Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Brian McLaren has a new book, "A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith." Out of these 10 issues, there are 5 or 6 that must be discussed with biblical sensitivity and freshness. However, it doesn't appear as though he accomplishes that.
His 10 questions are:
His 10 questions are:
- The narrative question: What is the overarching story line of the Bible? For McLaren, the familiar story line of creation, fall, redemption, consummation (with heaven and hell as a result) is a grotesque Greco-Roman distortion of the biblical narrative. God the creator, liberator, reconciler is the real story line.
- The authority question: How should the Bible be understood? Not as a constitution, argues McLaren, with laws and rules and arguments about who’s right and wrong. Rather, we go to the Bible as a community library, where internal consistency is not presumed and we learn by conversation.
- The God question: Is God violent? Believers used to think so, but we ought to grow in maturity from fearing a violent tribal God to partnering with a Christlike God.
- The Jesus question: Who is Jesus and why is he important? Jesus is never violent and does not condemn. He did not come to save people from hell. Jesus, says McLaren, is peace-loving and identifies with the weak and oppressed.
- The gospel question: What is the gospel? It is not a message about how to get saved. The gospel is the announcement of a “new kingdom, a new way of life, and a new way of peace that carried good news to all people of every religion” (139).
- The church question: What do we do about the church? Churches—in whatever form and whatever we call them—exist to form people of Christlike love. This is the church’s primary calling, to form people who live in the way of love, the way of peacemaking.
- The sex question: Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it? We need to stop hating gay people and welcome them fully into the life of the church. The “sexually other” may be defective in traditional religion, but they are loved and included in a new kind of Christianity.
- The future question: Can we find a better way of viewing the future? No more “soul-sort” universe where our team goes to heaven and the bad guys go to hell. The future is open, inviting our participation. In the end, God’s mercy will triumph and all shall be well.
- The pluralism question: How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions? “Christianity has a nauseating, infuriating, depressing record when it comes to encountering people of other religions” (208). There is not us/them, insider/outsider. Jesus accepted everyone and so should we.
- The what-do-we-do-now question: How can we translate our quest into action? The human quest for God has known many stages. Those in the more mature stages of the quest should gently invite others to grow into fuller maturity, but without being divisive.
Kevin DeYoung has an excellent, healthy, and clear response. Here.
Labels: Brian McLaren
Sara and I were making the journey to Columbia on Tuesday about lunch. Mr James was sleeping soundly in the back. My phone buzzes and the text was from one of my Honors Systematic Theology students who was making a college visit. It said,
I'm at CIU and just sat in a Romans class. The prof was trying to explain Greek stuff and I already knew all of it, even the vocab!
Call it nerdy. Call it prideful. I call it pure delight in my soul :)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Teaching has really made me want to write a book. I don't have cute letters in front of my name so it will likely not happen. I've got a thorough bibliography, a table of contents, specific charts and paradigms, a thesis, etc, etc.
I want it to be a book that that appropriately blends reading the Scriptures narratively, doctrinally, devotionally, and theologically. My title would be "A King and A Kingdom: God's Story of Grace and Truth."
I've bounced the idea off several people. And, of course, my students are all thumbs up. We shall see. Here are the chapters:
- Scripture [what it is and what it isn't]
- Glory [the grand goal of it all]
- Inclusio [the royal narrative oreo]
- Covenant [the relational remedy]
- Covenant(s) [the story unfolds]
- Jesus [the covenants fulfilled]
- Gospel [the kingdom is here]
- Soteriology [this all means something about Salvation]
- Pneumatology [this all means something about the Spirit]
- Ecclesiology [this all means something about the Church]
- Eschatology [this all means something about the End]
This is an address that Wright gave in England on Feb 10, 2010. The intro is more directly for those he is speaking to. The biblical analysis and practical application are more broad.
I love the majority of his biblical sketch, but then his application of it makes me raise an eyebrow and slightly furrow my brow. Still, fun read.
I've recently been reading "The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology" by Jason C Meyer. He has great discussions about the old-ness of the Old Covenant and the new-ness of the New Covenant. He does excellent exegetical work in 2 Cor 3-4, Gal 3-4, and Rom 9-11. The discussion may be seemingly peripheral, but it's ripple effects are very significant.
In the introduction, Meyer begins with an old Puritan proverb/poem/hymn. Spurgeon attributed it to John Bunyan, but others believe it to be John Berridge. It's really beautiful.
To run and work the law commandsYet gives me neither feet nor handsBut better news the gospel bringsIt bids me fly and gives me wings