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Why We’re Not Emergent by DeYoung and Kluck

June 24, 2010

I truly believe that the emerging church, especially the more extreme elements, could be to the contemporary church what the Judaizers and Gnostics were to the early church and the social gospel was to the church early in the last century. They are indeed false religions. They all make interesting points and raise important questions and issues, but the problem is they answer those questions and issues outside the Gospel. In fact, it is a false gospel. Any book that wants to combat that false gospel runs the risk of turning into a mean-spirited watchdog rather than what Paul described in 2 Timothy 2:24-25, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” It is the pastor’s (in this case the author’s) role to teach rather than pick fights. He upholds the truth, but does so with a gentleness that does not drive away those who most need to hear it. Perhaps most importantly, it is not the author’s role to change hearts. That is a job that only God can do.

Why We’re Not Emergent is a really good book. The authors use words that are hard but not harsh to point out many of the problems with the emerging church movement. They do not rely on supposition or conjecture, but rather on the writings and recordings of leaders in the emerging movement.

The structure of the book is interesting. One of the authors pastors a reformed church in Lansing, Michigan. The other is a sportswriter and published author. They alternate chapters. The pastor uses more quotes and approaches thing very much from a theological perspective. The other author’s chapters seem to be rooted more in humor and emotion. They make a good pair.

If I have any criticism, it is that the authors write only from a reformed perspective. It is as if they do not realize that non-Calvinists have mostly the same concerns with the emerging church as Calvinists do. All of the authors they cite to rebut the emerging viewpoints are fellow Calvinists. It is as if, as far as they are concerned, there are Calvinists, the emerging church, and no one else. This is unfortunate. It could alienate a large segment of their potential audience. This is an audience that largely agrees with them.

This is a good book. I would recommend it for any church leader along with anyone who works and/or ministers in a postmodern or emerging context.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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