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Posts Tagged ‘Emergent’

The librarian at Trinity college, Bristol is excellent. I told her about the book ‘Deep Church’ by Jim Belcher which had recieved numerous good reviews. She ordered a copy  which I was able to pick up today.

Deep-Church-200x300The book explores a path, which he calls Deep Church,  which can be taken which avoids both  traditional evangelicalism and the emergent scene.  A friend pinted out to me that people in the UK may get a little confused as there is a ‘Deep Church’ movement/set of books/blogs in the UK.

There is a ‘Deep Church’ website and excerpts can be found here.

Why was I so keen to get my hands on this book?

Firstly, I appreciate the theological leanings of some of the main traditional evangelical preachers/teachers in the UK such as Don Carson, Wayne Grudem and John Piper. However, I do think that the emergent scene has rightly criticized, amongst other things, the impact of modernity in the formulation of rationalistic evangelical theology. This places me in a strange place. I spend half of my time defending a traditional evangelicalism but this, at times, leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps this book will help me be more comfortable with my posiition.  Secondly, a quick look at endorsements reveals that this book is spoken highly of by a wide ranger of scholars and practitioners. ie. Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Scot McKnight, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball. If these people from different theological and ecclesiological positions are in agreement that this is a great book then it should be read. Thirdly, I want to have an ecumenical spirit (I really do) which seeks to build bridges and find unity in the Christian Church. What has Athens to do with Jerusalem Emergent to with Conservative Evangelicalism?… well for starters both camps claim allegiance to Jesus Christ. This book, which seems to be balanced, will explore and critique both traditional and emergent.

Here are some of the endorsements.

“Jim Belcher shows that we don’t have to choose between orthodox evangelical doctrine on the one hand, and cultural engagement, creativity and commitment to social justice on the other. This is an important book.”
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

“Smart, passionate, thoughtful, hopeful and Jesus-centered–this is the Jim Belcher I used to hang out with in the early nineties (like it was so long ago!) at the Huntington–and this is the Jim Belcher in this book. Lots of people are going to find this book very helpful.”
—Rob Bell, pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, author, Velvet Elvis

“Rising above the usual shallow, facile critiques of the emergent church movement, Jim Belcher has written for us a book that, indeed, goes deep. Jim took the time to listen to emergent voices, and as a result, he appreciates the movement for what it is. And, further, his admonitions ring true. While Jim and I have theological differences, I can heartily recommend Deep Church as an invigorating study of and healthy corrective to both the emergent and traditional church.”
—Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier (http://tonyj.net)

“Deep Church is a thoughtful, helpful and practical addition to the growing field of missional church thinking.”
—Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle, president, Acts 29 Church Planting Network, president, Resurgence

I have just read the first few chapters and am not disappointed. Here are some of the highlights so far.

His goal is to provide  ‘well rounded picture of the emerging community’s conviction’. After surveying many books and blogs he sees the emerging church as being critical of several aspects of the traditional church. (For ordinands we must recognize that this book is from a US perspective and that traditional means ‘traditional evangelical’ as opposed to Anglican traditional which means liturgy and bells and smells).

1) Captivity to Enlightenment Rationalism (Yep! evangelicals do like their water tight theological systems)

2) A narrow view of salvation (Being a Tom Wright and Neo-Calvinist fan I agree with this)

3) Belief before belonging

4) Uncontextualized Worship

5) Ineffective teaching. I have tried to deal with some of this here.

6) Weak Ecclessiology

7) Tribalism

He goes on to mention the three fold division which Ed Stetzer employs to describe the emergent church.

1) Relevants- Driscoll

2) Reconstructionists

3) Revisionists- Emergent Village

In this book Belcher will mainly interact with those of the reconstructionists and revisionist camps.

I am going to enjoy reading this book and may well blog my way through it.



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See the full post Scott McKnight post here

Full circle: like “fundamentalism” and “evangelicalism,” the words “emerging” and “emergent” have become a liability; it has become a term that needs ten minutes of explanation before it can be used. Many are just confused about the meaning of the term. Then two fellas wrote a book that dramatized it all, contending that they were not emerging when by all accounts they should be. Well, I said to myself, this just proves that the term no longer makes sense.

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Click here for the full blog post by Dan Kimball. Here is a choice quote.

“If you were to have asked me about what the core of the emerging church is, I would have responded with “evangelism and mission in our emerging culture to emerging generations”. And from that, other things were of course included, alternative worship, discussions on  ecclesiolgy etc. as a means for fruitful growth of disciples of Jesus. But evangelism for me was underneath it all. Today, I certainly sense if you asked someone what is “the emerging church” it would mean a whole lot of of different things than that. In fact, I don’t even think the word “evangelism” comes up when I start hearing about “the emerging church” for the most part anymore. It also means so many different things theologically today. I will talk about theology in a later post, but over the 10 years the emerging church world has also become so theologically diverse that it has become understandably confusing. I can’t defend or even explain theologically what is now known broadly as “the emerging church” anymore, because it has developed into so many significantly different theological strands. Some I strongly would disagree with (as I assume they would strongly disagree with me). So that has changed as well from my perspective.”

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The Western Church needs to realise that amongst young people a major epistemological shift is taking place. The emergent church seeks to respond to this new development in a number of ways. The following mp3s from the ACTS 29 network, which is essentially a reformed church planting group, offer the following on their website. The talks are by Darrin Patrick who is lead pastor of ‘the Journey’

The History and Streams of the Emergent Church

Popular Terms of the Emergent Church

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I found the first session quite helpful. The last session seesk to critique some major players in the emergent movement. However it’s lack of detail leaves one a little dissapointing.  If anyone has any links to toher mp3′s on the emergent church then please pass them onto me and I will include them in the body of this post.

I look fwd to some comments from fellow trinity bloggers Lee Barnes and Jon Taylor. Are there any other Trinity bloggers out there?

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