Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Book Review: A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would regard it as my favorite since Generous Orthodoxy. It was refreshing to finally read how many of the free floating thoughts of his past books have finally gelled. Brian McLaren states very clearly where he stands on things, which was often the confusion and frustration of his other books, (at least to those who do not understand the type of writing Brian does).
The book is made up of 10 questions, which each question being designed to help one think outside of the Greco/Roman view and look at the bible from a more Hebraic point of view. The basic view is that many Christians try to view Jesus from present backwards. In essence most will view Jesus through A.W. Tozer viewing Jesus through Luther of Calvin, viewing Jesus through Augustine and Aquinas and so forth (I just picked people at random and do enjoy many of these people’s writings myself.) While Brian does not ever say these views are invalid, one must recognize they come from a very Greco/Roman ala Platonist point of view. Instead Brian McLaren proposes that one will gain a much different view if they read the bible and develop the view of Jesus as He is slowly revealed in the OT.
Interestingly, I was taught this very idea as a young Christian, via a book called Christianity Is Jewish by Edith Schaeffer and in A New Kind of Christianity, Brian McLaren, does a great job in making his point of view clear through Scripture. After building the case for his point of view, Brian McLaren then turns to how this point of view will effect and bring to light questions. Brian then frames the rest of the book by working through the 10 questions.
I do understand why many people would find this book hard. In fact Brian addresses that in the book. If you have not read any of his books, I would advise to read this book before Secret Message of Jesus and Everything Must Change, as it will help bring understanding to those books. I was surprised though by who was uneasy with ANKoChristianity. Yet, as I read their thoughts I could see that these are not the typical, “Brian is a heretic” attacks, but more points of minor disagreement. Though, that is not always the case as some view that Brian may have gone off the rails a bit.
I see that I really could not find much I disagreed with. I would have to really go back and dig into the book again to find something I might disagree with. I might not have phrased something the exact same way, yet as in the case of homosexuality, if someone harps on his view without acknowledging that he also is speaking of a broader sense of sexual purity (of which even the heterosexual Christian community has some major ethical failures in) I would say that person missed the point and would question if their assessment of what Brian stated was accurately being portrayed. Again, I am not saying the things Brian is stating is easy to grasp or envision and I totally understand why those who are uncomfortable will be so. However, who ever said we should be comfortable as believers in Jesus?