Brian McLaren

Emergent Mission

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Brian McLaren is right. The “emergent church” movement is growing. Not as a collective group, but as a savvy, scattered chain ever-present in the fiber of the Church.

Chelsen Vicari

Chelsen Vicari has written a perceptive article on the effectiveness of the Emergent Movement. I’ve long pointed out how ineffective the emerging/emergent movement has been in making new disciples.

But that, is not their mission. They have a social agenda which is high on symbolism and low on action. I don’t think that’s their real mission either. Their real mission is to change the church and they are very good at it.

Emergent Mission

NewImage

Brian McLaren is right. The “emergent church” movement is growing. Not as a collective group, but as a savvy, scattered chain ever-present in the fiber of the Church.

Chelsen Vicari

Chelsen Vicari has written a perceptive article on the effectiveness of the Emergent Movement. I’ve long pointed out how ineffective the emerging/emergent movement has been in making new disciples.

But that, is not their mission. They have a social agenda which is high on symbolism and low on action. I don’t think that’s their real mission either. Their real mission is to change the church and they are very good at it.

A faith for this world

By ‘secularised’ we mean to move from otherworldliness, to present a more distant and indistinct conception of the supernatural, to relax the moral restrictions on members and to surrender claims to an exclusive and superior truth.

Finke and Stark

The post-evangelicalism of former evangelicals such as Rob Bell, Brian McLean, and Steve Chalke, reminds us that successful movements tend to drift from orthodoxy to secularism over time.

Every generation faces its own challenge to remain faithful to the gospel, while remaining connected to a lost world.

You can be faithful in your view of scripture, your doctrine of the atonement, and sexual ethics, yet unfaithful in connecting with lost people in a lost world. Being right is not enough.

Being relevant is not enough. You can be contextualised in a postmodern world, and yet adrift from the truth of the gospel.

When Jesus welcomed the woman who wept at his feet (Luke 7:36-50) he announced to the room of religious bigots that, "her sins are many." They agreed. Jesus was not soft on sin. Yet he welcomed her love and devotion because this woman who had been forgiven much, loved him much. He came looking for people like her because they were lost, and he loved them.

Post-evangelicalism would have us believe that there is no sin to forgive. Jesus just accepts her. He's on the side of the marginalised. Yet Jesus taught that we all need forgiveness — the sexually immoral person, the corrupt government official, the military officer, the lost son and the righteous son, the proud Pharisee.

To say that there is nothing to forgive, that God does not judge sin, is an unloving act. Listen to Rob Bell's interview. It's all about keeping up which changing social trends to ensure the survival of the church. Compromise is too high a price to pay for relevance.

God judges sin. If that offends you, consider the alternative; a world in which God is indifferent to evil. A world without justice.

The God who opposes evil is the God who bore the consequences of our rebellion. Let them reject this as "cosmic child abuse." Reality won't change. God judges evil. God rescues sinners through Christ's death. There is no other gospel.

The gospel of progressive Christianity cannot save. It leaves people lost in their sin, separated from his sacrificial love.

No one will cross the road, let alone the ocean, to spread this gospel. No-one will suffer and die for it. Why should they? It's a gospel for those who have lost their faith, but want to hang on to it's trappings.

How Brian McLaren lost his way

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Brian's new kind of Christianity is quite old. And the problem is that it's not old enough.

Scott McKnight

McKnight does an outstanding job of reviewing Brian McLaren's 'A New Kind of Christianity' and explains why he thinks McLaren has drifted from both evangelicalism and orthodoxy and wandered wandered down the path of 19th Century theology.

Perhaps you have joined Brian McLaren in his wanderings, hoping that somehow this 'fresh perspective' will give birth to a 'missional church'. It won't. It can't. It never has been anything more than the symptom of a faith that has lost its way.

A new kind of gospel?

christianity-today-graphic-tm.jpg Dynamic movements are committed to a cause. But what if you're not sure what that cause is any more?

Tim Keller writes:

A generation ago, it would have been hard to imagine evangelicals unable to agree on what the simple gospel is: 1) God made you and you must have a relationship with him, 2) but your sin separates you from God. 3) Jesus, God's Son took the punishment your sins deserved. 4)If you repent for your sins and trust in his work for your salvation, you will be forgiven, justified and accepted freely by grace, and indwelled with his Spirit until you die and go to heaven.

But many today challenge this way of expressing the gospel.

In A New Kind of Christian Brian McLaren's character Neo says he doesn't "think most Christians have any idea of what the gospel really is." When his interlocutor responds that he thought the gospel was "accepting Christ as your personal savior and justification by faith not works based on the finished work of Christ on the cross" Neo responds, "Yes, that's exactly what most modern Christians would say". reduc[ing] the gospel to modern dimensions, laws, steps, simple diagrams, complete with a sales close." When pressed on what the gospel is, Neo insists that it can't be reduced to a formula, other than the one Jesus used, "The Kingdom of God is at hand." He then quickly adds that we shouldn't use that short-hand either, since "everything is contextual' and the term "kingdom" would be opaque to many people today.

Read Tim Keller's response to this postmodern confusion regarding the gospel.