Guest / Limited Access /

At key moments in church history, says Scott Bessenecker, monastic movements have kept the faith alive. "In the first renaissance [A.D. 400] it was the Celtic and Augustinian monks, in the second [800] it was the Benedictine and Nestorian monks, in the third [1200] the Franciscans and Dominicans, and in the fourth [1600] the Jesuits, Moravians, and Anabaptists."

Bessenecker believes we are ripe for another renaissance, whose leaders he calls the new friars. "What we are seeing today…is a continuation of this pattern of mission orders—devotional communities that are high on ministry to the outcasts."

Readers may quibble with Bessenecker's reading of history, but they'll be inspired by this very GenX movement. These young evangelicals are taking vows, living and ministering communally, and seeking to bring God's kingdom to the world's poor.

Bessenecker is part of this movement in his work with InterVarsity, so he is inclined to argue that this small group of missionaries will have a disproportionate effect on the church in the next 50 years.

Maybe so. But whether or not he's correct, one hopes to see and hear more from the new friars even if they don't feel at home in celebrity Christianity.



Related Elsewhere:

The New Friars is available from ChristianBook.com and other retailers.

Intervarsity Press has excerpts from the book.

For more, read Intervarsity Christian Fellowship's interview with Bessenecker and listen to him read the first chapter of The New Friars.

Christianity Today's earlier articles 'The New Monasticism,' 'A More Demanding Faith,' 'The New Missions Generation' and 'A Community of the Broken' look at the movement Bessenecker describes in The New Friars.

Information about the new monasticism and a discussion ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only The Dusty Messiah
Why I no longer believe in a spiritual Jesus.
TrendingMark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
(UPDATED) Driscoll offers 8-step solution to followers: 'Current climate is not healthy for me or for this church.'
Editor's PickCan You See Too Much Jesus in the Bible?
Can You See Too Much Jesus in the Bible?
Why one seminary thinks so and is sending an Old Testament scholar into early retirement.
Comments
Christianity Today
Emerging Monasticism
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.