…having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:5)

An Evangelical Denying What Evangelicals Believe?

Apprising Ministries has been among the online apologetics and discernment ministries who’ve been covering the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—that morphed into Emergence Christianity (EC) for some five plus years now. As it concerns EC guru Brian McLaren, now a Living Spiritual Teacher alongside such as Deepak Chopra, the Dalai LamaThich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and Marianne Williamson, those around the EC will say he doesn’t speak for them but you’ll always find his website on their blogrolls and his books recommened there.

Well maybe until now; as I showed you e.g. in Brian McLaren Continues To Blunder and Dissention Growing Around The Emerging Church, each day it’s beginning to look more and more like McLaren has made a critical tactical error in coming out of the closet in his new book  A New Kind of Christianity (ANKoC) and all but laying out the reimagined ( i.e. post) form of Progessive Christianity aka liberal theology so many in the EC actually adhere to. Today another review of ANKoC is a further indication McLaren may have overplayed his hand.

Kevin DeYoung, co-author of Why We’re Not Emergent, begins his review series:

Brian McLaren’s latest book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith, is two steps forward in terms of clarity and ten steps backward in terms of orthodoxy. A New Kind of Christianity, more than any previous McLaren project, provides a forceful account of what the emergent leader believes and why…

Some may be thinking, “What’s wrong with this new kind of Christianity?” Well, as it turns out, pretty much everything… (Online source)

Yesterday in Brian McLaren Invites You On His Quest To Destroy Christianity I pointed you to the review of ANKoC by Tim Challies, who is hardly one known to be radical, and yet he is actually quite scathing in his post A New Kind of Christianity:

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote about Brian McLaren and got in trouble. Reflecting on seeing him speak at a nearby church, I suggested that he appears to love Jesus but hate God. Based on immediate and furious reaction, I quickly retracted that statement. I should not have done so. I believed it then and I believe it now.

And if it was true then, how much more true is it upon the release of his latest tome A New Kind of Christianity. In this book we finally see where McLaren’s journey has taken him; it has taken him into outright, rank, unapologetic apostasy. He hates God. Period. (Online source)

Now we wouldn’t be all that surprised to see those not involved with the EC with unfavorable reviews, but it is a bit telling when we see the following from Bill Kinnon, whom McLaren refers to today as “master blogger Bill Kinnon.” You may recall from my earlier piece Dissention Growing Around The Emerging Church that Kinnon, who’s worked as a consultant “to a number of churches and Christian organizations in the US, Canada and the UK,” is indeed someone who’s easily recognized around the blogosphere, as McLaren has just said.

However, it’s important to note here that Kinnon was once someone who was quite sympathetic with McLaren’s work. A couple of weeks ago Jeremy Bouma writing “as one who has been on the inside of and involved with this conversation for half a decade,” and who’d even attended McLaren’s church for a stint, gave the reasons why he’s leaving the EC in Goodbye Emergent: Why I’m Taking The Theology of the Emerging Church To Task. The reason I bring it up right now is that in the combox of Bouma’s post Kinnon tells us:

BMcL’s A New Kind of Christian was a very important book for Imbi (my wife) and I when we read it 10 years ago. We became evangelists for Brian’s books for a time – but are no longer. Our paths have diverged significantly from the one Brian has taken (in my humble estimation.)

I’ve read most of A New Kind of Christianity (which arrived on Thursday) as I’ve had time and am disturbed by the cross-less Christianity that Brian describes. There are also some things I do like in the book but by and large, Brian appears more Unitarian Universalist in his understanding of the faith – in spite of how mean, nasty and unloving I am for saying that. The easiest form of debate is to suggest that anyone that dares question you is arguing ad hominem. (I will unpack the reasons for my stated opinion above in a blog post I hope to put up in the next 24 hours.) (Online source)

Brian McLaren May Indeed Have Made A Huge Error That’s Now Out In The Open

Please know that Kinnon further elaborates upon the above, and on his views concerning McLaren himself, in his Brian McLaren is Not a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Not long ago Kinnon also tweeted:

