Friday, August 28, 2009

McLaren: A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing
I agree with much of the flowery language hides cutting remarks, though I’m not sure that McLaren often falls into that category. Which, to me, is more of a point that identifying McLaren’s views/beliefs are sometimes more difficult to ascertain than nailing jello to the wall. I agree with Dr. Burk that he is a wolf. Most notably because he is a teacher (woe to you who desire to teach…) and consistently refuses to give a reason for the hope that he has. And continues to see Christ as more of an add-on to your current religion. Or so it would seem. I think there are a great number of things we can learn from how he converses. And I (or we or whatever), as a conservative, should certainly learn from the shortcomings McLaren identifies (the Church often falls too far out of society) in the same manner that David learned from his enemy’s rebuke. That’s the thing, I think that he leads his flock away from Christ as the center and makes me the center or makes other people the center. It seems to show that he puts relationships with others and our own beliefs before God, thus I think he is not preaching biblical Christianity but (I liked the line) syncretistic gobbledy-goop that is no longer recognizably Christian.

I think that, for this specific context, I think Charlie said it best.

And, after saying all of that, Hitler.

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You raise, in my mind, two questions. First, what are your thoughts of Mr. McLaren’s observance, essentially, of Ramadan? I know you disagree with one of the commenters here, but the blog itself didn’t state that. Or were you sweeping the author in with your generalization, too?
Second (and this is more of a general question to anyone), is there a difference between the example you cite* versus the Qur’an’s teachings on (violent) Jihad (which seem to be interpretations, not outright statements of killing infidels)? From my very limited knowledge set (stress limited), I would say so, but....?

* - old testament governances on theocratic law (homosexuals condemned to death) and New Testament condemnation (of homosexual sin) but no longer bound by theocratic law

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Thanks for the response. Just a point of clarification, the commenter is DennyReader, not the author of the blog that made the comment to which you referred. Dr. Burk would post as Denny Burk, I doubt he broke form here.

WRT the second part, I know that you were referring to the (incorrect) broad sweeping notions that every muslim is a terrorist. My question was more along the lines of the fact that violent Christians (or even violent speaking folks like Phelps) are fringe Christ followers (at best). Christian doctrine promotes peace (but zealous faith to Christ). That’s complicated, though, in that theocratic Israel had capital punishment for adultery, beastiality, homosexuality (and a host of other sins), but people will use those fringe folks to broad-brush all of Christianity. Whereas the Qur’an specifically calls its followers to wage war. Thus moving from a fringe sect to a larger movement (I’ll let Darius and ep sort out those details). My question is whether or not letting 1-in-6 or nearly 1/2 determine your view is different than a fringe (orders of magnitude less) determine your view. I suppose it’s that, while I don’t agree with McLaren that we should help the Corinthians Muslims stay in their stew, I don’t agree that all muslims promote violence, I do think that we zealously defend Christ, I do think that there are very large numbers of muslims who do want to commit violence to all non-muslims. That number of potentials is simply to point out that the war on non-muslims is written in their book. It’s not an interpretation (how far to take that is, however!). So while all muslims don’t learn violence from the Qur’an, a significant portion indicate that one of the teaching points is war (and, thus, we get terrorism).

And after saying all of that, I have to say that it does seem like there is a much more peace-seeking wave beginning to take root in the muslim community. Unfortuantely, it also seems that the movement seems to be in non-middle-east locations. But I don’t much care for peace. I care for Christ to be preached and His word to be sown. Which is why I am so dismayed when something like this (with McLaren) happens.

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A commenter (on Wilson's site) named Michael Hutton had a good word:
I do agree that not eating in front of Muslims during Ramadan is respectful, and I would support and encourage those who rub shoulders with Muslims to do so. But as for keeping Ramadan in order to build a bridge, How can you do works for merit in order to help free people from the slavery of working for merit? How can you observe the religion Christ died to set them free from?

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