Church in the Present Tense

A Candid Look at What’s Emerging

series: ?mersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith

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Much has been written by practitioners advocating the emerging church, but confusion about the nature and beliefs of those who identify with the phenomenon still exists. Now that the movement has aged somewhat, a more rigorous, scholarly analysis is needed. In this volume four influential authors, each an expert in his field, look at the emerging church through the lens of four areas where its postmodern sensibilities are readily on display--philosophy, theology, worship, and Bible and doctrine. This sympathetic yet critical assessment examines the roots of the movement and the impact that it has had and is having on wider traditions. The book includes a 60-minute companion DVD that provides a background introduction to the emerging church and video clips of alternative worship services. The DVD also contains interviews with emerging church leaders and observers including Brian McLaren and Rowan Williams.

Introduction: The Emerging Church--Kevin Corcoran
Part 1: Philosophy
1. Who's Afraid of Philosophical Realism? Taking Emerging Christianity to Task--Kevin Corcoran
2. The Worldly Theology of Emerging Christianity--Peter Rollins
Part 2: Theology
3. Consumer Liturgies and Their Corrosive Effects on Christian Identity--Jason Clark
4. Thy Kingdom Come (on Earth): An Emerging Eschatology--Kevin Corcoran
Part 3: Worship
5. The Renewal of Liturgy in the Emerging Church--Jason Clark
6. Transformance Art: Reconfiguring the Social Self--Peter Rollins
Part 4: Bible and Doctrine
7. Scripture in the Emerging Movement--Scot McKnight
8. Atonement and Gospel--Scot McKnight


"This is the most complete, detailed, critically sympathetic, and totally remarkable overview I have yet seen of where Emergence Christianity presently is and appears to be going. McKnight's two essays alone are worth the price of admission."--Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence

"Over its short history, the emerging church has both challenged and inspired the practice of church in our time. Church in the Present Tense brings together in one volume some of its finest thinkers to reflect on the theological and practical contributions of this movement. In concise and helpful essays, they lead us through the impact of 'emerging' on our views of God, salvation, Scripture, the end times, and the practice of worship. Whatever you might think of the movement, you cannot ignore its impact, and this volume won't let you!"--David Fitch, Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary; author, The End of Evangelicalism?

"At root, the emerging church movement is a set of conversations about living more faithfully into the way of Jesus and the implications of this for the life and witness of Christian communities. This book offers a series of reflections from some of the best-known voices on a range of important questions. These essays extend the conversation in significant ways and make it clear that the questions stirred up are worth pursuing."--John R. Franke, theologian in residence, First Presbyterian Church of Allentown; general coordinator, Gospel and Our Culture Network

"Rather than retreading old ground, Church in the Present Tense looks at the still-evolving emerging church movement from new angles, and readers will be rewarded with new insights. We are in very good hands with Scot, Pete, Kevin, and Jason--they appreciate the movement, but they aren't playing Pollyanna. They're tough, smart, articulate interlocutors. I think this book will be seen as among the best interactions with the emerging church movement."--Tony Jones, theologian in residence, Solomon's Porch, Minneapolis; author, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

The Authors

  1. Scot McKnight
    Marcus Emerson

    Scot McKnight

    Scot McKnight (PhD, University of Nottingham), a world-renowned scholar, writer, and speaker, is a visiting professor at Houston Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Centre, United Kingdom. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than...

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  2. Peter Rollins

    Peter Rollins

    Peter Rollins (PhD, Queen's University, Belfast) is founder of Ikon, an emerging collective in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is the author of several books, including How (Not) to Speak of God: Marks of the Emerging Church.

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  3. Kevin Corcoran

    Kevin Corcoran

    Kevin J. Corcoran (PhD, Purdue University) is professor of philosophy at Calvin University, specializing in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. He is the author of Rethinking Human Nature and the editor of Soul, Body, and...

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  4. Jason Clark

    Jason Clark

    Jason Clark (PhD candidate, King's College, London) coordinates the Emergent UK online resource network, is founding/senior pastor of Vineyard Church Sutton in England, and is adjunct professor at Portland Seminary.

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"An enlightening and stimulating volume of essays related to the concept of 'emerging church.'"--Roger E. Olson,

"All [four writers] have been involved in the emerging church world for a long time from different perspectives. . . . Church in the Present Tense is a great primer on some of the major issues of emerging church. It's a helpful presentation and critique. It reflects, in almost genius fashion, what has been accomplished in the Emerging church the last ten years and, then again, reflects on what has not been accomplished in the Emerging church the last ten years."--David Fitch, The Church and Postmodern Culture blog

"In one volume are major thinkers reflecting on the theological and practical changes [the emerging church] movement has brought to religion, considering the impact of 'emerging' on our views of God, Scripture, and more. Any collection considering the evolving status of the church in communities needs this reference!"--Midwest Book Review