Friday, January 20, 2006


We just returned from the UK where we had a wonderful 10 days exploring the country and the "fresh expressions" of the church of England. We had the opportunity to meet with many of the big thinkers in Emerging Christianity in the UK. Jonny Baker, Pete Ward, and Ian Adams were all extremely helpful.

Throughout the journey, I was reading a book by D A Carson called "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church." This is rather interesting because it comes at the Emerging Church from an outsider's perspective, offering both praise and criticism. My biggest concerns are with the missiological aspect of emerging Christianity. Being "missional" is one of the big objects of the movement, but many of the churches I have come in contact with have not been able to reach the unchurched. Thus there is a lot of transfer growth, but not a whole lot of new believers.

Carson also has some interesting points about the difference between modern and postmodern theology. It sometimes makes me wonder if postmodernity and Christianity are compatible? How much should the Church become "postmodern" and at what points do we need to draw the line.

I'm looking forward to asking more questions when we Visit Karen Ward and Church of the Apostles this weekend. Yes, we really did spend only one day in WI between trips to the UK and Seattle!


Ron Henzel said...

" comes at the Emerging Church from an outsider's perspective, offering both praise and criticism." Unfortunately for the current state of the conversation between Emerging insiders and outsiders, Carson's praise hasn't been as widely acknowledged by insiders as his criticism has been denounced by them. Pity.

Christopher M. Klukas said...

True, there is quiet a bit of criticism, but the first few chapters are mostly praise of all of the thing emerging folks are doing correctly. Granted, some of his later criticism is a little on the harsh side, but I think it is important to critically evaluate. I also found the model that he sets up for comparing hard and soft postmodernism to be rather helpful. I can't bring myself to chuck the idea that there is some absolute truth out there. I may not be able to fully comprehend or grasp it, but that doesn't change the fact that it is there.