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Book Review: Why We’re Not Emergent

October 30, 2010

Over the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of reading and not that much writing.  So over the next few weeks, expect quite a few book reviews to leak out on to my blog as I play catch up.

Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)

By Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck

To be honest, up until this past year, I had been exposed to the emergent church movement on a very limited basis.  But being aware of its growing impact, I decided it was time to dig a little bit into what it is all about.  This book jumped out at me at Mardel’s and I decided to give it a spin.  If these guys aren’t emergent, yet should be, they probably have some pretty good reasons, right?

This book was an insightful and interesting examination of the emergent church movement.  What sets Why We’re Not Emergent apart in its writing is that the chapters are divvied up between DeYoung (a pastor who brings the theological knowledge to his writing) and Kluck (one of DeYoung’s church members, a sports writer with a tongue-in-cheek approach).  The other thing that impressed me was their gracious approach in their discussion.  Lesser writers (and Christians) would have reverted to throwing nasty barbs out about a viewpoint they disagree with.  Instead, DeYoung and Kluck approach the emergent leaders as the fellow brothers in Christ that they are, airing their concerns about the consequences that arise from their compromise of inerrant truth and solid doctrinal foundations.  DeYoung’s chapters in particular do not pull their punches on the serious implications against the Lordship of Jesus that emergent thinking is leading the movement toward.  On the other hand, Kluck brings a real man-in-the-pew perspective that is both honest in his concerns and ironic in his sense of humor.  This book is both theologically deep and engagingly entertaining, a rare combination to find.  If you are interested in diving deeper into the dangers of the emergent church movement, this is the book for you.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2010 10:55 pm

    This is a very nice book review Jordan. The emergent church is a growing problem in the US, which is trying to turn Christianity into the religion of Works Righteousness. I believe that we must speak out against this heresy, giving emergents the Gospel so that they can repent and be forgiven. We need book reviews like this just as much as we need books like this. Keep up the good work!

    • luminousvignettes permalink*
      November 6, 2010 3:28 am

      Thanks Russ for the encouraging words. I definitely needed to learn more about the emergent church so I could better understand how to minister, seeing as how influential it has become with my generation. This book was an excellent primer on the house of cards the emergent church builds through the discarding of doctrinal Truth by many within the movement.

  2. Chris permalink
    November 4, 2010 2:04 pm

    Great book and great authors, Jordan. Their follow up book, “Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion,” is equally powerful! Thanks for the review. What was your biggest takeaway?

    • luminousvignettes permalink*
      November 6, 2010 4:04 am

      Thanks Chris, I will have to check that one out as well.

      I think my biggest takeaway from the book is the dangerous route one takes when you just bounce back and forth from extremes. That is largely what has fueled the emergent movement – a reactionary position to the extreme fundamental roots many grew up in. There were negative extremes in that church movement of which you and I are well acquainted with, and a large part of the emergent church is built upon going to the opposite extreme far beyond what is reasonable and discarding what God’s Word mandates. It is a reminder to me to always judge my actions – and reactions – by God’s Word and not my emotional response.

      That is probably about as “in a nutshell” as I can get on what my biggest takeaway was, and that too is still lacking much in the way of specific examples of how that has occurred within the emergent movement. We can chat about it more the next time I’m around in KC though. Thanks for the comment and the question!


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