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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 39 reviews
on May 24, 2017
We are changing people. Today we live much differently than our Ancestors. Our faith lives have also changed. Thankfully, the Bible, as ancient as it is, is still relevant today. The New Christians opens a path for an intimate and personal to celebrate God's love in this ever changing world.
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on May 8, 2015
Like most writers from the emergent stable, Jones writes more as an academic than as a practitioner. And some topics covered seemed to be purely academic debates with little connection to the real life issues we all face in our journey of faith. However this book largely discusses important topics and questions that are rapidly becoming issues to more and more people who are trying to match up Biblical faith with 21st Century culture and thought. I found it a very helpful resource as I continue my own search.
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on June 9, 2009
If you are even interested in reading this book I guess you may be one of three people. One, you could be an "emergent" and you are just wanted to learn a little about the movement you are involved in. Two, you have heard about "Emergent's" and the "Emerging Church" and you wanted to learn more about what it was all about. Or third, you have heard about these heretic emergent devil worshippers and you were looking for a book that could reveal all the heresies and non-orthodox practices. Well I am glad to report that this book will satisfy the needs of all three people.

A little about Tony Jones, Tony has been at the forefront of the emergence for most of its existence and until recently was the national coordinator for the emergent village. He went to seminary at Fuller Seminary and is getting his Ph.D. from Princeton, he writes like a down to earth academic. Speaking to the normal everyday Christians who have never had a class in theology class, but every now and then he likes to drop his knowledge and you will have to break out your dictionary to look up a word or you have to scribble down the name of some obscure theologian so you can look them up later. Basically I am trying to say that Tony comes across as an everyman's theologian. A guy you could go have a beer and talk baseball just as easily as you could discuss the early church father's views on the doctrine of atonement.

As I mentioned above I see this book as being the best primer on the book shelf to the emergent movement. In fact if you want the full treatment, get Phyllis Tickle's book "The Great Emergence" to tell you why the emergent movement is here and then get this book to fill in the details of what the movement is.

In the book Tony starts off by giving some background on his own personal story and where he is coming from and how he got where he is now. Then Tony gives his take of the story of how the emergent movement evolved and began from a few young pastors and theologians. Then we get a description of the kind of people that are drawn to the movement and why they are attracted to this new form of Christianity. Next Tony really shines as he lays out much of the theology of the emergence, and while it is no way a doctrinal statement or comprehensive description of what the movement believes, it is more like what they don't believe and what they are open to. He also spends a good amount of time addressing the idea of truth and dispelling the idea that this is just relativism dressed up in trendy clothing and cool haircuts. Finally we get an inside view of several church's that Jones feels fall inside this movement, a nice cross section of what is going on in various emergent churches across the country.

All in all I really enjoyed this book. I came in as a person who has had the thoughts of an emergent for the past few years I just didn't know it. This book helped me see the others who feel/think about Christianity the way I do and understand how others got to this place. So if you are interested in this movement, (Although I don't think "Movement" is a good word for it) or are just looking for something new in Christianity then I think you may like this book.
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on September 21, 2013
The Kingdom of God is coming; but whether or not the institutional Church is part of the process depends upon a quantum shift in her thinking. The Church and its leaders need to hear the dispatches from Tony Jones with open minds.
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on February 25, 2008
In my opinion The New Christians is a needed and welcomed contribution at this stage in the emerging church conversation. This is the book to read to understand the history of this thing called emergent and the passions of those of us drawn to it. To list a few of the reasons why -

First, to be completely narcissistic, I enjoyed reading Tony's story of his journey into Emergent because it echoed so much of my own experience. I know that he has received criticism for not being inclusive enough of various forms of emerging thought in this book, but he makes it clear in the book that he is telling the story of his own experiences, the groups he has encountered, and the friends he has made. He gives snapshots of where he has encountered the conversation and summarizes the trends he is witnessing. Some people may not see themselves reflected in this book, but for those of us who have trod similar paths as Tony, it is affirming to have part of our story told. This book represents our reality - from the questions, to the conferences, to the online emphasis, to the conversations.

I also like that Tony isn't afraid to tell the truth about the messy parts of Christianity and emergent. The messy parts exist and many in this conversation have experienced pain because of them. So I appreciate Tony's willingness to say that yes Emergent has critics, yes there have been falling outs, and yes some people have refused to play ball with us. It's reality and hiding from it won't help resolve differences. And it's high time, imho, the truth was told that its not just emergents causing the problems.

I appreciated the way Tony dealt with the issues of homosexuality and women in ministry. Instead of dealing with each as "issues," he just told the stories of real people. He was inclusive and affirming in practice while not alienating in dogma. Of course this could just mean he pisses off everyone on both sides of these issues, but I thought he was fair in how he approached such controversial topics.

I enjoyed his affirmation of how popular culture shapes our reality. There are streams in the emerging church that refuse to condescend to popular culture. One often feels like one needs to apologize for watching TV or for listening to mainstream music around other emergents. I liked how Tony used popular culture as metaphors and as keys to understand the forces shaping the conversation. I prefer this thoughtful engagement to the snobbishly turning up of the noses I often expect in emergent circles.

