What follows is the foreword I wrote for Jon Zens’ new book, A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile. If you’re not familiar with Zens, you should be.
I highly endorse this book.
Jon’s voice is a “must hear” for our time. Here’s the Foreword that I wrote for the book.
As a student of history, I’ve observed that the past often repeats itself. This applies to the work of God as much as anything else. We are living in an interesting time. The Protestant Reformation is repeating itself again. Back then, men in the likes of Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and others were challenging the religious system of their day. As a result, the Reformation changed the landscape of the Christian faith. The result: the Protestant church ended up becoming just as accepted as the Roman Catholic Church.
But that’s not all.
The Radical Reformation is repeating itself again. Like the Protestant Reformers, the Radical reformers — the Anabaptists — not only challenged the theology of the present-day church, but they did something beyond that. They also challenged its ecclesiology.
Regrettably, the Radical reformers suffered untold persecution by their Christian contemporaries — both Protestant and Catholic. Yet the voices of Menno Simons, Felix Mantz, and Conrad Grebel could not be stopped … not until the brutal hand of martyrdom silenced them.
But that’s not all.
The work of God in the 1930s is repeating itself again. During those years, God raised up a number of voices to present a deep and rich revelation of the centrality of Jesus Christ and the reality of His church. Watchman Nee in China, T. Austin-Sparks in England, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Germany were just some of them.
Today, we are living in another move of God. Some, like George Barna, are calling it a “Revolution.” And just like the goings of God that preceded us, the Lord is raising up a number of contemporary voices to challenge the church prophetically and bring her back to her spiritual, biblical, and Christ-centered roots.
Jon Zens is one such voice.
In A Church Building Every 1/2 Mile, Jon is at his best. Crisp, gracious, insightful, and compelling, this book raises critical challenges about the contemporary form of church as we know it today. It also urges us to reclaim God’s original intention for His Body.
“Jon Zens is not happy with the current fragmentation of Jesus’ church—and on this he is squarely on the side of the angels. This is a gracious, well-researched, prophetic call for the deeper unity of the church for the sake of its witness. It is also a challenge to continue the reform of the church along New Testament lines. A great book.”