The Time Has Already Come: They Are Not Enduring Sound Doctrine

In 2 Timothy 4, after Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the word, and to reprove, rebuke and exhort”, he explains to Timothy the reason for that instruction.  It is because there would be coming a time when “they will not endure sound doctrine.”  “They” refers to professing Christians, and Paul is saying that soon they will succumb to their own desires and wishful thinking, and will “after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”  That time has long come and gone, and is continuing.  The teachers themselves are also now looking after their own desires and looking to soothe their restlessness with all sorts of bad teaching, therefore dragging some of their undiscerning flock down the road of apostasy.

Recently, Rob Bell revealed his approval of homosexuality when he answered a question at a seminar, as seen in this video at Apprising Ministries. Brian McLaren gave his thumbs up to Rob Bell’s pronouncement as well.  And now, Brian McLaren has officiated at a wedding ceremony for his homosexual son and his partner. (see Apprising Ministries)  Is it possible that a high number of pastors in today’s evangelical world have no problem with these two men and the way they are contributing to the eternal damnation of many souls?

Both of these false teachers have been heavyweight leaders in the emergent church movement for a long time now.  They are just simply adding on to their false credentials as post-modern “evangelical” leaders.  They are now bringing it up another level, and I wonder now: how will the leaders in the church respond now?  With silence again?  Where are the Al Mohlers within the Church of the Nazarene?  After all, those two men have been a major influence, both in the colleges, the seminaries, and in the churches.

What Brian McLaren Thinks

When asked about homosexuality a few years ago, Brian McLaren (who is no longer a pastor) said this:

“You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.”

Brian McLaren also said the following:

“Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.” That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think. Even if we are convinced that all homosexual behavior is always sinful, we still want to treat gay and lesbian people with more dignity, gentleness, and respect than our colleagues do. If we think that there may actually be a legitimate context for some homosexual relationships, we know that the biblical arguments are nuanced and multilayered, and the pastoral ramifications are staggeringly complex. We aren’t sure if or where lines are to be drawn, nor do we know how to enforce with fairness whatever lines are drawn.”

And he said this in 2006 regarding homosexuality:

Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. In the meantime, we’ll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they’ll be admittedly provisional. We’ll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years for ongoing reflection. After all, many important issues in church history took centuries to figure out. Maybe this moratorium would help us resist the “winds of doctrine” blowing furiously from the left and right, so we can patiently wait for the wind of the Spirit to set our course.”  (

Both men have certainly had a big influence on many within the church.  In 2011, Rob Bell spoke at a pastor’s seminar at Point Loma Nazarene University, where you will find emergent ideology being promoted, mysticism, and a softening of the biblical view on homosexuality.  His books and videos are used in churches for weekly Sunday School studies instead of Bible study.

Brian McLaren conducted a three day seminar at NorthWest Nazarene University several years ago that was outrageous, as described here by Eric Barger, who attended the seminar.  His books are used widely as resources at many Nazarene universities, and can be found in the college bookstores.  His books are also popular with many Nazarene pastors, who have gone on to pass them down to undiscerning members.


NazNet Pastors Weigh In On McLaren’s Actions

We have often called NazNet a breeding ground for emergent heresy, and with good reason, and unlike those who accuse us of being unloving, we have documented what they said, compared with Scripture, and have clearly pointed out their error.  They continued that trend in a new thread on NazNet, although there were others who strongly disagreed with many of these pastors.

