mē genoito

May it never be! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” (Ro 3:4)

McLaren Wants to be a Martyr but Whines Like a Crybaby

McLaren wrote an article on the Huffington Post, “Why Do Evangelicals Dislike Me So Much?”, supposedly in response to the SBTS forum. HT: Denny Burk

McLaren asks why evangelicals dislike him so much? This is not just a question by McLaren, it is a statement that he desperately needs to be true and I will explain what I mean by this shortly. But first, everyone should notice the personal nature of his question. Is this about him? McLaren gives great value and preaches how he is just a part of the community, but now all of a sudden it is about disliking him and not the community? “He invites me to be part of this community to experience his saving love and participate in it.” (A Generous Orthodoxy pg 108). When did this emergent conversation became all about Brian McLaren and not what the emergent community believes? Let me make it crystal clear to Mr. McLaren I have nothing against McLaren personally. I don’t dislike him. I don’t even know him personally. The problem I and most Biblical evangelicals’ have with McLaren is the theology that he has been promoting. So the answer to his slightly misplaced question is this,

That’s right, look in the mirror and asks yourself why are you preaching another gospel? Why do you feel the need to demonize the evangelicals?

Let me begin with this quote from the Huffington Post article.

It’s not hard to fall out of the good graces of the most conservative elements of any religious community. And those authority figures often become even more testy under stress.

Not hard? How hard do you have to move to deny the centrality of the gospel message i.e., the atonement of Jesus Christ? How hard do you have to move to deny that there is no other name under heaven other than the name of Jesus Christ to be saved? How hard do you have to move before you believe that one’s eternal destiny of heaven and hell is less important than McLaren’s construct of community, especially since McLaren doesn’t believe there is a hell? Contrary to McLaren, it is very hard to fall out of the good graces of not just “conservative” evangelicals but any evangelical. These are the essential of Christianity. When McLaren is so far off the reservation he is no different than an atheist.

McLaren’s article follows the typical motif of his writings and theology, a kind of straw man that he erects just to slap it down and paints himself as the wonderful savior offering an alternative Christianity. If he is offering such a wonderfully generous orthodoxy (”envisioned a day when Christians would move beyond our current polarities of liberal/conservative, Protestant/Catholic, and seek for common ground in worship and mission. And he called that common ground a generous orthodoxy” ), why not allow these “so called” conservatives practice their own belief and find common ground. Why does McLaren find it necessary to demonize evangelical? Is it just to make him look better by stepping on others? Maybe McLaren thinks that what he preaches does not apply to him? Maybe McLaren thinks that he is only defending himself from attacks by evangelicals? But wait, evangelical have been around before McLaren ever wrote his first book. As a matter of fact he claims to have come out of the conservative tradition, so isn’t he the one that started demonizing the evangelicals first? Isn’t that how he gained his support? But even putting aside who started it first, shouldn’t McLaren adopt rabbi Gamaliel’s “wait and see” approach to these evangelical’s criticism of his theology? Doesn’t he believe in Gamaliel’s approach? (look here for more of McLaren’s tactics.)

McLaren’s straw man tactic of demonizing evangelicals and pretending that he is some sort of victim and dove is a complete farce. I suppose it is essential for McLaren to paint evangelical as uncharitable extremists in order to make his criticism of us more justifiable, and making himself a martyr would draw sympathy to deflect any attention that he is being caustic.

Let me try one more example to illustrate my point. McLaren writes,

It’s not hard to fall out of the good graces of the most conservative elements of any religious community. And those authority figures often become even more testy under stress. One doesn’t have to go far to see some of the sources of that stress, whether we’re looking among Evangelical Christians (as Carol Howard Merritt recently described) or among Roman Catholic Christians (as Ian Masters recently summarized). … I’m often asked during interviews why many Evangelicals dislike me so much. The question has prompted me to reflect on religious authority and its workings. … So the best way to stay out of religious trouble is to keep your opinions private whenever they differ from the most strident inquisitors in your religious community. If you feel a twinge of guilt when you condemn a person for being gay, don’t think about it. Just press the button. When you use dehumanizing language for people of other faith traditions — or of other opinions within your own faith tradition — don’t feel bad. Just press the button again. Side with your religious authority figures, not with those being criticized, scapegoated, condemned, excluded, and zapped. If you believe what you’re told and verbally zap those who differ, you won’t get in trouble.

But then again, if these religious authorities are such good people, why do you have to be so afraid of them?

What if instead of what McLaren said, you see this from an evangelical from the likes of those at the SBTS.

