Brian McLaren calls himself “post-Protestant” and others have talked about our society as “post-Christian.” I identify as “post-postmodern” and “post-emerging.” There was a time of several years that, while terribly discouraged with the state of the evangelical church as I understood it, I was definitely in the emergent camp. My book shelves are still replete with the ruins of that time: books by McLaren, Marcus Borg, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball, Shane Claiborne. They testify to a time when I was searching.
My time in the emergent church felt like being one of the great explorers who left Europe looking for the New World. My convictions told me that something was desperately wrong in the church in America, and I was determined to find a solution. What was surprising was this: that the further I traveled the more lost I became. The more I ventured into the emerging identity, the less I used the Bible as my guide. And less than 2 years ago, my ship ran aground. As G K Chesterton put it, I set out to discover a new land and when I spotted my destination, I realized that it was none other than orthodoxy.
In his book Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications, DA Carson even-handedly critiques the perspective, sharing both strengths and weaknesses in how they handle issues like truth, salvation, modern and postmodern culture, and the future. It was for me like reading my ship’s log; league by league of the life I lived over the past decade. It cheers me to have that perspective, empathy, and compassion for those who have also taken that journey, especially those who are still out to sea. Carson gives a great treatment on not only what to be warned of, but also how to set up lighthouses to call these ships into dock.