Friday, March 31, 2006

Emerging irritation

I'm not one to pick on Brian McLaren here, but he repeated something of which I am becoming increasingly intolerant. In an interview with Criswell Theological Review editor R. Alan Streett, McLaren is quoted as saying:

It appears that the church is growing rapidly where pre-modern people enter modernity, but where modern people move into a postmodern cultural milieu, the Christian faith has not yet understood or engaged the questions they’re raising.

Did the Church not grow rapidly before modernity? Where does that place the Early Church?

McLaren continues on with his missiology:

So, many of us are seeking to faithfully incarnate the gospel of Jesus Christ—the gospel of the kingdom of God available to all through Jesus—to people in our mission context.

This could just be my lack of a formal theological education, but his use of incarnate seemed unintentionally odd. Is he meaning his mission is to make the Gospel real? Is he meaning to act as the Body of Christ? Or is he saying something else.

It's not clear to me and I don't want to quibble. What I see are two distinct statements here that McLaren thinks belong together but I think they contradict each other. To combine his two seperate statements one must assume we have three things:

  • A pre-modern Gospel for a pre-modern people
  • A modern Gospel for a modern people
  • A post-modern Gospel for a post-modern people

    I'm probably quibbling afterall, but I want to boil down McLaren's inability communicate and what I hope he's really saying. Let's set this straight, though:

    The truthful, transformational Gospel message has never changed or accomodated any culture

    It has, however, been presented in many different languages in many different forms to communicate to people all over the world. This is why it's important to speak plainly on the difference between communicating the Gospel and accomodating for the Gospel. One has a historical basis. The other has none.

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