Why We’re Not Emergent, By Two Guys Who Should Be, by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

Why We're Not Emergent

If you haven’t heard of the emergent movement, chances are you know a college student who has. If you want to understand young christian college students, the general spirit is very well conveyed in this work. As one of the aforesaid, I was pleasantly surprised by how much the book spoke to me (an a non-emergent), and its accuracy in describing my emergent friends.

“Why We’re Not Emergent” spends about half its 200 pages unraveling the confusion around emergent theology or lack thereof. My emergent friends could be best described as Unitarian liberals with postmodern leanings, which is about as specific as I can get without quoting the authors verbatim. If you want to understand if further, read this book, or at least watch one of the authors duke it out with emergents here:


The authors take turns writing the books’ chapters. Kevin’s are more in depth, and inspired a lot of reflective moments for me. He goes through the theological underpinnings of the emergent movement, explaining step by step their pagan/Unitarian similarities and why its important to believe that Jesus was about more than doing good and caring for the environment. Ted’s, I admit, were more interesting. He relates a lot of things to movies and obscure pop culture references, but by and large he taps into my generation’s psyche in a meaningful way. Both make great use of footnotes to entertain, so be sure to read those too.

Overall, read this book.


4 thoughts on “Why We’re Not Emergent, By Two Guys Who Should Be, by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

  1. Excellent! I should read this in all my spare time…. 🙂 Is this really a Unitarian movement? How does one go from Trinitarian to Unitarian?

  2. The emergent movement is essentially a non-denomiational thing, but thier beliefs are most similar to the unitarians. While emergents in general have similar beliefs and thought paterns (aka worldview), one of those common threads is anti-organizational or anti-clerical. So, like in the video, they like being a movement but don’t like having to come out and say, yes, that is what we believe, and this is why.

    Emergents aren’t unitarian, just tend to believe alot of the same things (minus the clergy and stained glass, plus some enviornmentalism and relativism). Should have been more clear on that. The books makes it clear that many in the emergent movement do not know what that means, just like the free coffee or the emphasis on social responsibility. The lack of clarity within the movement itself is probably its biggest detrement as a theological position. If anything, emergents ought to read this book just ot understand what their movement as a whole is portraying itself as.

  3. Similarities in practices do not make one a Unitarian. A Unitarian believes that the Father, Son and Spirit are merely expressions of a single God. They deny the person of Christ and consequently his ability to die and be resurrected. Ergo, they are a social club built around Judeo-Christian ethic with a little bit of “god” thrown in to make it interesting. The Unitarians need something to do since they don’t believe in much of the Bible, so they started lots of charities, good works, and whatever else.

    Consequently, while the emergent church may be lazy theologically and reflect many practices of post-modern thought and/or Unitarianism, to remotely equate them with heretics is a bit of an overstatement. :-p

    Just sayin’ is all….

    Still, my biggest issue with what little I know of the Emergent movement is this: They take legitimate gripes and attempt to solve them in the worst possible ways. Paul clearly teaches that preaching is the most important, nay the primary method of communication with the unsaved. For the Emergent movement, experiences with bad preaching == all preaching is bad. But that is false; just because preaching has been bad does not necessitate that all preaching is bad nor that it cannot be reformed. The key isn’t to abandon preaching but to fix it.

    For that, they should read Bryan Chapel’s Christ Centered Preaching.

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