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Friday, June 17, 2005

Book Review

The Emerging Church by Dan Kimball.

So my friend Brian (yes, it's the same Brian from the "faith quiz." The same Brian who is probably a bit horrified to be a link just below Al Mohler on this site...in fact, why are you at my site? If you want to be reading things to make you think, you should probably just go straight to Brian's Site!) and I have had several talks about the Emergent Church "movement." Patiently, Brian has talked with me, and finally he handed me this book.

Finally, I've read it.

I found this book to be encouraging, intimidating, challenging, reassuring, informative and fun reading. Kimball definitely has done his homework, both in the school of life and with supporting research. I found his writing style to be quite conversational, almost feeling like I was sitting in a room talking to him. His youth pastor past rises to the surface as the book is full of clip art or boxed in areas of conversation from other authors. He seems to have found the balance between providing evidence but not turning the book into an academic exercise.

As with any book, I was very concerned to see how Kimball handled the Word of God. Actually, I found that Kimball is not really looking to do anything new or discover some new unlocked mystery, but rather embrace the church of the Bible. I found his usage of Scripture to be accurate to the context of the passage. I found myself pushed and stretched at times, but found nothing that troubled my "Reformed Evangelical" (see quiz below.) soul.

There are elements of the Emergent Movement that scares me. There are those who seem to focus more on the society than on the Word. There are some that are attempting to understand the Bible in the context of our culture, instead of understanding our culture according to the Word of God. I do not feel Kimball is one of those guys. He seeks to present Truth to a postmodern generation...but Truth is still his goal.

Is our church emergent? I don't know. We certainly look much different than a church in Santa Cruz (we better, since the people are different too!). We share the conviction of being true to God's Word, but if the things we do that aren't biblically mandated (or the way we do them that isn't Biblically mandated) begin to get in the way of people becoming disciples...I pray we have the same desire to reevaluate and adjust our thinking.

Pastor or not, I think this is a good read. I'd rate it an "8.5 point Caribou" book.

(By the way, if you are a church leader of any kind, you may want to put this in the category of "must read." The conversation is only going to be growing and even if you don't currently think the "emerging culture" is around you...it either is, or is coming soon.)


  • At 2:49 AM, Blogger Dan said…

    Dan K. here. thank you for the kind and encouraging review. i appreciate your insight, concerns and conclusions.

    i enjoyed reading your blog and other entries.

    peace in Jesus,


  • At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I still agree with Solomon's observation that there is nothing new under the sun. I also believe that there is a significant overlap between postmodernism and neopaganism, though the second word is much less complimentary. My impression of the emerging church is that it is not a presentation of new ideas as much as a return to some very old one. Years ago I read an ad by Sony that said "Innovation is easy, just give people the opposite of what they wanted yesterday." Almost every reform movement in church history, (Protestantism, Pietism, Brethrenism, Stone/Campbell, etc) have claimed to be the search for an authentic expression of the New Testament church. I also offer this quote as a warning, "He who is wed to the spirit of the age finds himself a widow in the age to come."


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