Insofar as the gospel presents the world with the most vivid picture of God's love, and insofar as church membership and discipline are an implication of the gospel, local church membership and discipline in fact define God's love for the world. That, in one sentence, is the argument of this book.
Along the way we will observe that the very things that offend us about church membership root in the the things we find offensive about God' love itself. What is striking, therefore, is how most evangelicals have pushed the question of church structure into the category of nonessential and therefore non-importance. The gospel is important, even essential we say. Church structure is neither.
And since questions of church structure only divide Christians.it's best to leave it out of the conversation altogether. Correct? What if that is wrong? What if God, in his wisdom, actually revealed both content and form, both a message and a medium, both a gospel and a polity, perfectly suited to one another. Couldn't pushing questions of church structure into the category of 'what respectable evangelicals shouldn't hold strong opinions about' eventually undermine the gospel itself?