The Church that Turned the World Upside-Down (by Roy Clements)

I hadn't heard of Roy Clements when I saw this book on a second-hand Christian book table. But the title interested me, so I picked it up, and started reading it a week ago. I still knew nothing about the author, other than the fact that he was a pastor in Cambridge at the time of writing, married with three children, and was also a well-known speaker.

In hunting for a link to something about Roy Clements, I learned that he was a leading evangelical for about twenty years, before resigning from his ministry entirely in 1999, after leaving his wife and declaring that he was gay. Since then, apparently, his books have gone out of print and are now hard to find. It's sad that some people in the church will judge a book negatively simply because they disagree with the author's lifestyle.

'The Church that turned the world upside down" is basically an exposition of the first twelve chapters of the Biblical Book of Acts. The author writes about the people mentioned, suggesting at times what their motivations might have been and how they might have felt. There are also some applications to today - or, at least to the church of the 1990s, since this book was published in 1992.

On the whole I found it well-written and clear, with nothing much that I disagreed with. On the other hand, it didn't really say anything spectacular... or even anything new. There aren't many current stories or examples, and the exposition, while sound, is not very deep.

I think this book might be useful for anyone new to the Bible who wants a basic understanding of the first half of the Book of Acts. It does explain how and why the church started and expanded, until the period just before Paul went out on his first missionary journey.

Not a bad book, and I suppose I was lucky to get hold of it since it's now so rare.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 10th March 2009

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