Emerging Church: 5 Books–Reviews, Thoughts, Critiques…

Thanks to Andrew Jones for linking this post, Dr Reg Codrington on the Emerging Church, at his blog.

The great thing about the internet is the ability to hear voices from all over the world which is a must needed remedy for us to step outside our American lens theologically.

The Emerging Church is always a hot topic so I appreciate Dr. Reg Codrington’s synthesis of some various books and critiques out there on the topic.

Thoughts on the Emerging Church, by Dr Reg Codrington

Here’s a sample:

I have spent the past several months reading various works by writers from the Emerging Church Movement. These have included Brian McLaren’s “A Generous Orthodoxy”, Leonard Sweet’s “Carpe Manana” (which I am re-reading for the 2nd time), McLaren’s “The last word and the word after that”, Reggie McNeal’s, “The Present Future”, and Shane Claiborne’s mind-blowing book, “The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an ordinary radical”. I have also surfed the Web and been the recipient of several “blogs” and related emails on the subject.

With certain reservations, I enjoyed “A Generous Orthodoxy”, since I believe it raised some important issues about failures in the contemporary evangelical church, even though McLaren tended to slide over a number of issues I could have wished he had dealt with in more detail. He also introduced what I see as side-issues which diminished the effect of his bigger questions.

“Carpe Manana” needs a second read, but I found it fascinating, with Sweet putting his finger on problem areas in the modern church with unerring skill. He was forthright, yet gracious, and I found the entire book challenging and helpful.

McLaren’s “The last word” was troubling and unsatisfying. He left me with the impression that he was tackling an area which has many unanswered questions for the Bible-believing Christian (hell and eternal punishment) only to leave us with a different set of unanswered questions and a stance on penal substitution and universalism which I personally find unacceptable and unbiblical.

McNeal’s “The Present Future”, by contrast, put a finger on crucial issues which the church needs to confront, without introducing the kind of red herrings which McLaren did.

My favourite book of the decade was Claiborne’s challenging “Irresistible Revolution”, which put in writing a summary of all that has been occupying my mind and study time over the past few years. This is a must read!

It was against the background of all these books that I read Don Carson’s book, “Becoming conversant with the Emerging Church”. Having read with appreciation some of his other writings, I expected this scholar to approach the subject in a balanced and unbiased way. I was deeply disappointed!

0 Comments

  1. by jeremy zach on May 4, 2008  6:58 pm Reply

    I am assuming that Carson’s book, “Becoming conversant with the Emerging Church” was deeply disappointing because he was very biased and opinionated towards the emerging church.

    I was taken off guard too. For some odd reason DA has a very bad taste in his mouth about the emerging church. He also does not like Bell. Maybe DA should stick to commentary writing. Also, in my opinion, he is not a very engaging orator. However I love his commentary and theological dictionary work. I quoted and referenced him a lot in my seminary papers.

  2. by Roger Saner on July 7, 2008  8:23 am Reply

    Thanks for picking this up, Rhett. South Africa is such an interesting place - there are robust conversations going on around what it means to be white and Western and African and Christian - which gives us a similar yet different take on the global emerging conversation.

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