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An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches: [Paperback]

By Ray S. Anderson (Author) & Brian McLaren (Foreword by)
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Item description for An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches: by Ray S. Anderson & Brian McLaren...

Explaining that an emergent theology is messianic, revelational, kingdom-coming and eschatological, this book adresses many of the concerns of those looking for a church that is contemporary, yet true to the gospel. If you wrestle with the challenges that face the church in these "postmodern" days, you will benefit from this book.

Publishers Description
If the emerging church movement is looking for a theology, Ray Anderson offers clear and relevant theological guidance for it in this timely book. Reaching back through time, Anderson roots an emergent theology in what happened at Antioch, where Saul (Paul) and Barnabas were set apart for a mission to establish churches outside of Jerusalem--among Gentiles who had to be reached in their own cultures. He shows how the Lord Holy Spirit himself revolutionized and inspired how the message of salvation was offered to others, and provided a model to follow. Explaining that an emergent theology is messianic, revelational, kingdom-coming and eschatological, this book adresses many of the concerns of those looking for a church that is contemporary, yet true to the gospel. If you wrestle with the challenges that face the church in these "postmodern" days, you will benefit from this book.

Citations And Professional Reviews
An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches: by Ray S. Anderson & Brian McLaren has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Library Journal - 08/07/2006

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Item Specifications...

Studio: InterVarsity Press
Pages   236
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.24" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.69 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 7, 2006
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830833919  
ISBN13  9780830833917  

Availability  2 units.
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More About Ray S. Anderson & Brian McLaren

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ray S. Anderson is Professor of Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary, California. He is author of Historical Transcendence and the Reality of God and On Being Human.

Ray S. Anderson currently resides in Huntington Beach, in the state of California. Ray S. Anderson has an academic affiliation as follows - The Fuller Theological Seminary.

Ray S. Anderson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Forming Leader's for God's People
  2. Ray S. Anderson Collection
  3. Signposts in Theology

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Fundamentalism
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches?

great book for emerging church pastors  Jan 6, 2007
Very good book! With so much of the theologizing in the emerging church focusing on the gospels, this is a great contribution with its focus on Acts and Paul's letters. Dr. Anderson manages to be very challenging (a couple of the chapters will raise eyebrows) while providing some solid biblical and theological grounding for young churches. Great words on what it looks like to branch out from the established church without losing one's orthodoxy.
A Regression for Emergent?  Nov 13, 2006
One of the criticisms I've heard leveled at the emerging movement is that while it is strong in orthopraxy, it is weak in orthodoxy. As the title of the book suggests, Ray writes in an attempt to fill that perceived void in the emerging church -- the need for sound, biblical theology. One thing that the author focuses on, and rightly so, is that we, as the church, need to be led by the Spirit, not by the letter of the law. It is God's Spirit in us, not external rules, that allows us to adapt to every culture in order to be salt and light to that culture. Ray's exhortation to follow the Spirit of God is a timely word to the emerging church. But overall I think this book falls woefully short in accomplishing its goal and the theology presented may be, in fact, a step backward for emergent.

In my own journey, two main ideas really drew me to emergent. The first is the concept of inclusiveness, fostered, not by an "us vs. them" mentality, but by pulling together the best beliefs from all of Christianity's various traditions while at the same time allowing for differences. The second idea was that we, as the church, really needed to get back to the historical teachings of Jesus, especially concerning living out the kingdom of God. Sadly, Ray's views neither encourage nor reinforce either of these ideas.

The author presents a very exclusive view, insisting that "true" emergent theology must be based upon the apostle Paul and his letters to the churches. This view is nothing new and is held by many dispensationalists in the circles in which I travel. McLaren, in his forward to Ray's book, writes, "In the end, Ray isn't asking us to pit Antioch against Jerusalem." Unfortunately, I find that Ray does exactly that -- he pits Paul against the historical Jesus, the church in Antioch against the church in Jerusalem, and Paul's letters against the gospels. In fact, Ray goes so far as to insist that it was the "gospel of the kingdom" that Peter preached in the book of Acts that Paul accused of being the "another gospel" that resulted in, according to Paul's view, being accursed. So rather than being cohesive in helping us to integrate the teachings of Jesus with Paul's beliefs concerning Jesus, Ray's views support divisiveness in insisting that we need to pick Paul over Jesus.

This leads to my second concern in that Ray paints a picture of the apostle Paul as "the apostle for the emerging church." The author seems to have fallen into the modern pigeon-holing notion that the apostle Paul and his letters are all about the Spirit and grace while Jesus and the gospels are all about works and the law. Again, the false notion that Paul somehow trumps Jesus. If an apostle is "one who is sent", it seems to me that the primary apostle for the church should not be Paul (or Peter), but Jesus Christ himself.

Jesus, in Matthew 28, said, "Go and make disciples, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." While he did tell his disciples to wait for the Spirit, he did not tell them to wait for brother Paul to bring them the "true" gospel. As long as Paul's teachings follow those of Christ, Paul should be listened to and implemented in emerging theology. But when Paul insists on supporting slavery, the denigration of women, and governmental rule by "divine right", we need a more "emerging" apostle -- Christ himself.

We need not feel that we have to choose between the historical Jesus of the gospels and the "Christ of faith" of the apostle Paul. Scholars like N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard have made some wonderful inroads in helping us to see that there are not "two Jesuses" in the New Testament. There is one Christ and one Spirit. And despite Ray's claims, there is also only one church.

Is there a theology for the emerging church? Yes, I believe there is. For a better view of what emergent theology might look like in the 21st century, check out "A Generous Orthodoxy" by Brian McLaren (available here on this site). McLaren does a fine job of putting together the best beliefs from different Christian traditions into a cohesive whole that encourages us to be part of the missional kingdom of God here on earth.
A Bit Fuzzy  Nov 10, 2006
The first thing I noticed about this book was its table of contents. Another book by Wes Roberts and Glenn Marshall, Reclaiming God's Original Intent for the Church, has an uncanny similarity in style. I bought Glenn a copy for his own amusement.

Getting to the book, however, I found it to be more than a bit fuzzy in what the author was attempting to say (if that is important anymore). It is always refreshing to read a book that presents a clear articulation and argument concerning a claim, but Anderson (in true emergent fashion, affirms in one place what he seems to deny in another, thus leaving you wondering not just what he is saying, but what he actually means to say, and how one would go about even evaluating his proposals. This is especially true in the chapter dealing with the Work of God and the Word of God. Although affirming toward the end of the chapter that the Scripture takes priority, he has by then developed a fuzzy notion of the Work of God being "read" in an authoritative way. Though he denies that it trumps the Scripture, his illustrations seem to obscure that claim, leaving one to wonder just what he thinks about how Scripture would trump the subjective experience of the work of God, or even how such "work" would be validated. Such is the state of our "language games" in the publishing of so many of these sort of books today. Perhaps a chapter on "It's About Clear Communication, Not. . . ." Well, perhaps it's about clear communication period.

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