The title of this book suggests that the author will set out a more generous orthodox Christian position for the churches of the 21st century to consider and live in, but instead it proves to be more a statement of the personal pilgrimage and opinions of its author. We learn a lot about its writer, evidently in the book and it seems he is a genial brother in the Lord but we do not learn much about what he truly believes concerning the centralities of "faith once delivered to the saints".
There is much in this book to which we can respond positively and in agreement. But there is that which gives cause for concern. The postmodern viewpoint when applied to Christian truth can degenerate into a kind of buffet religion in which we will eat (or believe) this or that because it suits our palate and discard the rest as not to our taste! For instance, the author does not like to use the phrase 'fallen man'. His view of sin and man's fallen state makes him vulnerable to a subtle inclusiveness and his emphasis on God as love rather than 'Holy Love' deepens that vulnerability.
Like all postmodern style Christian writings there is a brooding sense of negativity towards the church and its history,although this is denied in the authors introduction (called Chapter O). A further element of truth noticeable in its absence is any space given the possibility of error and the necessity of spiritual warfare to combat such error. The generosity which this book espouses might be over generous in this regard. Another characteristic of the writings of this movement is the emphasis upon Christians being on a journey, hence the emphasis on the word 'emergent'. We are all "arriving" and there is truth in this view but if it is not held against the counterbalance of clear beginnings in the will and purpose of God and the ending having already been settled in Christ there is a tendency towards muddleheadedness. A journey requires some bearings to be taken and some fixed points by which to judge where we are. These fixed points are not so clearly set our in this book as they could be Obviously the author has an aim to provoke thought and possible dialogue. He desires to dislodge the churches from the safe havens of their doctrinal harbors and get them out on the vast ocean of God and His purpose. For some this will be a helpful book and for others one which should be read with particular care lest the winsome character of some of its ideas lead into dangerous waters.