Mary Douglas (1921-2007)
introducing Alan Torrance

de-coding the new 'church' language

emerging church - a loose term that reflects christians who are experimenting and trying to discover church in a postmodern world. those who identify with the term 'emerging church' resist trying to define and label it. there is a difference in how the word is used in the uk and usa, because of the different contexts. for more see eddie gibbs and ryan bolger's Emerging Churches (2006, spck). in the uk, see and the blogs of andrew jones, jonny baker, jason clark and kester brewin (this is just some of the major players).

inherited church
- this term is used to described the existing church, which still is the vast majority, from which those involved in these other types of church listed here are moving beyond. some are very critical of inherited church, others are more kind! evangelicalism does come in for a lot of criticism.

liquid church - first coined by pete ward (lecturer in youth ministry and theological education, kcl) in his 2002 book of the same name. He borrowed the word 'liquid' from zygmunt bauman's book Liquid Modernity (2000, poliity press). Liquid church is church that moves beyond the one-size fits all (solid church) into a more dynamic notion of church which is focused on networks, relationships and communications.

deep church- first coined by cs lewis, but used more recently by andrew walker (professor of theology and education, kcl)  and others to describe church that seeks to reconnect with the common historical Christian tradition and go beyond denominational divides. See Andrew Walker's essay 'Recovering Deep Church' in Remembering our Future (2007, paternoster).

mcdonaldized church
- first coined by john drane in his book the McDonaldization of the Church, which adapts the theory of george ritzer to the church. It is church that is pre-packaged and takes on the characteristics of McDonalds.

- the understanding that in recent years there has been a shift from christendom to post-christendom. in christendom, the christian story was known and accepted and society was christenized in many ways. after christendom, the christian story is much less known and the chrisitans find themselves on the margins of society and competing for the public square. see the work of stuart murray, especially his two books Post-Christendom (2004, paternoster) and Church After Christendom (2005, paternoster).

mission-shaped church
- a 2004 church of england report which got the anglicans moving into exploring and financing different kinds of church. operates under the name fresh expressions.

alternative worship
- worship that emerged out of the likes of the nine o'clock service in sheffield in the mid-1990s. it can be described as creative (embraces the arts), post-charismatic  (tends not to do singing) and post-evangelical, visual, kinasethetic, post-modern, contemplative, retriving and rewriting liturgy, rediscovering theology (especially doctines of incarnation, creation and trinity), having a positive of view of contemporary culture. see jonny baker and doug gay's book Alternative Worship (2004, spck) and steve collin's alternative worship website.

- first coined by dave tomlinson's in his 1995 book of the same name. casued something of a debate. a term that describes those wanting to move beyond evangelical church and theology. 

churchless faith -  first coined by alan jamiseon in his 2002 book of the same name. the word refers to those who still express or identify with the christian faith but have beyond the church. these people are evangelical/charismatic/pentecostal church leavers (and jamieson's research showed often church leaders as well).



Andy, a lot of good stuff here.
I'm not sure Mission-Shaped Church report 'got the Anglicans moving...' More, it was largley a response to what Anglican groups were already doing, saying 'this is good' and trying to encourage more of it.

andy Goodliff

mission-shaped church release money in a big way, there was no fresh expressions before, but i agree there was some going on. mission-shaped church gave it legitimacy.

Tom Allen

Interesting summary - perhaps emerging is usefully semi-divided into "emergent" which has a definite denominational format in the States and the more general emerging.

Missing is the more catholic "Missional Church" which emerges from Roman Catholic and the high anglican traditions (plus also comes out of the alternative worship movement which was more catholic in the North of England than your summary suggests)and focuses on themes like " missio dei" and new forms of small group church, and relating to the innate spirituality which is ignored by mainstream Church. It suggests that secularism is a myth and post-Christendom the more dominant cultural norm is a divine gift. People have lost contact with The Church but not with God, and find most lively forms of Church cheesy. Its core text is perhaps Hosea 6:6 "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings".


Do you have to be a lecturer at King's to join in? ;)

More semi-seriously, I feel rather wary of a movement so young which has "major players" already. Surely the point is that emergent things emerge? If you can identify "major players" its at a risk of reproducing the boring old prepackaged McChurch...

andy goodliff

'major players' is probably the wrong term. the names are just some of the people who are actively involved in the emerging church conversation and I put them down as good starting points if you've never come across it before.

Jason Clark

That's a great roundup/summary Andy, thanks.

andy goodliff

Thanks for stopping by, Jason.

Peter Dominey

"Off topic!
Hi Andy, would not want to lose touch and email address for you is out of date. Can you login at and update your profile with new email or simply send to me...
Cheers, Peter

Peter Dominey, Incarnate Network

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