Monday, May 26, 2008

A "Must Read" - Really!

Why We're Not EmergentI've just finished reading Why We're Not Emergent by Kevin De Young and Ted Kluck. Without a doubt, this is the best, clearest, most readable and most practical book to date examining the emerging/emergent church movement and pointing out it's flaws and problems. If someone today came to me and asked what book I would recommend reading first to get a grip on this "conversation", this is the book I'd recommend. In so many places I found myself saying almost out loud "Yes! That's exactly what I was thinking!" And in others getting angry as I read the quotes from the leading emerging/emergent authors like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Stephen Chalke, Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, Donald Miller, Stanley Grenz, Spencer Burke, Dave Tomlinson and others of their ilk. And this is one of the strongest points of the book. They quote frequently and widely from self-identified emergent authors and examine what they claim to believe - or not to believe. Of course, pointing any of these quotes out to those in the emergent "conversation" will get the usual "he doesn't speak for all of us" response. Which is frustrating in and of itself, since as the authors of this book point out, the emergent movement intentionally lacks and in fact rejects structures like leadership and boundaries. But the authors do a good job of getting as broad a cross section of emergent thought leaders as possible, and the theme is the same across all of them.

I could go into a number of points that DeYoung and Kluck bring to light regarding the problems with the emergent movement, but I really don't know where to start. The bottom line is that they do a great job of exposing the emergent church's lack of any real connection to anything that resembles the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And in its place are erecting a liberal, social welfare moralism that we've seen before in mainstream Protestantism over the past 100 years. Only this time with cooler words and a hipper image. But still really saying nothing new.

After reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that the emergent movement cannot last. It is likely a fad that will be die out in another ten or twenty years. Because it leads nowhere, and people who are excited about it now will find that there's nothing there to sustain spiritual life or spiritual reality. But I am concerned about this movement because today it is leading people away from the true church and the truth of Christ. And there are eternal consequences to this. And I'm also concerned because the evangelical church of today is lacking in the Biblical and historical discernment to see the emergent movement for the heresy that it is. Therefore it is slipping into many churches unawares, through the side doors of youth or student ministries or other efforts to be hip and cool and "relevant" to the youth culture at large. And individual undiscerning Christians are being influenced by emergent books such as Blue Like Jazz, Velvet Elvis, A New Kind of Christian and many others. Case in point - when I open up the latest version of the CBD catalog that came in the mail a few months ago and see books by John MacArthur alongside books by Brian McLaren, the emerging/emergent heresy is more mainstream than we may think. And make no mistake about it - the things these authors are saying and pointing toward are heretical.

So wherever you may be in your level of familiarity with the emerging/emergent church movement, get a copy of this book and read it. Even if you've never heard of the emerging church or any of these authors or books I've mentioned, get a copy of this book and read it. If you consider yourself a believer in Jesus Christ and have a love for His church, His word and His people, get a copy of this book and read it. Even if you somewhat identify with the emerging church, have read some Bell and McLaren and Miller and much of it has resonated with you - get a copy of this book and read it. I firmly believe that the emerging/emergent movement is the biggest single threat to Biblical evangelical Christianity now and for the next ten or twenty years. We cannot afford to be uninformed as to what it really is. DeYoung and Kluck bring great clarity in this book. Did I mention that you should get a copy and read it?

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