by Jason Hall
Believers should not have to choose between traditional church practices and doctrines and new ideas that emerge to advance the Gospel.
So argue two Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professors in their new book, The Convergent Church: Missional Worshipers in an Emerging Culture. The book was written by evangelism professor Alvin Reid and associate professor of Christian ethics Mark Liederbach. The book was published by Kregel.
Reid and Liederbach hope the book will bring together conventional Christianity with a new stream of thinking that has commonly been called the “emerging church movement.” In the years since the movement has spread, there has been some antipathy between the two groups. The mostly younger leadership of the “emerging” churches have criticized traditional churches for being outmoded and irrelevant, while traditional church leaders have often complained that emerging churches lack doctrinal integrity.
The book intends to move past such labels to get at the heart of what is best in both approaches, appreciating the tradition and reverence of conventional Christianity while also recognizing the need for relevance and fresh ideas. The authors argue that traditional churches, who have been good at upholding truth but sometimes ineffective in communicating it to a skeptical world, can learn something from the “emerging” approach. They also offer that young “emerging” leaders should heed the warnings and wisdom of traditional leaders, or they will find themselves with no truth to proclaim at all.
In the end, Reid and Liederbach argue for a convergence of two streams that will benefit all and serve to glorify Christ. In commending the book, Southeastern president Daniel Akin said, “biblically and theological faithful, culturally and missionally relevant, this is a must-read for those who care about the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in the twenty-first century.”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.