"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"Deep Church is a thoughtful, helpful and practical addition to the growing field of missional church thinking."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Today I received the recent book in honor of John Piper, For the Fame of God's Name. It is a beast. 542 pages of God-centered goodness. Mark Noll's blurb made me eager to dive into this one:
A Note to John Piper Sam Storms and Justin Taylor
Part 1: John Piper
1. A Personal Tribute to the Praise of God’s Infinite Glory and Abounding Grace David Michael
2. Three Doors Down from a Power Plant David Livingston
3. Who Is John Piper? David Mathis
Part 2: Christian Hedonism
4. Christian Hedonism: Piper and Edwards on the Pursuit of Joy in God Sam Storms
5. When All Hope Has Died: Meditations on Profound Christian Suffering Mark R. Talbot
Part 3: The Sovereignty of God
6. The Sovereignty of God in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards Donald J. Westblade
7. Prayer and the Sovereignty of God Bruce A. Ware
Part 4: The Gospel, the Cross, and the Resurrection of Christ
8. What Is the Gospel?—Revisited D. A. Carson
9. Christus Victor et Propitiator: The Death of Christ, Substitute and Conqueror Sinclair B. Ferguson
10. The Role of Resurrection in the Already and Not-Yet Phases of Justification G. K. Beale
Part 5: The Supremacy of God in All Things
11. A Biblical Theology of the Glory of God Thomas R. Schreiner
12. The Kingdom of God as the Mission of God Scott J. Hafemann
13. The Mystery of Marriage James M. Hamilton Jr.
14. Pleasing God by Our Obedience: A Neglected New Testament Teaching Wayne Grudem
15. The Glory and Supremacy of Jesus Christ in Ethnic Distinctions and over Ethnic Identities Thabiti Anyabwile
16. Dethroning Money to Treasure Christ Above All Randy Alcorn
17. “Abortion Is About God”: Piper’s Passionate, Prophetic Pro-Life Preaching Justin Taylor
18. A God-Centered Worldview: Recovering the Christian Mind by Rediscovering the Master Narrative of the Bible R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Part 6: Preaching and Pastoral Ministry
19. Proclaiming the Gospel and the Glory of God: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards for Preaching Stephen J. Nichols
20. The Pastor and the Trinity C.J. Mahaney
21. The Pastor as Worshipper Ray Ortlund
22. The Pastor as Shepherd Mark Dever
23. The Pastor as Counselor David Powlison
24. The Pastor as Leader John MacArthur
25. The Pastor and His Study William D. Mounce
Part 7: Ministries
26. The Vision and Ministry of Desiring God Jon Bloom
27. The Vision and History of The Bethlehem Institute Tom Steller
This book has the potential to radically change for good your perspective on evangelism. It is required reading at Parkside. — Alistair Begg, Senior Minister, Parkside Church
This is as lively and sensible a book on evangelism as I have seen, especially valuable for bringing out the wide range of activities that need to be carried on in effective Christian witness in contemporary society. It encourages congregations to recognize the varied gifts of their members and to enable each one to be involved in evangelism, even though not all of them may be called to be evangelists in the narrower sense of the term. — Howard Marshall, Professor, University of Aberdeen
When I was asked to review this new book on evangelism, I didn’t know what to expect. But I soon discovered: this is a terrific book! Without compromising or reducing the gospel to pious platitudes, Dickson presents evangelism as the Christ-centered imperative of biblical faith. Theologically rich and practically helpful. — Timothy George, Editor, Christianity Today
John Dickson’s The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission was not only a great stimulus to my own thinking about evangelism but also proved a real help to our congregation at St. Ebbe’s, Oxford, as we thought through how we could best fulfill our role as Christ’s witnesses. It’s a wonderful mix of thoughtful reflection on the Bible and down-to-earth practical application. — Vaughan Roberts, President, The Proclamation Trust UK
Even—or perhaps especially—if you do not consider yourself to be a gifted evangelist, John Dickson will encourage you from Scripture with many varied ways to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. — Collin Hansen, Author, Young, Restless, Reformed:A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists
John Dickson shows that taking seriously the church’s message, worship, and ecclesiology, along with the biblical call for Christians to impact the social and cultural world around them, does not negate the mandate and high calling of evangelism. In fact, to be ambassadors for the gospel of the kingdom is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian and to change the world. This is a message that needs to be heard. — Jim Belcher, Author, Deep Church
John Dickson has given us a biblically rich and powerfully written book on evangelism. His views are deeply embedded in Scripture and well-rounded. He does not fall into formulas, but encourages us toward a lifestyle of living and speaking the gospel in our culture today. I recommend this book to those whose passion for evangelism has flagged as well as for those who are actively sharing Christ with their friends and neighbors. — Tremper Longman III, Professor, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
Any twenty-first-century Christian who has felt the dread of proselytizing people into the faith should read John Dickson’s empathetic, confessional treatise on Christian mission. He combines the mind of a scholar with the heart of a pastor to talk to us as fellow Christians about the compelling wonder of Christ for the twenty-first-century world. — David Livermore, Executive Director, Global Learning Center, Grand Rapids MI
Some years ago John Dickson ran an excellent evangelism training course in our local church. The course material—now available in this book—is biblical, liberating, and practical. I commend it as a stimulating resource for congregations and church leadership teams. — Christopher Ash, Director, Cornhill Training Course , London
A biblical, practical, warm, and encouraging book that does exactly what it sets out to do: equip us as the Christian community to promote the gospel. This should become a standard text on the subject. —Michael Frost, Director, Centre for Evangelism and Global Mission, Morling College, Sydney
Having read Dr. Dickson’s published doctoral thesis, I am delighted that he has now produced this highly readable book for all church members in the biblical art of mission today. The style is down-to-earth and lively. I warmly recommend it. — Donald Robinson, Principal of Moore Theological College, Sydney
Here is a compelling case for the involvement of all believers in promoting the gospel, not based on hype or overwrought exegesis but on a profound understanding of Scripture and illustrated with contemporary and moving human experience. A must-read. — Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney, Anglican Church of Australia
I warmly recommend this book. I have learned from reading it, and I have no doubt that others will as well. It challenged me, encouraged me, and often inspired me. And at my age that’s quite an achievement! — Alister McGrath, President, Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics
In The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission, John Dickson winsomely demonstrates how each of us can be part of the greatest story ever: God’s mission to our hurting world. He insightfully observes that proclaiming the gospel is not only about witnessing to the reality of God’s worth and uniqueness with our lips but with our very lives—through such everyday but life-transforming acts as prayer, faithfulness, compassion, and worship … I wholeheartedly commend John’s book to you and know you will be richer for his insights. — Ravi Zacharias
“John Dickson presents a bigger picture of evangelism than most of us are used to. We should, he insists, recognise worship, love, prayer, and generosity as all part of “gospel” work. Still more refreshing is the heart of the book: a treatment of Jesus and the Kingdom of God—the message of the four Gospels—as the centre of “the gospel.” God’s good news is about the entire new creation, and ourselves caught up into it; it is not just a mechanism for getting individuals into heaven. Dickson explains the whole picture with so many real-life stories that one cannot fail to be drawn in to the excitement of this many-sided gospel work. Here is a book offering fresh energy for the whole task of the whole people of God.” — N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham
Dickson offers a thoroughly biblical account of evangelism, informed and enlivened by stories from his own experience. For many who are weary of what often goes by the name evangelism, this book will be a most refreshing and inspiring experience. — Richard Bauckham, Senior Scholar, Ridley Hall, Cambridge