Will Samson reviews Emerging Churches, the new Gibbs/Bolger book which I also received for Christmas. I’m looking forward to digging into this one, looks meaty. Skimming through the index reveals the names of many familiar names, some we know and many we even like.
As a body of written material ’emerges’ on any given subject, the need to go back and read as many other original works begins to diminish. For example, when a thorough commentary on a book of the Bible appears, it encompasses much of the scholarship that has gone before, thereby diminishing the need to look back to each one of an older collection of commentaries to see what opinion was held by whom, when, and why. Serious scholars will always maintain a selection of older commentaries, but the new one gets most of the attention — if it is a thorough critical commentary, its author will have already done all the legwork of compiling, synthesizing, and presenting the views and opinions of a variety of sources, and interacting with all the major ones. Noting the caveat that I haven’t read it yet, this Gibbs/Bolger volume appears to have the hallmarks of this type of contribution to the emerging church conversation, and as such, it’s a welcome addition.
I think the book emphasizes almost exclusively the small house church forms of the Emerging Church conversation but I also think it gives good examples of the ideals of the movement in a very helpful way.