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on 1 September 2011
It is difficult to know exactly what to make of Don Carson's book on the Emergent church - other than that his is profoundly discomforted by them. His analysis seems fairly straightforward. They are good at understanding the times we live in, and to a large extent they accept a post-modern critique of modernity. His main issue seems to be that they are not clear on which bits of modernity they accept and which they reject, nor which bits of post-modernity they accept and which they reject. But given this lack of clarity I don't really see the point of lengthy discussions defending aspects of modernity (that nobody is openly objecting to) nor long discussions attacking aspects of post-modernity (that nobody is explicitly advocating).

When it comes to his more specific critique of some of the writings of Brian McLarren there is a similar concern over Brain McLarren's lack of academic rigour in terms of what is left unsaid, but given that Brian McLarren never claims to be writing for academics the criticism does seem weak and leave the impression of being more pedantic than anything else.

Don Carson appears to be looking for something to criticise, but is finding it difficult to do so, because the Emergent church seems to be refusing to define itself in black and white terms that would enable this. Perhaps that is the heart of the issue he sees with the Emergent church - that there is a worrying lack of rigour that he sees potential dangers in, but, overall, I did not find this a helpful book. Certainly it is less an introduction to the Emergent church than a polemic against.
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on 28 October 2006
Don Carson has written an excellent critique of post-modernism and its appearance as the Emerging Church. He writes as a theologian giving a critique which may be hard going for the average Christian but one which well repays the effort in reading. I believe this is a generous, fair yet devastating critique. He shows the strengths and weaknesses of the Emerging Church in reading contemporary culture and its commendable desire to reach post-modern people. I believe Carson gives us an excellent critique of post-modernism and shows why the Emerging Church has gone more down a route of syncretism with post-modernism The books of McClaren and Chalke are well critiqued in their departure from biblical orthodoxy. The conclusion is the Emerging Church should be handled with great caution. It is a departure from evangelical Christianity. If you are drawn to Emerging Church you must read Carson's critique. It is also a book which gives an excellent critique of post-modernism in general. Carson believes it is a spent force academically but it seems to me to be an increasing one in popular culture.
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on 11 June 2014
My original review said this - "I was hoping to read this book - but unfortunately THRIFT BOOKS in Dallas, US, sent me the wrong book instead of this and then said they did not have this book in stock. I am very disappointed. So I cannot comment on this." - but today June 17th 2014, having told me that they no longer had the book in stock, having sent me the wrong book - suddenly today it arrived. I have no idea if they managed to re-order it or what - but either way, my confidence in Thrift Books has been restored - I now think that these are thoroughly decent types after all, and now I would definitely use them again, at any rate. Well done, Thrift Books - you get 5 gold stars from me! Jolly good show.
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on 25 September 2007
Whilst D.A. Carsons book is not for those looking for a light read on a Sunday afternoon it is an excellent resource. His informed and clear examination of the emergent church is really helpful - someone with his ability and intellect was needed to help us to see the pitfalls (particularly doctrinal) related to some of the emergent church ideas. His recognition of the good motives of those christian leaders trying to reach their generation with the gospel is well set out, but as we know it cannot be at any cost (particularly the truth).
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on 17 August 2013
This book is not an engaged exploration of the emerging church movement as the title of the book suggests, but an antiquated attack and collection of tired conservative conclusions which the author clearly held long before the emerging church existed. If your genuinely interested in exploring the emerging church then give this book a miss. If you want your conservative/modernist prejudices affirmed then its money well spent!
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on 28 July 2014
Don Carson writes a well-balanced commentary with sensitivity and authority based on thorough research.
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on 18 February 2007
How can you author a book entitled "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church" without actually conversing with any communities, individuals etc.? buy it if you want an anti-emergent polemic to reinforce your presumptions and prejudices... if you want a balanced, well researched, evidenced and informative exploration of the breadth of views, ideas and theologies within what has become known as the emerging church conversation, then don't buy this buy Gibbs and Bolgers "Emerging Churches"
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