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The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

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11.25.2007

D. A. Carson

I've recently picked up D. A. Carson's book, "Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church." It is a very informative read. Carson writes in a very straight-forward manner, not masking anything. I feel like I'm sitting in one of his lecture classes.

Carson attempts to offer a survey of the emergent church movement, although I'm not sure if he focuses too heavily on authors like McLaren, and also lumps some authors such as Kimball into the mix that would separate themselves a bit from emergent (granted this book is about two years old). In his summary, Carson highlights what he feels are the strengths of the movement. However, he also points out what he feels are its greatest weaknesses.

Carson continually returns to what he sees is the Emergent movements blanket condemnation of modernism and everything associated with modernism. He thinks that Emergent is too quick to write off modernism and too quick to jump into postmodernism, which he debates is even an accurate description of the current cultural movement.

Further, Carson seems to isolate the shift of postmodernism to strictly region of epistemology. I'm surprised by this, because by reading and listening to various Emergent thinkers, I find that epistemology is only one area in which a cultural shift is noticed. There are also changes in ecclessiology, missiology, understandings of salvation, and much more. I think Carson ignores a lot of this.

Has anyone else read/listened to any D. A. Carson? If so, what did you think? Any reccomendations for online resources? I know Carson's book, "Becoming Conversant..." was originally presented at Cedarville University as a series of lectures, and as such a response was posted online here.

4 comments:

Zack said...

What do you mean by epistemology?

Jesse said...

Epistemology is the study of how we know things. Or in other words, how do we determine what is true, or how do you know that you know -

Megan said...

doing some catching up on this blog, so this is a bit late. On the epistemology vs. all the other "ologies", I think both you and Carson are right to a degree. (disclaimer: I'm kinda thinking on my feet here and might change my mind or something) Basically, from what you said about Carson, it does seem like he's right that the focus or shift is MAINLY epistemological. You're right in bringing in all the other things that the emerging church is about, but would you say that those largely stem from the changing epistemology? Granted, if he doesn't mention the implications in other areas of theology and practice, you're right, he is ignoring a large part of what's going on with the emerging church.

Haven't read any Carson myself, but at our last church, Corey (husband) mentioned the emergent movement and one of the guys in our small group had just finished Carson, and well, basically wasn't too open to hearing anything positive about emerging stuff...so that's the only impression I have.

my two cents.

Pete said...

You might find these talks interesting...

Don Carson's Stanley Lectures at Cedarville University, Ohio
1. A Description of the Movement with a Focus on Its Strengths
2. The Movement Evaluated More Critically
3. An Exposition of Scripture on the Relationship Between Experience and Truth

On your comment about limiting pm to epistemology, I haven't read the book, but from the talks above, he says epistemology is the easiest starting point in understanding pm. He elsewhere speaks of it's origins in architecture and it's spread to other fields of endeavour.