Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional by Jim Belcher

I have followed the debate over the Emerging church for quite a while.  In general I have agreed with many of the criticisms that the Emerging church has had with the traditional church, but I have not always agreed with the resulting prescriptions of where to go after the criticism.

Jim Belcher, it seems, wrote Deep Church particularly for me.  I have witnessed both in books and among my friends the breakdown that occurs when people start talking about Emerging church issues.  It seems that both groups are talking a different language and have a hard time actually understanding and dealing with the legitimate issues that other side brings up.

Belcher does a better job than any other book I have read at really putting onto paper the issues of both sides in a way that is honest and fair to their point.  And even more important, I think both sides would agree he hits their main points without condescension.

The book takes the seven main concerns that are similar across most of the Emerging church and then looks at them from both the Emerging and Traditional side and then attempts to find a third way that is more than just compromise between the two.

I do not agree with all of Belcher’s suggestions for a third way, but that is less important to me than the fact that he puts on paper some real options and gets the discussion going.

If you are frustrated with the traditional church but are not completely thrilled with the Emerging church, or if you really do not get what the issues are between the Emerging and Traditional church, you need this book.  It is a little over 200 pages and well worth the time.

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