Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 13:38 (Apr 2009)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

An Emergent Manifesto of Hope edited by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008. 320 pp., paper, $16.99.

An Emergent Manifesto is one of the latest and most important documents from the emergent movement. Edited by two key leaders in the movement, it contains twenty-five chapters, each written by a different emergent author. The diversity of the movement is evident from the background and ministries of these authors who each wrote in his area of expertise. Topics were covered vary widely, with everything from theology to social justice. The entirety of emergent thought may be found somewhere in the book, but if there is one central theme it is the kingdom of God. Emergent has taken a decidedly liberal postmillennial position concerning the kingdom of God: the kingdom is on earth now but will progressively become more like the kingdom of heaven as it is advanced through betterment of the world. As social injustice, disease, poverty, racism, war and ecological concerns are improved, then the kingdom of God will more and more come to earth. In one way or the other this concept of the kingdom is addressed in almost every article. Both the weaknesses of the emergent conversation and its strengths are evident in this volume. Its great weakness continues to be its theological unorthodoxy which is virtually a return to old liberalism. At issue is the following:

  • Its concept of the kingdom (e.g. pp. 80-81)
  • Its lack of concern for spiritual conversion—the true Gospel (pp. 35-37, 49, 100)
  • Egalitarianism (pp. 42, 175-88)
  • Rejection of original sin/sin nature (p. 43)
  • Inclusivism (pp. 44, 49-50, 190-98)
  • Rejection of sola fide (pp. 82, 159, 194-95)
  • Rejection of sola scriptura (pp. 154-56)
  • Inability to understand God due to subjectivity (p. 156)
  • Orthoparadoxy (chapter 17)

While all of these aberrant views, and many more, are found in An Emergent Manifesto, what the reader will not find is a presentation of the true Gospel and any emphasis upon biblical theology. Dan Kimball’s chapter, “Humble Theology,” attempted an approach in this direction by recognizing at least some essential beliefs (pp. 216, 222), but he did not go far enough and stood virtually alone among the other authors. One exception is Rodolpho Carrasco’s chapter, “A Pound of Social Justice,” which was the best essay in the book. Carrasco’s article represented the best of emergent: its interest in social justice. His chapter presented a reasoned, well-thought need for God’s people to be involved with the needy. Carrasco even wrote of reaching people “with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and His atoning ...

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