The author here examines the Church in ""its social and historical consistency within a non-doctrinal framework"". He seeks to interpret Jesus Christ, the Bible, Holy Communion, etc., in terms of their social function in the Church. Professor Gustafson of the Yale Divinity School treats the Church as a human institution having all the characteristics, weaknesses and strengths of any typical organization put together by the hands of man, in contradistinction to a divine Body of Christ. He sees it with organizational framework, individual ambitions, social impact, history and politics. It provides an acceptable fellowship and strives to meet the emotional and the essential physical needs of man. It has its own customs founded upon human nature and these rites follow man from birth to death. The Church's ""community of language"" and its ""community of interpretation"" and finally the ""community of belief and action"" are seen as characteristics of natural society and the tools by which these characteristics are applied to the natural body of society. An attempt is made to relate the foregoing traits of the Church to God. The book is not easy reading, but it is full of meat for thought. Occasionally controversial, the author makes clear his point of view and the text is well annotated.