Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional
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Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional  -     By: Jim Belcher

Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional

InterVarsity Press / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

Deep Church, author Jim Belcher has been both an insider and an outsider to the Emerging Church movement. Now he brings the best insights of all sides to forge a third way. With appreciative critique, he explores the proposals of the emerging church leaders and provides constructive models of what this alternate deep church looks like - a missional church committed to both tradition and culture, valuing innovation in worship, arts, and community but also creeds and confessions. Plumb the depths of Christianity in a way that neither rejects our postmodern context nor capitulates to it. Instead of veering to the left or right, go beyond the extremes and go-deep.

Product Information

Title: Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional
By: Jim Belcher
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
Weight: 14 ounces
ISBN: 0830837167
ISBN-13: 9780830837168
Stock No: WW837168

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Publisher's Description

2010 Christianity Today Book Award winner! 2010 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner! Feeling caught between the traditional church and the emerging church? Discover a third way: deep church. C. S. Lewis used the phrase "deep church" to describe the body of believers committed to mere Christianity. Unfortunately church in our postmodern era has been marked by a certain shallowness. Emerging authors, fed up with contemporary pragmatism, have offered alternative visions for twenty-first-century Christianity. Traditionalist churches have reacted negatively, at times defensively. Jim Belcher knows what it's like to be part of both of these worlds. In the 1990s he was among the pioneers of what was then called Gen X ministry, hanging out with creative innovators like Rob Bell, Mark Oestreicher and Mark Driscoll. But he also has maintained ties to traditionalist circles, planting a church in the Presbyterian Church of America. In Deep Church, Belcher brings the best insights of all sides to forge a third way between emerging and traditional. In a fair and evenhanded way, Belcher explores the proposals of such emerging church leaders as Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt. He offers measured appreciation and affirmation as well as balanced critique. Moving beyond reaction, Belcher provides constructive models from his own church planting experience and paints a picture of what this alternate, deep church looks like--a missional church committed to both tradition and culture, valuing innovation in worship, arts and community but also creeds and confessions. If you've felt stuck between two extremes, you can find a home here. Plumb the depths of Christianity in a way that neither rejects our postmodern context nor capitulates to it. Instead of veering to the left or the right, go between the extremes--and go deep.

Author Bio

Jim Belcher (M.A., Fuller; Ph.D., Georgetown) is founding church planter and lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. He previously led the Twenty-Something Fellowship and cofounded The Warehouse Service at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. He has served as adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and was cofounder of the Renaissance Project Skateboard Company. He has been published in Leadership Journal and re:generation quarterly, and he and his wife and four children live in Costa Mesa, California.


Richard J. Mouw (PhD, University of Chicago) now serves as professor of faith and public life after twenty years as president of Fuller Theological Seminary. He has written over twenty books on topics of social ethics, philosophy of culture and interfaith dialogue, including Uncommon Decency, The Challenges of Cultural Discipleship, Praying at Burger King, The God Who Commands, Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport, The Smell of Sawdust and Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals. A leader in interfaith theological conversations, particularly with Mormons and Jewish groups, Mouw served for six years as co-chair of the official Reformed-Catholic Dialogue and as president of the Association of Theological Schools. For seventeen years he was a professor of philosophy at Calvin College and in 2007, Princeton Theological Seminary awarded him the Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life.

Publisher's Weekly

Passionately, articulately and with sometimes winsome self-confidence, Belcher seeks to chart a “third way” between the often divided factions within the traditional and emerging wings of American evangelicalism. The author, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif., asserts that it is possible to forge a “new ecumenism” and unity based in creedal orthodoxy, while also respecting the particularities of denominations and faith communities. After defining what impels the emerging church movement, he analyzes the “seven protests” leveled by the movement against traditional churches within the evangelical movement, from being too caught up in the rationalism of the Enlightenment, to overemphasizing doctrinal purity and an unwillingness to engage modern culture. Following that, he responds to each critique with an alternative solution that blends both reform and tradition to create a new body of Christian gospel–centered believers. A caveat: readers who think that mainline Protestantism has anything to contribute to this dialogue will not find any encouragement. Focused on the internal struggle within the American Christian evangelical wing, Belcher barely mentions this other flank of Christianity. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

"Belcher provides a balanced critique of both paradigms threaded within his own quest to present the formidable issues dividing them. . . A worthy read."

-- Diane J. Chandler, Religious Studies Review, September 2010

"An excellent survey and tutorial of the issues of dividing the emerging church and the traditional church."

-- Equip to Disciple, Issue 2, 2010

"Passionately, articulately and with sometimes winsome self-confidence, Belcher seeks to chart a "third way" between the often divided factions within the traditional and emerging wings of American evangelicalism."

-- Publishers Weekly, July 13, 2009

"Jim has written the most fair and affectionate critique of the emerging church yet published (especially from someone with a reformed theological perspective). Deep Church is a great read. It's a great read for non-formed types in the emerging church because it's a fair and thoughtful critique, and it's a great read for more traditional or reformed types, because it doesn't construct straw men to make its case."

-- (ysmarko.com), April 10, 2009

"Belcher describes his very personal journey to discover a way beyond the current debate that divides the traditional and emerging camps within American evangelicalism. In sorting out the contours of a debate that is sometimes hard to follow, Belcher also sets out the vision for the church he leads and describes how they are trying to live into that vision. He calls the vision 'deep church' ... a way of following Jesus and being the church that is both grounded in what Belcher calls the Great Tradition and engaged with contemporary culture."

-- Robert J. Weingartner, Missiology, 2010

"Belcher, himself a child of the traditional church in North America and concerned with the state of the evangelical world, takes an honest look at the debates raging between the two perspectives. He looks at the strengths, weaknesses, and misunderstandings they each have of one another, and introduces a third way -- what C.S. Lewis called the 'deep church.'"

-- David Chow, Mennonite Brethren Herald, February 2010

"From a former insider of the emerging church, this theologically weighty book speaks to both sides in the emerging/traditional debate. Though reflecting primarily a Reformed perspective, Belcher is irenic, showing appreciation for both emergent concerns and the great tradition of Christian faith and practice."

-- The 2010 Christianity Today Book Awards, The Church/Pastoral Leadership Category Winner (tie), February 2010

Conversation Starter Award "The most discussed review on our site in 2009 was by far Chris Smith's review of Jim Belcher's book Deep Church. We certainly appreciate his careful and thoughtful work and the book's capactiy to spark meaningful and needed conversations."

-- The Englewood Review of Books, December 2009

"All serious readers will benefit from Belcher's insights and critiques as much as from the exemplary, thoughtful manner in which he handles the discussion."

-- Bob Gerow, Pulpit Helps, November 2009

"Belcher's concern for his congregants and for the future of the American church is evident on every page. Readers who recognize that the traditional church is ripe for reform but are wary of emerging alternatives will find Belcher a careful, sympathetic guide toward a more productive conversation."

-- Brandon O'Brien, Christianity Today, December 2009

"Jim Belcher was emerging before it was called emerging. His insights into church life are broadly useful, and the balance he strikes between tradition and mission, certainty and creativity, could provide a way forward for many."

-- Madison Trammel, Christianity Today, October 2009

"A fair-minded treatment of a polarizing and polemic topic."

-- C. Brian Smith, Christian Retailing, September 7, 2009

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