As a leader of the Emergent Church, Brian McLaren is brazenly trying to lead and gather others into a new understanding of Christianity, yet his justification for developing this “New Kind of Christianity” (as one of his books is entitled) is the same as atheist Christopher Hitchens’ reasons for rejecting Christianity. In one case modification of the Christian faith is necessary, and in the other, the destruction of the Christian faith is necessary. Either way, they both have in mind the abolition of orthodox Christianity.
Compare these two statements:
If I cannot definitively prove that the usefulness of religion is in the past, and that its foundational books are transparent fables, and that it is a man-made imposition, and that it has been an enemy of science and inquiry, and that it has subsisted largely on lies and fears, and been the accomplice of ignorance and guilt as well as of slavery, genocide, racism, and tyranny, I can most certainly claim that religion is now fully aware of these criticisms. Christopher Hitchens--God is not great (p.229)
For us to be naïve about the “eye of the beholder” regarding the Bible renders us vulnerable to repeating yesterday’s atrocities in the future. Slavery, anti-Semitism, colonialism, genocide, chauvinism, homophobia, environmental plunder, the Inquisition, witch burning, apartheid—aren’t those worth taking care to avoid, for God’s sake? Brian McLaren--A New Kind of Christianity (p. 85)
Both of them are blaming the Bible and the Christian faith for some of history’s worst atrocities and injustices. While Hitchens’ solution is all-out war against religion, McLaren’s solution is to revise Christianity. He says that he and others are on a “quest to find other ways to cherish, understand, and follow the Bible.”
For some reason it hurts me to think that so many Christians could so easily be led astray by McLaren. How can they even believe that the God they love and trust is close to looking like the god that McLaren paints? According to McLaren (and Hitchens) the Judeo-Christian god is a racist, sexist, genocidal, homophobic, slaveholder! And as Christians, we all stand around with our hands in our pockets, looking down, kicking the dirt, and feeling guilty.
I say “NO!” This is not the character of my god! The history you are proclaiming is a lie! Those who held fast to the Word were the HEROES of history. They were the greatest scientists, abolitionists, and suffragists. Their work gave us the greatest freedom known to humanity. They gave birth to charity and compassion. They led the great reform movements. They opposed communist and Nazi tyranny. (As Albert Einstein even acknowledged, he had no respect for the church until he learned of the Confessing Church.)
It has to be asked: What history are Hitchens and McLaren reading? And does their perverted view of history justify the abolition of orthodox Christianity? Why has McLaren been so lazy in trying to understand Christian history, so much so that his views line up with the world’s most infamous atheist?
Does McLaren have any concern at all that by leading people away from orthodox Christianity he may be betraying God and breaking His heart? And what should be of even more concern to him (and us) is that the “Christians” who committed the worst atrocities were those who did exactly what McLaren is doing—doubting the gospel and trying to make it more palatable to the world by blending it with liturgical rituals, science, philosophy, tradition, Old Testament law, other religions, sociology, and any other number of competitive truth claims.
Yet the Good News of Jesus is the most beautiful message of love and hope the world has ever heard. Why does it need to be changed?