Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Resources and thoughts on the Emerging Church

The end of the semester here at Southern has pre-occupied me somwhat as of late, but I return to my blog today to post some resources on the issues surrounding the Emerging Church.

The most important book on the subject right now is D.A. Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005). Derek Thomas has given an adequate reveiw of Carson's book, I won't repeat, but here is a quote from Thomas:

In eight chapters Carson covers all bases: historical analysis (what caused the birth of the Emergent Church), cultural critique (Carson’s analysis of post-modernity is itself a brief and succinct guide to what otherwise can prove to be a quagmire), personality engagement (Carson takes on the heavy-weights, Brian McLaren [A Generous Orthodoxy] and Steve Chalk [The Lost Message of Jesus] and finds both wanting), and biblical analysis (we’d expect no loss from a Biblical scholar of Carson’s reputation).

What makes the Emerging Church so significant? First, it does have some legitimate criticisms and concerns. The church must engage the cutlure, and it must recognize the changing shape of the culture. The failure of many Emerging Church groups, however, is that it all too readily embraces the culture of postmodernism. While trying its best not to be absolute relativists, members of the Emerging Church Movement are absolutely not absolutists.

Why should pastors take note of this movement? An entire generation of younger Christians who are tired of fundamentalism, legalism, and pragmatism in the church find this movement has appeal. Many young, godly, men and women are being drawn away from the confessional church to a "church" with no concrete statements of faith. The end result is nothing more than theologically wimpy, politically correct, Christians. And such is of no value to the church or the culture, no matter how "relevant" it may seem.

Other Resources:
Justin Taylor did a massive 8 part series on the Emerging church over at his blog: www.theologica.blogspot.com

Truth and the New Kind of Christian: Effects of Postmodernism in the Church by R. Scott Smith

Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accomidation in Postmodern Times ed. Millard Erickson

Whatever Happened to Truth? ed. by Andreas Kostenberger


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