant. In this publication, Bishop David Zac Niringiye pleads that as Jesus warned, we should not be in haste to conclude that any community with religious titles or forms and who speaks the right language of ‘Lord, Lord . . . ’ is authentic church. Taking his cue from Hebrews 11 and 12 the author addresses the motif of ‘the people of God’, looking first at the ancient people of Israel, beginning with Moses, then the new Israel and the covenant in Christ, born through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and finally the life of the new community, the church, during the apostolic era.
Through this biblical journey it is made clear that as the pilgrim people of God and the new community in Christ we must be marked by faith, love and hope, looking forward to the full consummation of the kingdom of God – justice, peace and joy, fully realized when ‘the new heaven and the new earth where righteousness dwells’ (2 Peter 3:13) is inaugurated.
This is a brilliant piece of work. The subject is timely, coming at time when the church is expanding rapidly, yet declining and disintegrating with equal speed. David Zac has captured both the rise and fall of God’s community in a technical yet easily readable manner. If you are interested in the development journey of the church, this is a great read. If you care little about the church, here is a must read.
David Oginde (Rev), PhD
Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM)
I can think of few people from whom I would rather hear about the church than from David Zac Niringiye. He is biblically focused, intellectually careful, diagnostically truthful, courageously honest, emotionally bold, relationally sincere, publicly fearless. If the body of Christ is to be God's light and salt in the real world, we need Bishop Zac to confront and inspire us to new and vigorous life.
Mark Labberton, Ph.D.
Fuller Theological Seminary
Reading this book will help us to define the essence of our existence as a people of God in the world. Bishop David Zac makes a bold clarification of a rather hazy view of the church as God's pilgrim people that has been clouded with our propensity to settle for mediocrity.
Canon Francis Omondi
All Saints Cathedral Nairobi
Anglican Church of Kenya
Zac Niringye is for me a modern hero of the faith. He writes movingly about the people of God on the journey of God and invites us winsomely to join in the advancing kingdom of God. Get this book to get in touch with your destiny.
Rector of St Aldates Church, a house of prayer for all nations at the heart of Oxford.
In a contemporary age in which the identity of the Church has been recreated in our image- be it ethnic, social, economic or whatever else, with all their attendant paraphernalia, Bishop Zac’s clear word is a call for sober reflection regardless of our Church tradition. I commend this book to all who long for the Church to be the Church as communities of God’s people “announcing and demonstrating the Kingdom of God by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.”
Femi B. Adeleye, PhD
Director of Church Partnerships
Global Centre Christian Commitments, World Vision International
To be read carefully, prayerfully and humbly by all who profess Christ’s name wherever they are in the world – so that the community of God may reveal Christ to the world, not hide Christ from the world.
Rt Revd David Williams
Bishop of Basingstoke
Table of Contents
- Introduction: The People of God: The Church?
- Churches: A Bewildering Story
- Who Is the Church? My Journey
- The Presence of God among the People of God
- 1 Becoming and Being Church, the People of God
- Jesus and the Church
- The Bible and the Church
- The People of God: The Continuing Story, Hebrews 11-12
- Outline of This Book
- 2 Beginning with Moses: The Promise, the Covenants and the People of God
- Beginning with Moses: God’s Revelation of Creation at Mount Horeb
- Abraham: The Promise and the Covenant
- The Exodus, the Covenant and the Land of Promise: Creating a People of God
- God, His Purposes and His People
- 3 Israel, the Monarchy and Exile: God’s Rebellious People
- Living in the Land of Promise: The Rebellious People of God
- Exile: The Promise of a New Covenant
- After Exile: The Community of Promise
- The People of God: The Remnant
- 4 Jesus, the Fulfilment of the Promise: Creating New Community
- Jesus: The Fulfilment of the Promise to Israel
- Jesus: The Presence of the Kingdom of God
- Jesus and His Disciples: Creating a Community of the Kingdom of God
- 5 Jesus, His Disciples and Pentecost: The Birth of the New Community
- The Disciples of Jesus: Becoming the community of the Kingdom of God
- Community in the Holy Spirit
- Pentecost: The Inauguration of Community in the Holy Spirit
- 6 In Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the Ends of the Earth: Acts of the Holy Spirit
- In Jerusalem
- In All Judea and Samaria
- To the Ends of the Earth: Among the Gentiles
- A Missional Community: Keeping in Step with the Holy Light
- 7 Churches of God: Communities of the Holy Spirit
- In Antioch (Acts 11:19-30, 13:1-4)
- In Philippi (Acts 16:6-15)
- In Corinth (Acts 18:1-11)
- In Ephesus (Acts 19:1-41, 20:17-36)
- Churches Today
- 8 The Church: God’s New Pilgrim Community
- The Church: A Community Of Faith, By Faith, In Faith, For Faith
- A Community Of Love, By Love, In Love, For Love
- A Community Of Hope, By Hope, In Hope, For Hope
- Ordering the Community for Faith, Love and Hope
- The Church: God’s New Pilgrim Community