What some of these pastors have said reflects the kind of compromise, lack of Scriptural understanding, and lack of strong conviction that has allowed a lot of the damage that has come into the Church.  Would these pastors say the same words to their congregations?  Would they say these words at a district assembly in front of other churches?  Since they said these words publicly, let’s put out what they have stated in their own words so that others may see and decide whether their words are based on sound doctrine:

I am not able to be as black and white on this issue as some of my friends – on either side. And I hope we will have grace to understand that this is, for some, a more complex issue than others see it…. I don’t have a problem at all with Brian McLaren doing this, any more and perhaps even less than I have a problem with a member of the clergy praying a blessing over various activities of our secular culture. He is not a member of my theological tribe, and thus has absolutely no accountability to me, or to us.”
“Okay, now I will say this – and I know that many will disagree. I am still not sure how I personally believe about this issue.”
(Mike Schutz, Nazarene pastor)

 “McLaren still has a bit of capital with me, and I offer hopefully a diminishing amount of public criticism for those who clearly strive to sense the Lord’s direction. Selfishly perhaps, I’m focusing increasingly on what the Lord wants me to do, and less on telling others what they should do.” (Dennis Scott, Nazarene pastor)

“Brian McLaren drinks beer, too. I’m not sure what the big deal is. I don’t know why anyone would need to defend the man for anything. Some things he’s said have helped people think about God in new and refreshing ways (some have helped us think of God in old, powerful ways). Disagreeing with one thing (this is hardly the first thing he’s said that gives one pause to think) does not negate the positives.
There’s a ton of our brother and sisters who have spent lots of time, effort, and prayer seeking how to deal with this issue and have decided differently than us. We have to get along with each other.
I don’t consider one’s views on homosexual marriage as a litmus test for faith (I’m more inclined to do so on things like purity, chastity, faithfulness, and relationship).”
(Ryan Scott, ordained Nazarene elder)

I see McLaren the way I see a MLB slugger. I’m a fan because he hits a lot of homeruns. I am a fan in spite of the fact that he also strikes out.
While my own evaluation is that this was a swing and a miss, I’m still a fan.
(Wilson Deaton, Nazarene pastor)

“It sounds like Brian McLaren was in a tough spot, given that it’s his son we’re talking about here. … McLaren didn’t officiate at the actual wedding but “led a commitment ceremony” for family and friends later in the day…. which sounds like the pattern I’ve heard advocated here on NazNet in the past (couple gets married by the state, then blessed by the church).
Of course, as a Nazarene minister, such an action is out of bounds for me, but if I were in Brian’s shoes… who knows what choice I would’ve made?
 (Rich Schmidt, Nazarene pastor)

“I guess I’m confused as to what is being blessed here?
I would be happy to pray for or at just about any event. I’d love to pray for any couple, gay or otherwise, that they would experience all the love and grace and peace and joy that God has for all God’s children – that they would have the wisdom and grace to seek to love and serve others in all situations – that every person’s life would radiate the love and grace of the one who created them.
I’d be happy to pray at any wedding, even if I thought it was a bad idea – the thing ill-conceived marriages need most is prayer.” (Ryan Scott, Nazarene ordained elder)

These men would do Brian McLaren proud with their words.  These are indicative of many other pastors who show a weak sense of conviction regarding homosexual sin.  To be unwilling to clearly rebuke Mr. McLaren and avoid him as Scripture demands, is just as wrong as approving it.  This same kind of wavering or refusal to make a clear statement on homosexuality, was reflected at Bruce Barnard’s FaceBook discussion.  It does have a lot of eye opening insight in how these pastors are so devoid of discernment.  Maybe they have good intentions, but they are way off the mark biblically.  There is nothing ambiguous when it comes to homosexuality and what the Bible teaches.

So what now?  Irresponsible, undiscerning, or apostate pastors is one of the reasons why the Church of the Nazarene is sliding deeper and deeper into apostasy.  And yet, will the General Superintendents still remain silent and allow these two men to continue spreading poison in the church?  Or, will they ever say, enough is enough, and call for a return to true holiness teaching and doctrine based on God’s word, not McLaren or Bell’s doctrine?  Of course, even if they banned McLaren and Bell completely, that would not come close to helping cure the sickness spreading in our denomination.  And how many more pastors are our seminaries sending out, who cannot stand firm and lovingly on the teaching of Holy Scripture, without trying to send ambiguous messages to people that could be sending them straight to hell.
Additional Resource: From Truth To Fables (John Henderson)


Brian McLaren Celebrates Ramadan; Nazarenes Too?

