A Brief Endorsement of A New Kind of Christianity

I’ve been reading the new Brian McLaren book, A New Kind of Christianity and have been trying to figure out what to say about it.  First, it’s pretty good.  Second, I hope people really read it.  Third, it seems to me that people have been very quick to label this book as “(insert your word or phrase here)” but I feel that misses the point of the book.

It reminds me of why I love reading these types of books.
Here’s my basic premise.
1. As a follower of Christ, I love God and others.
2. Because of the New Testament (specifically the Resurrection of Jesus), I believe in the mission of the Church and doing my part in serving God’s Kingdom.
3. The Church is failing to capture the attention of the culture. Meaning more and more, people are becoming less interested in Church, Christianity, and even Jesus.

If this describes you as well but you have not heard of Brian McLaren or heard that he is heretical, I’d like to ask you to read this book before making that conclusion. While I have yet to meet anyone who agrees with Brian point for point, he is one of the good guys. He mentions in the beginning of the book the many labels he has acquired over the years, “Dangerous”, “UnBiblical” and of course as mentioned , “Heretic”. He isn’t. And as a conservative evangelical, I want to continue in the conversations that he raises because I find these conversations to be very important.

For instance he brings up Scripture,
He asks, “What is the Gospel”. Most people like to say that it’s the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which it is but is that all it is?  For years now, I have been discovering that the Gospel is so much bigger than I ever gave it credit for.  He discusses Scripture, the Church and also asks some important questions regarding sexuality.

Again, these are conversations and they are worth having. I encourage those who are interested in the future of the Christian faith to consider picking up a copy of New Kind of Christianity. In the meantime, I plan on posting more about this promising book.


  1. Sounds like good stuff. A lot of people miss the point when reading McLaren. They are reading with a defensive mind, I guess. (Gotta defend the territory!)

  2. Yet another book to read and for us to discuss – but first we need to talk about “It’s Really All About God.”

    Before having read this book, though, I do have to ask the question of this book and others like it: Why does there have to be “new” kind of Christianity? New by who’s standards? God’s or man’s? Why all the concern about being culturally relevant? Were 1st Century Christians concerned about being culturally relevant? You couldn’t get more culturally irrelevant than a small Jewish sect in 50 AD Rome. Or is it because some Christians want to “feel” culturally relevant, and are willing to reshape their religion to do so?

    A few thoughts we can discuss over that breakfast we keep putting off.

  3. Hey Dave,
    Sorry for the delay in approving the comment – I just didn’t see it.
    First, thanks for reading the blog. I think listening, discussing, etc. is really important in the life of the Body (as I know you do).

    What I mean by a new kind of Christianity, I mean more expression, focus and application of our actual beliefs.
    What I am not saying – that we need to proclaim something different than the resurrection of Jesus, or His Deity, or His coming again, etc.
    What I am saying is that we need to change our language, not for the sake of cultural relevancy but for a few reasons.
    One is to reconnect with our church history. (Not suggesting that we copy and paste it but we have neglected a bit of it). Second, to speak the language of our culture because that’s what you do when you want to communicate. The language however, is not only new wording, but of action and of being.

    A helpful example may be the phrase “personal relationship with Jesus”. That’s not a phrase found in Scripture. Jesus never says, “I have a plan for you …” They were tools used in the last fifty years because it was part of the language. This doesn’t make it wrong (though the “personal Jesus is my buddy…” can become a bit consumeristic but that’s for another post), but demonstrates that we have expressed our Christianity differently in various cultures and times throughout the centuries. My frustration is that we seem to be a bit stuck in a 1950’s evangelicalism time warp. Hence, my appreciation for these types of books, ideas, conversations.

    I’m looking forward to our breakfast this week.

    One last thing, I had lunch with another gentlemen in our church who was helped by a book called “The Younger Evangelicals” by Robert Webber. I did not finish reading it but Webber seems to have a decent start on describing what he sees “from the outside looking in.”

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