Mar 05 2010

Christianity and McLarenism part 2

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 12:25 pm

Following on the heels of my post about the “F-word,” and a previous comment on Kevin DeYoung’s series on Brian McLaren’s new book, today I’m linking to his post on Christianity and McLarenism

Problem 1: A Stifling Approach and Sweeping Caricatures

For all the rhetoric about desiring an honest dialogue and inviting criticism as “a gift” (13, 25), McLaren’s actual approach to argumentation makes probing conversation more difficult. When he positions himself as a martyr (243) and equates attacks on him with attacks on the abolitionists (87), it hardly encourages disagreement. In fact, he ends the book by referencing the first-century Jewish rabbi Gamaliel who famously advocated a “wait and see” approach to the new Christian movement (242ff.). The idea being: let’s give McLaren a break and just see how things turn out. That’s one approach, and appropriate in some situations (though Luke never actually commends Gamaliel). But the apostles never advocated a “wait and see” approach with false teachers in their midst. There’s a time to wait and a time to correct, reprove, and rebuke, (2 Tim. 2:25; 4:2; Titus 1:9).

It’s also hard to engage in conversation when McLaren paints such an unflattering picture of those he imagines will oppose him. Traditionalists, he argues, approach Scripture the way they do so they won’t get fired from their jobs and so the “love gifts” will keep flowing in. Insiders “who depend on the constitutional system [of reading the Bible] for their salary and social status will be unlikely to question it and equally likely to defend it passionately” (80). This is grossly unfair. If you are serious about receiving critique, it doesn’t help to position yourself as a martyr all the while slashing and burning the opposition to whom you have indiscriminately imputed the worst possible motives.

No group can exist without a devil, McLaren says at one point (175). This is probably true. In which case I suggest the best devil is the devil. But for McLaren, the devil appears to be fundamentalist conservatives.

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