Monday, June 26, 2006
The Emerging Church - vintage christianity for new gnerations
I have had this book on my shelf for about two years, sort of afraid to read it. Why? I thought it was some reinvention of how we must make christianity relevent in order to reach people with the Gospel. I was wrong. Very important that I note this book addresses all throughout the "seeker sensitive church". He defines as a "strategy of designing ministry to attract those who feel the church is irrevlevent or dull, often involving removing religious stumbling blocks or displays of the spiritual (extended worship, religious symbols, extensive prayer times, liturgy, etc.)" On the inverse we learn that the post modern emerging church, is going back to the ancient traditions, dimming the lights, reading lots of scripture in the services, and experiencing prayer stations. I am making it simple because he spends 11 chapters laying it out, so I can not do it justice no matter how many parts I list.
Overall the first halh of the book uses a lot of words and chapters to make a point that I don't think needs to be made. He uses Judges 2:10 to prove that there is a generation now that is "post-christian," meaning that they do not have a Judeo-Christian worldview. This verse has nothing to do with an "emerging generation." As I read I began to draw a line in my mind between the church and the emergning church. He makes a few statements about building the "emerging church", which creates the idea of two churches.
Two chapters later he points out "how open the emerging generation is to God," and that "God is very much in the thoughts of todays generations." This sounds a bit different than the point he was making about the "post-christian culture." At the end of this chapter he talks about the eraly church being filled with an environments of sorcerers, gods, goddesses, and different spiritual cults and says we are not facing anything new.
As he moves to the values of the emerging church I will say that I thought it sounded a lot like the values of Grace Church of Sun Valley California, where John Macarthur is the pastor. Minus the dimmed lights, and prayer stations I think Dan's church body would enjoy a service at this very traditional bible church. The second half of the book was a very good read.
If you want a long look at a perspective of the younger (emerging) generation's views, and a case study on a unique church service this is a great book for you.
If you have questions or want to start some dialogue on this I am more than happy to. It was very hard to review 254 pages in one post and get into all of the areas I wanted.