Read It! - May 2022
Mention the word “church” in a casual conversation. The opinions offered will likely render a broad range of adjectives. Some people have been wounded in the church. Some people feel used by the church. Others feel that the church has run its course in this world.
The Loveliest Place by Dustin Benge offers a perspective on the church that is encouraging, edifying, heartwarming, and most of all - biblical. The author writes:
This book has one aim: to set before you a thoroughly biblical portrait of the church that derives its life from the sweet fellowship of the Father, Son, and Spirit, creating a community of love, worship, fellowship, and mission, all animated by the gospel and empowered by the word of God.
Benge maintains that the church is beautiful because God is beautiful. He utilizes the exegetical thunder of John Gill who demonstrates an allegorical portrayal that exists between Christ and the church. Benge observes:
The church is beautiful because the lens through which Christ regards her is his cross - the focal point of blood, righteousness, forgiveness, union, justification, regeneration, and grace. His cross makes her beautiful. His perfection makes her beautiful. It is his sacrificial, substitutionary, sinless blood that washes her garments as white as snow. The cross of Christ makes her beautiful not only inwardly by justification but also outwardly through sanctification. From giving second birth to final glory, the righteousness of Christ creates a beautiful church.
This stunning portrayal of the church sets the stage for the remainder of the book where the author presents a series of descriptions including the church as our helper and beautifier, a pillar and buttress of truth, and feeding the flock, to name a few.
To say that The Loveliest Place is breathtaking would be an understatement. Dustin Benge has wonderfully captured the essence of the church in a short book that is eminently readable, accessible, and biblical in every respect.
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