Why I Haven’t Given Up on the Bible

Jacob Wrestles with the Angel, by Rembrandt

When conversation on this blog turn to issues of sexuality, as it did this week with Brian McLaren’s View on Homosexuality, there are always some commenters who admit that their Christian faith has broken free of the Bible. For example, R. Jay comments,

I’m a Christian for whom the Bible is not my foundation, not my law code, not my ladder, not my pedestal. I love it dearly, but I don’t need it to know God, and I don’t need it to understand how to love my neighbor fully.

In the absence of the Bible, there is still God. And to know God does not require the Bible. Devotion to it has become the most insidious of all barriers.

Honestly, I understand how some people come to this conclusion. The Bible is a primitive book, coming out of a primitive time. Even the most staunch conservatives should be able to admit that. It is reflective of a different world than the world in which we live. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not applicable to our lives and our time, but that much hermeneutical work needs to be done to understand what it means for us today.

In Brian’s own evolution of how he understand human sexuality, he has not abandoned the Bible,

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Brian McLaren’s View on Homosexuality

In a poignant post, Brian McLaren responds to an Asian pastor who writes him,

“I have regarded Brian as my mentor in coping with expressing my Christian faith in the postmodern world but now I have to break ranks with him – it leaves me devastated…”

The issue, for this pastor, is homosexuality. Brian has been honest about his stance on issues of human sexuality, but he hasn’t shouted it with a bullhorn either.

Brian McLaren

As background, however, you should know that Brian presided over a wedding ceremony of his son and his son’s husband — a news item that led Patheos blogger TMatt to suggest that we no longer refer to Brian as an evangelical. Christianity Today blogged about it. Brian graciously responded.

Brian did not make a public issue of his son’s sexuality. Others did. But it has brought Brian’s perspectives to the fore, and I’m assuming that’s how this Asian pastor decided to part with Brian. Brian, for his part, has written another gracious response, in which he clearly states his view on homosexuality and how he got there: [Read more...]

The Evangelical’s Burden

Recently, I supped with a young, hipster evangelical leader. Someone you would know. Someone who runs large conferences. We had a nice time, but toward the end of our time together, I asked her a question that I figured I knew the answer to:

“You won’t have me or Doug or Brian speak at your events, will you?”

The answer, after some hemming and hawing, was “No.”

Here’s why I asked: Her conference, like many other evangelical conferences, has two categories of speakers: evangelical speakers and non-Christian speakers.

[Read more...]

Brian McLaren on “The Innocence of Muslims”

Brian McLaren has a new book out: Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World. With all of the turmoil in the Middle East regarding the (ridiculous) film The Innocence of Muslims, I thought I’d dial Brian up on Google+ and ask him for his thoughts about what thoughtful Christians can do.

To be honest, I’m feeling downhearted about the whole situation. If someone as gifted and goodhearted at Ambassador Chris Stevens can’t get through to Libyans/Arabs/Muslims, what can I do from my Midwestern suburbs? So, I asked Brian that, and a couple other questions:

[Read more...]


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