Customer Reviews for

A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    An important and challenging book upon which traditional Christians should read and reflect.

    The author presents a challenging and thoughful look at Christian practice in modern times. The thoughts are clearly presented and generously interwoven with references to holy scriptures. While the book presents a radical shift in Christian thought, the author encourages the reader to think and is not presumptuous or pretentious in making his claims. I would take issue with some of the ideas presented, but with a complete understanding of the author's point of view. There are some slippery slopes climbed in the book, including the idea of an evolving interpretation and understanding of God vs. a man-made creation of God to fit time and tide. Nevertheless, this is a great read for those who think about their faith and seek greater understanding.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    Solid, Honest Faith...following Jesus

    McLaren put's words and details to what this 50 year old has always believed. His honest and systematic look at the Hebrew and Christian scriptures proves substantive and compelling as he challenges a Greco-Roman influence in Christian teaching. His destination is back to the truth of scripture, the life of Jesus and the hope found in God's promise lived out in a lifestyle with integrity.

    If thinking about your faith, outside the boxes of familiar territory, is an option for you, then this is a must read. If you have dismissed the Christian Church, but still have an interest in Jesus then this is a place for good conversation.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2011

    Great questions, scary answers.

    I think the second Emergent book I read was "A Generous Orthodoxy" (the first was "Velvet Elvis", although I know Rob Bell rejects the Emergent label). I enjoyed it, just because McLaren was asking questions that resonated with me. He jostled me a few times, but the book was at least as attractive as it was concerning.

    I have generally felt that many of the points Bell and McLaren have been attempting to make in recent years have been very valid. I agree that my walk with Christ should be a relationship that I live out, not a list of doctrinal statements or propositions that I recite. The Church did need to assess where we might be stuck in an outdated, modernistic rut. I agree that I should critically examine my beliefs to see if they're just sacred cows with no foundation in scripture, and that I should be thinking about the cultural and philosophical lenses I view the Bible through as I do the examining.

    The next Emergent book I read, "The Post Evangelical", changed things. Dave Tomlinson, writing to a much more progressive British readership, wasn't as effectively and meticulously disarming as Bell and McLaren had been. He flatly advocated rejecting some very established Christian ideas about morality in order to open the church up to postmoderns, and in my mind that represented a fork in the road, because there are several ways to accomplish that. One might be to say, "We've been wrong about what the Bible means. The Bible is inspired, and we are imperfect, and we've been terribly wrong before. So let's take another look." A more objectionable one might be to say, "We are right, and the Bible is wrong, and it's time we took matters into our own hands, because this old book has become an obstacle to what we want to do."

    I read McLaren's "A New Kind of Christianity" a week or so ago, and I was mortified. Put plainly, the man no longer believes the Bible (but he really, really likes it, he assures us). He does not believe it is authoritative, and he does not believe that it is true. He does not believe that it is the only rule of faith and practice. He no longer believes that the God it describes in the pentateuch is really God. He no longer believes that Christianity is the ultimate answer. He no longer believes in the things the Bible promises. Basically what it comes down to is that whatever Brian McLaren likes about the Bible is true, and whatever Brian McLaren dislikes about the Bible is not true. If he has not exposed himself as a false teacher here, than I am at a loss to say what would define a false teacher.

    The questions he is asking in the book are great questions. Excellent questions. They are truly the questions that many people, myself included, wrestle with repeatedly. But McLaren has finally laid his cards on the table about his own conclusions... very politely and, ironically, using one rationalistic argument after another. The news is not good. Of course, by his account, because I disagree with him I am to be pitied.

    I gave this book two stars only because his questions are so good. It's his answers that are horrifying.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2010

    Long Overdue

    This book is just what the organized church has been needing. While more "traditional" Christians will feel that Brian's perspective is threatening, if not downright heretical, it is precisely what Christianity has been needing. The book echoed many thoughts I have had, and gave a framework on which to stand and from which to move forward. The "stumbling block" in this book is the necessity to step back from the generally accepted approach to the Bible and look through another lens at the same words, to see overall church history in a different light. Not a church nervously waiting for Christ to return and correct everything that is "wrong" in this world, but rather a church eagerly running to meet Christ, reaching out to a world of different ideas and have true dialogue with, not fencing matches. A church that realizes that God is far larger than we can grasp, that the church itself needs to grow and change, not to conform to the world, but to be constantly transformed by the message and challenge that Christ presents. That our defining of God, our insistence that God needs to adhere to some philosophical construct that conforms to our way of seeing the world around us, doesn't box God in at all. Rather, it tends to imprison us, and holds us back from the fullness of love and grace that Christ holds out to us. The difficulty I have (and apparently so does Brian) is in sharing the ideas in this book without getting into a "right/wrong" argument.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2011

    Kind of new, interesting

    I enjoyed this book, especially the chapters on the Bible, nature of God, & the church. Found myself skimming thru other sections, sometimes distracted by the author's style. I wonder how these "new" perspectives differ from some forms of liberal Protestant Christianity, but the book raised some good questions and posed some possible new ways of thinking for me.

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  • Posted July 14, 2010

    The Quest For Something New

    Brian McLaren has written a most thought provoking book and is asking for a collective response from the church to help find solutions. He acknowledges the fact that we have in the church, "something real and something wrong". He is challenging the church to a kind of faith deeper than mere beliefs. In modern language he is asking the church universal, "are we there yet"? He says we need a new kind of reformation, not like Martin Luther who said, "here I stand" which so often typifies our creedal positions and we become stagnated in them. Sometimes, so much that we will kill anyone who diverges from the official clerical positions ie, "The Inquisitions". So McLaren says we should adopt a new posture,not "here we stand", but, "here we go". The point being, we move forward in truth and understanding and try to express it in our age and in our circumstances. He is making this point so we will not be restricted by "hierarchal constraints". He talks about the early church, the church of the middle ages, and the church of today and how each representation and expression of the church became a quagmire of theologies,creedal positions, and ecclesiastical authority. This has tended to stifle new interpretations and new inquiries into the nature of Christ and the meaning and effect of redemption and the kingdom of God in us and in the world around us. Although many will disagree with some of his assumptions and conclusions, it is well worth the readers time to ponder and consider his premises. He brings to our attention the diversity of the church at large in teachings, emphasis and interpretations of the scriptures and points out it has always been that way. The early church took many forms and broke off into many groups with various leaders emphasizing points and ways of thought that was not accepted by the others. He boldly asks the question, "what if the christian faith is supposed to exist in a variety of forms"? In other words, what if we sometimes differ in our opinions and conclusions, it can never stop the activity of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of those who believe. The book is replete with scripture and presents a lot of truth.
    Thurman L Faison Author To The Spiritually Inclined (Volume 1)

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