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 entree 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.
Leonard Sweet (PhD, University of Rochester) holds the E. Stanley Jones chair at Drew University. Founder and president of SpiritVenture Ministries, he also serves as a distinguished visiting professor at George Fox University, and is the chief writer for preachingplus.com. Sweet is a popular speaker and has written numerous books, including Jesus Drives Me Crazy, SoulTsunami, SoulSalsa, Carpe Manana, and (with Brian McLaren and Jerry Haselmeyer) A Is for Abductive: The Language of the Emerging Church.
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 andamp; 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.
Michael Horton is the author of over 20 books and host of the White Horse Inn, a nationally syndicated radio program. He is the professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California and the editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. A popular blogger and sought-after lecturer, he resides in Escondido, California with his wife and children.
SPANISH BIO: Michael S. Horton ensena teologia y apologetica en el Seminario Westminster en Escondido, California, donde vive con su esposa Lisa y sus cuatro hijos. Es un prolifico autor, anfitrion de un programa de radio y editor de la revista Modern Reformation.
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.
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.
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.