From Publishers Weekly
Jones (The Sacred Way
) provides the single best introduction to the Emergent Church movement, of which he is a prominent leader. The mainline denominations are dying, and the hyperindividualism of evangelicalism is unsatisfying, so many young evangelicals, Jones explains, have decided to recreate church for postmodern times. Jones credits Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christian
with raising important questions about sounding the Gospel in an era beset by questions about foundationalism, epistemology and how to read Scripture. He passionately defends the emergent movement from criticism. In particular, critics are wrong to claim that emergents don't really believe in the Bible; emergents passionately love the Bible, says Jones, but also know that finite human beings cannot definitively articulate truth. The strongest sections put flesh on these theoretical bones by taking readers into actual emergent churches, like Jacob's Well in Kansas City, Mo., where the pastor draws on Catholic practice, engages the visual arts and sees the church's job as assisting people on their pilgrimage of faith. Jones's writing is brisk and conversational, but the book gets poor marks for design. Call-out boxes, pull quotes and frequent font changes, which might be thought to appeal to a younger audience, in fact make for distracting and disjointed reading. (Mar.)
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"This is an insider's journal of the journey called emergent Christianity, and it is the book I have been looking for. If you want to know what emergent Christianity is, buy this book, read it, talk about it and then give it to someone else." -Scot McKnight is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies North Park University
"The New Christians is instructive, inspiring, enjoyable, and a milestone in the development of this important young phenomenon." -Brian McLaren, author and speaker
"There is indeed new life arising from the compost of Christendom. The challenge with a book like this is neither to be overcome by the smell of the poop, nor stupified by the beauty of a flower--more than anything we must see this book as an invitation to get our hands dirty, break a sweat, get messy." -Shane Claiborne, author, activist
"Lots of people have questions about just what this Emergent Church thing is all about. Tony Jones has the answer for them here. A great starting point for understanding a significant movement." -Christian Smith, author of Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
"This is the
book to read to get the actual insiders' view of all things emergent." -Dan Kimball, author They Like Jesus but not the Church
"This intelligent and informative book is the only insider story from one of the leading lights of the more progressive wing of the emerging movement, the former national coordinator of Emergent Village." -Christianity Today (October 2009)