The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Persectives
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Zondervan/Youth Specialties / 2003 / Paperback

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The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Persectives

Edited By: Leonard Sweet
Zondervan/Youth Specialties / 2003 / Paperback

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CBD Stock No: WW54877

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Product Description

What happens when five noted Christian thinkers/writers tackle questions concerning the church's role in this pivotal postmodern era? Pull up a seat and join in the lively roundtable discussion! This stimulating and intriguing book offers individual essays into which the other four authors interject their comments and critique. Foundational reading for today's church leaders. 263 pages, softcover from Zondervan.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 263
Vendor: Zondervan/Youth Specialties
Publication Date: 2003
Dimensions: 9.25 X 7.37 (inches)
ISBN: 0310254876
ISBN-13: 9780310254874

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Publisher's Description

What should the church look like today? What should be the focus of its message? How should I present that message? We live in as pivotal and defining an age as the Great Depression or the Sixties–a period whose definition, say some cultural observers, includes a warning of the church’s influence. The result? A society measurably less religious but decidedly more spiritual. Less influenced by authority than by experience. More attuned to images than to words. How does the church adapt to such a culture? Or should it, in fact, eschew adapting for maintaining a course it has followed these last two millennia? Or something in between? These are exactly the questions asked in The Church In Emerging Culture by five Christian thinker-speaker-writers, each who advocate unique stances regarding what the church’s message should be (and what methods should be used to present it) as it journeys through this evolving, postmodern era. The authors are: Andy Crouch–Re:Generation Quarterly editor-in-chief Michael Horton–professor and reformed theologian Frederica Mathewes-Green–author, commentator, and Orthodox Christian Brian D. McLaren–postmodernist, author, pastor, and Emergent senior fellow Erwin Raphael McManus–author and pastor of the innovative and interethnic L.A.-based church, Mosaic Most unique about their individual positions is that they’re presented not as singular essays but as lively discussions in which the other four authors freely (and frequently) comment, critique, and concur. That element, coupled with a unique photographic design that reinforces the depth of their at-once congenial and feisty conversation, gives you all-access entrée into this groundbreaking discourse. What’s more, general editor Leonard Sweet (author of SoulTsunami and AquaChurch, among several other acclaimed texts) frames the thought-provoking dialogue with a profoundly insightful, erudite introductory essay–practically a book within a book. The Church In Emerging Culture is foundational reading for leaders and serious students of all denominations and church styles.

Author Bio

Andy Crouch is editorial director for The Christian Vision Project at Christianity Today International and executive producer of Where Faith and Culture Meet, a series of short documentary films on Christians creating "a counterculture for the common good." He is a member of the editorial board of Books & Culture, and a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission's IJM Institute. His writing has appeared in several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing. He lives with his family in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Leonard Sweet is an author of many books, professor (Drew University, George Fox University, Tabor College), creator of, and a popular speaker throughout North America and the world. His "Napkin Scribbles" podcasts are available on  


Michael Horton (PhD, DD) is Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. Author of many books, including The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, he also hosts the White Horse Inn radio program. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and four children in Escondido, California.




     Frederica Mathewes-Green (BA, University of South Carolina; MA, Virginia Episcopal Seminary) is an author, commentator, and Orthodox Christian.  She is a regular contributor to Christianity Today, Focus on the Family-Citizen, and Touchstone.  
     <P>Brian D. McLaren (MA, University of Maryland) is an author, speaker, activist and public theologian. After teaching college English, Brian pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Brain has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings in the US and internationally.</P>  
     <P>Erwin R. McManus (BA, University of North Carolina; MDiv, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as lead pastor and cultural architect of Mosaic, a diverse, multi-ethnic church based in Los Angeles, California. As founder of Awaken, an entrepreneurial community, Erwin collaborates with a team of dreamers and innovators who specialize in the field of developing and unleashing personal and organizational creativity. A national and international consultant on culture, change, leadership, and creativity, he partners with Bethel Theological Seminary as a futurist and distinguished lecturer. He is the author of the ECPA Silver Medallion Award-winning book, An Unstoppable Force, and Seizing Your Divine Moment, Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul, and The Barbarian Way.</P>  

Editorial Reviews

Leonard Sweet's insights on the church in emerging culture solicit the interaction of keen minds like Andy Crouch, Michael Horton, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Brian McClaren, and Erwin McManus. The church serves the mission of Christ in a culture that is less influenced by authority and more influenced by personal experience; a culture that is more attuned to images than words. This is not a book for the quick solution reader. It requires thorough engagement, but the reward is greater clarity on the huge task of being an effective Kingdom church in the 21st century.

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  1. Mak
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    October 26, 2007
    An interesting book especially for those who are following the development of the emergent church movement. It helped me understand better the concerns of the emerging church movement and also its criticism. The comments from the orthodox perspective are very enlightening.
  2. SRB
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    November 8, 2006
    Leonard Sweet provides the introduction for this book, in which he identifies four basic approaches that churches are taking to engage the emerging postmodern culture and gathers five contemporary thinkers that cover the range of these approaches: 1) Low change in message, low change in method; 2) Low change in message, high change in method; 3) High change in message, low change in method; 4) High change in message, high change in method. Michael Horton and Frederica Matthewes-Green represent the first position; Horton approaches the issue from the standpoint of classic Reformed theology, while Matthewes-Green looks through the lens of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Erwin Raphael McManus is presented as taking the second approach, and focuses on the necessity of leading people into relationship with Christ, which he believes requires innovative methods in the present ever-shifting culture. Andy Crouch represents the third approach, and emphasizes the continuing importance of practicing the sacraments of baptism and communion as the primary foci for the worship of the church. Brian McLaren espouses the fourth approach, arguing that major changes in culture require that we re-examine both our theology and practices to ensure that we are properly contextualizing the gospel for the current cultural climate. (The book never actually tells us which author is taking which position, but I think Ive got them straight.)An innovative element of the book is that each of the five contributors is invited to comment on each others work, and the comments are included in the text as you read through the book. Each author was also given the opportunity to respond to these comments in a rejoinder following their own essay. Though this format sometimes makes it difficult to follow the line of argument, on the whole I found it to be useful, as it lends a sense of an ongoing conversation. Stimulating reading for pastors and educated laypeople.
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