False teacher Brian McLaren is at it again, now encouraging Christians to participate
 in observances of Ramadan! It was equally disturbing to see so much agreement
with this man's ideology on a NazNet series of comments. 

 Here is Pastor Ken Silva's review at Apprising Ministries:


By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Aug 17, 2009

Apprising Ministries asks if you might remember Anne Holmes Redding, who claims to be both a Muslim and Christian simultaneously, and whom we discussed in An Emerging Christian Muslim Priestess For Allah Says, “Jesus Led Me Into Islam.”
Well, the Global Family takes another step forward; we just couldn’t make this kind of stuff up as, at his website Brian McLaren, unquestionably a leader in the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC)—tells us in Ramadan 2009: Part 1 What’s going on?:

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting for spiritual renewal and purification. It commemorates the month during which Muslims believe Mohammed received the Quran through divine revelation, and it calls Muslims to self-control, sacrificial generosity and solidarity with the poor, diligent reading of the Quran, and intensified prayer.
This year, I, along with a few Christian friends (and perhaps others currently unknown to us will want to join in) will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21. We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them… (Online source)

However lovely the sentiment, God has clearly told us not to do what McLaren and the “Christians” committing this violation of Scripture with him are about to do because those in the false religion of Islam:

sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons… Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (1 Corinthians 10:20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, NASB)

And yet, as we see in Ramadan 2009: Part 2 Why is a committed Christian joining faithful Muslims in observing Ramadan?, McLaren is the type of teacher the supposedly evangelical Rob Bell is allowing in his church. It’s time to wake-up to the fact that these men are developing a whole other quasi-Christian religion based on their synthetic reality skewed by their Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism.


In conclusion, I also give you these scripture references from my friend Jim:

1Cr 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1Cr 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
1Cr 8:11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

1Cr 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

1Cr 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Folks, please warn as many people as possible about this false teacher who is pulling the wool over many eyes and leading them down a wide path of destruction.

Brian McLaren’s Hope for the Future – The Minds of Your Grandchildren

In a presentation* I did on June 14 about Deceptive False Teachings, I briefly reviewed Brian McLaren and his emergent thinking, just touching on a few quotes by him.  Following is a review by Lighthouse Trails Research editors of one of his recent books.  Unless this is all made up, you will read more evidence of the extremely dangerous and often heretical teachings of Brian McLaren.  This should really make one wonder why in the world are Christian universities (including Nazarenes) inviting emergents like him to spread poison on their campuses to our youth.  Time to start asking questions and writing letters?

Source:  Editors at Lighthouse Trails

Brian McLaren’s newest book, Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices, is the first in a series of eight books by Thomas Nelson publishers. The General Editor of the series, which is titled The Ancient Practices Series, is emerging church proponent Phyllis Tickle. Other authors in the series include Dan Allender, Scot McKnight, Diana Butler Bass and Joan Chittister.

In Finding Our Way Again, McLaren thanks several contemplatives like Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and Joan Chittister. He also says he is “indebted” to Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis and recognizes Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones for teaching him contemplative practices. It is not surprising that McLaren thanks these listed teachers – McLaren has been in the emergent camp from the beginning of its inception, and where there is emerging, there is contemplative.

McLaren tells a story in which he met Buddhist sympathizer Peter Senge at a Christian conference for pastors. Senge asks the pastors: “[W]hy are books on Buddhism so popular, and not books on Christianity?” Senge then tells the pastors it is because “Buddhism presents itself as a way of life, and Christianity presents itself as a system of belief. So I would want to get Christian ministers thinking about how to rediscover their own faith as a way of life.” Translated, this emulates what a Hindu monk, Dr. Bramachari, told Thomas Merton once, that mysticism (ancient practices) could be found within the Christian tradition (the desert fathers).

