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

3.9 31
by Brian D. McLaren
     
 

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We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in the church. Not since the Reformation five centuries ago have so many Christians come together to ask whether the church is in sync with their deepest beliefs and commitments. These believers range from evangelicals to mainline Protestants to Catholics, and the person who best represents them is author and pastor Brian

Overview

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in the church. Not since the Reformation five centuries ago have so many Christians come together to ask whether the church is in sync with their deepest beliefs and commitments. These believers range from evangelicals to mainline Protestants to Catholics, and the person who best represents them is author and pastor Brian McLaren.

In this much anticipated book, McLaren examines ten questions facing today's church—questions about how to articulate the faith itself, the nature of its authority, who God is, whether we have to understand Jesus through only an ancient Greco-Roman lens, what exactly the good news is that the gospel proclaims, how we understand the church and all its varieties, why we are so preoccupied with sex, how we should think of the future and people from other faiths, and the most intimidating question of all: what do we do next? Here you will find a provocative and enticing introduction to the Christian faith of tomorrow.

Editorial Reviews

Englewood Review of Books
“A New Kind of Christianity is the book that many of us have been wanting McLaren to write for years. …Sparks hopeful conversation… a beautiful and thoughtful way forward.”
The Faithful Reader
“...A New Kind of Christianity is incredibly well written, engaging, thoughtful and provoking….one of the most significant conversations that will shape Christianity for years to come.”
UrbanFaith.com
“...Reading a Brian McLaren book is not for the theologically faint of heart... McLaren calls the church to a deeper and broader vision of the gospel that makes room for contemporary issues of justice and reconciliation”
Relevant Magazine
“McLaren has become an important and controversial figure in Christian thought…. Structured around 10 basic questions about the faith, the book will provoke debate. And it should–these are important questions worthy of our thought and (loving) discussion.”
Spirituality and Practice
“Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, pastor, and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers, and activists. He is the author of A New Kind of Christianity...[a] bold and imaginative new work.”
The Christian Century
“[McLaren] has been hailed widely as one of the most significant religious leaders of our time, compared by some to the leaders of the Protestant Reformation….In articulating this longing and his disquiet with the status quo, McLaren strikes a chord with many.”
The Christian Post
“Christians must be unlocked from‘a prison’ of long-held assumptions and have the freedom to ask honest questions, Brian McLaren indicates in his newest book, A New Kind of Christianity. He’s not advocating for a new set of beliefs, he says, but rather a ‘new way of believing.’”
Huffington Post
“McLaren is advocating a different, perhaps upgraded form of Christianity that takes a more objective view of history and employs a better interpretation of the Bible,... rendering it more applicable and accessible to a modern, educated people.”
Crosscut.com
“These are questions that many in the church, and beyond, are asking. His patient explorations will prove helpful to many who value Evangelicalism’s piety but worry that it has failed to thoughtfully engage hard but unavoidable questions.”
NPR Morning Edition
“...McLaren is considered one of the country’s most influential evangelicals, and his new book, A New Kind of Christianity, takes aim at some core doctrinal beliefs. McLaren is rethinking Jesus’ mission on Earth, and even the purpose of the crucifixion.”
The Other Journal
