An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches, By Ray S. Anderson
An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches
  • Length: 236 pages
  • Published: July 07, 2006
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3391
  • ISBN: 9780830833917

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If the emerging church movement is looking for a theology, Ray Anderson offers clear and relevant theological guidance for it in this timely book.

Reaching back through time, Anderson roots an emergent theology in what happened at Antioch, where Saul (Paul) and Barnabas were set apart for a mission to establish churches outside of Jerusalem--among Gentiles who had to be reached in their own cultures. He shows how the Lord Holy Spirit himself revolutionized and inspired how the message of salvation was offered to others, and provided a model to follow.

Explaining that an emergent theology is messianic, revelational, kingdom-coming and eschatological, this book adresses many of the concerns of those looking for a church that is contemporary, yet true to the gospel.

If you wrestle with the challenges that face the church in these "postmodern" days, you will benefit from this book.

"It is a refreshing thing to witness biblical diligence and intellectual insightfulness become ignited by the flame of Pentecost. Ray Anderson verifies the fact that the truly contemporary church will ultimately transcend the mere 'currency' so passionately sought by leaders whose anxious pursuit centers on being 'up-to-the-minute,' savvy culturally, tuned to the 'hip' or 'cool.' Here's a book on the timelessly contemporary, pointing us toward truth that unlocks the timeless--the eternal dimensions of God's Spirit at work."

Jack W. Hayford, chancellor, The King's College and Seminary, and founding pastor, The Church On The Way

"Through his examination of the emerging church at Antioch in the first century, Ray Anderson has provided a great deal of theological wisdom and insight for proponents of the emerging church at the beginning of the third millennium. This is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation concerning the place and shape of theology in the emerging church that deserves a wide readership, particularly among those who identify themselves with the movement."

John R. Franke, professor of theology, Biblical Seminary

"Ray Anderson has significantly influenced many emerging leaders over the years with his adventurous and innovative theological teaching. With An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches, he makes his important work available to many more people. This is a powerful and insightful book that will, I have no doubt, stand the test of time. It will be a go-to book for emerging leaders for years to come."

Tony Jones, national coordinator, Emergent-US, and author of The Sacred Way

"Ray Anderson has created a gift for the church in An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches. I wish I had the benefit of Ray's provocative, insightful, helpful thinking in the early days of starting our church. I recommend this book to all who are interested in the biblical roots of emerging church theology today. This book will serve as an inspiration and guide for many who are seeking to live the hopes and dreams of God in our world today."

Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon's Porch, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and one of the founders of Emergent (

"The most important questions about the emerging church are not what the worship gatherings look like, what the music is like or whether the name of the church is different and cool. The most important questions are what the theology is behind what is happening in and among emerging churches. Ray has written a wonderful book which does exactly this."

Dan Kimball, author of The Emerging Church

"Our shifting times call for a thoughtful, creative, constructive and faithful approach to theology; most importantly, one that stirs outreach activity similar to that which surrounded Paul and the church at Antioch. I've been around the emerging church movement from the inception, and to my knowledge, An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches shows emerging practitioners how to anchor church innovation to biblical theology--both historic and eschatological--better than anything I know."

Todd Hunter, National Director, Alpha USA, and former National Director, Vineyard USA

"Well-informed and gracious, Ray Anderson's voice makes an important contribution to the emergent conversation. This book will be a blessing for anyone seeking to become 'a new kind of Christian.'"

Jenell Williams Paris, associate professor of anthropology, Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota, Solomon's Porch

"I just discovered Ray Anderson's work last year. I wish I had known of him for the last twenty years, because his sagely perspective would have helped me greatly. I'm glad that this book will introduce Ray's important theological perspective to a new generation of leaders. His creative and faithful voice is greatly needed."

Brian McLaren, author/activist (

"Until now the theological responses to the emerging churches phenomenon have been from the standpoint of philosophical theology. Dr. Ray Anderson, I believe, gets to the heart of the matter through his missional theology approach that emphasizes the church's engagement both with its own history as the covenant people of God and as it is birthed within the cultural contexts of its day. He shows how the tensions that became evident between the church in Jerusalem and the church in Antioch provide insights into our contemporary challenges. The notion of 'emerging churches' reminds us that the church is always the becoming church. Indeed, the Holy Spirit comes to us out of the future rather than out of the past!"

Eddie Gibbs, Donald A. McGavran Professor of Church Growth, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

. . . Our entusiastic recommendation that An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches be picked up, read and pondered deeply.

Journal of Youth and Theology, April 2007

. . .is both a defense of, and a challenge to, the contemporary emerging church. Anderson does not allow the post modern context to overwhelm his theology and become the catalyst for praxis: instead he shows how the emerging church develops an emergent theology within a post-modern context.

Emergent Pilgrim Blog, August 23, 2008

. . . a must-read for church planters, leaders of churches, and crafters of new movements and/or denominations.

James H. Logan Jr. for Religious Studies Review, April 2007


Foreword by Brian McLaren
Preface: What Has Antioch to Do with Jerusalem?

1. It's About Theology, Not Geography
2. It's About Christ, Not Just Christology
3. It's About the Spirit, Not Just Spirituality
4. It's About the Right Gospel, Not Just the Right Polity
5. It's About Kingdome Living, Not Kingdom Building
6. It's About the Work of God, Not Just the Word of God
7. It's About the Law of Love, Not the Letter of the Law
8. It's About the Community of the Spirit, Not Just the Gifts of the Spirit
9. It's About Mission, Not Just About Ministry
10. It's About the Church Ahead of Us, Not Only the Church Behind Us

Name and Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Ray S. Anderson

Ray S. Anderson (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is senior professor of theology and ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where he has taught since 1976. He is also a contributing editor to Journal of Psychology and Theology. He has written many books, including Judas and Jesus: Amazing Grace for the Wounded Soul, The Soul of God: A Theological Memoir, Spiritual Caregiving as Secular Sacrament: A Practical Theology for Professional Caregivers, Dancing with Wolves While Feeding the Sheep, The New Age of Soul: Spiritual Wisdom for a New Millennium, The Shape of Practical Theology: Empowering Ministry with Theological Praxis, Living the Spiritually Balanced Life, and The Soul of Ministry: Forming Leaders for God's People. Anderson's articles and book reviews have been published in a wide array of scholarly and popular periodicals.