Emergent Church Overview – Other Reviews

Other reviews of the EC

There are a number of very helpful overviews of the EC movement available in books, magazines, blogs and websites.   Two that have an especially good combination of scholarship and civil tone are cited here:

An extensive review of the movement is found in the book “Evangelicals Engaging Emergent”, published in the spring of 2009.  Consider the range of content: it begins with a forward by Thom Rainer (LifeWay Christian Resources) and some introductory remarks by William Henard (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary).  These are followed by two fairly extensive chapters by Mark Devine (Beeson Divinity School) and Ed Stetzer (LifeWay Christian Resources), each providing an overview of the movement, and identifying issues that should likely be of concern for evangelicals: concern relative to useful critiques of the evangelical movement emanating from emergents, or for assumptions, conclusions and practices by emergents which may be at a minimum unhelpful if not heretical and dangerous.

Following this stage-setting, the remaining essays are grouped into three major sections: Biblical, Theological and Practical.  In the Biblical section, Norman Geisler (Veritas Evangelical Seminary) and Thomas Howe (Southern Evangelical Seminary) address a post-modern view of scripture that characterizes some within the emergent movement.  Next, Douglas Blount (Dallas Theological Seminary) specifically deals with the “hermeneutics of taste” relative to Brian McLaren’s approach to scripture.  This section concludes with R. Scott Smith (Biola University) discussing philosophical and spiritual lessons related to the importance of truth, as viewed by emergents and evangelicals.

In the Theological section, Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary) reviews Christological thinking found within the emerging church movement, and Robert Sagers (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) explores views of salvation among emergents.  This section concludes with a discussion by John Hammett (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) of the view of the church and ecclesiology, according to emergents.

The Practical section contains a group of essays dealing with the impact of emergent thinking on how Christianity is lived out.  Daniel Akin (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) addresses the emergent church and ethical choices, providing some guidance in making decisions.  Jim Shaddix (pastor, Riverside Baptist Church, Denver, CO) deals with the diminished role of preaching, as viewed by some emergents.  Chuck Lawless (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) then addresses the views of evangelism within the emergent church.  Finally, concluding remarks are provided by Adam Greenway (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary).

Another 2009 reference with a balanced overview can be found in the chapters of “Deep Church, a Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional” by Jim Belcher.  This book provides an insightful analysis of the ongoing and often contentious confrontation between these two poles (i.e., Emerging and Traditional) of evangelical Christianity.  With a great deal of sympathy and sensitivity he explores major areas of conflict, and describes a third approach called the “Deep Church”, which he feels maximizes the best of each pole, while eliminating that from each camp that is undesirable.   Additionally his postulation attempts to glean some important aspects of the ancient church which he feels are fundamental components of the deep church.  A prime example of this “third way” is the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA, which he has pioneered, and is the senior pastor.

Two less extensive overviews written by prominent EC leaders are as follows:

Scot McKnight: Five Streams of the Emerging Church (2007)


Mark Driscoll: Navigating the Emergent Church Highway (2008)


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