It’s not hard to fall out of the good graces of the most liberal elements of any emergent community. And those authority figures often become even more testy under stress. One doesn’t have to go far to see some of the sources of that stress, whether we’re looking among emergents (as Brian McLaren) or among emerging church leaders (as Doug Pagitt). … I’m often asked during interviews why Brian McLaren dislike me so much. The question has prompted me to reflect on McLaren’s authority and its workings. …
So the best way to stay out of being socially stigmatized is to keep your opinions private whenever they differ from the most strident inquisitors in your liberal emergent community. If you feel a twinge of guilt when you McLaren say the Bible is not totally authoritative and being gay is not a sin, don’t think about it. Just press the button. When you use dehumanizing language for people of the evangelical traditions — or of other opinions within your own faith tradition — don’t feel bad. Just press the button again. Side with your emergent authority figures, not with those being criticized, scapegoated, condemned, excluded, and zapped. If you believe what you’re told and verbally zap those who differ, you won’t get in trouble.

But then again, if these emergent authorities are such good people, why do you have to be so afraid of them?

This is just an example of Brian McLaren’s loving generous orthodoxy, thank you. The only difference between this version here and McLaren’s Huffington Post version is that this is actually what happens to evangelicals when they dare to stand up to McLaren and his cultural liberals like those on Huffington Post. Those who believe in the inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible are “scapegoated, condemned, excluded, and zapped”. e.g. Mr. McLaren, let me ask you, have you heard of Sarah Palin? Q.E.D. Conversely, McLaren’s version is a hodgepodge of out of context mischaracterization of what evangelicals believe and how they live.

Finally, McLaren writes.

I’m a Christian. I love God, Jesus, the Bible, prayer, worship, serving others — the whole package. But when my conscience tells me that I’m hurting people by complying with religious conventions, I don’t keep pressing the button. I start asking questions. That’s why I wrote my book, and that’s why I’m willing to get into trouble for it.

I am sorry, but am I allowed to say that you are not a Christian? Please don’t push the button on me yet, let me finish what I have to say then you can push the button. You are not a Christian because you are not a follower of Christ. You say you love god, maybe, but not the God of the Bible. You say you love the Bible but you select only the parts that you like and distort what you can use for your own purpose then throw away the rest. You say you pray and worship but so did the pagans in the Bible. They also pray and worship except to a false god. You say you serve others great, so do we but you can’t earn your way into heaven and do you serve your enemies, those you demonized and disagree with?

If you are a Christian why do you deny Jesus Christ is the only way for salvation Jn 14:6?
Why won’t you accept His substitutionary atonement 1 Cor 15:3; Heb 9:22?
If you love God why must you call the greatest sacrifice a cosmic child abuse?
If you love the Bible why won’t you accept that every word of the Bible is equally authoritative and historically accurate? Is it because you believe as Rob Bell does that the Bible is a human product? Who made you (Brian McLaren) god, that you can declare which part of the Bible is authoritative and which is historically accurate?

If you don’t believe in the Christ and God of the Bible and the Bible that you love is only as authoritative as you want to make it then your prayer and worship is of no avail. You are essentially a pagan and a god to yourself. I sincerely hope that your eyes might be open and that you will repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection for the atonement of your sins. Otherwise there is no hope of salvation for you and those who follow you. While you might think this is uncharitable and I should be more like you, telling you what you want to hear and make you feel good for a few decades and when you die you will end up in hell. Or I can tell you the truth as I sincerely believe it to be, and hope that you would repent and have eternal life. Who has the greater love for others? One who tell them a lie like you and be their best friend for a few decades and lead them into eternal punishment; or one who tell them the truth so that while they hate me now but have a chance for eternal life. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jn 15:13

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Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question

2 Responses to “McLaren Wants to be a Martyr but Whines Like a Crybaby”

  • Rick Lannoye says:

    Funny that you should challange Rev McLaren by saying, “If you don’t believe in the Christ and God of the Bible…,” because the only way to believe in Hell is to completely reject the original teachings of Jesus!

    I’ve actually written an entire book on this topic–Hell? No! Why You Can Be Certain There’s No Such Place As Hell, (for anyone interested, you can get a free ecopy of Did Jesus Believe in Hell?, one of the most compelling chapters in my book at http://www.thereisnohell.com), but allow me to share a couple of the many points I make in it to explain why.

