Brian McLaren’s new book

Kevin DeYoung thoroughly (pdf 12 pages long) reviews all ten premises of Brian McClaren’s new book A New Kind of Christianity here. Kevin’s describes his approach at the outset:

I want to be fair with McLaren. I want to understand his ideas and evaluate them based on their merits. If I misunderstand a point or misconstrue what McLaren teaches I want to be corrected. Further, I have no desire to engage in ad hominem attacks. I want to discuss McLaren’s theology without vitriol or sophomoric putdowns. I will not assume the worst about Brian McLaren. I will try not to say anything in the cozy confines of the blogosphere that I would not say sitting across from McLaren over a beverage of his choice.

It’s not wrong to ask a reviewer to be charitable, so long as the love does not have to be devoid of the truth.

So what I will not do is pretend that the issues McLaren raises are non-essential issues or that his mistakes are little mistakes. I will not refrain from serious critique because this is only a “quest” or merely an attempt to raise questions. Moreover, I will not attempt to find a middle ground with teaching that I believe to be heterodox. I will not look for a third way when I see Christianity going down one path and McLarenism going down another. I will state my disagreements with this book strongly and warn other Christians strenuously. I am not ashamed for having convictions, and I am not afraid to write as if I understand (truly though not exhaustively) what the Bible teaches and understand that what it teaches is incompatible with A New Kind of Christianity.

No one deserves to reviled. But some books deserve to pilloried.

and then he promptly and calmly proceeds to pillory what needs to be pilloried.

Tim Challies also reviewed the book. His review is shorter and more brutal.

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.

Both of these men have done us a service. Books such as McClaren’s need to be deconstructed and called out for the heresy that they are. As Mark Driscoll says, we have a duty to shoot the wolves.

the Holy Crap must go

Walter Russell Meade lays down his marker. its a good read. I especially like this bit, but the whole thing is good:

The Christian churches in the United States are in trouble for all the usual reasons — human sinfulness and selfishness, the temptations of life in an affluent society, doctrinal and moral controversies and uncertainties and on and on and on — but also and to a surprisingly large degree they are in trouble because they are trying to address the problems of the twenty first century with a business model and a set of tools that date from the middle of the twentieth.  The mainline churches in particular are organized like General Motors was organized in the 1950s: they have cost structures and operating procedures that simply don’t work today.  They are organized around what I’ve been calling the blue social model, built by rules that don’t work anymore, and oriented to a set of ideas that are well past their sell-by date.

Without even questioning it, most churchgoers assume that a successful church has its own building and a full-time staff including one or more professionally trained leaders (ordained or not depending on the denomination).  Perhaps no more than half of all congregations across the country can afford this at all; most manage only by neglecting maintenance on their buildings or otherwise by cutting corners.  And even when they manage to make the payroll and keep the roof in repair, congregations spend most of their energy just keeping the show going from year to year.  The life of the community centers around the attempt to maintain a model of congregational life that doesn’t work, can’t work, won’t work no matter how hard they try.  People who don’t like futile tasks have a tendency to wander off and do other things and little by little the life and vitality (and the rising generations) drift away.

As I like to put it, there is too much time and effort required to simply “feed the beast.” How do we create a structure that can accommodate growth by massive multiplication? Bigger structures can’t be the answer or any part of the answer.

HT to Joe Carter at First Things.

Verge 2010

I wasn’t able to go to Verge 2010 last week, but I watched quite a bit of the streaming video. It was some amazing stuff. Many of the thoughts and beliefs with which I have been struggling for the last seven years were echoed from the stage. just amazing.

In particular, two things that I heard have been rattling around my brain all week.

The first was in a breakout session on church structure. the question is whether we are structured for addition or multiplication? we say that we want and expect growth by multiplication, but our structures can’t accommodate anything other than addition. Think about it. If 100 people came to Christ this week in your church, then it would be an exceptionally great week that would be remembered for a long time, but nothing would really have to change. But if 1000 came, then we would have a problem. We might have to add another service more child care more parking etc. If 3000 or 5000 came, then we would be completely overwhelmed.

Our structures cannot accommodate the growth that occurred on the day of Pentecost when Peter preached or the the growth that occurred after the healing of the lame man from the Beautiful Gate.

The second thing was a throwaway comment by Hugh Halter. He mentioned Acts 8:1 and the fact that Luke was probably having a little joke when he wrote it. It says that the believers were scattered because of persecution, “except the apostles.” the word apostolos means “messengers, sent ones”. Thus it says the believers were scattered except the sent ones.

I have been thinking about us. We have been sent and yet we continue to stand congregated together. Makes me wonder how long God will forestall persecution so that we get “scattered”. Why can’t we self scatter?

age segregation

interesting story from Mollie Hemingway about voluntary age segregation in churches and its unforeseen effects. number one on the list; no funerals.

“Cool! Your church has funerals,” a friend recently said after I told him about attending one for a fellow parishioner at my church.

My friend attends one of those churches that meet in a Cineplex. Ever since he first told me about his theater church, I had wondered about the logistics of baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

It turns out that the entire membership of his congregation ranges in age from late teens to late 20s. Baptisms are rare and handled at other venues. As far as he knows, they’ve never had a funeral. And when people get married, they rent out traditional churches for the occasion.

AP story on Matt Chandler

the Associated Press has a story on Matt Chandler and his battle with brain cancer. On Twitter, Matt says:

Associated press article on our battle with cancer…pray it moves people toward the gospelhttp://bit.ly/bvGzYG

and here is a clip from the story, but be sure to read it all (UPDATE: here is a longer version of the AP story on MSNBC):

Chandler is trying to suffer well. He would never ask for such a trial, but in some ways he welcomes this cancer. He says he feels grateful that God has counted him worthy to endure it. He has always preached that God will bring both joy and suffering but is only recently learning to experience the latter.

Since all this began on Thanksgiving morning, Chandler says he has asked “Why me?” just once, in a moment of weakness.

He is praying that God will heal him. He wants to grow old, to walk his two daughters down the aisle and see his son become a better athlete than he ever was.

Whatever happens, he says, is God’s will, and God has his reasons. For Chandler, that does not mean waiting for his fate. It means fighting for his life.

Amos Story

new video released from Aaron Ivey.

Aaron is one of the worship leaders at the Austin Stone. He released an album last year Between the Beauty and the Chaos

Aaron and his wife Jamie embarked on the adoption of brother and sister Amos and Story from Haiti about two years ago. late last year, the paperwork was completed and Story made it home to Austin. Amos remains in Haiti waiting for the last stage of paperwork to be completed. He and the rest of the children in his orphanage survived the earthquake, but have been living outside for almost a week now. Pray for them to find a new place to stay and to have plenty of food and water supplied. Pray also for a miracle to allow Amos to get home soon.

This song and video is specifically about Aaron’s struggle to complete the process and get his children home. But do you see any metaphors here?

Matt Chandler update

here is a video from Matt Chandler giving an update regarding his treatment and status.

HT to numerous people on twitter.