If your shelves are lined with books with names on their spines like Burke, Pagitt, Ward, Chalke, and Tomlinson... If the links on your laptop suggest you connect readily to Miller, Bell, McLaren, Rollins and McManus...
Then you owe it to yourself - and to those you influence- to read Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck, Why We're Not Emergent (by two guys who should be) (Moody, 2008). But be at peace as you do so because one of the authors does affirm "I don't consider myself a Carson fan or admirer." (I know how just saying the letters "D" and "A" gets emerging people a bit twitchy). Interestingly, DA Carson does still endorse the book!
May I make three comments about the book?
(a) For me the most searching critique is the way this movement runs the risk of falling victim to the errors of the very modernism (not to mention the old liberalism) from which it so strenuously distances itself. Very perceptive... Ohh - let me squeak in one other critique - n30 on p86 - referring to a comment from DA Carson: "emerging church leaders, unlike the Reformers, are calling for change because the culture has moved. The Reformers, by contrast, were calling for change because the church had moved - away from the Bible."
(b) In the Epilogue lies one of the most positive suggestions I have heard yet. If you are a pastor why not do a preaching series through The Seven Churches of Revelation (Rev 2 & 3) as a framework in which to handle the issues which the emerging movement raises? Be faithful to the issues in the text - but with an eye on this context. A brilliant suggestion...
(c) One single quotation that is one sentence long will do - but it is a very, very long sentence. Are you ready? It carries something of the cheeky, chirpy tone of the book. Here goes...
Are you Emergent?
You might be an emergent Christian: if you listen to U2, Moby, and Johnny Cash's Hurt (sometimes in church), use sermon illustrations from The Sopranos, drink lattes in the afternoon and Guinness in the evenings, and always use a Mac; ... if your idea of quintessential Christian discipleship is Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, or Desmond Tutu; if you don't like George W. Bush or institutions or big business or capitalism, or Left Behind Christianity; if your political concerns are poverty, AIDS, imperialism, war-mongering, CEO salaries, consumerism, global warming, racism, and not so much abortion and gay marriage; if you are into bohemian, goth, rave, or indie; if you talk about the myth of redemptive violence and the myth of certainty; if you lie awake at night having nightmares about all the ways modernism has ruined your life; if you love the Bible as a beautiful, inspiring collection of works that lead us into the mystery of God but is not inerrant; if you search for truth but aren't sure it can be found; if you've ever been to a church with prayer labyrinths, candles, Play-Doh, chalk-drawings, couches, or beanbags (your youth group doesn't count); if you loathe words like linear, propositional, rational, machine, and hierarchy and use words like ancient-future, jazz, mosaic, matrix, missional, vintage, and dance; if you grew up in a very conservative Christian home that in retrospect seems legalistic, naive, and rigid; if you support women in all levels of ministry, prioritize urban over suburban, and like your theology narrative instead of systematic; if you disbelieve in any sacred-secular divide; if you want to be the church and not just go to church; if you long for a community that is relational, tribal, and primal like a river or a garden; if you believe doctrine gets in the way of an interactive relationship with Jesus; if you believe who goes to hell is no one's business and no one may be there anyway; if you believe salvation has a little to do with atoning for guilt and a lot to do with bringing the whole creation back into shalom with its Maker; if you believe following Jesus is not believing the right things but living the right way; if it really bugs you when people talk about going to heaven instead of heaven coming to us; if you disdain monological, didactic preaching; if you use the word 'story' in all your propositions about postmodernism - if all or most of this tortously long sentence describes you, then you might be an emergent Christian..." (20-22)
... and you need to read this book carefully!!