The Emerging Church, part 4 – Brian McLaren

April 4, 2008

I think it’s only fair to give specifics about why we’re concerned with the theology being furthered by certain Emerging Church leaders. Here are some of the concerns we’ve been expressing about Brian McLaren (a popular author, pastor, and the most well-known leader in Emergent/Emergent Village), in his own words:


This may all sound very clever, but it does not match up with Scripture. Hell is not antithetical to the cross! Hell exists because our God is a holy and perfectly just God Who takes sin seriously, not a god who could care less… And Jesus died on the cross because God is both perfectly just AND infinitely gracious… Because God made a way in which He could extend His grace to sinners like us without compromising His justice…  


“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” ~ Romans 3:21-26


That is the gospel! If God were not just, Jesus’ sacrifice of the cross would not have been necessary… And if God were not gracious, He would have left us in our sins rather than sending His Son to save sinners. We can be forgiven because grace and justice met at the cross… Praise God that He is both Just AND the Justifier! 


Let’s proclaim the biblical gospel faithfully! It is the only gospel that saves…


~ Donovan


P.S: For a little more on McLaren, you can read this review of his book, A Generous Orthodoxy, or this review of his book, Everything Must Change       


For all our posts on The Emerging Church, click here       



2 Responses to “The Emerging Church, part 4 – Brian McLaren”

  1. Tyler said

    For sure. What is hard is balancing McLaren. He has a lot of GREAT thoughts on postmodernism and emergent. I give him full credit for that, but some of his theology has problems lining up with Scriptures. It fits human logic and philosophy but not much of Scripture. Where do we we draw the line of how much to listen to what he has to say on Christianity within our culture? That is what I struggle with.

  2. bethelgrace said


    Sorry I never responded sooner. I think there’s value in knowing how people perceive Christianity and the church, and I think there’s value in understanding the culture we’re endeavoring to reach (and I think McLaren may be of some help in these areas)… But when someone allows culture to morph the church and doctrine ino something that doesn’t hold up against Scripture, of course he’s gone too far… I wouldn’t spend too much time reading him when there are others who are more helpful because they’re students of culture AND faithful to Scripture, eg. Tim Keller.

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