“McLaren clearly has been asking important questions about Christian witness for decades.... A New Kind of Christianity continues McLaren’s project of assessing and reassessing our assumptions concerning the foundations of modern Christian practice by asking ten important questions about the pillars of the Christian faith.”
Greater Than Magazine
“...Very thought provoking.”
Phyllis Tickle
“A New Kind of Christianity is a stellar accomplishment, a combination of hard tack fact and unfettered hope, an overview in delightful narrative of the long way of our coming to this time and of the multiform ways of our arriving. In every way, a dispatch from the front.”
Peter Rollins
“Some books provide us with information about the world, but every once in a while a book appears that enables us to imagine new, more wonderful worlds. The book you hold in your hand is one of these.”
MBEFounder of Oasis Global UN Special Advisor on Human Trafficking - Steve Chalke
"Brian’s writing is brave and honest, vulnerable and courageous, disturbing and unsettling, reassuring and hopeful. Every now and then you come across a book you’ve been waiting for. A New Kind of Christianity is that book."
Adam Hamilton
“A new reformation is taking place in Christianity. Brian McLaren is one of its leading voices and A New Kind of Christianity is a roadmap for this reformation. This is a very important book.”
Richard Rohr
“Now and then gifted people emerge who see the situation from a higher and more helpful level. Brian McLaren is one of those seers.”
Morning Edition - NPR
"...McLaren is considered one of the country’s most influential evangelicals, and his new book, A New Kind of Christianity, takes aim at some core doctrinal beliefs. McLaren is rethinking Jesus’ mission on Earth, and even the purpose of the crucifixion."
Steve Chalke MBEFounder of Oasis GlobalUN Special Advisor on Human TraffickingSteve Chalke MBEFounde
“Brian’s writing is brave and honest, vulnerable and courageous, disturbing and unsettling, reassuring and hopeful. Every now and then you come across a book you’ve been waiting for. A New Kind of Christianity is that book.”
Publishers Weekly
McLaren’s fans and detractors have eagerly awaited this book, which promises to codify the beliefs he introduced in his bestselling A New Kind of Christian and other titles. McLaren, one of the most visible faces of the emergent movement, examines 10 questions the church must answer as it heads toward “a new way of believing.” McLaren deconstructs the “Greco-Roman narrative” of the Bible and addresses how the Bible should be understood as an “inspired library,” not a “constitution.” He moves into questions regarding God, Jesus, and the Gospel, urging us to “trade up” our image of God and realize that Jesus came to “launch a new Genesis.” The Church, sexuality, the future, and pluralism merit chapters, as does McLaren’s final call for “a robust spiritual life.” Followers will rejoice as McLaren articulates his thoughts with logic and eloquence; detractors will point out his artful avoidance of firm answers on salvation, hell, and a final judgment. All sides will flock to this with glee. (Feb.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061853999
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/01/2011
Pages:
322
Sales rank:
219,893
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Peter Rollins
“Some books provide us with information about the world, but every once in a while a book appears that enables us to imagine new, more wonderful worlds. The book you hold in your hand is one of these.”
Adam Hamilton
“A new reformation is taking place in Christianity. Brian McLaren is one of its leading voices and A New Kind of Christianity is a roadmap for this reformation. This is a very important book.”
Richard Rohr
“Now and then gifted people emerge who see the situation from a higher and more helpful level. Brian McLaren is one of those seers.”
Phyllis Tickle
“A New Kind of Christianity is a stellar accomplishment, a combination of hard tack fact and unfettered hope, an overview in delightful narrative of the long way of our coming to this time and of the multiform ways of our arriving. In every way, a dispatch from the front.”

