Emerging from what? : the historical roots of the Emerging Church Movement.


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This dissertation examines the history of the Emerging Church Movement (ECM) in the United States to discover the ideological and institutional roots of the movement. This study utilizes multiple sources – textual, online, and oral – to argue that the ECM’s origins lie in three earlier movements among evangelical Protestants whose confluence helped produce and give shape to the ECM: 1) the methodologically experimental “new paradigm” churches of the late-twentieth century emerging out of the Jesus People Movement and Church-Growth methodologies of the 1960s and 70s; 2) the missional ecclesiology and kingdom theology growing out of the work of scholars like David Bosch, Leslie Newbigin, Stanley Hauerwas, John Howard Yoder, Dallas Willard, and N.T. Wright; and 3) the rise of socially and politically progressive evangelicals produced by the political upheavals of the 1960s and informed by integral mission theology coming out of Latin America. The ECM brought together ideas and practices from these prior influences, reshaping them through their own engagement with postmodern thought to produce a new movement greater than the sum of its parts. The study also traces the subsequent development of the movement, as well as its more recent fragmentation.



Emerging Church. Evangelicalism. Church history. American Christianity.