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Just finished this booklet by Ligon Duncan and Mark Talbot.  I ordered it from WTS books here.  This came out a few years back when Harold Camping‘s latest heresy was that we should all leave our churches and listen to him alone on Family Radio Network.  It’s a great rebuttal to Camping’s sloppy hermeneutics and application of end time prophecy.  But the best part of the book is the Biblical case that Duncan and Talbot build near the end for what the church truly is.  Here are some encouraging gems from that section –

“We do not deny that there is much about the church as we experience it that is distressing and, were it not for God’s promise never to forsake her, we might wonder whether he had abandoned his bride.  Yet Scripture encourages us not to lose heart but to trust God’s promises.  Camping’s claim that the church age is over is not only unbiblical but ultimately a counsel of despair.  God has promised us, as his body, that he will never leave us nor forsake us; and his Spirit, in spite of Camping’s claims to the contrary, has not left his people, nor will he ever do so!” (p. 46)

“Where is the focus of God’s activity in history?  The most significant thing happening in history is the calling, redeeming and perfecting of the people of God.  God is building the church of Jesus Christ.  The rest of history is simply a stage God erects for that purpose.  He is calling out a people.  He is perfecting them.  He is changing them.  History’s great climax comes when God brings down the curtain on this bankrupt world and the Lord Jesus Christ arrives in his infinite glory.  The rest of history is simply the scaffolding for the real work.” (Eric Alexander p. 47)