Emerging Churches

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Book: Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, in their book, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Baker Academic, 2005)

on the emergent particatory christian church movements in the US

See also: Emerging Church Movement


Review

"The were a few main things that struck me about this book:

1. Though the book is called Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in the 21st Century, the book has universal implications for church practice. The emerging church is a good example of how churches should be doing mission in today’s world. In fact this book, in my estimation, gives us a pretty good picture of what a good Anabaptist or Quaker church might look like if we updated our practices and theology to face postmodern challeneges.

2. This book is rooted in scholarly theology, good research and practical insight, things that are often hard to come by. Their research includes over 100 interviews with emerging church leaders, theology built on the works of such scholars as NT Wright, John Howard Yoder, Dallas Williard and stories from real live congregations looking to live faithful lives with Christ in today’s world.

3. This book, the emerging churches interviewed and the authors, are Jesus centered activists. In other words, this book baulks in the face of the modern dualism of orthodoxy and orthopraxy, conservatism and liberalism, democratic politics and republican politics (the list might continue indefinitely). Bolger and Gibbs discover that all emerging churches both follow Jesus and are socially radical. An interesting point that lays outside of the purpose of the book is that the authors also break those modern dualisms. One thing about Ryan that I like, is that he doesn’t fit well into the conservative camp. Typically conservatives who love Jesus do not carry out their faith in social and political ways (cf. NPR podcast with Richard Mouw). But on the other hand, the liberals can’t make sense of him either. He is socially aware because of his strong Jesus-ethic. He has told me on occasions that if your ethic can’t be rooted in the Gospels and in the Life and sayings of Jesus, then its not a Christian ethic.

4. Finally I like the readibility of this book. It has easy to follow sub-headings and plenty of narrative account from the many interviews that they recorded during their research." (http://gatheringinlight.com/2006/02/06/east-of-eden-and-emerging-churches-book-reviews/)