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.

effect of literature

Kevin DeYoung wonders what hath literature wrought?

I agree strongly with his conclusion:

I’ll take passionate and logical romantic rationalism over the tired tirades of false dichotomies any day.

plus, I enjoy his perfect parallel prose. anyone who reads here long knows that I adore appropriate alliteration.

easily offended

Kevin DeYoung asks why are we always so offended all the time in this culture.

I think he gets to the heart of the answer in this paragraph.

For starters, being hurt is easier than being right. To prove you’re offended you just have to rustle up moral indignation and tell the world about it. To prove you’re right you actually have to make arguments and use logic and marshal evidence. Why debate theology or politics or economics if you can win your audience by making the other guys look like meanies?

this is part of what I call the white hat syndrome. Everybody wants to be the one in the story wearing the white hat and definitely not the one wearing the black hat. we all want to be part of the good guys and not the bad guys. we all want to sit on the moral high ground with our peeps.

victimization is a short cut to getting the white hat in an argument. And in this culture with its general lack of ability to think, general inability to make rational arguments, and its general inability to follow an argument with more than one premise, the victimization shortcut is an effective way to get the white hat on.

what do you think? are we easily offended? why?

new calvinism in the Christian Century

Kevin DeYoung has some thoughts about this article.

here is one paragraph from the article:

Moreover, the New Calvinism displays considerable diversity. African-American rapper Curtis “Voice” Allen is known for his distinctively Calvinist lyrics (“I been exposed to bright lights, the doctrines of grace, I’m elected, imputed perfected . . . Cuz nothing can stop his plan, and as far as the east is from the west more than time zones, man”). The New Calvinists admire not only white Puritans but “black Puritan” voices like Lemuel Haynes and Anthony Carter, who gives an African-American take on the themes of the New Calvinism in On Being Black and Reformed.

and here is the third of Kevin’s responses to the article.

3. Not kingdom enough. Billings would like to see the New Calvinist think big, embrace the cultural mandate, and be salt and light in all areas of society. This one is tricky, because the neo-reformed movement is simply not agreed as to how important this emphasis should be. Some would applaud Billings’ point about cultural transformation. Some would be wary of it. Others would say, “sounds good, but that’s the role of individual Christians, not the church as church.” Be a salt and light? Absolutely. Be neo-Kuyperian? Depends on who you ask.

check them both out. good stuff with which to finish the weekend.

helpful reminder

here is a helpful reminder of our role in the scheme of things from Jeremiah Burroughs courtesy of Kevin DeYoung.

I beseech you to consider that God does not deal by you as you deal with him. Should God make the worst interpretation of all your ways towards him, as you do of his towards you, it would be very ill with you. God is pleased to manifest his love thus to us, to make the best interpretations of what we do, and therefore God puts a sense upon the actions of his people that one would think could hardly be (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 224, emphasis added).

manhatten declaration

An interesting controversy has cropped up in an unexpected place. The Manhatten Declaration is circulating for signatures.

Kevin DeYoung has a thorough and balanced explanation of the controversy, including why there is a controversy and the positions of both sides.

here is his position:

So where do I stand on The Manhattan Declaration? Well, I wish I would have listened to my initial hesitation about signing these sorts of documents. The Declaration does not need my signature to make it significant and I don’t need people to misunderstand what my support means. But having signed it (only as one of the crowd), I still agree with the Declaration and feel no pang of conscience for supporting it. If it comes out that the Declaration was meant to minimize the deepest divisions between Evangelicals and Catholics, then I will regret my support. But as it stands, I agree with Mohler’s reasons for signing the document and share his understanding of what signing does and does not mean

Go read the rest of Kevin’s thoughtful post.

gospel coalition

Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor have moved their blogs over to the Gospel Coalition’s site.

Here are their new digs:

DeYoung Restless and Reformed

Between Two Worlds