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Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications Paperback – May 5, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (May 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310259479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310259473
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A careful and informed assessment of the "emerging church" by a respected author and scholar

The "emerging church" movement has generated a lot of excitement and exerts an astonishingly broad influence. Is it the wave of the future or a passing fancy? Who are the leaders and what are they saying?

The time has come for a mature assessment. D. A. Carson not only gives those who may be unfamiliar with it a perceptive introduction to the emerging church movement, but also includes a skillful assessment of its theological views. Carson addresses some troubling weaknesses of the movement frankly and thoughtfully, while at the same time recognizing that it has important things to say to the rest of Christianity. The author strives to provide a perspective that is both honest and fair.

Anyone interested in the future of the church in a rapidly changing world will find this an informative and stimulating read.

D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of over 45 books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning book The Gagging of God, and is general editor of Telling the Truth and Worship by the Book. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.

About the Author

D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or coauthor of over 50 books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning book The Gagging of God and An Introduction to the New Testament. He is general editor of Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns and Worship by the Book. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.


More About the Author

D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or coauthor of over 45 books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning book The Gagging of God and An Introduction to the New Testament, and is general editor of Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns and Worship by the Book. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.

Customer Reviews

A very insightful book.
Marcia Hornok
D.A. Carson offers a book that approaches the big picture of the Emerging Church within a postmodern culture.
Lucas A. Knisely
This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in who and what the Emergent Church movement is.
Phillip H. Steiger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

151 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Seeking Disciple VINE VOICE on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dr. D.A. Carson offers a fair, balanced and biblical review of the emerging church movement which is fastly changing the scope of American Christianity (and I believe for the worst). Carson opens his book with a careful review of the movement by allowing the various authors and teachers of the movement to share their thoughts in their own words. Carson has numerous footnotes to help the reader see where the quotes are coming from.

The book is quite loving in its approach. Dr. Carson does not seek to tear down the emerging movement but he does seek to expose both its strengths and weaknesses. He does this with much grace. Dr. Carson is not blind to what the emerging church movement can teach the evangelical church but he does not hesitate to point out where the movement falls short by testing it with the Word of God. Truth, writes Carson, is not optional nor is it fuzzy. Truth comes directly from God and it contained in the Bible. Everything must conform itself to the Scriptures or it will not stand at all.

I greatly enjoyed this work. Having read much of emerging church authors and visiting various emerging web-sites, I found Carson's work to be a prophetic voice in our age. I highly recommend this work to every disciple of Jesus.
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242 of 259 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
While much has been written about the Emerging Church (henceforth known as EC), D.A. Carson is, as far as I know, the first person to write a book-length treatment evaluating and leveling critiques at the movement. At any rate he is certainly the most widely-respected. And yes, I know the EC leaders prefer to call it a "conversation," but since Carson does not shy from calling it a movement, nor will I. In Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, subtitled "Understanding a Movement and its Implications," Carson seeks to introduce the movement, assess it, and address several of the most glaring weaknesses. There are few men who are better suited to this task. Carson is a scholar and is known for his conservative, biblical theology as much as for his sound research and presentation skills. All of those admirable attributes are displayed throughout this book.

In the preface Carson writes, "Whenever a Christian movement comes along that presents itself as reformist, it should not be summarily dismissed. Even if one ultimately decides that the movement embraces a number of worrying weaknesses, it may also have some important things to say that the rest of the Christian world needs to hear. So I have tried to listen respectfully and carefully; I hope and pray that the leaders of this "movement" will similarly listen to what I have to say" (page 10). That spirit of love and charity pervades the book.

The book follows a logical format - introduction, admiration, criticism. The first chapter, "The Emerging Church Profile," is an uncritical summary of the Emerging Church. Carson arrives at three conclusions. First, the EC must be evaluated as to its reading of contemporary culture. Second, the EC needs to be evaluated as to its beliefs regarding Scripture.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Randy W. Rodden on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Great primer in understanding the strengths and very serious weeknesses of the Emerging church movement. Anyone who wants to understand how postmodernism is affecting this segment of the evangelical church will benefit from Carson's balanced and penetrating critique. Most of all I hope the leadership of the Emerging church will carefully read this book and use it as a wise corrective, given in the spirit of grace and truth, for their well intentioned movement.

Randy W. Rodden
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Phillip H. Steiger VINE VOICE on October 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in who and what the Emergent Church movement is. In my opinion, it is the most comprehensive and trenchant popular-level critique of the movement to date. Carson has taken the time to read the major works and authors within the Emergent conversation, and based on several anecdotes related in the book, he has engaged many forums and individuals within the movement. As a result, Carson deals fairly and charitably with the people and the positives of the theology and philosophy, and also has a solid footing for his critique.

A crucial point of contention with Carson is what he calls the "wretched antithesis." Within postmodern philosophy, a typical dichotomy is that because we cannot be omniscient knowers, we must therefore be skeptical of all possible knowledge. Unfortunately, Emergent picks up on this false dichotomy and fails to give appropriate emphasis to truth claims (however analogous, modest or straight-forward they may be) in Scripture. I have also found it true that Emergent authors and pastors are unwilling to deal in terms of "truth" even though Scripture is not afraid to do so.

Carson's call is not for a nasty end to Emergent, despite some of his detractors. His call is for a real and honest dealing with the role of theology within the Church, and for Emergent to answer some of these serious critiques. A great deal of Emergent thought is content to "ask questions" and thus feel vindicated in their apparent profundity. Carson, and so many others, just want some substantive answers to serious questions.
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