Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Devastating Theological Takedown

Tim Challies' devastating take down of Brian McLaren's newest book A New Kind of Christianity (and the theology behind it) can be found here -A New Kind of Christianity :: books, emergent, reviews :: A Reformed, Christian Blog. His conclusion:

"Here, in A New Kind of Christianity it’s as if McLaren is screaming “I hate God!” at the top of his lungs. And swarms of Christians are looking at him with admiration and saying, “See how that guy loves God?” I don’t know what McLaren could do to make the situation more clear. In fact, his book is nearly indistinguishable from many of the de-conversion narratives that are all the rage today. Compare it with Bart Ehrman’s God’s Problem and you’ll see many of the same arguments and the same misgivings; you’ll find, though, that Ehrman is at least more honest. He at least has the integrity to walk away from faith altogether rather than reinventing God in his own image.

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."

Well, I guess this is one book that I will not have to spend any time reading. Or, maybe I will read it just to see if it is as bad as Challies claims.

I read, enjoyed and benefited from McLaren's earliest books. They helped me understand postmodernism and our evolving culture, as well as how that changing cultural matrix colors transmission and reception of the message of the Bible. However, over more recent years and his later books (as well as articles and web based writings) I have noticed that McLaren appears to have gone off the deep end theologically, as described by Challies above.

Such a shame.

Update - Kevin DeYoung weighs in:

"Brian McLaren’s latest book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith, is two steps forward in terms of clarity and ten steps backward in terms of orthodoxy."

Update - Trevin Wax on Why McLaren's book is good for the "Emerging Church."

"This book will hopefully lead to soul-searching (and maybe even Scripture-searching!) for those who still claim the Emerging label. McLaren’s proposal makes people decide whether they view Christianity the way he does, or whether they stand with Nicea, Chalcedon, and the Reformation. You are either with him or against him."