What Senge meant was that a Christian did not have to become a Buddhist to enjoy the mystical experience but just “rediscover” that this mysticism is within the Christian faith (through contemplative spirituality). This is essentially the thesis of McLaren’s book, and with this mystical ideology, McLaren interjects the usual emerging church condemnation on Christians who adhere too closely to biblical doctrine and the return of Christ.

In regard to Christian doctrine, McLaren states: “[W]e need to move beyond our deadlock, our polarization, our binary, either/or thinking regarding faith and reason, religion and science, matter and spirit … We need a fusion of the sacred and the secular” (pp. 4-5). As do other emerging philosophers (such as Tony Campolo and Rick Warren), McLaren pairs fundamentalism with the adjectives: “fearful, manic, violent, apocalyptic” saying that its followers are “well armed, dangerous, and in the mood for an apocalypse.” (p. 5). This resonates with Rick Warren who said that Christian fundamentalists (he describes those as ones who adhere to the five fundamentals of the faith 1) are this new century’s enemy (and put them in the same category as Islamic terrorists.2

McLaren says there are three groups we must avoid: “militarist scientific secularism, pushy religious fundamentalism, and mushy amorphous spirituality” [which he calls “new age”]. He offers a fourth “creative” alternative, one that needs to “derive strength from the old religious traditions” (i.e., mysticism ), a “fresh alternative … [that] seeks to bring ancient spiritual practices to bear on the emerging world” (p. 6).

McLaren understands the outcome of mysticism, which is interspirituality and man awakening to his own divinity. Thus, he explains that these ancient practices (spiritual formation) are for people of different faiths and that these “practices are actions within our power that help us narrow the gap” (p. 14). They are “ways of becoming awake and staying awake to God” (p. 18).

McLaren twists Scripture by suggesting that the Old Testament priest Melchizedek was of a different religion than Abraham, and Abraham used a mystical practice to connect with Melchizedek. Thus McLaren draws this conclusion: “[W]e discover practices for our own faith in an encounter with someone of another faith” (p. 25). This is what occultists believe. Occultist Aldous Huxley said that mysticism is the “highest common factor” that “links the world’s religious traditions” and leads man to recognize the divinity within all things (see As Above, So Below, p. 2). Spiritual director Tilden Edwards backed up this comment by stating that this “mystical stream [contemplative] is the Western bridge to far eastern spirituality (see Spiritual Friend). Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind suggests that it is mysticism that unites Christianity with Islam (pp. 149-150).

The interfaith theme is threaded through Finding Our Way Again. In one section, McLaren says that even Christian communion is something to be shared with people of all faiths (in particularly with the Jewish faith and Islam); he states that this “sacred meal” is a celebration of “inclusion” and “reconciliation” (p. 26). This makes a mockery of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who told believers to do this in remembrance of Him, acknowledging His atonement for sin – a mockery because the beliefs of other religions reject Christ as being God and the slain Lamb who could take away sin.

As do other emerging/contemplative teachers, McLaren believes in a literal global kingdom of God on earth before
Christ returns that will incorporate all the world’s religions and all creation, a “world yet to be born” that “desperately” needs “these spiritual practices.” He also relates: “[T]hese practices” have “enlivened the three Abrahamic faiths” (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) and should not be “allowed to go extinct” (p. 29).

