Brian McLaren has grown more and more brazenly heretical with every new book he writes. Is he changing his theology over time or unveiling more and more of what he has always believed?
I think the reason Tony Jones seems to have disappeared off the "emergent radar" is not because of his multitude of heresies, nor that he has run out of foundational Christian truths to deny (he's denied just about everything). I believe it is because Tony was just not being vague and cryptic enough - his sheep suit was becoming too obvious! Which leads us back to Brian McLaren, because his sheep suit has more holes than a box of Krispy Kremes (no that wasn't product placement, I'm just bitter that they opened a store in my hometown the month after I left the country).
Some of my Aussie friends recently wrote to their local Christian bookstore to protest them stocking Brian McLaren's books (and you'll soon see they had good reason). I am posting their letter today and the response of the Christian bookstore for three reasons.
1. To see how overtly blasphemous Brian McLaren is willing to be in his most recent book.
2. So you can cut and paste this letter and send it to any bookstore that stocks this poisonous trash.
3. To introduce you to the modern world of "pragmatic integrity" as demonstrated by the bookstore.
First up, Phil Leaney's letter to the "Christian book store":
I wanted to write and share my deep concerns about XXXXX stocking Brian McLarens books, especially his last two books “Everything Must Change” and “A new kind of Christianity”. The XXXXX History/Ethics statement says in part "To effectively supply and promote an extensive range of Christian products that will be of spiritual benefit to the body of Christ." And yet in a very tangible way, stocking Brian McLarens books goes directly against this statement. For something to “be of spiritual benefit to the body of Christ”, I would have thought it should conform to at least some basic core doctrines of Christianity – not oppose them. Because someone uses a bible, quotes a few verses and has a following does not validate in any way their message. Their message must be examined in light of the true gospel. Go to McLarens own website and see encouraging letters from atheists about his books and messages – his beliefs are just what they thought Christianity should be like. Hell is removed, the cross belittled and blood atonement questioned. All inclusive, all embracing, non confronting..
In his book “A New kind of Christianity” there is a chapter entitled “Is God violent?” When talking about the flood in Genesis McLaren says “a god who mandates an intentional supernatural disaster leading to unparalleled genocide is hardly worthy of belief, much less worship. How can you ask your children—or non-church colleagues and neighbours—to honour a deity so uncreative, over reactive, and utterly capricious regarding life?” He goes on to say that he treasures the Bible, even calling it God’s inspired Word, but then goes on to say that much of it, especially the older parts, are just plain wrong…..
In the next chapter “Who is Jesus” ……. the Son of God – nope that’s never mentioned or discussed. A critical, pivotal point on which our salvation depends never mentioned – he (Jesus) seems in the book a great example and hero of the oppressed, coming not to redeem us from the curse, but instead to turn social injustices around. To McLaren, this seems to be Jesus primary purpose for coming.
Just one more; in the first chapter about – what the bible is about… why, why, why, does he make this statement: “I’d rather be an atheist than believe in the God that most of us think that is in the Bible”. Wow…. He doesn’t like the God of the Bible, and that’s why he wants a new kind of Christianity…. And it’s on your shelf.
It really doesn’t take too long, or too much study to see that his books are filled with heresies (and I don’t banter that word around lightly) and the fact that they are stocked on your shelf is a concern. I believe XXXXX would do far more for the body of Christ by removing books like these. I know it’s far easier to just keep them on the shelf, but ultimately we will all answer to God for that which we have done. Let us not to put a stumbling block before our brothers and sisters.
Now, behold the "pragmatic integrity" of the bookstore:
Thank you for your email bringing to my attention some of the things McLaren is saying in his recent book. We have prepared our catalogues introducing the book to the market in June and July. Taking on board your criticisms I’ll exclude the book from further catalogues after that. We also have some high stock levels of his other books that we have bought as remainders which should clear through soon.
Our policy at XXXXX is to allow the various debates in the Christian church to be aired and for views and counter views to be expressed. Due to high customer demand we’ll continue to stock the McLaren books but I’ll endeavour to keep them out of our catalogues.
As far as taking a bold stand goes . . . we've come a long way since Luther and his 95 theses!