I seem to be reading ecclesiology lately, meaning books about what the church is, how church should be structured, etc. I blogged through the first book that really rocked my ecclesiological world, Simon Chan’s Liturgical Theology. I read Frost and Hirsch’s The Shaping of Things to Come, which was really helpful, and a few others.
Last night I finished a book someone recommended to me: Reimagining Church, by Frank Viola (not the former Twins pitcher). I agree generally with all of Viola’s critiques of “the way church is normally done,” and I love his massive faith in the Holy Spirit to really lead meetings and actually do stuff in gatherings, but I don’t quite buy into his insistence that “first-century-type” meetings are the only legitimate expressions of church, or the only solutions to the types of problems he outlines.
Which is why I am looking forward to reading Jim Belcher’s book Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional. I’ve heard good things. Michael Spencer wrote a positive review, as did Michael Kruse and Steve McCoy. Jon Tyson tweeted that it was a “phenomenal book” and that he had “brilliantly articulated the angst and identity” with which Jon would characterize his church.
I’m excited to read the book because it seems to affirm what I have believed for a few years: that the way forward for the evangelicla church is some kind of integration of a proper appreciation and practice of “The Great Tradition” of Christian faith, as opposed to the idea that every new generation ought to make everything up from scratch (as though we can learn nothing from our ancestors), or that we ought to return strictly to the way the first century church did it (as though it were more “pure” and the Holy Spirit hasn’t been that involved in the church since then).
Here’s to a deep ecclesiology!