Meet the Author

Brian D. McLaren, hailed as one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals by Time magazine, is a speaker, social justice activist, pastor, and the author of A New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy, A New Kind of Christian, and The Secret Message of Jesus. McLaren has appeared on Nightline and Larry King Live, and his work has been covered in The Washington Post, the New York Times, Christianity Today, and many other publications. McLaren and his wife, Grace, live in Florida and have four adult children.

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A New Kind of Christianity 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
todaysdisciple More than 1 year ago
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.
EutychusGuy More than 1 year ago
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.
TimDonaldson More than 1 year ago
Brian Mclaren was a college English professor who held Thursday night dinner groups where friends and neighbors, GEDs and PhDs, discussed the Bible. In his 17th and latest book, 'A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith' (2010, 320 pages, available here for $16 http://www.amazon.com/New-Kind-Christianity-Questions-Transforming/dp/0061853984), Mclaren says that this was a bad decade for churches, even conservative ones, who had gleefully touted their relative success in the 80s and 90s. Society has turned away from people who want to overstate their knowledge and claim God is in agreement with their endeavors. People don't buy into churches that are intellectually dishonest and morally unacceptable and are stomping out mad or just leaving in boredom, the data shows, more than ever. A core problem with how we approach the Bible is that we don't come to it fresh. The Greco-Roman mind, the thought of Plato and the power love of Caesar, these color all of our thoughts as we try to read the Bible. For example, the Sadducees of the Old Testament didn't even believe in the Devil. This may sound crazy but remember how in the New Testament the various Jewish groups were divided on many ideas that one would assume the Old Testament had covered- whether there even is an afterlife, for example. Mclaren's apparent skepticism about the existence of a Satan and a hell stems from this; The Satan character doesn't show up until Job, as the serpent in Genesis is never referred to as anything but a serpent. But we have in our minds the idea of hell, straight from the Greek Hades. We have a God of Plato's forms, who is "perfect", "absolute", "eternal", instead of the Hebrew one who is good, full of passions, emotions, change, etc. The Roman God destroys evil and tortures sinners eternally in an eternal conscious torment, the Hebrew one brings good from evil through love. Would the God of the Bible torture the wrongdoers to make an example of them to others? No, that is the Roman way, and that was done to our God. Things like "The Fall", "total depravity", and "original sin" aren't even in the Bible. Mclaren says the Book of Revelation, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, etc. are all stuff written in the 60s AD (0060) and described the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. A literal Second Coming he does not expect. Jesus coming back in blood and violence as the triumphant ultimate Emperor as all the world except for the select few are turned to bacon. that isn't Jesus, it is as absurd as the Gandhi II clip in 'UHF' (1989). The best part of the Book is his strong case that the Bible should be seen as a library, not a Constitution. We have been trained, so deeply ingrained that we don't even think about it or realize it, to approach the Bible as a Constitution. A Constitution is small, short, and neat. It represents the agreed upon fundamentals. It is internally consistent in a Western, linear way. It is a final product of edited and re-edited scholarly work, subjected to deep analysis and hopefully free of ambiguity. Every phrase in a Constitution is settled on after great debate, and those phrases then exist to settle arguments. A library, on the other hand, is big, broad, and wide. There are diverse stories told from multiple viewpoints. A library is where you go for stories to uplift and inspire. A Constitution employs lawyers and experts to tell others what to do. A library gives parents and children stories to share.
TamiRR More than 1 year ago
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.
John-Mark More than 1 year ago
McLaren is good writer and has a real knack for creating word pictures. In my view, he is "more crafty than any of the writers of the field" of revisionist theology. Over the past several years he has asked lots of intriguing questions that cut to the heart of the Christian faith, stirring things up and encouraging a conversation. Up until now he has been reserved about giving clear answers or laying all his cards on the table, a "conservative" approach that has worked well for him in that it has given him a broad appeal. This book is a game changer. With "A New Kind of Christianity," McLaren has opted to lay his cards on the table and has lain bare, in essence, his own version of "systematic theology." There is no longer a shroud of mystery hanging over what he believes, which for some is a good thing but for many others is a bad thing. Reading this book is a lot like Luke Skywalker removing the mask of Darth Vader in "Return of the Jedi." Hard core left leaning liberals will resonate with the words "I am your father!" while hopeful middle-of-the-road evangelicals who have looked to him as a promising agent of measured change will most likely turn away in horror at what they see behind the mask. We now know that McLaren does not believe there was a Fall, and that the third chapter of Genesis is a "coming of age" story. This explains why he also does not believe in the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. He does not believe in hell (or heaven as a place we go when we die) and would rather be an atheist than believe in a violent God. He prefers the earlier Hebrew God Elohim over the later Greek God Theos, again, because it is Greek. Never mind that the New Testament was written in Greek and that Paul, throughout his epistles, seemed very comfortable expounding themes that McLaren rejects outright. While I appreciate McLaren's desire to center on Christ, he is wrong to suggest that Paul's words are any less the Word of God than Christ's words. And though he makes a valiant effort to present Paul as a "Jesus guy" who simply echoes what Jesus says about the kingdom of God, I am afraid much of what Paul wrote in his epistles flies in the face of McLaren's New Kind of Christianity. This is and will continue to be a problem, especially for those of us who actually believe the Bible as the Word of God. In so many ways McLaren selects what he likes and condemns the rest to irrelevance. Beliefs held as truth by millions for the past 2000 years are now to be considered obsolete because they do not fit his post-modern vision for the church. As a final point I will mention his disdain for the Greco-Roman influence on the church, which no doubt McLaren, had been there, would have made a good effort to correct. Because he and others like him weren't there to free the church from Greek influence, we have a whole bunch of bad doctrines of the books. So we need to rip the contract up and start over. In conclusion, I would recommend this book to you if you are a liberal looking for ways to relate with the post-modern mind-set. If, like me, you are not looking to scuttle Christianity as we know it and take the fast track to liberalism, then this book will be a frustrating read.
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b3wh169 More than 1 year ago
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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MWorrell More than 1 year ago
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.
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faison_tman More than 1 year ago
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)