    Jesus most certainly rejected the idea that God wants or needs “justice: “You have heard it said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ but I say to you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,” which is found in Matthew 5:38-39, and then expanded upon in Luke 6:29f, “and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.” Now, just in case you didn’t know, Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament book of Exodus, Chapter 21 which has God telling Moses to tell the people of Israel that if someone pokes out your eye, then you’re to poke out his. But Jesus says that not what God REALLY wanted, that he didn’t want or need “justice,” or revenge, but instead, to respond to evil with good. Quite the opposite of what the Jews of his day had heard all their lives, this teaching was revolutionary! It carried with it a view of God’s nature that rebuked the “eye for an eye” concept, and the view that God is all about getting back at those who do bad things, that he is compelled by his “just” (or let’s face it, the real word is “vengeful”) nature to hurt people to the same degree they had allegedly sinned. Instead, Jesus’ bold assertion implied God is anything but vengeful and, therefore, he asks that we return good for evil because that’s what God does.

    Now, in fairness to Moses and the prophets, a lot of what was in the Old Testament, was a PROGRESSION toward what God really wanted. That’s why Jesus had to come, because, while he was getting through to a degree, the Jews had not quite got the whole picture.

    We have to bear in mind that BEFORE the Law, things were bad! If someone poked someone’s eye out, that other guy or his family or the ruler in that area might poke out the ALL the eyes of the offender, his wife, his slaves, his children and his animals! Well God wasn’t happy about all this, but the OT folks weren’t quite ready to receive the full message of God! So he took them from WHERE THEY WERE, and tried to elevate them! That’s were the “eye for an eye” came in, which was, RELATIVELY SPEAKING, a huge improvement! But if God REALLY was into “getting back at people” he would have simply stopped there!

    But Jesus came to FULFILL the message of God. Basically, he was trying to say, “OK, yes, that eye for an eye thing was a step in the right direction, but the real point here is to STOP THE HURTING! So I’m telling you to BREAK THE CYCLE of trying to get back at people. It only leads to more “justice” or vendettas for vendettas for vendettas, back and forth, never ending.

    Here’s another example: If one is willing to look, there’s substantial evidence contained in the gospels to show that Jesus opposed the idea of Hell. For example, in Luke 9:51-56, is a story about his great disappointment with his disciples when they actually suggested imploring God to rain FIRE on a village just because they had rejected him. His response: “You don’t know what spirit is inspiring this kind of talk!” Presumably, it was NOT the Holy Spirit. He went on, trying to explain how he had come to save, heal and relieve suffering, not be the CAUSE of it.

    So it only stands to reason that this same Jesus, who was appalled at the very idea of burning a few people, for a few horrific minutes until they were dead, could never, ever burn BILLIONS of people for an ETERNITY!

    True, there are a few statements that made their way into the copies of copies of copies of the gospel texts which place “Hell” on Jesus’ lips, but these adulterations came along many decades after his death, most likely due to the Church filling up with Greeks who imported their belief in Hades with them when they converted.

    Bear in mind that the historical Protestant doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures applies only to the original autographs, not the copies. But sadly, the interpolations that made their way into those copies have provided a convenient excuse for a lot of people to get around following Jesus’ real message.

    If I were you, I’d do a lot less name calling and worry more about whether you actually believe in the real message of Jesus.

  • teleologist says:

    Rick,

    because the only way to believe in Hell is to completely reject the original teachings of Jesus!

    I’ve actually written an entire book on this topic–Hell? No! Why You Can Be Certain There’s No Such Place As Hell, (for anyone interested, you can get a free ecopy of Did Jesus Believe in Hell?

    It would be ironic if the rest of your book, which is suppose to be about hell or the lack there of, is like the couple of points you’ve shared here, because you have not referenced any sayings by Jesus that denies the absence of hell. You do recognize this is a major flaw in your argument, do you not?

    Let me share with you on what Jesus actually said about hell.

    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Mt 5:22

    If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Mt 5:29,30

    Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Mt 10:28

    “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Mt 23:33

    No one is more blind then those who refuse to see. The NT is crystal clear on this. Those who do not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ will be cast into hell.

    I will not go into an elaborate exposition on the verses you’ve quoted. If you truly want to understand what they mean, I am sure you can find plenty of biblically sound teachers, who can do a better job than I of explaining it to you. Let me just say this. Jesus was teaching us about how one human being should treat another human being. He was teaching us how we should react in the presence of evil deeds. Jesus was in no way referring to the ultimate destiny of those who do evil. As flawed human beings we are not to seek revenge that is the province of God. Rom 12:19 God is patient, but make no mistake the day of wrath will come in the form of omniscient divine justice and perfect love. Rev 5:1-14

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