Life in the Body of Christ

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Biblical, spiritual, practical and sensible, this book fills a gaping hole in contemporary Christian literature. Curtis Thomas pours into these pages over forty years of fruitful experience in local church life and witness. They deserve to be widely read and will surely be of outstanding help to all who do so with a willingness to learn.

Dr. John Blanchard (1932 – 2021)
Theologian, Apologist, Author of many volumes including Right with God, Whatever Happened to Hell? and Does God Believe in Atheists?


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Life in the Body of Christ
Privileges and Responsibilities in the Local Church

By Curtis C. Thomas
Original Edition © 2006 Curtis C. Thomas
Hardcover Edition, 2023
ISBN 978-1-943539-43-7
277 pages (hardcover)


Additional information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 0.75 in


“From the pen of a veteran Reformed pastor comes this hugely helpful compendium of practical Christian wisdom to lead believers into pulling their weight in a local church. It is the best thing on this theme that I have yet seen. Like the Bible, this book should be read once a year, and consulted often; not only by Baptists, but wherever strong life in Christ is the congregation’s goal. Some volumes merit rave reviews; this simple, down-to-earth publication is one of them.”

Dr. James I. Packer (1926 – 2020)
Theologian, Author of many volumes, including Knowing God and Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

“As soon as I saw the return address on the package, I expected that I was in for a treat—and I wasn’t disappointed! I plunged into it and read it through in a day. I’m speaking about Curtis Thomas’ new book, Life in the Body of Christ. It was all I expected, and more. Here is a volume that you will want to hand to every member of your church—whether new or old. In his usual style, Curtis combines solid biblical teaching with easy-to-read, practical instructions about issues vital to every member of a congregation. This book fills a niche not previously dealt with. I cannot commend it highly enough.”

Dr. Jay E. Adams (1929 – 2020)
Author of over 100 volumes, including Competent to Counsel and Shepherding God’s Flock

“Biblical, spiritual, practical and sensible, this book fills a gaping hole in contemporary Christian literature. Curtis Thomas pours into these pages over forty years of fruitful experience in local church life and witness. They deserve to be widely read and will surely be of outstanding help to all who do so with a willingness to learn.”

Dr. John Blanchard (1932 – 2021)
Theologian, Apologist, Author of many volumes including Right with God, Whatever Happened to Hell? and Does God Believe in Atheists?

Life in the Body of Christ is a practical and comprehensive handbook that should prove useful to every layperson in the local church. To my knowledge, there is nothing like it in print that addresses so many issues in such down-to-earth fashion. Even difficult subjects so often encountered in the church are faced head-on in a loving but insightful manner.”

Jerry Bridges (1929 – 2016)
Theologian, Author of many volumes, including The Pursuit of Holiness and Trusting God

Life in the Body of Christ is yet another much-needed book from Curtis Thomas packed with theological soundness, pastoral wisdom and practical guidance. Every church member should read it and use it regularly. How many problems in churches could be solved quickly if the wise advice contained in this volume were conscientiously followed by church members.”

Joel R. Beeke
Pastor, Heritage Reformed Congregation, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Author of many volumes, including A Quest for Full Assurance and A Reader’s Guide to Reformed Literature

“A lot is said today about ‘dysfunctional’ families. Any group of sinful people who live together in close proximity for very long are going to experience some level of dysfunction! What my friend Curtis Thomas has done for us in this book is to provide practical help for minimizing our dysfunction in the family of God. My hope is that this text can press all of us toward unity in the body of Christ. And a pastor would be wise to present this book as a gift to new members who join their church.”

Bob Lepine
Co-Host, FamilyLife Today, frequent speaker, FamilyLife Marriage Conferences, author of The Christian Husband

Life in the Body of Christ is a must read for every Christian. Every age group in every evangelical church should make it a point to study this book chapter by chapter, look seriously at every suggestion, and meditate on every Scripture suggested for that purpose. Curtis Thomas has given us a gift, a stimulus to edifying reflection and action on every pertinent aspect of corporate and individual responsibility and privilege to be pursued in the life of a local church. His suggestions are brief but turgid with biblical insight and healthy church experience. His questions are provocative of the most Christ-honoring train of thought. The variety of subjects that he introduces prompts a real seriousness about the comprehensiveness of Christian worship, discipleship, fellowship and witness. Don’t miss this simple but mature guide to an ever-increasing conformity to Christ-centered, Bible-warranted church life.”