There is a piece of the puzzle in the book as to where the emerging church is really heading. In view of the fact that prominent Christian figures like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels continue to promote emerging church leaders (e.g. Leonard Sweet was a recent speaker at Saddleback and McLaren himself recently at Willow Creek) with millions of people around the world being significantly influenced by them, it is essential that we know where the emerging church is going. In chapter four of Finding Our Way Again, McLaren, in referring to his “spiritual formation,” admits he has gleaned from various religious traditions (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc). Then he makes reference to a woman named Anne Lamott when she says, “I am at heart a Jesus-y person” (p. 31). Lamott is a perfect example of someone who “likes Jesus” but rejects biblical Christianity. Lamott illustrates this by her recent back cover endorsement of the best-selling book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert’s book is heavily promoted by Oprah and has been at the top of the New York Times best-seller list for over a year. Gilbert was a disillusioned young woman who traveled to an India ashram where she learned to meditate and find oneness with God. During her time at the ashram, Gilbert had a meditative experience where she says “the scales fell from my eyes and the openings of the universe were shown to me.”
Her book is a virtual primer on New Age thinking. Of the book, Lamott says: “This is a wonderful book, brilliant and personal, rich in spiritual insight.” The reason McLaren resonates with Lamott is because the New Age and the emerging church (or what we call the merging church) are going in the same direction – to help man awaken to his inner divinity through mysticism. When McLaren states in this chapter that he learned from Hinduism, what else could he have learned than this?

Like so many others in the emerging camp, McLaren shows a distain for Christianity, saying that “a person can be a follower of the way of Jesus without affiliating with the Christian religion (p. 33) (please see our report “Christian or Christ-follower”. One emerging leader says that Christianity actually hijacked truth. McLaren takes this reasoning a step further and says, “Jesus wasn’t a Christian” (p. 34). But McLaren certainly isn’t the only one in the merging church that talks like this. Erwin McManus (unfortunately promoted by David Jeremiah) says it is his “goal to destroy Christianity as a world religion” and also: “Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.”

Finding Our Way Again emulates McLaren’s previous writings on atonement, on Jesus being the only way to God and salvation, on the return of Christ and on the last days. The difference with this book is that the emphasis is on how we can attain to this awakened state – through mystical practices. One chapter is devoted primarily to these contemplative exercises, but the entire book is seeping with its core message – “reconciliation with God, one another, and all creation in a global community” (p. 42).

While we at Lighthouse Trails read this entire book, it would be repetitive to write about each chapter. The theme is as we have described above, and McLaren spends page after page trying to prove his points. He condemns traditional Christianity to dangerous and fearful, he applauds efforts to reconcile all religions together, he rejects any thoughts that Christ’s kingdom is only for the born-again, and he upholds a New Age kingdom in which man is in union with God (regardless of beliefs). He embraces mysticism wholeheartedly and in fact believes the world cannot be healed without it.

But something in McLaren’s book has given this writer a motivation to continue with the work we do at Lighthouse Trails as long as we have breath. In McLaren’s chapter titled “Moving On,” he gives a detailed analysis of how the emerging church is God’s answer to a stifled, fearful Christian church. He explains that this merging church must infiltrate the “institutions that rejected it,” adding that “conservative Protestants have repeated their Catholic sibling’s earlier mistakes (referring to the Catholic church’s one time rejection of Galileo). Then he says: “But over time, what they reject will find or create safe space outside their borders and become a resource so that many if not most of the grandchildren of today’s fundamentalists will learn and grow and move on from the misguided battles of their forebears [biblical believers]” (p. 133). You see, McLaren and his emerging church fellows (Pagitt, Sweet, Warren, want to change the minds of our children and grandchildren. That is why Rick Warren once said that the older traditional ones will have to leave or die because they won’t change, thus the emphasis in the emerging church on the youth.

What’s alarming is that McLaren’s vision of infiltration is working. And he knows it. Listen: “At the center, safe space happens. A learning community forms. New possibilities emerge. A new day dawns. If the guardians of our fragmented religious institutions forbid their members to meet in the center, the members will not be able to comply. They will simply go undercover and arrange secret liaisons … Eventually, the shared resources, vitality, and new possibilities that unfold … will penetrate and reinvigorate … Trying to stop [this] … is a losing game … against the plotline of God’s universe.”

