EM’s postmodern embrace of the death of the metanarrative is no surprise. But it is surprising that McKnight would suggest that D. A. Carson’s criticism paints with too broad a brush when McKnight's essay points out that the death of the metanarrative is a key feature of the EM. One of Carson’s central critiques in Becoming Conversant is that the EM has not been clear whether it considers the Gospel to be the supreme metanarrative, or just one among many metanarratives. This is no obscure theological point. If the Gospel metanarrative if relativized, the heart and soul of Christianity is lost.
McKnight acknowledges and critiques an important and controversial feature of EM—the tendency to favor the Gospel narratives about Jesus over the didactic letters of Paul. This tendency is right in line with EM’s aversion to the abstract, systematic theologies of the Reformation that are rooted in logic and reason. The EM likes narratives, and Paul’s misogynistic theologizing just does not do it for many EM-types. EM wants to root its theology in the incarnate life of Jesus, not the letters of the apostle Paul.
There are many problems with this kind of “canon within a canon” theology. Just to name one, it pits Jesus against the Apostle Paul in a way that does not comport with Scripture. Jesus is the one who appointed Paul to speak for Him as an apostle, and it makes little sense for Christians to ignore the commission given by Jesus to Paul.
There is some excellent analysis here. I look forward to more posts from Burk on the emerging movement.