Critics often say the emerging church knows what it’s against more than what it’s for. This just may be true, although perhaps it’s just a sign that many are still early in the process, and are still closer to where the journey began than where it will end (if it ever does end). But the days of the emerging church being against rather than for may be numbered, if they were ever here. I am encountering more people and resources that are moving toward living the Gospel in community and on mission – in short, moving toward rediscovering what it means to be the church. Maybe I’m just encouraged because I sat in a room with hundreds of church planters yesterday and sensed that there is new life out there. One of the books that is giving me hope is David E. Fitch’s The Great Giveaway.
The task of this book then is twofold: (1) to examine the ways we have “given away” being the church to modernity by allowing its influence to individualize, universalize, syncretize, and commodify the tasks, truths, and even the very salvation we have been given as people of God through Jesus Christ, and (2) to offer practices to evangelicals by which we may receive back being the church, the people of God ruled by Jesus as Lord in resistance to such modern influences.
In other words, this book is both diagnosis and prescription. It works toward reinvigorating “an ecclesiology for our times,” and a robust one at that. I like what I’ve read so far. There are signs of life out there, and all kinds of thinking practitioners are getting in on the action. Just maybe we’re starting to see signs of the life that comes on the other side of death, a moving toward something rather than away. I am encouraged and I’m glad to be alive to see this happening.