A New Kind of Christianity: Introduction

We live in an incredible time. Information travels in an instant all over the world. My tiny phone can access the internet and tell me when someone has sent me a message, or when a severe thunderstorm is on its way. Never have so many people lived at once on the earth. At once, so much progress and potential, and at the same time much confusion and doubt about where we’ve been and where we are going. Never has the question mark appeared larger over the great question, What is Truth?

I once sat in a lecture hall of over 150 students. The professor asked us, “Who here believes in an absolute truth? Who believes in a truth that never changes? Raise your hand if you do.” Before looking around, I raised my hand. Then I was startled by the sight of only 2 other hands. In an auditorium of so many people, so few raised their hands.

On another occasion I gave a speech in front of 12 of my fellow classmates. Before I began, I asked them if they believed in an absolute truth. Only my professor raised his hand. He had this odd look on his face that seemed to say, why am I the only one raising my hand?

We are fed so many conflicting viewpoints it’s no wonder we’re unwilling to embrace any one thing as truth.
What makes one political position more true than another?
What makes one religion more true than another?
What makes one personal account more true than another?
What makes one theory more true than another?
What makes one brand more true than another?
What makes my opinion more true than yours?
What makes my beliefs more true than yours?

Amidst all of these questions and unsettled souls, a movement has sprung up within Christianity. The Emergent movement has come as a response to our disillusionment with organized institutionalized religion. It emphasizes open dialogue instead of a message to be absorbed. It is accepting of all denominations within Christianity. And it discourages followers from making exclusive truth claims that would divide those inside and outside the faith.
An Emerging Church website, called Emergent Village has this to say regarding the values of the movement:

We are committed to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. In the words of Jesus, we seek to live by the Great Commandment: loving God and loving our neighbors – including those who might be considered “the least of these” or enemies. We understand the gospel to be centered in Jesus and his message of the Kingdom of God, a message offering reconciliation with God, humanity, creation, and self.

One of the more outspoken members of this movement is a man named Brian McLaren. He is an author, speaker, and pastor. He has written a number of books describing his personal beliefs and what he sees as the new direction of the Christian church. Time magazine named him one of the top 25 Evangelical leaders in America, and he has appeared on basically every important show.

I read his most recent book, A New Kind of Christianity, over the past month.

In a series of upcoming posts I will address a number of critical issues that came out of this reading. The things he says matter to those who call themselves Christians in this country. And I also believe they matter to those who do not. If anything, this should offer a unique insight into the heart of the Christian faith. If you’re interested, here you are.

Coming Soon- What is the Bible?

One thought on “A New Kind of Christianity: Introduction

  1. The statement about their values sounds pretty good for what it does talk about. I guess the issue is what it doesn't talk about?? Like our incredible sin and need for God.Glad you're doing doing this. Remember my genius when you're famous.

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