D.A. Carson's latest book "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church" (Zondervan 2005) is a careful critique of the Emerging Church movement. This self-styled "conversation" is an attempt to do Church for the postmodern world. The trouble is the the postmodern world is allergic to absolute truth and this causes something of a problem for Bible-believing Christians. Jesus himself was not shy about making dogmatic and absolute claims about himself. He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except though me." (John 14:6.)
Carson recognizes that the movement has its strengths. But he worries that Emergent thinkers have underestimated the threat that the postmodern worldview poses to Biblical Christianity. Throughout the book Carson interacts with leading Emergent thinkers, especially Brian McLaren from the US and Steve Chalke of the UK. After analyzing their views, Carson writes, "I have to say, as kindly but as forcefully as I can, that to my mind, if words mean anything, both McLaren and Chakle have largely abandoned the gospel." (p. 186.) The book concludes with a consideration of relevant Biblical texts and an exposition of 2 Peter chapter 1.
Carson is at his perceptive and trenchant best in this book. He writes with the care of a scholar and the passion of a preacher. "Becoming Conversant..." is a must-read for anyone wanting to get to grips with Emergent thinking.
I am left pondering the question, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the postmodern world and loses his soul?"