In his opening chapter, Carson focuses on a workshop led by Brian McLaren at a conference for Emerging Church leaders. When asked about the issue of homosexuality, McLaren insisted that there is no good and satisfactory position for Christians to take, because all positions will hurt someone, and, as Carson explains McLaren's position, "that is always bad." McLaren also took refuge in the assumption that homosexuality as we know it today may not be the behavior or phenomenon so roundly condemned in the Bible.

In focusing on this workshop, Carson's concern is not primarily the issue of homosexuality itself. Instead, he understands that McLaren's carefully nuanced nonanswer to the question is illustrative of the Emerging Church Movement's failure to render clear answers in the aftermath of a rejection of absolute truth.

In a perceptive footnote, Carson makes an interesting comparison: "It is impossible to find in the writings of, say, Brian McLaren, an utterance akin to that of Luther at the Diet of Worms." Instead, many in the Emerging Church Movement prefer to take refuge in an either-or, both-and, and inherently ambiguous understanding of truth. All this leads Carson to ask a crucial question. "Is there at least some danger that what is being advocated is not so much a new kind of Christian in a new Emerging Church, but a church that is so submerging itself in the culture that it risks hopeless compromise?" In the end, that question can be answered only by a careful look at what Emerging Church leaders actually believe and teach. They have certainly given us plenty of material to consider.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to Send feedback to

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