In Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church, Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger present a compelling book that deals with applying the transformational power of the gospel to people and to the church. The concept of calling the church a “creature of the word” arises from the Reformers, who desired that the church be formed first and foremost by the scriptures. This is a very important point that makes the book so helpful for both personal and congregational application.
The first section of the book addresses Christians as members of the “creature of the word.” Christians are first and foremost formed by the gospel. This formation is discussed practically in the book through the areas of worship, community, service, and multiplication. These four topics are addressed by giving readers practical ways to apply the truth of the gospel to their own hearts and lives.
The second section of the book takes the gospel and seeks to apply it practically to the church as a whole. The topics specifically addressed include church culture, preaching, student ministry, children’s ministry, leadership, polity, contextualization, and ministry. These things are usually components of all most any church, but they are so often separated from the gospel. This is not often an intentional thing but a subtle thing. Through practical examples and biblical truth, the authors challenge readers to truly evaluate their own church programming, philosophy, and leadership through a gospel lens. This makes the book very challenging and helpful for church leaders.
Creature of the Word is a compelling book that calls for gospel centrality in the local church. It forces readers to ask themselves and their congregations the hard questions that need to be asked. The gospel is the only thing that has the power to transform people and churches. We all need to once again seek to become more dependent both personally and corporately on the transformation found in the truth of the gospel.