So who are these “two guys who should be Emergent but aren’t?” Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan and Ted Kluck is primarily a sports writer whose articles have appeared in ESPN the Magazine. and Sports Spectrum to name a few. Both of these men seek to tackle one of the controversial topics surrounding the modern Evangelical church – the Emergent church movement. They alternate chapters in this book: Kevin gives the “play by play” and Ted gives the “color commentary” (to give a sports analogy; I’m sure Ted would be pleased). In other words, DeYoung’s approach is to evaluate the teaching of the Emergent movement theologically and Kluck’s approach is more observational and editorial in format.
DeYoung and Kluck do an excellent job of addressing many of the key issues synonymous with this polarizing movement and they do so with a very bold, yet gracious manner. Both acknowledge some of the good points the movement tries to make concerning the contemporary Evangelical’s shortcomings – especially in the area of reaching the post-modern generation. However, the ways and the theology that guides this movement are corrupt at its core.
Both authors take on some of the more troubling teaching coming out of that movement, such as: God is ultimately unknowable; the rejection of many of the key biblical propositions (e.g. “Jesus is the only way”); and the rejection of Hell as being real and eternal. Listen to this troubling quote by the grand master of the Emergent movement, Brian MacLaren, “I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain with their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts" (pp. 201-202). So much for the Great Commission! (Matthew 28:18-20) DeYoung addresses the “different Gospel” espoused by this movement in this apt quote, “Our cursed world needs more than a plan for refurbished morals. It needs a Savior because it is so full of sinners. I just cannot understand how the gospel as a call to become a disciple for the good of the world is richer, grander, and more alive than a gospel that announces God’s grace, forgiveness, and the free gift of salvation.” The Emergent gospel is another gospel. Paul gives this jolting commentary about those who propagate a different gospel, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-8, ESV).
With a winsome, highly-informed, and biblical approach, DeYoung and Kluck offer one of the best evaluations of the Emergent movement. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking a better understanding of how to navigate through its dangerous doctrines. DeYoung and Kluck’s definition of an Emergent on pages 20-22 is worth the price of admission. Note: The Emergent church is to be distinguished from the emerging movement – although similar in some ways, there are many in the emerging movement who seek to reach post-moderns but with a decidedly biblical game-plan and mindset. -- Pastor Todd Burgett, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
"You can be young, passionate about Jesus Christ, surrounded by diversity, engaged in a postmodern world, reared in evangelicalism and not be an emergent Christian. In fact, I want to argue that it would be better if you weren't."
The emergent church is a strong voice in today's Christian community. And they're talking about good things: caring for the poor, peace for all men, loving Jesus. They're doing church a new way, not content to fit the mold. Again, all good. But there's more to the movement than that. Much more.
Kevin and Ted are two guys who, demographically, should be all over this movement. But they're not. And Why We're Not Emergent gives you the solid reasons why. From both a theological and an on-the-street perspective, Kevin and Ted diagnose the emerging church. They pull apart interviews, articles, books, and blogs, helping you see for yourself what it's all about.