A new Kind of Christian??

July 4, 2007

My 21 year old son recently got me to read “A New Kind of Christian” by Brian McLaren. Very timely and relevant book, even though not that new (2001).

The book is structured as a semi-fictional dialogue between a disillusioned evangelical US pastor, who is seriously considering dropping out of pastoral ministry, and a science teacher who attends an Episcopalian (Anglican) church and relates strongly to teenagers like the pastor’s soccer-playing daughter.

This dialogue covers a range of issues for Christians in the “postmodern” era, based on a fairly standard explanation of postmodernity as opposed to modernity in relation to Christian faith.

Issues like: how we read the Bible (or allow the Bible to read us), a truly Christian attitude to “other religions”, Christian spirituality for postmodern times, evangelism versus conversation, being right versus being good, fundamentalism versus evolution, etc.

Very thought-provoking . As a 58 years old minister myself, I found part of the dialogue familiar from my doctoral studies on postmodernism, which it explained well, and the “new” approach to Christianity not hard to relate to. This book would be good for long-term Christians especially as we struggle to relate to a changing culture.

I found myself agreeing with lots of McLaren’s thinking. I have always found personal evangelism challenging with the pressure to make converts and I have come to value conversation where we allow the Spirit to control the agenda and seek to be sensitive to what He says as well as hearing the other person with respect.

On the other hand, postmodern Christians tend to play down the “black and white” aspects of Christianity. McLaren takes sin and hell seriously, which is good, and blurs the boundaries between Christians and the world, which is not necessarily bad: Jesus did something similar. But hell (as described especially in Rev) means there is an ultimate separation between saved and lost. This needs to be emphasized too.

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2 Responses to “A new Kind of Christian??”

  1. Pete Aldin said

    Looking forward to more on this.

  2. Jon Newton said

    The purpose of this site is to discuss the kinds of issues raised by this book and other pertinent topics for Christians and postmoderns

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