Monday, December 26, 2005

Scot McKnight Responds to D.A. Carson

Just a word upfront - I am researching the Emerging Church movement, and in the process I stumbled across a great summary of links over here at Vanguard Church where Scot McKnight responds in detail to D.A. Carson's new book.

The problem is, these links are dead because Scot has moved his blog to, so I've taken the liberty of replicating that page here and updating all the links. Hope nobody minds.

Scot McKnight's Detailed Analysis of DA Carson's New Book

It's been a busy week for Scot McKnight at his blog, Jesus Creed. He has aleady finished his analysis of DA Carson's new book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.

Here's Scot's chapter-by-chapter analysis, in which he gives detailed summaries of Carson's case. For each chapter, Scot ends by offering questions that reveal where to go next based on both what Carson has to offer as good criticism and on what Carson seems to have missed about the Emerging Church:
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement - "...I’m not sure DA Carson, or even some of the Emergent folk, are all pointing at the same 'thing' when they speak of 'emerging'..."
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement Part 2 - "...Has DA Carson given the Emergent leaders the nuance they deserve on how they read the times?..."
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement Part 3 - "...Is DA Carson too attached to Brian McLaren’s voice in the Emergent crowd and missing other voices?..."
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement Part 4 - "...What sort of postmodernism is at work among the various leaders of the Emergent movement? Are they all the same? Do they differ? And, if so, what differences does it make?..."
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement Part 5 - "...It appears to me that DA Carson has responded to only one (of maybe four or five) aspects of the Emergent Church, and the one he tackles is the philosophical/theological side. Why not address the whole Emergent Church in all its varieties?...Are the Emergent folks 'strong' or 'soft' postmodernists?..."
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement Part 6 - "...Is DA Carson fair to McLaren’s “Generous Orthodoxy”?...If the Emergent movement finds McLaren’s theology its heart and soul, we are entitled to ask this one simple question: is this theology orthodoxy? is it biblical? is it evangelical?..."
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement Part 7 - " chapter 7 he trots out the Bible’s statements about “truth.” The reason he does this is because DA Carson has reduced the debate about the Emergent movement to an issue of epistemology, he thinks it is wobbling on the issue of truth, and so he sets out what the Bible means by truth..."
  • DA Carson and the Emergent Movement Part 8 - "...The final chapter of DA Carson’s book is a biblical meditation on Truth and Experience...But DA Carson knows there is plenty of appeal to experience in the Bible – though for some odd reason he fails here to bring in Jonathan Edwards nearly unsurpassable brilliant book, Religious Affections..."
After the chapter-by-chapter analysis, Scot offered his response (broken down into many posts):
  • Preface - "...If we are to live as those who love God and love others, then we must at all costs seek to listen to the Other. And when we do we find that our lives are opened to the Truth more than if we shut ourselves off. So, we need to listen to DA Carson, just as he needs to listen to the Emergent folks..."
  • Appreciation - to "...Andrew Jones, the Tall Skinny Kiwi who opened the envelope for me..."
  • Emergence Divergence - "...There are other Emergents to deal with: Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, Andrew Jones and Dan Kimball. They deserved to be dealt with more adequately if one is to be “conversant” with the emerging church. I think DA Carson’s book is really 'becoming conversant with the emergent epistemology of Brian McLaren...'"
  • Issue #1: Emergence is more than epistemology - "...This book falls short of DA Carson’s better books, mostly because it is not researched thoroughly enough...The debate cannot be reduced to epistemology..."
  • Issue #1A: Emergence is passionate in various directions: Why? - "...why are they so upset to fashion an entirely new way of “doing church” (which expression I don’t really like). Why?..."
  • Issue #2: The missional and holism issues - "...Fundamentally, the Emergent movement is a “missional” movement and it is holistic in its mission, and until it is addressed from that point, it won’t be addressed centrally..."
  • Issue #3: What is Truth and how do we put it together? - "...DA Carson’s book fails to deal with what “truth” means. It regularly tells us that we can know truth, that we find it everywhere in the Bible, but he doesn’t really define it and expound it at length..."
  • Issue #4: The Subject’s grasp of the Object leads to chastened truth-claims - "...I don’t think DA Carson deals with the inevitable entailment of truth-claiming, namely, that even if we think the Scripture is Truth and Jesus Christ is Truth, we are still in need of dealing with our 'articulation' of that Truth, and that is the place PM enters and that is the struggle we find in the Emergent Truth..."
  • Issue #5: Over-reactions in the Emergent movement - "...especially about (a) modernism and postmodernism and (b) what modernist Christianity really believes..."
  • Issue #6: Self-analysis or even self-deconstruction - "...Is the Emergent movement largely white? largely post-Evangelical?..."
  • Issue #7: A strength with a weakness: permeable walls abounding - "I find the 'permeable walls' (they are not strong, solid, or thick) of the Emergent movement a breath of fresh air....are there too many permeable walls? Do we need some firmer walls and some permeable walls?"
  • Issue #8: Particular Realities - Where Scot applauds Emerging churches in different cultural and geographical contexts doing ministry differently, with one caveat.
  • Issue #9: Great Traditions - "I like the Emergent focus on the Great Traditions, but robbing and stealing from them without taking into consideration contexts is no more than ornament."
  • Issue #10: Cultural Usurpation - "...What role culture? Are we in danger of being usurped by postmodern culture?..."
  • Issue #11: What are we really preaching? - "...What we preach is Jesus Christ, crucified, raised and the one who sent the Spirit. We don’t preach the spirit of the age; we preach to the spirit of the age from within and from without..."
  • Issue #12: Brian, what do you mean by this? - Where Scot asks Brian McLaren some questions.
Thanks, Scot, for the time and effort to do this.
It is a great contribution to the Emergent Church.


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