Review Of Anderson, An Emergent Theology For Emerging Churches -- By: Annang Asumang

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 09:1 (Mar 2010)
Article: Review Of Anderson, An Emergent Theology For Emerging Churches
Author: Annang Asumang

Review Of Anderson, An Emergent Theology For Emerging Churches

Annang Asumang1

Anderson RS 2007. An emergent theology for emerging churches: theological perspective for a new generation of leaders. Oxford: Bible Reading Fellowship.

Judging by recent developments in evangelical bloggosphere, the emerging church conversation appears to be making some impact among young evangelicals of the United Kingdom, North America, Australia and New Zealand, and perhaps South Africa. The phenomenon has also not gone unnoticed by several well-known leaders of the evangelical community, some of whom have written assessments ranging from balanced to severely adverse. Most of these evaluations of the conversation have expressed frustration that despite the prolific publications by the members and leaders of the conversation, there is a worrying lack of clearly articulated belief and practices of the conversation. This has no doubt hampered how pastors and leaders are able to guide others on how to relate to the conversation.

It therefore came as a matter of relief and excitement when I laid hold of Ray Anderson’s book, written with the intention of providing a theological perspective for the new generation of leaders within the emerging church conversation. Anderson begins with an introductory title—‘What has Antioch to do with Jerusalem’ (p. 10), a title which to a significant extent provides the background and tone to the whole book. Anderson’s thesis is that ‘the Christian community that emerged out of Antioch constitutes the original form and theology of the emerging church as contrasted with the believing community at Jerusalem’ (p. 21; cf. p. 74). Thus the conversation is hereby cast in the mould of the church at Antioch, the rest of the evangelical movement (or perhaps all other Christians) as ‘the Christian community in Jerusalem’ (p. 17). This provides a reasonable portrait of the self-understanding of the emerging church conversation—like the ‘emergent

church’ of Antioch, the postmodern emerging church conversation is mission-oriented, messianic, revelational, reformational, kingdom-focused, and eschatological (p. 18). These features are then expounded in turns in the subsequent chapters.

Of much interest is the chapter in which Anderson discusses the hermeneutics of the emerging church conversation, titled, ‘It’s about the Work of God, not just the Word of God’ (pp. 115-135). In my view, this chapter represents the most openly articulated précis of the approach that the emerging church conversation adopts in dealing with the difficult ethical question...

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