a Generous Orthodoxy

Well, I finally broke down and did it. I read McLaren's 'Generous Orthodoxy.' I went back and forth for 4 or 5 months about reading this one. I really didn't want to pay full price for it, but eventually I did it anyway. It was a fun book to interact with. Obviously, McLaren is a very sharp and gifted writer. Just look at the amount of followers he has produced with his books. I came into the book knowing where I would disagree, w,hich was with the majority of the book. But there were some good things in it. In it, he "seeks to find a way to embrace the good in many traditions and historic streams of Christian faith, and to integrate them yielding a new, generous, emergent approach that is greater than the sum of its parts" (22). He walks through many traditions and takes what he thinks is good, and leaves what he deems irrelevant. Early in the book, he admits that he has 'gone out of his way to be provocative, mischievous, and unclear" (27), which is quite annoying at times. He also admits that it is an "absurd and ridiculous book" (31).

Knowing all this, I just wanted to pick out anything good he had to say. I do appreciate the humility, honesty, and charity with which McLaren writes, although in the beginning he does confess that he is harder on conservative protestant Christians (40), because this is where he came from. Here are some of the things I liked: the book "sees orthopraxy as the point of orthodoxy" (35), the emphasis is on life here and not just heaven or hell, Jesus Christ was not American, emphasizes the gospel as much or more than Paul's epistles, good works are very important, and I liked his chapter on being missional too. I don't like the fact that McLaren has no theological backbone. He is very vague on issues that Scripture is explicitly clear on, like eternal torment, and the exclusivity of Christ.
McLaren definitely does not believe in the sanctifying work of Scripture. He would not agree that right thinking leads to right living. It is funny that Paul spends 11 chapters in Romans on the deep things of God, then in chapter 12 he begins writing about right living.
McLaren also does not want anyone to be offended by Christianity. You cannot walk away from the gospels without being offended. Jesus had some very hard words. We can't neglect them. The cross will always be offensive. There is nothing we can do about that. I hope that the Lord continues to use McLaren to stir the affections of his people, in spite of what I consider to be some serious errors. Read Mohler's take on the book.