Monday, July 24, 2006

Book Review: A Generous Orthodoxy

Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy is a true breath of fresh air. McLaren is the author of A New Kind of Christian which I have previously reviewed. In A Generous Orthodoxy he outlines his vision of a both/and Christianity for our postmodern world. With Jesus, love, and missional intent at the heart of his orthodox Christianity, McLaren calls for a generosity that truly engages with all points of view across the landscape of Christian thought. He describes himself as a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, anabaptist/anglican, methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. That should give you some idea of the diversity of McLaren's beliefs! McLaren has sometimes been criticised for holding to relativism. Far from it! Those who accuse him of this have not read him closely enough. The orthodoxy part of his manifesto affirms the central doctrines of Christianity -- but they are doctrines with "heart". This orthodoxy, though, is a generous one that values the good in all Christian points of views while discerning of those elements that don't fit with Jesus, love, and missional intent. If you feel as though you are on the fringes of Christianity, or the Christianity you have grown up with doesn't quite seem to fit what you think it should be, or even if you are right inside of Christianty, there is something in this book for you. If Christianity is going to survive the modern world, it needs to revision itself -- and McLaren's generous orthodoxy may just fit the bill. Although the book is very easy to read, the ideas will provoke your thinking and give you much to chew over. McLaren's views have come in for some criticism (see, for example, the critical Emerging Church link below). Whatever else the book does to you, you may never think of Christianity the same again. Related Links

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