I want to take a brief hiatus from the money series and touch on a book I've recently read. I’ve really enjoyed the emergent books I’ve read over the last year or so. The latest is Truth & The New Kind of Christian by R. Scott Smith. I thought it was great. It was helpful on a bunch of levels. In terms of the emerging church, it was highly complimentary in areas that I’ve also felt are strengths of the movement in general – approaching our culture as missionaries, matching life with doctrine, and others. He definitely doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, in my opinion. It was nice to think that I’m not crazy to think the movement isn’t all bad, but there are some things not worth buying.
Against the emerging church, Smith gives an insightful critique of McLaren (and Jones, who I haven’t read) and shows some of his conclusions to be issues of sinful arrogance rather than modernism (specifically referring to pastors with “bombproof” answers and faith with no room for doubt). There will be another post on “certainty” in faith because I found it pretty helpful.
Much of the book was a critique of postmodernism as a philosophy, particularly the issue of truth and language. It was bit over my head at times, but the reality of objective truth seems painfully obvious – even if we can’t always agree on what it is. The necessity of it seems iron-clad.
This was a helpful read for philosophical novices like me that shows practical implications for the life of the church moving forward in our culture. It is a critique of emerging churches, but a friendly one. Even Tony Jones (a leader in the emergent church and victim of Smith’s critiques) gives a kind recommendation of the book, noting Smith is a “friendly critic and a brother in Christ.”