I just finished reading Jim Belcher's Deep Church, and highly recommend it to all pastors, church leaders, and seminary students. It is a great introduction to the emerging church movement. Belcher is very balanced and fair in presenting the views of various leaders. I think emerging folks and traditional folks have much to learn from this "third way." Here is are some good reflections by Steve McCoy. Notice the diversity of the endorsements all saying the same thing:
"Jim Belcher shows that we don't have to choose between orthodox evangelical doctrine on the one hand, and cultural engagement, creativity and commitment to social justice on the other. This is an important book."
—Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
"Many have written critiques of the emerging church, and some have attempted 'third way' books that attempt to describe a possible best-of-both path between traditional and emerging mindsets and practices. But I think Jim Belcher's book is the first to be truly gracious to both of these oft-contentious perspectives, suggesting a fair and honest critique of both. Belcher has clearly done his homework, and lives--as a lead pastor of a church plant--with one foot in the Reformed, traditional camp, and one foot in the emerging church. This is a great read for any who are tired of straw man arguments and polarization."
—Mark Oestreicher, president, Youth Specialties
"Deep Church takes us beyond just the surface with what is emerging, emergent or traditional and gives us some wonderful insights toward an alternative future."
—Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church
"Working out his ideas in the crucible of pastoral ministry, Jim Belcher proposes fascinating new ways to arbitrate today's disputes by appealing to the Great Tradition. Read it and learn how your church can go deeper."
—Collin Hansen, editor-at-large, Christianity Today, and author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists
"Viewing Christianity and culture through the lens of the Reformed--and reforming--tradition, Jim Belcher judiciously assesses the divide between liberal and conservative factions of evangelicalism. Lucidly analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging church as well as of the traditionalists who critique it, Belcher offers an inspirational 'third way,' the 'deep church,' that synthesizes the best of both."
—Crystal L. Downing, professor of English and film studies, Messiah College, author, How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith
"Jim Belcher's Deep Church calls our attention to the pressing issues of our day to create a 'third language' conversation between the traditional and emergent church movements. Deep Church provides a healthy theological wrestling full of pragmatic wisdom, bringing a renewed perspective of birthing a church today. I highly recommend this book to pastors and lay leaders alike, to consider what the church, God's artwork, is called to become in the coming days."
—Makoto Fujimura, artist and author of Refractions: A Journey of Art, Faith and Humanity
"As Christians enter the third millennium, they are in the midst of a great reconsideration. They are asking if the forms of church they have inherited are the right forms for the mission in the future. For some, they believe the forms must be rejected and deconstructed. Others seek to defend and restore them. Jim Belcher points a way that ties orthodox theological moorings with creative thinking and missional engagement, providing a helpful guide to thinking about church."
—Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, www.edstetzer.com
"Smart, passionate, thoughtful, hopeful and Jesus-centered--this is the Jim Belcher I used to hang out with in the early nineties (like it was so long ago!) at the Huntington--and this is the Jim Belcher in this book. Lots of people are going to find this book very helpful."
—Rob Bell, pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, author, Velvet Elvis
"Rising above the usual shallow, facile critiques of the emergent church movement, Jim Belcher has written for us a book that, indeed, goes deep. Jim took the time to listen to emergent voices, and as a result, he appreciates the movement for what it is. And, further, his admonitions ring true. While Jim and I have theological differences, I can heartily recommend Deep Church as an invigorating study of and healthy corrective to both the emergent and traditional church."
—Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier (http://tonyj.net)
"Deep Church is a thoughtful, helpful and practical addition to the growing field of missional church thinking."
—Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle, president, Acts 29 Church Planting Network, president, Resurgence
"Deep Church is the book we need--it's a genuine third way. Jim Belcher is poised like no other to evaluate the emerging movement...There are only two or three really good books about the emerging movement, and this is the best analysis I've seen."
—Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University
"A marvelously reliable guide--indeed I know of none better--for our much-needed efforts to go deeper as churches by mining the depths of the gospel for creative and faithful ministry in the strange and exciting new world of the twenty-first century."
—from the foreword by Richard J. Mouw, president, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Deep Church is a carefully balanced and helpfully critical analysis of the emerging church and the numerous negative reactions against it. It is a fair-minded, truly gracious undertaking that speaks the truth in love and charts a clear third way that I sincerely hope will be embraced by a multitude of younger Christian leaders. Only a thoughtful pastor who knows Scripture, the Christian tradition and the modern challenges to mission in our present context could write such an excellent book."
—Dr. John H. Armstrong, president, ACT 3, and author of Your Church Is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ's Mission Is Vital to the Future of the Church
"Deep Church is a narrative of one man's journey of spiritual discovery involving at core a search for a place to stand. Whether you can fully agree with Jim's findings or not, you will find this book to be an accessible, well-articulated, deeply personal and (thankfully) theologically irenic apologetic for the emerging church."
—Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways, and founder of Forge Mission Training Network and Shapevine.com