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Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications [Paperback]

By D. A. Carson (Author)
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Item description for Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications by D. A. Carson...

"An exploration and evaluation of the emergent church and how it relates to more traditional forms of worship and theology"--Provided by publisher.

Publishers Description
A careful and informed assessment of the 'emerging church' by a respected author and scholarThe '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.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications by D. A. Carson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 10/01/2009 page 64
  • Christian Retailing - 06/06/2005 page 19
  • Christianity Today - 10/01/2005 page 93

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   250
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.9" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2005
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310259479  
ISBN13  9780310259473  
UPC  025986259471  

Availability  173 units.
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More About D. A. Carson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has been at Trinity since 1978.

D. A. Carson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Expositor's Bible Commentary (Paperback)
  2. Expositor's Bible Commentary (Revised)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Ministry
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Becoming Conversant With The Emerging Church?

An unfortunate effort that misses its mark  Mar 19, 2007
This is a book that could have been much much better. Given D.A. Carson's stature in the theological/academic community, it's disappointing to see this very incomplete critique. To be clear, the emerging church is NOT free of flaws - but the value of the challenges and red flags that Carson raises here is greatly diminished by his failure to do what the subtitle states - "understanding" the movement. To narrow his criticisms to a very small number of leaders is, itself, a complete misrepresentation of what he seeks to describe.

As Brian McLaren has stated in his review here, "Becoming Conversant" would seem to indicate an interest in conversation, and yet none was attempted. If Carson had pursued this, it would have added helpful credibility to his arguments. If Carson had actually attended gatherings of emerging church leaders, it would have added helpful credibility.

This review is not intended as an attack on Carson - his good reputation as a gifted thinker and theologian is deserved. But that reputation will likely mislead many readers of this book, in believing that Carson has accurately described his subject. He has not done so.

Again, I am not suggesting that the emerging church doesn't deserve critique. Honestly, I believe critique will help the conversation along. But a critique of McLaren and a small selection of others DOES NOT EQUAL a critique of the emerging church. There are many in the emerging church that would actually agree with Carson's criticisms of McLaren, but they are still a part of the emerging church because this thing is about much much more than any one person's thoughts or ideas.

Perhaps a revised, expanded, and more nuanced version of this book a few years from now would be helpful.
Balanced Assessment  Feb 12, 2007
D.A. Carson is clearly not a cheerleader for the "Emerging Church", but he provides a balanced and thoughtful analysis of some of the major themes in a very, very diverse movement. I felt a bit more sympathetic to some of the worthwhile, in many cases much needed goals of the some in the church after reading his first couple of chapters. I believe that he really goes out of his way to find what's good in a movement in which it seems a large number of the participants are seeking primarily a more genuine and Christ centered worship. However, many of them as well intentioned as they might be are making serious mistakes regarding basic and crucial theological matters, and D.A. Carson spares none of them his intense scrutiny. His analysis is often eye-opening as he pulls apart seemingly sound arguments and clearly shows their faulty logic, false assumptions, and dangerous conclusions. It is, I believe a testament to Carson's even-handedness that upon completing the book, I felt both more sympathetic to the concerns of this movement, but also more steadfast in my realization that most of the Emergent's means to this end, and often the ends themselves are suicidal to orthodox Christianity.
helpful but lacking balance  Jan 27, 2007
Carson is thorough in his analysis of the emerging church as he points out some of the strengths but especially the weaknesses of this movement. In its reaction against certain features of a modernistic brand of Christianity, many postmodern types have been sloppy in their handling of various theological and philosophical issues. Carson is quick to identify these deficiencies, urging the church to guard against compromise. In the process, however, Carson seems to go a bit too far at times, being overly critical of certain postmodern practitioners. While critique is necessary, Carson's statements sometimes degenerate into a kind of unjustified criticism and take on an almost cynical tone. Likewise, he appears somewhat dismissive of many potentially helpful trends that are being highlighted during this postmodernism phase of history. As usual, Carson's words are extremely helpful, but he could also be a bit more balanced and gracious in his appraisal of the "emerging" church and its leaders.
A very engaging, balanced, charitable critique  Oct 23, 2006
I think that, at the very least, this book is an excellent examination and analysis of Postmodernism, what it is, and what it is not. It is also a very balanced, charitable, and well-documented critique of the Emergent church and the writings of some of its main proponents. I found it to be very engaging and very worthwhile to read.
Carson Nails It!: Emergent Movement Distorts  Aug 22, 2006
Carson is careful theologian, and thus should not be taken to the author woodshed just because he failed to enter into dialogue with likes of McLaren before writing this critique. He read many of their writings, and that historically in the church has been arena of theological debate.

Carson in several places quickly places this movement (which I would term as "heterodox at best, leaning towards heresy at many points". He surmises correctly that they distort church history and sound exegesis. He surmises that the Reformation's goal was to attain to true Biblical exegesis and faithful examination of church history, while the emergent movement just wants "change" not due to careful Biblical exegesis and church history examples, but adding a fourth and foreign sola to the Reformation's three: sola cultura. Culture has become the driving impetus to change, not asking question did God say this should be, or has the church in past exhibited this?
Read Os Guiness' wonderful work on this aspect: "Prophetic Untimeliness."

From ecclesiology to soteriology (look it up, if you're really wanting to be student of Bible) emergent church creates as it goes to overcome cultural relevancy issues. Shouldn't people of God want and demand more of leaders of a movement than this? Carson thinks so, and so does this reviewer.

Very readable and researched and referenced work. Compare McLaren who states he will do no such thing, to document his work. Carson's fine examination deserves careful read.

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