Why We’re Not Emergent by DeYoung and Kluck

I’ve already mentioned my anticipation for the forthcoming title, Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck (Moody, 2008). This is another book in 2008 pastors should buy and read.

Mostly I love this book for its clear-headed critique of the distinctives of emergent theology. One excerpt really makes this point. In light of the postmodern revel for all things relative, DeYoung uses the Hindu story of the blind men and the elephant to make a critical point of contrast.

“We may all be, by nature, like blind men touching the elephant without knowing whether what we are feeling is a trunk, tail, or ear. But what if the elephant spoke and said ‘Quit calling me crocodile, or peacock, or paradox. I’m an elephant for crying out loud! That long thing is my trunk. That little frayed thing is my tail. That big floppy thing is my ear.’ And what if the elephant gave us ears to hear his voice and a mind to understand his message (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14-15)? Would our professed ignorance about the elephant and our unwillingness to make any confident assertions about his nature mean we were especially humble, or just deaf?

Because of the emerging church’s implied doctrine of God’s unknowability, the word ‘mystery,’ a perfectly good word in its own right, has become downright annoying. Let me be very clear: I don’t understand everything about God or the Bible. I don’t fully understand how God can be three in one. I don’t completely grasp how divine sovereignty works alongside human responsibility. The Christian faith is mysterious. But when we talk about Christianity, we don’t start with mystery. It’s some combination of pious confusion and intellectual laziness to claim that living in mystery is at the heart of Christianity” (37-38).

Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be is due out April 1st.


Related: This quote reminds me of Mark Dever’s words from the T4G blog: “The humility we want in our churches is to read the Bible and believe it–everything God has said, dogmatically, and humbly! It is not humble to be hesitant where God has been clear and plain.” Read more.

6 thoughts on “Why We’re Not Emergent by DeYoung and Kluck

  1. Hello! I’m a worship leader living here in TN. I’ve read your blog for about 6 months now and have always found it informative, refreshing and inspirational. I wanted to ask that you read mine from time to time if you get a second. God bless!

  2. Hi!
    I’m a College student in Milwaukee Wisconsin and would like to thank you for your ministry. I recently came across your blog and believe that sound doctrine and theology is the wellspring from which we can experience Cross-Centered intimacy with the Lord. I was wondering if you could please look into a book called ‘Modeling God’ by JG Lenhart. This is important since I believe that it is biblically unsound and maybe even heretical but it has been widely accepted and used as a tool for growth in my parents’ church.
    Thanks, and God Bless!

  3. Josiah,

    I have read ‘Modeling God’ and I totally disagree. I would love to know why you believe it is biblically unsound and “maybe even heretical”. If you respond, please back it up with scripture. I say this as a person who is looking to grow, not start a unprofitable debate.


  4. here is a link to my blog which has another great review of this book. You should also check out our recent confrontation with the emergent church on the issue of orthodoxy. One leader, which I will leave unnamed, was called out on heterodoxy on our website, and quite a stir has been created. He promises a team response with another recognized scholar and blogger.


  5. Josiah,

    I would still love to know why YOU make the statements YOU make and if YOU can back them up with scripture.


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