There were of course other stories and ideas throughout the book that I enjoyed, just as there were a few things I questioned and a couple of things that I found annoying (the layout). But this is a good book, well worth the read. If you want to know more about emergent, understand where it came from, or just hear the stories of real people who are a part of it - read this book.
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on April 4, 2013
Coming from a traditional evangelical background where doubts are considered a lack of spiritual maturity or knowledge, Tony Jones has presented a picture of christian community and fellowship that to me is so important and faithful to a loving God (just read this book with a dictionary in one hand). After reading this book I happily label myself as a 'Feral Christian" .
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on May 20, 2008
Thanks for this book Tony! I would recommend this book to anyone looking to understand why emergent began and where it was birthed from. The first few chapters helped me to gain a better perspective of what emergent is trying to do. Keep it up! While I don't know how comfortable I would be in some of the emergent gatherings, I would hope that I would see how God is moving among those present. I think we can all learn something from the desire to have conversation instead of debates.
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on January 20, 2010
If you're interested in knowing what this whole Emergent thing is about, this is the book for you. Before you say anything about emergent (Good or Bad) You should read this...
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A theme of this book could go something this: Emergents say they believe in truth, but they define it as something that is always changing and being refined, can never be grasped, and enfolds all beliefs, except the ones that insist there is only one truth.

The New Christians emphatically tries to convince readers that the "church is dead" (p. 4), at least church as we have known it. Jones uses several analogies to describe present day Christianity, such as it being like the nearly-obsolete pay phones, or a dying old growth forest, or compost (rotting vegetables). He says we can almost hear the "death rattle" of "America's church" (p. 5).

In Jones' efforts to convey to readers that non-emerging Christians do not care about humanity and the earth, he gives a detailed account of a chicken slaughterhouse where chickens are issued an electric shock and then their throats are slit. He says that the typical Christian just doesn't care about the world's abuses, tragedies, and woes, and says that when disaster hits, all they care about is whether "victims had invited Jesus into their hearts" (p. 18). Using extreme examples over and over to prove his points, Jones will leave many unsuspecting readers with the notion that up until now Christians have done almost nothing good for this world. Jones believes that the problems of the world are actually caused (at least in large part) by Christians.

Jones says that the gospel has been dormant throughout most of history, except during specific times when it was able to break through "human institutions." He states:

And although it [the gospel] has been crusted over for eons, it will inevitably find a time and a fissure, an opportunity to blast through that crust and explode, volcano-like into the atmosphere. (p. 36)

Ultimately, what one will come away with from Jones' book is that Jones (and all emergents, he says) believes that truth cannot be pinned down and set in concrete. What is true for today may not be considered truth tomorrow. And he isn't talking just about negotiable societal and cultural ideologies. He is talking about doctrine too. In fact, that is really the point he wants to get across in this book. Emergents love the Bible, he says, but they are not going to be so arrogant "[t]o assume that our convictions about God are somehow timeless" and to think they are "establishes an imperialistic attitude that has a chilling effect on the honest conversation that's needed for theology to progress" (p. 114). This progression of theology that Jones speaks of is not limited to areas of theology that are often and legitimately debated by Christian scholars. No; Jones says even the doctrine of atonement cannot be set in stone. He says it is "arrogant and a bit deceptive" (p. 77) to suggest that there can be any one understanding of atonement. Jones states that to "try to freeze one particular articulation of the gospel, to make it timeless and universally applicable, actually does an injustice to the gospel" (p. 96). He says we must "refigure our theology" (p. 104) and that "emergents" are "looking for a Christianity that's still exploratory" (i.e., theology is flexible - p. 108) and "a gospel that meshes with our own experience of the world" (p. 110). "Theology is not universal, nor is it transcendent" (p. 112), he claims, but it is "temporary" and we "must carry our theologies with an open hand" (p. 114). He adds:

[E]mergents reject metaphors like "pin it down," "in a nutshell," "sum it up," and "boil it down" when speaking of God and God's Kingdom, for it simply can't be done (p. 114).

In the end, Jones leaves his readers with this: "Jesus did not have a 'statement of faith'" (p. 234). In other words, Jesus was just as vague and unsure about what is truth, atonement, righteousness, the gospel, as are the emergents today. But this is a complete and horrible distortion of Jesus Christ, who did indeed have a statement of faith. In fact, everything He said was a statement of true faith, and He spoke as one knowing exactly what truth is: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:29)
And He also stated: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13)

Jones makes a case for mysticism when he says that "[E]mergents will use all of the means available to them to quest after this truth we call God. Jones say emergents "quest after God using the tools of the medieval mystics and the ancient monastics (i.e., contemplative prayer).... some will even be open to sources of truth that are external to traditional [biblical] Christianity, be it philosophy or another religious system (p. 159)." And it is in these other religious systems that Jones and the New Christians find "truth." He puts it well:

In the aftermath of the myth of objectivity [absolute truth], of fideisims and airtight systems, we're left to embrace our subjectivity, to revel in it, for it's only when we accept our own biases that we allow them to be shaped by contrary opinions and biases. One place where this is most poignant is interreligious dialogue" (p. 155).

For those wanting to learn about or find truth, this book will not be of any help except to show that the emerging church is not the place to find it and can offer no answers.
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