Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New Kind of Christian? (Prt. 3)

Here are some further thoughts on Brian McLaren’s A New Kind Of Christian

CH. 9

In this chapter I would agree that I to have a dislike for the consumer packaging of religion that seems to permeate church life. But from here the conversation goes to allowing for one to be a Christian and culturally a Buddhist or Muslim which is all well and good to say but can it really be true when the scriptures seem to speak of salvation being a life changing event. Daniel in Babylon saw a need to be counter cultural when it collided with his belief in God. This all seems to either misunderstand or be naive about the belief systems that are trying to be melded in some way.

Over and over I see a goal of constantly equating Christianity as we know as intimately tied to modernity and defining modernity as either wrong or passed by. By doing this NEO seems to step right in with an answer and even though the answers are either vague or wrong they are to be accepted because the alternative is to be modern, which is wrong.

CH. 10

Again I find areas to agree on but the reaction to them is different. Such as I agree that the attitude of many towards the Gospel is selfishness in that it turns it into more of a self help program than a God glorifying event. However, the solutions provided by NEO are not adequate or the only possibility.

When NEO is asked about getting into heaven (salvation) his answer or actually non-answer seemed was very Mclarenish. His minimalizing of hell is in contrast of the amount of scripture that speaks of Hell as real place. The description of hell that comes from the reading is that of simply being heaven with the wrong glasses on. Basically heaven and hell are the same place but it is only heaven for those who want to be there and it is hell for those that do not desire heaven. So what is accomplished is making hell no more than being at a Sex Pistols concert when you desire to be at a Bach recital. But the bible speaks of hell as a much more terrifying place and it should not be minimized to accommodate the mindset of the sinner.

CH. 11

In chapter 11 again hell is relegated to the nebulous realm of imagery and blames the orthodox understanding on modernity. By now it has gotten old to continue to see that whenever the orthodox view of scripture is disliked it is simply thrown out as a consequence of modernity. When NEO begins to equate cohabitating and sin with the early church issues with Kosher and non-kosher he seems to be mixing categories. Also it would seem that the concept of accepting people in sin as is shown may prohibit church discipline as that would be judgmental and harm the offenders person some how. However did not Paul deal with the same issues in Corinth and even kick a church goer out for his own good? The Bible does have a moral code and the letters to the Corinthians show Paul’s concern for the moral state of his charges.

This all said I do agree where it is mentioned that sin is all to often categorized and not dealt with. But the alternative is not to ignore the issues as this is even more harmful. This is the usual tactic of those supporting homosexuality as they relate how adultery permeates the church and is just as sinful but is not dealt with as readily. Well the answer is not that both are ignored but that the church needs to more seriously deal with all sin.

CH. 12

This was one chapter that got an “Amen” and an “Oh Man.” The amen was in reference to the complaint that the gospel is all too often packaged ass a slick sales pitch or that so called friendship evangelism is often a ruse. So that in the case of friendship evangelism quite often once the prey is seen as no longer viable as a convert they are dismissed. While this may be true of general contacts as in the analogy of shaking the dust from ones feet this does not fit the bill when one seeks friendship just to sell God somehow. The problem in the narrative is that the answer to this is incomplete and lacking.

This is where the “Oh Man” comes in. The Gospel is not defined except as what it is more than. This is a way to say that one side is wrong without really answering the question as to what is right. I guess I really \do not expect much more than this since post modernism is notorious for not only denying there is an absolute truth but staying as far away from it as possible.

More to follow as time allows.


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