Brian McLaren responds to a couple of my posts: http://bit.ly/b3Tyqo And I will respond to Brian as quickly as I can. (Online source)

The above link takes us to A new Kind of Christianity: cont’d today where McLaren writes a very lengthy response which begins:

Yesterday I responded to some of the early responses to my new book. After the jump, I’ll reply to some additional concerns raised by master blogger Bill Kinnon

Hi, Bill – I’ve enjoyed your blog over the years, and have enjoyed meeting you on a few occasions. It sounds like your initial responses to my new book are far less than favorable. I’m sorry to hear that, but as you say below, that goes with the territory … (Online source)

One of these “initial responses” was Kinnon’s post yesterday A Question or Two About Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity where he has some serious questions about McLaren’s view of Jesus in ANKoC and tells McLaren he wonders:

if you agree with your friend, Marcus Borg, who you footnote a number of times in the book and talk about in your Introduction as one of the people whose “emerging mission” points toward the title of your book

And I really don’t want to suggest guilt by association. You should meet some of my friends. Oh right, you have. (Online source, bold his)

Now I’ll point you to another forthcoming review of ANKoC; one which should really prove interesting as to whether or not Brian McLaren has indeed made a real blunder with his now rather open embrace of what he refers to as big-tent, progressive Christianity aka the “progressive Christian theology” ala e.g. neo-liberal progressive Christian process theologian Philip Clayton. I already told you in Emerging Church And Progressive Christian Theology that  Clayton is a key part of an upcoming EC heresy-fest next month called the Theology After Google (TAG) conference.

In the AM post Trouble In Emerging Church Paradise? you may remember that I told Brother Maynard is a respected thinker and blogger in the growing emerging missional church movement. Yesterday Maynard entered the arena of discussion around McLaren’s ANKoC with his lengthy article A New Kind of Conversation: Why I Might be Neo-Emergent. Maynard tells us:

Brian McLaren’s new book (A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith) has just been released, and it’s already causing a bit of a firestorm. I’m still awaiting my copy, but plan to look through it at his ten questions and interact with those once I’ve been able to consider them in more detail. In the meantime, there are a few things upon which I really feel the need to comment,… (Online source)

As I close this out for now, let me just tell you Maynard goes on to summerize the quickly growing groundswell around McLaren’s ANKoC as he says:

This time around, the criticism is starting on the inside. But that’s just lead-in, at least until I get my own copy for review and determine whether I think Mr. McLaren has gone off the reservation or not… I’ll start with some of the early book reviews. So, to bring you up to date, we have Daryl Dash’s review of Brian’s latest.

He says that while the book is engaging and offers discussion on some very important questions, it is ultimately “not a minor tweak of Christianity. It is a repudiation of the church’s understanding of God and the gospel.” After outlining his initial disagreements with the book, Bill Kinnon rounds up a list of Reviewers Reviewing McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity

Brian McLaren’s one-question fundamentalism quiz got him in trouble with Scot McKnight… [and] based on reviews of the book and my own consideration, I’ve realized two things. (1) Brian’s New Christianity seems to be reinventing the faith at a foundational level, that of presupposition… (2) Brian McLaren is less prone to having his ideas sound offensive when he’s speaking than when he is writing…

And then there’s Jeremey Bouma’s post, Goodbye Emergent: Why I’m Taking The Theology of the Emerging Church To Task. Of course, we note he’s not the first nor will he be the last, though in that genre, the posts by Andrew Jones and Sarah Bessey are certainly worth reading to get a flavour of what’s going on…yes, we’ve got fractures happening,… (Online source)

This certainly does give us even more indication that this time Brian McLaren, whom Maynard refers to as part of the “the Emergent Trinity” along with quasi-universalist EC pastor Doug Pagitt and his equally heretical “theologian in residence” Tony Jones, may indeed have overplayed his hand. It really is beginning to look like McLaren has commited a very real tactical error, which along with other possible forthcoming news involving this EC “trinity,” will end up bringing down a lot more attention and scrutiny upon the Emerging Church than Brian McLaren may have ever even imagined.

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