Synopses & Reviews
"No one is better placed than Tony Jones to offer an insider's view of the emergent conversation in the United States. His clear and engaging writing style, his wide-ranging and incisive mind, and his extensive personal involvement make him the ideal person to tell his story and invite others to be part of it. The New Christians is instructive, inspiring, enjoyable, and a milestone in the development of this important young phenomenon."
—Brian McLaren author and speaker (brianmclaren.net)
The New Christians
What is the "emergent church movement" all about and why does it matter to the future of Christianity? Following on the questions raised by Brian McLaren and others about faith in a postmodern age, Tony Jones has written an engaging exploration of the emergent church movement that points the way toward a new kind of Christianity.
Through story and "dispatches" about the many adventurous communities and practices of emergent Christians around the world, Tony Jones offers an in-depth view of this new "third way" of faith between religious conservatism and religious liberalism. Jones examines its origins; its values; its theology; its views of truth, scripture, and interpretation; and the movement's hopeful and life-giving sense of community. With the depth of theological expertise and broad perspective he has gained as a pastor, writer, theologian, and leader of the movement, Jones initiates readers into the emergent conversation and offers a new way forward for all Christians. Written with a journalist's flair and a participant's studied reflection, this fascinating book draws upon years of research to provide compelling examples and first-hand stories of who is doing what, where, and why it matters.
The New Christians provides yet another voice in the ongoing conversation that is Christianity, always emerging.
"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
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.) (Publishers Weekly, January 14, 2008)
For readers whose spiritual imaginations were expanded and inspired, stretched, and challenged by A New Kind of Christian,
Tony Jones has written a new book that points the way to a new kind of Christianity. This is a third way of faith, between religious conservatism and almost-secular religious liberalism. Jones offers an in-depth view of the life of Emergent faith--from core theological beliefs to the individual and community practices that mark this new and revitalized incarnation of Christianity.
Many who are already involved in the Emergent movement are aware of some aspects of this emerging kind of Christianity, but others who are curious, intrigued, or attracted to this way of faith have not had a clear, complete, and articulate resource for understanding its practices and beliefs. With depth of theological expertise and broad perspective gained as a leader of the Emergent movement, Tony is positioned to lead readers more fully into the emergent conversation and help them engage their deepest spiritual hungers as they craft their life of faith. With journalistic narrative as well as authoritative reflection, he draws upon on-site research to provide fascinating examples and stories of who is doing what, where, and why—often in their own voices.
What the "Emergent Church Movement" is all about-and why it matters to the future of Christianity
Following on the questions raised by Brian McLaren in A New Kind of Christian, Tony Jones has written an engaging exploration of what this new kind of Christianity looks like. Writing "dispatches" about the thinking and practices of adventurous Emergent Christians across the country, he offers an in-depth view of this new "third way" of faith-its origins, its theology, and its views of truth, scripture and interpretation, and the Emergent movement's hopeful and life-giving sense of community. With the depth of theological expertise and broad perspective he has gained as a pastor, writer, and leader of the movement, Jones initiates readers into the Emergent conversation and offers a new way forward for Christians in a post-Christian world. With journalistic narrative as well as authoritative reflection, he draws upon on-site research to provide fascinating examples and firsthand stories of who is doing what, where, and why it matters.
Praise for the New Christians
"The New Christians shows how the influence of Jesus of Nazareth is moving among a new generation hungry for something real and desperate to move beyond simplistic polarities inherited from the past. Tony Jones stands at the crossroads of theology, philosophy, and culture, tackling the issues facing this 'emergent' generation with the depth, humility, and grace, only a sojourner intimately familiar with the journey could provide."
—Jim Wallis, author, God's Politics; president, Sojourners/Call to Renewal
"This is the book to read to get the actual insider's view of all things emergent."
—Dan Kimball, author, They Like Jesus But Not the Church
"I devoured this book! Just as A New Kind of Christian gave words to the experiences and thoughts of so many early in this decade, The New Christians provides language, theology, and a nudge toward a path out of our bi-polar morass of left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, mainline vs. evangelical. It cuts sideways across all the rhetoric, entrenchment, and warfare-positioning of modern-day Christianity. I'm confident Tony's book will provide definition for many, helpful disequilibrium for others, and—best of all—new hope for those who cannot (or refuse to) continue trudging numbly along the cattle paths of the American church."
—Mark Oestreicher, president, Youth Specialties
"In the tradition of all great apologists, Jones has written both a reasoned explication and a deeply personal explanation of emergent Christianity. Every thinking Christian should read this book either for the explication or the explanation. Wise ones will read it for both."
—Phyllis Tickle, compiler, The Divine Hours, and author, The Words of Jesus
About the Author
Tony Jones is the national coordinator of Emergent Village (www.emergentvillage.org), and a doctoral fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of many books, including The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life. Jones is a sought-after speaker and consultant in the areas of emerging church, postmodernism, and Christian spirituality. Tony lives with his wife, Julie, and their three children in Edina, Minnesota.
Table of Contents
"A LIVING WAY: Emergent Visions" Series Foreword.