Foxes Book Of Emergents With Hurt Feelings - Brian McLaren (Part 1)
If Rob Bell is the Anakin Skywalker of the "emergent conversation" then Brian McLaren would have to be the Yoda (isn't the resemblance uncanny? Hey, I've never seen them in a room together. One is a fictional character and the other is a fictional Christian). As the leader of the leaderless emergent movement, McLaren continually speaks in philosophical psychobabble that somehow manages to impress "Christians" looking for a "new kind of gospel". One of his favorite cards to play is the "I'm orthodox but" card. He uses this card to great effect by appeasing suspicious church goers with affirmations of historic Christian confessions out of one side of his mouth all the while redefining the terms and conditions out of the other side. Welcome to the fog that is postmodernism!
So where is Brian McLaren on the evangelical spectrum? Well, in his own words he is a "Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN" (from the cover of "A Generous Orthodoxy"). We now know why God is not the author of confusion - it's McLaren's job!
And you can forget about non-negotiable basic Christian doctrine because Brian McLaren simply finds that sort of certainty redundant. In his own words:
If I seem to show too little respect for your opinions or thought, be assured I have equal doubts about my own, and I don't mind if you think I'm wrong. I'm sure I am wrong about many things, although I'm not sure exactly which things I'm wrong about. I'm even sure I'm wrong about what I think I'm right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I'm wrong, you could be right. If, in the process of determining that I'm wrong, you are stimulated to think more deeply and broadly, I hope that I will have somehow served you anyway. (A Generous Orthodoxy p19-20)
But amidst all this uncertainty McLaren seems to be very certain about one thing - all those biblical fundamentalist conservative Christians are wrong. Sometimes his postmodern fog clears for a brief moment and he tells us what he really thinks about the epicentre of the historic orthodox Christian faith - penal substitutionary atonement . . .
Most of us know what Jesus said happens when the blind lead the blind. It's why I think "emergent churches" should be called ditches. Hmmm, I guess if we extend that thought then emergent congregations of more than 1000 could be called "mega-ditches". If you attend one of these churches where this kind of teaching prevails - run for the exit. If you're reading one of McLaren's books - burn it (it's about as helpful as an ashtray on a motorbike). Am I being perfecly clear in an unpostmodern way? I hope so - I don't want the reader in any doubt as to where I stand on these issues.
Anyway, that's enough of trying to nail honey to a wall for today! I'll dig a little deeper into Brian McLaren's world of confusion and heresy on Monday.