Jacobs on McLaren

One of my favorite writers, Alan Jacobs, wrote a punchy review of Brian McLaren’s new book Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices. Money quote:

In many respects McLaren’s book resembles The Tangible Kingdom. It has the same fondness for sweeping historical generalizations and for charts that are just cleaned-up PowerPoint slides. He tells a lot of stories, some of them about fishing. (All these books may set out prescriptions for changing the world, but one verity they never question is the absolute necessity of having at least one-third of their text taken up by folksy anecdotes.) He has a fondness for sage statements that don’t add up to anything discernible. For instance, “Jesus never makes ‘Christians’ or ‘converts,’ but he calls disciples and sends them out.” Okay—but does this mean that we’re not to use the term “Christian”? That we’re not supposed to speak of “converts” or “conversion” to “Christianity”? That we’re not supposed to use language Jesus didn’t use? And if not, then what is the point of this sentence? McLaren never explains.

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3 thoughts on “Jacobs on McLaren

  1. ed says:

    I read a paper a while back from the Billy Graham Roundtable Discussion (whatever that is), where he called everyone to stop referring to christians as “believers”. One problem: its probably the number one term used to refer to christians in the new testament. But he doesn’t like how it puts an emphasis on BELIEVING. Likewise, I don’t think he likes the word “christians” either. He prefers the term “be-lovers”. No, I’m not kidding.

    He’s reacting to a cerebral, heartless Christianity that he’s no doubt seen. But as one of my liberal Christian friends points out: “He’s swung the pendulum back too far the other way, and it’s smashed out the other side of the clock.”

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