Friday, March 12, 2010

Brian McLaren - It's Hot in the Kitchen

While I may have stopped reading McLaren others haven't and some of the criticism is white hot.  Consider these words from Tim Challies:
"It wasn't too long ago that I wrote about Brian McLaren and got in trouble. Reflecting on seeing him speak at a nearby church, I suggested that he appears to love Jesus but hate God. Based on immediate and furious reaction, I quickly retracted that statement. I should not have done so. I believed it then and I believe it now. And if it was true then, how much more true is it upon the release of his latest tome A New Kind of Christianity. In this book we finally see where McLaren's journey has taken him; it has taken him into outright, rank, unapologetic apostasy. He hates God. Period."
And again,
"McLaren says he would prefer atheism over belief in the God so many of us see in Scripture. Well, he is not far off. This new kind of Extreme Makeover: God Edition Christianity is no Christianity at all. It is not a faith made in the image of Jesus Christ, but a faith made in the image of a man who despises God and who is hell-bent on dragging others along with him as he becomes his own god."
The responses to Challies are mostly positive (which is to be expected given that they are from like-minded readers) but there are some serious comments which push back.  Much less pejorative but just as insightful is this review from Bill Kinnon.  McLaren did respond to Kinnon which I found interesting.  In the response McLaren says he "enthusiastically affirm[s] the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. Yes, I'm a wholehearted Trinitarian."  He also says on the issue of the physical resurrection of Jesus he sides with N. T. Wright rather than Marcus Borg.  I'm encouraged by these admissions but I can't help but wonder if McLaren will still think this way 5 years from now.  He has already gone so far and more than one person has spoken of the "trajectory" they see working in him.  Is it just a matter of time before he merely wants to start "asking questions" about the Trinity?  Perhaps with a little more prodding he'll start to wonder if the bodily resurrection of Jesus is really all that important.  In his response to Kinnon he says "I repeatedly say that I'm trying to create space for conversation on important questions, not offering the final answers. I say again and again we're on a quest. I also repeatedly affirm that the ten questions I deal with are just a beginning."  Therein lays the problem.  An enthusiastic Trinitarian today can become the enlightened Unitarian tomorrow if that's where the quest leads him.  That's not a quest I care to join.      


Bill Kinnon said...

Thanks for the link. My concern with Brian is that he's a shapeshifter - saying what needs to be said to "comfort" a particular audience. His trajectory appears to be towards Unitarian Universalism, unfortunately.

Louis said...


You're welcome. "Shapeshifter" is an interesting way to term what he's doing.