Dr. Thomas J. Nettles
Retired Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Author of many volumes, including By His Grace and for His Glory and Praise Is His Gracious Choice

“Curtis Thomas has a heart to see believers enjoy Life in the Body of Christ as God intended it to be. Drawing on his years of pastoral ministry, he provides practical wisdom concerning the privileges and responsibilities of being a part of a local congregation of believers. His counsel, if followed, would undoubtedly avert much potential confusion and conflict in local churches, and would certainly bring blessing to the people of God and glory to Christ, the Head of the church.”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Host of “Revive our Hearts” radio ministry and Author of several works including A Place of Quiet Rest and Lies Women Believe

“This eminently practical work from the pen of Curtis Thomas will prove helpful to a broad array of constituencies for years to come. For example, it would greatly benefit new believers as they assimilate into Bible-believing local churches. It would also serve well as a text for new members’ classes along with those surveying the fundamentals of the faith. Its bite-sized and well-written articles will be found appealing to all.”

Dr. George Zemek (1943 – 2023)
Theologian, Author of Doing God’s Business God’s Way and A Biblical Theology of the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace

“When I first saw the title of this book by Curtis Thomas, Life in the Body of Christ, I thought it might be a duplication of a book I coauthored called Life in the Father’s House. However, as I read through the book I became aware that his book actually was a companion volume to our book in that it covered many very helpful and practical issues with which our book does not deal. In my opinion, this book will provide in succinct form much useful information on a large variety of everyday issues that ordinary church members face. I encourage people to purchase the book, read it, study it and follow the many practical directives that are found in it. By so doing the individual Christian and the church corporate will be strengthened and blessed.”

Dr. Wayne Mack
Elder, Lynnwood Baptist Church, South Africa, Director, ACBC Africa, Author of several volumes, including Strengthening Your Marriage; Your Family God’s Way

“I am very enthusiastic about Life in the Body of Christ. It is a very well organized survey of the manysided privileges and responsibilities of Christian church members. Each chapter includes a basic presentation, often with a set of questions by which a person may evaluate his/her performance in this area. Then there are listed points of application for individuals and for groups. A brief passage of Scripture for meditation concludes the chapter.Any church should benefit by the dissemination and study of this work, especially those that accept Baptist Ecclesiology. I plan to use this book to test my own faithfulness as a church member from time to time.I don’t agree with the author’s understanding of restrictive passages about women’s ministry, but the list of activities that he views as open to women shows a concern for making sure that the church should reap the benefits of spiritual gifts that God gave to our sisters, who thus would have an opportunity to exercise them.”

Dr. Roger Nicole (1915 – 2010)
Swiss Reformed Baptist Theologian, Author of many works

“Curtis Thomas has condensed decades of church ministry into a few dozen, easy-to-understand pages. Life in the Body of Christ is versatile enough to work as a text in a new Christian’s class to ground spiritual babes in the Christian life, in a new member’s class, or in a small group study to help believers at all levels of maturity grow as part of Christ’s church.”

Donald W. Whitney
Seminary Professor, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,Author of several volumes, including Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church

“Being a member of a church and serving within the body of Christ is not to be taken lightly. As a result, Curtis Thomas has written an excellent volume to practically help Christians function biblically along with others in the church. The book is easy to read, full of Scripture, challenging in its application and very appropriate for individual or group study. I highly recommend Life in the Body of Christ.”

Martha Peace
Biblical counselor, Conference Teacher, Author of The Excellent Wife and Attitudes of a Transformed Heart

“What does it mean to be a church member? Curtis Thomas has provided us an excellent compendium designed to instruct church members in the practice of living together in the body of Christ. This primer will help leaders upgrade the interest and involvement of members, new or old. We are again indebted to this veteran author and Christian leader for providing practical tools for our work.”

Jim Elliff
President and Founder, Christian Communicators Worldwide, Pastor,Conference Speaker and Author, Pursuing God: A Seeker’s Guide

“I believe that Life in the Body of Christ: Privileges and Responsibilities in the Local Church by Curtis Thomas, will prove to be a very useful text for members of the body of Christ. It is a simple and practical expression of how Christians can be better and more effective in their churches and in their lives.”

Dr. D. James Kennedy (1930 – 2007)
Evangelist, Apologist, Author of many volumes, including Evangelism Explosion

Life in the Body of Christ is a much needed tool to further equip church members to be vital and growing parts of the body of Christ. Curtis Thomas not only describes the most common issues faced by church members and leaders, but provides helpful insights and practical counsel to address them for the glory of Christ and for the sake of church unity. Though some may find views presented to differ from their own churches’ confessional standards in a few matters of secondary importance, the general principles and sound biblical counsel articulated by Pastor Thomas are of great benefit to every believer who is concerned about biblical truth and being a faithful member of Christ’s church.”

