Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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

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

Pages: 256.

How it was obtained: I bought it for my kindle.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 2 days.

Days spent reading it: 3 days.

Why I read it: I have a love/uneasy relationship with the Emergent movement. Ever since I first read Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell, I knew something big was going down. But I was not sure if I liked, or did not like this new movement. I knew this book would be a thoughtful counter-point to the Emergent movement, and put it on my reading list as soon as I heard about it.

Brief review: Why We're Not Emergent is an insightful book that evaluates the Emergent movement. Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck have done their homework. They have read the major authors (McLaren, Jones, Bell, Kimball; you name them, they've read them to some extent). In this book, DeYoung and Kluck take on a huge task of synthesizing the beliefs of the Emergent movement and interacting with them on a theological and philosophical level. The result is a thought provoking addition to this discussion about the Emergent church.

The book is set up so that the authors alternate chapters. DeYoung's chapters are an academic look at the Emergent movement. He takes a look at the big picture stuff. I liked these chapters the most. DeYoung takes what Emergent authors have said and evaluates their statements in light of scripture and philosophical merit. So you have chapters about The Bible, Doctrine, Modernism, and throughout the whole book a discussion about the merits and shortcomings of Postmodernism. I found DeYoung to be informed and informative. He gives a (I think) fair overview of the Emergent movement's thoughts and ideas and where those thoughts will take them.

Kluck's chapters are more about the personal exploration of the Emergent movement. It was told as if it was a memoir about Kluck's journey into and out of the Emergent movement. I'm sure it will resonate with some readers who are more story oriented. For me, it was down time between the real substance chapters of the book. I am also sure they do this intentionally because Emergents love a good story, and Kluck knows how to write.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to think more or understand more about the Emergent movement and its role in American Christianity. I think this book tries to be fair to the movement. I really think DeYoung and Kluck are sympathetic to the Emergent's cry that something is wrong.  At the same time, DeYoung and Kluck are unwilling to bend on some doctrinal and philosophic truths that they see as a foundation for their beliefs. For my two cents, I think the Emergent movement raises some valid concerns about our ecclesiology, but I am uneasy with their epistemology and sometimes with their view on Scripture and doctrine. This book was easy to read, and I think it is a great addition to the conversation. Check it out if you have any interest in the movement or the conversation, you won't regret it.

Favorite quote: "But let us not forget: Jesus is more than a coping mechanism. We may desire sweet fellowship with a kind, caring Jesus, but if He is to help us in any real way, He must be more than a sensitive good listener—He must be strong, exalted, and mighty."

Stars: 5 out of 5.

Final Word: Thoughtful.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Thanks. Interesting.