This latest volume in Gabriel Fackres long-standing "Christian Story" finds the dedicated evangelical ecumenist attempting to examine the connections, or lack thereof, between worldwide ecumenical progress and the character of local church congregations in twenty-first-century America. Drawing from his own fifty-year experience in the church as pastor, teacher, and parishioner, Fackre offers a critique, a warning, and a constructive guide to the church.
Noting the high points of global ecumenical progress, Fackre carefully traces them back to events in local churches, training his gaze on the wrong turnings the church has taken and the actions and reactions of the liberal and conservative movements. In his consideration of evangelical megachurches -- in which he finds both hope and reason for concern -- Fackre emphasizes the importance of knowing, as much as possible, the whole breadth of Christian tradition and the churchs stewardship of the Holy Spirits gifts and graces. Fackre also digs into the meaning of church through four foundational signs -- "kerygma, leitourgia, diakonia," and "koinonia" -- the telling, celebrating, doing, and being of the gospel. He demonstrates how todays church needs to exhibit all four signs and advises that it is in need of healing if any of the four are missing.
All in all, Fackre's "The Church: Signs of the Spirit and Signs of the Times" is rich in insight and fertile in its range of suggestions, most of them aimed at pastors and aspiring pastors -- the men and women who will carry the teachings of the church, its "kerygma," into the next generation.