Book Review: Deep Church and the Emerging Church Conversation

So I have been reading Deep Church by Jim Belcher. It’s a fantastic read for those interested in engaging church. It’s an interesting discussion for Pentecostals – many of whom see the Emerging Church discussion as having many similarities to the being missional. I have not seen a better analysis of the different camps when it comes to the Emergent discussion than the one I am about to show. Much of the traditional church – especially the high church evangelical – including Baptist, Presbyterian and some Pentecostals have thrown many in this emergent group into the lot of heretics – saying they espouse non-Biblical practices. But the discussion has been vitriolic with lots of heresay. And I have always said that heresay is the handmaiden of heresy. We truly need to have more information to assist in the discussion. I have been in churches like Mars Hill where I have seen a fresh lived out faith and can attest that much of the concerns of traditional churches can be laid to rest for some but there is real room for critique of others but can that be left at the door of the traditional church as well.

Leave it to Ed Stetzer to be really helpful here. He lays out three broad categories or groups that he contents make up the emerging tent, regardless of the size of the church or gathering. These are the “relevants,” “reconstructionists” and “revisionists.”

Stetzer says that RELEVANTS are theologically conservative evangelicals who are not as interested in reshaping theology as they are in updating worship styles, preaching technique and church leadership structures.

RECONSTRUCTIONISTS according to Stetzer, “typically hold to a more orthodox view of the Gospel and Scripture” but are rethinking the current form of the church and its structure.

REVISIONISTS – These are the folks that get the most attention in the Emerging Church conversation. According to Stetzer, they are the most open to questioning key evangelical doctrines on theology and culture, wondering whether these dogmas are appropriate for the postmodern world. This group according to Belcher look a lot to the Emergent Village which includes Brian McLaren, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt.

Needless to say, Deep Church is a great read to the discussion of postmodernity and the analysis of players involved.