Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why We're Not Emergent (by Two Guys Who Should Be) by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck


Want to read a book that will make you think so hard you're head will hurt?

Confused about all of this "emergent church" stuff?

Fans and non-fans of such authors as Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet, and the "father" of the emergent church movement, Brian McLaren need to read this book! Written in a combination of deep theology and comfortable conversation (you really need to read the introduction to understand that!), "Why We're Not Emergent" could quite possibly be one of the most important theological books written today.

Let me be clear from the beginning: while I think the emergent church movement has some good and thought-provoking things to say to the church of today, I think it is more dangerous than helpful. I'm not a fan of the authors mentioned above, although I've tried very hard to "get" their books and theology.

Kevin and Ted lay out sound discussion concerning many of the "teachings" found in the emergent church. And while they briefly discuss the distinction between "emergent" and "emerging" (believe me, there's a HUGE difference), for the sake of clarity, they use the terms interchangeably.

This book isn't mean-spirited, but it is direct and filled with quotes from well-known emergent authors, as well as Scripture that refutes those teachings. Some of what is believed, or not believed in the emergent movement seems so whack, it's hard to believe that people subscribe to that teaching! (I can say that about the theology...but I do NOT say it about the authors---keep that clear, okay!)

While well meaning and well intended, this movement is seeking to undo some very Biblical truths, such as the Biblical position on sin (i.e., homosexuality), the inerrancy of Scripture (do NOT get me started!), and the importance of the virgin birth of Christ.

We DO need to be relevant, relational, and reach out more. But NOT at the expense of truth, which CAN be known and CAN be counted on (either that, or Paul lied to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit!).

Not every person within this movement is the same--some of my favorite authors are a part of the emergent church movement. But knowing what is true and what is false is like walking through an unmarked mine field. Kevin and Ted's book gives us a map of sorts to know where the bombs are while gleaning the good nuggets.

As I stated in the beginning, whether a fan or not of this movement (which has actually been around since the days of John Calvin, believe it or not!), you need to pick up a copy of this one and read it eyes wide open and Bible at your side.

No matter WHO writes it, if it can't stand up with Scripture, toss it OUT! The Bible is our standard, and it will stand throughout time and eternity, while books like this one are useful, but will only last as they live up to the Bible. And "Why We're Not Emergent" does stand side by side with Scripture quite well!

I'm giving "Why We're Not Emergent" six out of five bookmarks, with a tiny bottle of pain reliever as a charm...seriously, it made me think so hard my head hurt. But it was SO worth it!

To learn more, check out Kevin & Ted's website by clicking here!

Happy Reading!



Anonymous said...

"We DO need to be relevant, relational, and reach out more. But NOT at the expense of truth, which CAN be known and CAN be counted on..."


I have only been hearing about this movement in the last year or so. this would probably be a good resource.

Mike said...

I'm surprised that you haven't reviewed any "emergent" authors in your reviews (except Samson). Being that I've personally met with many of these authors(more than a handshake), I would say they are some of the most loving, passionate people I know for God's Kingdom.

I downloaded the first chapter, a lot of generalizations. Considering I attend Mars Hill where Rob Bell is pastor, I specifically don't remember him saying that doubting for the sake of doubting is a good thing. He's actually said it several times. Anybody who says we can't doubt might as well throw Jesus and Paul out...

and I think Thomas gets a bad wrap for the "doubting" label...Jesus never punished him for his doubt.

Deena Peterson said...

Well, Mike, I have reviewed more than just the Samsons. I've read several authors, long before I began this blog, and I've talked with respected friends, colleagues and pastors who have discussed different articles and such from this new movement in the church with me.

I'm glad you know Rob Bell personally. It is so much easier to know what a person is really all about by knowing them and talking with them. And I'm sure that all of the men and women who write about the emergent church are loving, generous and sincere.

I just don't agree with their theology, and believe some of it is very dangerous.

I went back and re-read my review again, and don't see where I slammed anyone for doubting. We all have doubts. But when it comes to God and my salvation, I have assurance, as I'm told by Paul, Jesus, and John that I can have that.

Your last paragraph in your comment confused me, but that's okay. I confuse myself at times.

I actually identify more with Thomas than any other disciple...but Jesus did lovingly call him on his doubts...because He wants us to have total assurance in Him.

I also highly identify with the father who went to Jesus to heal his son, and Jesus asked if he believed, and he cried, "I do believe! Help me in my unbelief!"

I just know that the Bible gives us confidence and assurance in the crucial things, and I stand by God's Word...and when you really think about it, what else in this life is worth standing by or standing on?

Vonda Skelton said...

Deena, thank you for telling us about this book. I was just discussing this very issue with a friend the other day. In an effort to get people in church, I'm afraid many people want to water the Gospel down to the point that it requires nothing. Jesus said it requires everything.

Blessings, my friend...

Jesse said...

I'm glad to see this book is getting some hype and discussion across the net. I also have enjoyed reading DeYoung and Kluck's assessments, but I am most surprised to see that everyone considers the book to be respectful. As one who considers himself emergent - beyond just listening to Rob Bell podcasts, which I do enjoy occasionally - I thought the consistent jabs at coffee lovers, Guinness drinkers and mac owners was a bit underhanded. Just because I'm typing this on my MacBook Pro (which I owned long before I even heard the term emergent) invalidates my theological perspective? Another way to point this out is in the books subtitle: "By Two Guys Who Should Be." Who should be emergent? People who agree that this is the best way to follow Jesus. There are a lot of people who don't think it is the best way - Kevin, Ted and Deena for three - and I don't think they should "convert" (or that it would even be a conversion). Rather, the conversation, the mutual-challenging, the dialog pushes us all closer to Christ.

Jesse said...

Sorry to post twice - But if anyone is interested in learning more about the emergent church, check out Tony Jones' book "The New Christians" - very accessible and offers reasons as to "Why We Are Emergent."