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Publication Date: 2007
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The latest clarion call in the never-ending cavalcade of "what's new" in the evangelical world is the confident assertion from some quarters that the church needs to embrace "postmodernism" if it is going to engage postmoderns effectively. Pastors trying to break down the often indigestible subject matter of postmodernism into bite-size chunks in order to equip their people to engage it, and teachers who are aiming at giving their students a working knowledge of the way postmodernism is impacting the church will find a good deal of help from Smith.
-J. Ligon Duncan III, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi
Scott Smith and I agree on a lot. We share a deep commitment to Jesus Christ, a love of the Bible, and a passion for the church. We also agree that we're currently living in a liminal time, and it's those "boundary times" when people look most closely at the beliefs that underlie their practices. So, we've all got some things to figure out right now, including what we can really know and the certainty with which we can state our claims in a pluralistic society. I appreciate Scott's voice in this conversation. He is a careful reader of my work, and he writes with a gracious and generous tone. Interlocutors like Scott will be a helpful challenge to all of us in the "emerging church." I consider him a friendly critic and a brother in Christ.
-Tony Jones, author of Postmodern Youth Ministry and National Director, Emergent
Scott Smith is uniquely suited to enter the Emergent conversation with this helpful volume. Not only is he an analytic philosopher with a razor-sharp mind who has specialized in analyzing postmodernistic views on the relationship between language and the world, but he is also a man who cares for the lost, loves the church, and has an ability to communicate complex truths to people in the pew.
-Justin Taylor, Executive Editor, Desiring God
Every leader in the new Emergent Movement will want to read this fascinating book. They simply will not find a more engaging, knowledgeable, balanced, and kind treatment of their concerns, ideas, and practices.
-Craig J. Hazen, Professor of Comparative Religion, Biola University
Scott Smith's study challenges us to take seriously the truth claim of the gospel both in how we proclaim it in words and in how we manifest it in our personal and community lives.
-Gary Inrig, Senior Pastor, Trinity Church, Redlands, California
AnonymousSpringfield, MissouriAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5February 1, 2008AnonymousSpringfield, MissouriAge: 55-65Gender: maleSmith is a highly educated specialist in this field and some laypeople may have difficulty wrestling with the postmodern concepts Smith addresses in this outstanding book, not because Smith does not communicate effectively but because many postmodern concepts are often difficult to understand. Smith bends over backwards to be fair to those in the church who have been influenced by postmodern epistemology. Consequently the book has an even handed and courteous tone. Nevertheless, as one reads Smith's accurate analysis one can not help but realize that this epistemology cannot harmonize with biblical faith and that those who try to conform Christianity to it have radically redefined the faith and (as many other authors have pointed out) abandoned orthodox doctrines and morals as a result. Postmodern pluralists such as McLaren and Borg who want to leave the door open for unbiblical beliefs and practices will not like the "feel" of this book since it takes a literal approach to truth and reality. Evangelical Christians will find it helpful.
Jonathan Danylak3 Stars Out Of 5February 19, 2007Jonathan DanylakSmith attempts to write about postmodernity and the "Emerging Church" for the common layperson, but is still stuck in philosophical language for most of the book. While most of his philosophizing is at least worth reading (if you like intellectual debate), his conclusions on the effects of postmodernism on Christianity (Chap.7) are poor and the chapter ought to be skipped in order to maintain respect for his arguementation. Beyond that, I found his arguements interesting, but lacking.The best and most accessible chapters, ironically, are where he summarizes the views of the emergent leaders. He offers a fair summary of McLaren and others. It's only in his critique that Smith falls short. Smith's insistence on our access to reality and truth by comparing our concepts to "the thing itself" sounds nice, but fails upon further examination. For example, he claims we can know historical truth by comparing what we hear to the reality itself. But, as if unaware of it himself, Smith suddenly changes "the thing itself" as the object of comparison with evidence of the thing itself. Clearly evidence of an event and the event itself are not the same thing. Read the rest, but you might find McLaren et al the more convincing side of this debate.
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