Tim J. Reed
Sr. Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, AR

“It has been my privilege over the years to use Curtis’ material, and he has done it again with an excellent manual on life in the Church. He covers many of the areas we all wrestle with from spiritual leadership in the family to very practical areas of church ministries and problems. I highly recommend it.”

Dr. Frank M. Barker, Jr. (1932 – 2021)
Founding Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, AL

“Curtis Thomas has penned a marvelously instructive book on daily life in the body of Christ. I don’t know of another book on the Christian’s relationship to the Church that is quite like it. With brief yet thoroughly written chapters on virtually every aspect of church life, this resource is destined to become a practical standard for how to relate to our Lord and His blood-bought saints within a local assembly. Whether you are a pastor, elder, deacon, or in some other function of church leadership, you will find forty-plus years of skilled counsel which has come out of Thomas’ own applied knowledge of Scripture and deep local church ministry experience. Equally, whether you are a layman with a long and fruitful ministry in the local church, or a new believer in Jesus who knows very little about your relationship to fellow believers, this book has been written with you in mind. Having been his colleague in pastoral ministry for several years, I can confidently say that Curtis Thomas knows of what he writes in these pages. I pray that this unique volume would become widely read and thoughtfully applied. Follow his guidance and you will enjoy life in the body of Christ!”

Dr. S. Lance Quinn
Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, The Expositors Seminary, Coauthor, The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented

“In our day the church is no longer the object of appreciation, devotion and commitment. Curtis Thomas has provided for all of us, in general, and leaders, in particular, an excellent teaching tool for discipleship, as well as, a primer for believers to properly engage in the church to the fullest blessing that God intended and the fullest devotion to which He calls us. The body of Christ, His glorious bride, was purchased by His blood and is headed into eternity.”

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III (1948-2023)
Sr. Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Al, Conference Speaker, Author of several titles, including From Embers to a Flame

“Curtis Thomas loves the Church! And his unique book Life in the Body of Christ celebrates his love by providing encyclopedic wisdom for living out the glorious mystery of the Church. Individuals and families will turn to this book again and again for winsome biblical advice.”

R. Kent Hughes
Former Senior Pastor, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois, author of Disciplines of a Godly Man

“Today’s Christians have largely lost sight of what it means to be a member of a local congregation. In far too many cases, the local church has been turned into a voluntary association, and church membership has been reduced to a matter of occasional participation and minimal involvement. Curtis C. Thomas knows that the Bible calls us to a far higher vision. Now retired after almost a half-century in ministry, Thomas writes with a wealth of experience that he draws from deep wells of conviction. These short chapters will instruct, encourage and inform. Life in the Body of Christ offers a wealth of wisdom and points the way towards a recovery of biblical church membership.”

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Host, TheBriefingPodcast, Author of The Conviction to Lead and He Is Not Silent

“This book is a compendium of wisdom about a neglected topic—churchmanship. Curtis Thomas writes as one who has been seasoned by a life consumed with the study of the Word of God, with years of pastoral experience and the godly maturity of a gracious saint who has run the race and kept the faith. His insights into the nature of the Christian life, the needs of God’s people and the centrality of the church in the plan of God are superlative. This is a great book. If widely read and taken to heart, it will revitalize God’s people and strengthen Christ’s church.”

Dr. Tedd Tripp
Pastor Emeritus, Grace Fellowship Church, Hazelton, PA, President, Shepherding a Child’s Heart Ministries, Author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Hints for Parents: With Gospel Encouragements

“My first introduction to Curtis Thomas was through his immensely helpful book on the five points of Calvinism. What I still like best about that book is the way it outlines the subject with plain simplicity and precision. It instantly clears away a lot of the cobwebs of confusion for people who are struggling to understand a complex issue. Life in the Body of Christ has the same kind of straight-to-the-point clarity. It’s a wonderful overview of what church life ought to be. I think it will be a valuable resource—not only for people who are new to the church, but also for seasoned pastors and church leaders looking for a simple roadmap in an age when church ministry has begun to seem unnecessarily complex.”

Phillip R. Johnson
Executive Director and Radio Host, Grace to You, Pastor and Elder, Grace Community Church, Author and Conference Speaker

About the Author

For almost 50 years Curtis Thomas pastored several Baptist Churches in central Arkansas, and retired in 1998 as the Executive Pastor of The Bible Church of Little Rock. In addition to Life in the Body of Christ, he authored Practical Wisdom for Pastors and was co-author of two other works: The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended and Documented and Romans: An Interpretive Outline. He and his wife, Betty, live in Little Rock, Arkansas where they serve as active members of Redeemer Community Church. In his middle 80’s he continues to teach a number of home classes verse by verse through Paul’s letter to the Romans. They have three sons and five grandchildren.



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