Reassessing Marcus Borg

Reassessing Marcus Borg July 29, 2014

Fellow Patheos blogger Frederick Schmidt has penned an article for the Journal of Preaching about the strengths and weaknesses of Marcus Borg:

Marcus Borg

One: Marc relies heavily on stereotyping of a Christian perspective that, where it exists, is historically representative of a small minority.

I’ve known some of the Christians that Marc uses as a foil for his apologetic, but it is hardly fair to suggest that the kind of thinking he outlines dominated the church until Progressive Christianity came along. The Christian tradition is a global, wide- ranging, and complex phenomenon covering more than two millennia. Protestant fundamentalism is both a relatively recent and relatively small part of that story, even if it looms large in some parts of the United States.20

As such, the polemic Marc uses paints the whole of the Christian tradition from a narrowly eccentric point of view that might be Marc’s experience and might be the experience of a number of Americans, but it hardly represents the history of the Christian tradition, and it doesn’t accurately represent the Christian faith. So, while the rhetorical ploy that Marc uses resonates with many of his readers, it also rein- forces and projects a picture of the Christian tradition that distorts the tradition and reduces it to an eccentric interpretation that makes an apology for the Christian faith that much harder to offer.

Two: The logic of Marc’s argument also overplays the originality of Progressive Christianity.

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