"Deep Church” proposes civility, dialogue, and unity
Jim Belcher discusses new book
To view an interview with Jim Belcher discussing his new book, click here.
“The goal for me is to find unity between the emerging and traditional church,” said author, pastor, and Fuller alumnus Jim Belcher in a lecture and discussion Tuesday, October 13. Held on the light and airy ground floor of the new David Allan Hubbard Library, the event featured Belcher (MAT ’91) talking about concepts presented in his new book, Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional.
Recounting that he was “right in the middle of the ‘Gen X’ movement of the ’90s” while at Fuller, Belcher said he was then inspired by church planter Tim Keller to start a church—Redeemer Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California, where he is still lead pastor—and that thrust him into the denominational arena.
“I had one foot in the emerging world from my earlier days, and one foot in the denominational world,” Belcher described, and he could see the good and bad in both. “There were things in both camps I really resonated with, and some things that made me uneasy.”
Belcher knew there were many others who felt the same way, and so wrote his book to propose a “third way” between emerging and traditional. “The two sides have gotten into a rhetorical shouting match” in recent years, he said, “and I wanted to call a time out.”
In his research Belcher discerned seven basic themes—what he calls “seven protests” in his book—that the emerging church is making against the traditional. Pushback to these critiques from the traditional church, he said, has been strong. Using author C. S. Lewis’s metaphor of Christianity as a hallway with many rooms—representing different denominations—branching off of it, Belcher said, “My whole goal is to move us back to the hallway, and move us forward together in mission.” This what he means by “deep church,” he said, explaining that this also was a term coined by C. S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity.
“I want my book to be three things,” Belcher concluded: “a road map for bridging the two sides, a road map for younger people who are just forming their philosophy of ministry, and encouragement for pastors and laypeople who are out in the trenches.”
In the push and pull between emerging and traditional views, “Let’s not lose what’s essential,” Belcher stressed: “transforming culture, and seeing people come to Christ.”
For more on Jim Belcher and his new book, visitwww.thedeepchurch.com.