In the last chapter of McLaren’s book, “Theosis (via Unitiva),” he sums up his calling by stating that “The purpose of the via purgativa [the practices] is to prepare us for the via illuminativa [the awakening], and the purpose of the via illuminativa is to prepare us for the via unitiva [all is one], the union of our nature with the nature of God” (pp. 171-172). He calls God “fire” and says, “We join God in being fire … Before the beginning … God was All, and All was God” (p. 175). This is the exact same message that Eckhart Tolle and Oprah are propagating. But while many Christians are now condemning Tolle’s message, they don’t realize that the very same message is permeating their very own churches. For those readers who care about the spiritual future of their children and grandchildren, it is vital they understand the meaning of McLaren’s spirituality in particular and the emerging/contemplative movement in general. We believe this is an extremely compelling motivation and should prompt us as believers to defend the faith and the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

This article or excerpt was posted on December 6, 2008@ 4:45 am.


*Will be available on DVD including a version with Portuguese subtitles

A Sampling of Brian McLaren’s Views


I have been sending out emails to folks from my church and other friends, on a regular basis for the last eight months or so, trying to get many people aware of the Emergent church movement, and the New Age style practices invading our churches today.  Many of them had never heard at all about “emerging” or any of the recognized leaders in this heretical movement.  (Heresy: any opinions or doctrines at variance with the orthodox position regarding essential core beliefs.)

Since many were not aware, but have expressed an interest in receiving my information, I will also post the content of some of my emails on this blog.  So here is the first one.  I plan to put up some short “bios” of the primary culprits of the movement, along with some of their most incriminating statements from their books or interviews.

Here is the first installment of “profiles in emergent”, and it will cover Brian McLaren.  Although sometimes small sample quotes don’t tell us the whole picture, just the quotes by themselves have left me no doubt as to which way Brian McLaren leans to as far as theological beliefs regarding Christianity.  I have done more extensive research on him, and I encourage you to do the same.  I leave you to decide where you stand, and if you need further info, I will gladly provide it or link you to more resources.

As a Nazarene, I am disappointed that several Nazarene universities have invited Brian McLaren to speak.  He has appeared at Northwest Nazarene University for  a three day seminar, and most recently, spoke at the student chapel at Point Loma Nazarene University. Other Nazarene universities (Mid America, Mt Vernon,Trevecca) have invited either Brian or many of his colleagues such as the infamous Tony Jones, who I will feature in the next few weeks.
Brian McLaren
Author, speaker, pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, a nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region.
Some of his more well known books are:
“A New Kind of Christian”, “A Generous Orthodoxy” which is a personal confession and has been called a “manifesto” of the emerging church conversation.
“The Secret Message of Jesus”, explores the theme of the kingdom of God in the teachings of Jesus.

He is on the international steering team and board of directors for emergent, a growing generative friendship among missional Christian leaders (, He is also active in global networking among emerging leaders (

Take some time to read through these quotes and comments of his and let me know if you agree with me that Brian McLaren is a false teacher:

(Much thanks to for their excellent compilation of these quotes)

“I hesitate in answering “the homosexual question” not because I’m a cowardly flip-flopper who wants to tickle ears, but because I am a pastor, and pastors have learned from Jesus that there is more to answering a question than being right or even honest: we must also be . . . pastoral. That means understanding the question beneath the question, the need or fear or hope or assumption that motivates the question.”
–Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question, Out of Ur, Jan. 2006

“Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.”
–Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question, Out of Ur, Jan. 2006
“Tony [Campolo] and I might disagree on the details, but I think we are both trying to find an alternative to both traditional Universalism and the narrow, exclusivist understanding of hell [that unless you explicitly accept and follow Jesus, you are excluded from eternal life with God and destined for hell].”
–Brian McLaren’s Inferno 2, Out of Ur, May 2006

