Brian Maclaren – a generous neo-liberalism?

Albert Mohler:

“Even though he would be more appropriately categorized as a “post-evangelical,” McLaren was listed as one of 25 influential evangelicals in the February 7, 2005 edition of TIME magazine. In its profile, TIME referred to a conference last spring at which McLaren was addressed with a question related to gay marriage. “You know what,” McLaren responded, “The thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.” TIME referred to this as “a kinder and gentler brand of religion.” Others would be less charitable, for McLaren’s “nonanswer” is itself an answer. This is a man who doesn’t want to offend anyone on any side of any argument. That’s why it’s hard to find the orthodoxy in A Generous Orthodoxy……

As a postmodernist, he considers himself free from any concern for propositional truthfulness, and simply wants the Christian community to embrace a pluriform understanding of truth as a way out of doctrinal conflict and impasse.

What about other belief systems? McLaren suggests that we should embrace the existence of different faiths, “willingly, not begrudgingly.” What would this mean? Well, a complete reconsideration of Christian missions, for one thing. McLaren claims to affirm that Christians should give witness to their faith in Jesus Christ. But, before you assume this means an affirmation of Christian missions, consider this statement: “I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all?) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. This will be hard, you say, and I agree. But frankly, it’s not at all easy to be a follower of Jesus in many ‘Christian’ religious contexts, either.”……

The problem with A Generous Orthodoxy, as the author must surely recognize, is that this orthodoxy bears virtually no resemblance to orthodoxy as it has been known and affirmed by the church throughout the centuries. Honest Christians know that disagreements over issues of biblical truth are inevitable. But we owe each other at least the honesty of taking a position, arguing for that position from Scripture, and facing the consequences of our theological convictions “

If Mohler is accurate in his reflection and analysis of Brian Maclaren then it is hard to come to any other conclusion than that Maclaren is a false teacher. Certainly the quotes do not seem to reflect mainstream evangelicalism. Even if this perception is inaccurate, perceptions like this do nothing to endear people like me to the Emergent Church.

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, a writer, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he serves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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