Press Release: Find Comfort in God’s Gift of Church
New book from author Christa Petzold brings to light the value of worshiping in a Christian community of believers.
Many Christians avoid gathering in Christian community because they have been alienated by painful experiences in their congregation. In her new book Gathered by Christ: The Overlooked Gift of Church, author Christa Petzold empathizes and emphasizes how Jesus sees the Church—founded securely on Him and His Word.
“Sin, division, confusion, false teaching, and hypocrisy—seeing these in the Church is enough to make anyone want to walk away. . . . ,” writes Petzold. “While we see the Church as divided, hopelessly fragmented by theological differences and cultural barriers, Scripture tells us that Jesus sees her as one, holy, and unified in Him.”
Readers will dive into the gifts that God brings His believers through the beauty of the Church and weekly worship. Petzold helps those questioning the Church and its purpose for their faith lives by providing features in the book such as quotes from Church fathers, historical context and information, sidebar definitions, discussion questions, and a leader guide.
“Christa Petzold reminds us that the Church is far more than an organized association, a Sunday breakfast club, or even a helpful support group,” says Rev. Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge, director of the Cross-cultural Ministry Center and professor of theology at Concordia University Irvine. “Insightfully grounded in Scripture, informed by ample references to Church history, and illustrated by practical examples, Petzold’s book leads the reader to see the Church from Jesus’ perspective as the Body of Christ—the very family of God.”
Praise for Gathered by Christ
Concise. Accessible. Beautifully written. Christa’s book is a gift to our church as it reminds us of the gift that is the Church. All members should have this on their shelves and return to it when they feel tempted to skip out of any gathering of God’s people. Christa delivers her book at a perfect time, when now, more than ever, the Christian has the opportunity to choose virtual services over attending corporal worship and communal reception of the Word. Christa encourages us to meet together, echoing the author of Hebrews, and reveals why we would never want to give up the precious gift of being gathered by Christ.
—Stephanie Neugebauer, MA, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; pastor’s wife and a mother
Petzold gets right at the heart of what it means to be the Body of Christ, skillfully weaving together a case for Christian ecclesiology that uses the tools of theology, history, and a keen observation of our current cultural condition. This text can serve as a bedrock description of the Church’s origins and scriptural foundations, but it also presses the reader toward the ultimate telos for which the Church strives. Unflinchingly committed to sola Scriptura and solus Christus, this book will be a blessing to many.
—Dr. Joel Oesch, professor of theology at Concordia University Irvine, author of Crossing Wires: Making Sense of Technology, Transhumanism, and Christian Identity
Gathered by Christ beautifully combines Scripture and Church history to paint a picture of God’s design for His Bride, the struggles the Church has faced throughout history, and how these form our view of and our responsibility as the Church today. While acknowledging the pain that sin has caused in churches, Christa Petzold points us back to the Church as a beautiful gift of God through which He continually points us to Christ! In a culture focused on individuality and conflict avoidance, Gathered by Christ is an excellent reminder of the community we have in Christ, seeking sincere unity in the Church.
—Tara Darling, director of Christian education, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Mount Vernon, Iowa
In the midst of deep doubts and confusing misunderstandings about the Church in our increasingly unchurched society comes this delightful, well-written, and incredibly helpful book from a mother, a pastor’s wife, and an astute theologian. Christa Petzold reminds us that the Church is far more than an organized association, a Sunday breakfast club, or even a helpful support group. Insightfully grounded in Scripture, informed by ample references to Church history, and illustrated by practical examples, Petzold’s book leads the reader to see the Church from Jesus’ perspective as the Body of Christ—the very family of God. The reader comes away with a renewed sense of awe, excitement, and hope in being part of this often-overlooked gift we call Church.
—Rev. Dr. Glenn K. Fluegge, director of the Cross-cultural Ministry Center and professor of theology at Concordia University Irvine
About the Author
Christa Petzold is a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mother of four. She holds a master’s degree in theology from Concordia University Irvine and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and Lutheran secondary education from Concordia University Wisconsin. She lives with her family in Bartlett, Illinois, and spends her time homeschooling, teaching theology, writing, reading, and studying Church history. She and her husband, Jonathan, are the authors of Male and Female: Embracing Your Role in God’s Design.
Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. For 150 years, CPH has been providing individuals, churches, and schools with products that are faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. From books and Bibles to church supplies, curriculum, and software, CPH offers over 10,000 products to support the proclamation of the Gospel worldwide. Visit CPH online at cph.org.