“The church has been preoccupied with the question, “What happens to your soul after you die?” As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, “Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die.” I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water. I don’t think that the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line.”
—Brian McLaren, from the PBS special on the Emerging Church
“What if Jesus’ secret message reveals a secret plan?”…. What if he didn’t come to start a new religion–but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?”
––Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 4
“Ask me if Christianity (my version of it, yours, the Pope’s, whoever’s) is orthodox, meaning true, and here’s my honest answer: a little, but not yet. Assuming by Christianity you mean the Christian understanding of the world and God, Christian opinions on soul, text, and culture I’d have to say that we probably have a couple of things right, but a lot of things wrong, and even more spreads before us unseen and unimagined. But at least our eyes are open! To be a Christian in a generously orthodox way is not to claim to have the truth captured, stuffed, and mounted on the wall.”
––Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 293

“…many Hindus are willing to consider Jesus as a legitimate manifestation of the divine… many Buddhists see Jesus as one of humanity’s most enlightened people…. A shared reappraisal of Jesus’ message could provide a unique space or common ground for urgently needed religious dialogue—and it doesn’t seem an exaggeration to say that the future of our planet may depend on such dialogue. This reappraisal of Jesus’ message may be the only project capable of saving a number of religions.”
––Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus, p. 7
“…. Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. His work stimulates and encourages me deeply.” (Brian McLaren’s comments on the back flap of Alan Jones’ book Reimagining Christianity where Alan Jones states the following about the Christ’s crucifixion: “The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” (p. 132)
“The other thread of just criticism addresses the suggestion implicit in the cross that Jesus’ sacrifice was to appease an angry god. Penal substitution [the Cross] was the name of this vile doctrine.” (p. 168)
“Perhaps our ‘inward-turned, individual-salvation-oriented, un-adapted Christianity’ is a colossal and tragic misunderstanding, and perhaps we need to listen again for the true song of salvation, which is ‘good news to all creation.’ So perhaps it’s best to suspend what, if anything, you ‘know’ about what it means to call Jesus ‘Savior’ and to give the matter of salvation some fresh attention. Let’s start simply. In the Bible, save means ‘rescue’ or ‘heal’. It emphatically does not mean ‘save from hell’ or ‘give eternal life after death,’ as many preachers seem to imply in sermon after sermon. Rather its meaning varies from passage to passage, but in general, in any context, save means ‘get out of trouble.’ The trouble could be sickness, war, political intrigue, oppression, poverty, imprisonment, or any kind of danger or evil.”
––Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 93
“How do you know if something is true?…First, you engage in spiritual practices like prayer, Bible reading, forgiveness, and service. Then you see what happens; you remain open to experience. Finally, you report your experience to others in the field of spirituality for their discernment, to see if they confirm your findings or not.”
––Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 199
“The church latched on to that old doctrine of original sin like a dog to a stick, and before you knew it, the whole gospel got twisted around it. Instead of being God’s big message of saving love for the whole world, the gospel became a little bit of secret information on how to solve the pesky legal problem of original sin.”
–Brian McLaren, The Last Word and the Word After That, p.134
“The Christian faith, I am proposing, should become (in the name of Jesus Christ) a welcome friend to other religions of the world, not a threat”
–Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy McLaren, p.254
“This is how I feel when I’m offered a choice between the roads of exclusivism (only confessing Christians go to heaven), universalism (everyone goes to heaven), and inclusivism (Christians go to heaven, plus at least some others). Each road takes you somewhere, to a place with some advantages and disadvantages, but none of them is the road of my missional calling: blessed in this life to be a blessing to everyone on earth.”
–Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy McLaren, p. 113
“I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.”
—Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 260


Not much more comment from me here, I leave you to “rightly judge” these statements in light of scripture, and decide whether Brian McLaren would be a welcome speaker at your church or college. Again, this is a short summary to highlight Mr. McLaren.  There are many sources of extensive research material, such as Lighthouse Trails Research, and Apprising Ministries, and more.  Check out the links on my main page to find out more and come to your conclusions.