I am happy to recommend this new book by a good friend of mine. John is an ordained minister of the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies (IFCA). The IFCA was founded in Niagara Falls, NY in 1927 as the first nationally organized body of Italian American Pentecostals. The inaugural convention was held at the church pastored by my paternal great-grandfather, Massimiliano Tosetto. My great-grandparents Michele and Catherina Palma (also on the paternal side) and Angelo and Carmela Rubbo (maternal) were also among the founders of the church.
A rich legacy indeed. My forebears carry on the inheritance embodied by the dynamic apostolic community we read of in the New Testament. In his work, The Antioch Legacy: Learning from an Effective Church, Lathrop argues that God’s people today are called to carry on the example of the early church. This is an important book on ecclesiology (the study of the church), building on the contribution of the church at Antioch, one of the key hubs of the early Christians.
Although the ancient Greek city of Antioch was riddled by a flury of earthquakes in the mid-first century, the apostles built a formidable and enduring church there. Its strategic location on the Orontes River made the church a crucial center for traveling ministers. Paul and Barnabas, among other early church founders, made frequent visits to Antioch. As Lathrop maintains, we find in this church an evangelistically-active, multi-ethnic community of faith. In the face of pressures from a syncretic first-century Greek culture, the Antioch church set apart Paul and Barnabas to fill a void and secure stability. The church would go on to further the course of world missions in a profound way.
John leaves us with this question, “have you had your Antioch moment?” Everyone does when they’re confronted with a decision on which the course of one’s life or support network depends. Will we take action like the Antioch church or succumb to pressure? I highly recommend this work for church leaders and laypersons alike who want a biblically-rooted purview into how a dynamic apostolic community can teach us about life and outreach today.
John P. Lathrop is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written several books and contributed to a number of publications including: Berita Mujizat (“Miracle News”) in Indonesia, Christian Trends Magazine in India, PentecostalPastor.com, The Pneuma Review, and The Priscilla Papers. The Antioch Legacy can be purchased from Barnes & Noble here or from Lulu.com here. Info on some of his other books can be found on the IFCA website.