I've talked to some friends that have read Brian McLaren's new book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith, and they are pretty upset with it.

My first disclaimer is this: I haven't read the new book yet.

My second disclaimer is this: Yes, I've hung out with Brian McLaren on a few occasions and have enjoyed my time with him immensely.

My third disclaimer is this: In his writings, I find Brian McLaren to be an enigma:
  • Both insightful about many things and also naive about many other things.
  • Both helpful in articulating new ways to explain the faith, yet frustrating in dismissing classic ways of doing so.
  • Both pointing out false dichotomies that have arisen in the church, and yet expressing his own ideas through false dichotomies (using the same "us-vs-them" type of language).

So, it has been interesting to read a couple of series on Brian from two blogs I visit regularly:

Scot McKnight wrote a response to a "quiz" that McLaren created:
When I am presented with a new idea or proposal, my first question is more likely to be ...
___A. Is it acceptable to my religious/ideological community or belief system?
___B. Is it possibly true, valuable, and worth exploring?

If you chose A, you're probably a fundamentalist, and probably shouldn't read my new book because it will only get you in trouble. If you do decide to read it, don't let your fundamentalist friends know. Hide the book in a brown paper bag, and only read it in private.

If you chose B, you're curious, and I think you'll enjoy my new book.

Read Scot's response here.

And Mike Wittmer is in the middle of a series of posts on McLaren's new book (a chapter-by-chapter response) at his blog, Don't Stop Believing. Mike has been very cordial to the emerging church conversation, even in his critique of it (his book, Don't Stop Believing, is a helpful middle-ground take on traditional and emerging church ideas).

1 comment:

Byron Harvey said...

Your word to describe him as an author is "enigma"; mine is "annoying". Some reviews I've read suggest that he's finally gotten into territory which can rightly be called "heresy", and I'm inclined to agree. I don't plan to read this book; as annoying as his writing is, I don't think I need to be annoyed while reading heresy at the same time. I've read at least 7 of his books, but I'm done with the dude.