‘A New Kind of Christianity’ – Brian McLaren

1 10 2010

McLaren’s fans and detractors have eagerly awaited this book, which promises to codify the beliefs he introduced in his bestselling A New Kind of Christian and other titles. McLaren, one of the most visible faces of the emergent movement, examines 10 questions the church must answer as it heads toward a new way of believing. McLaren deconstructs the Greco-Roman narrative of the Bible and addresses how the Bible should be understood as an inspired library, not a constitution. He moves into questions regarding God, Jesus, and the Gospel, urging us to trade up our image of God and realize that Jesus came to launch a new Genesis. The Church, sexuality, the future, and pluralism merit chapters, as does McLaren’s final call for a robust spiritual life. Followers will rejoice as McLaren articulates his thoughts with logic and eloquence; detractors will point out his artful avoidance of firm answers on salvation, hell, and a final judgment. All sides will flock to this with glee.


“… the doctrines of the incarnation and deity of Christ are meant to tell us that we cannot start with a pre-determined, set-in-stone idea of God derived from the rest of the Bible, and then extend that to Jesus. Jesus is not intended merely to fit into those pre-determined categories; he is intended instead to explode them, transform them, alter them forever and bring us to a new evolutionary level in our understanding of God. An old definition of God does not define Jesus: the experience of God in Jesus requires a new brand definition or understanding of God…

The character of Jesus, we proclaim, provides humanity with a unique and indispensable guide for tracing the development of maturing images and concepts of God across human history and culture. It is the North Star, if you will, to aid all people, whatever their religious background, in their theological pilgrimage. The images of God that most resemble Jesus – whether they originate in the Bible or elsewhere – are the more mature and complete images, and the ones less similar to the character of Jesus would be the more embryonic and incomplete – even though they may be celebrated for being better than the less complete images they replaced.

This is why we cannot simply say that the highest revelation of God is given through the Bible (especially the Bible read as a constitution, or cut and pasted to fit in the Greco-Roman six-line narrative). Rather, we can say that, for Christians, the Bible’s highest value is in revealing Jesus, who gives us the highest, deepest, and most mature view of the character of the living God.”



The Narrative Question


The Authority Question


The Jesus Question


The Gospel Question


The Church Question


The Sex Question


The Future Question


The Pluralism Question


Where do we go from here?


McLaren’s:

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