Book Review: Behold the City by Matthew Recker

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Matthew Recker is a church-planter in New York City who has faced the challenges and fears of one of the biggest cities in the world.  He has planted several Baptist churches in the city.  His book Behold the City is described as “a realistic and hard-hitting look at the vast needs of the city and a jubilant celebration of how the gospel of Christ can, and is meeting those needs…”

I really enjoyed this book for the following reasons:

  • It examines the teaching of the Bible about cities, why they have been formed, and how they can be useful in impacting the world for Christ.
  • It is written by a man who has not shied away from the challenge of church-planting in a big city.
  • It gives examples of how God has worked through the faith and obedience of one man to make a difference in the lives of many.
  • It inspired my imagination of what can happen with God’s help in cities all around the world.

Here are few quotes that I though were very good:

  • Since all roads led to Rome, Paul knew all roads led from Rome and that as the gospel broke into Rome it could also branch out from Rome.
  • We need to get our minds off the negative features of urban living, and get our hearts on the people!
  • There will be no harvest if no one goes.
  • The city is the meeting of the nations.  We have an occasion in the city to reach the world in one place!
  • The city is not merely the Devil’s backyard; it is the Devil’s living room!
  • In this world, the only safe place is the center of God’s will.
  • The difficulty and wickedness of a place is not an excuse to run but a reason to go.
  • In the city we must have compassion, the badge of credibility.
  • Open doors do not necessarily mean easy opportunities; next door to the open door may be opposition.
  • Let us not reject the cities because of their social need merely because we have rejected the social gospel.
  • Urban church planting is not hard but it takes hard work.
  • One of the keys to a pre-field ministry rest in having a strong home church of your own.

It is estimated that by the year 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities!  Let me encourage you to get a copy of this book and pray about what God would have you do to behold and reach the people who live in the cities of the world!

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