When Brian McLaren began offering an alternative vision of Christian faith and life in books such as A New Kind of Christian and A Generous Orthodoxy, he ignited a firestorm of praise and condemnation that continues to spread across the religious landscape. To some religious conservatives, McLaren is a dangerous rebel without a doctrinally-correct cause. Some fundamentalist websites have even claimed he's in league with the devil and have consigned him to flames.
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To others though, Brian is a fresh voice, a welcome antidote to the staleness, superficiality, and negativity of the religious status quo. A wide array of people from Evangelical, Catholic, and Mainline Protestant backgrounds claim that through his books they have begun to rediscover the faith they'd lost or rejected.
And around the world, many readers say that he has helped them find-for the first time in their lives-a faith that makes sense and rings true.
For many, he articulates the promise of what is being called "emerging Christianity. In The Secret Message of Jesus you'll find what's at the center of Brian's critique of conventional Christianity, and what's at the heart of his expanding vision. In the process, you'll meet a Jesus who may be altogether new to you, a Jesus who is McLaren invites you to discover afresh the transforming message of Jesus-an open invitation to radical change, an enlightening revelation that exposes sham and ignites hope, an epic story that is good news for everyone, whatever their gender, race, class, politics, or religion.
He does an excellent job of capturing Jesus' quiet, revolutionary style. It is McLaren's lack of salesmanship or agenda that creates a refreshing picture of the man from Galilee who changed history. The book is about the Kingdom of God as understood in the first century, and also relevant today. Brian McLaren is one of my favorite Christian authors. I have read three other books written by him.
Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed , but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Actually McLaren does mention "repentance. The word means to rethink —to reconsider your direction and consider a new one, to admit that you might be wrong , to give your life a second thought, to think about your thinking. Wrong in what way? By breaking God's law?
The Secret Message Of Jesus
Or by resisting the new way of thinking? The context suggests the latter, for the new view of the cross ignores God's moral laws and eliminates the need for genuine repentance. Words such as "repent" or "rethink" now imply a willing rejection of the supposedly "narrow" Biblical thinking, which hinder the envisioned change. The new thinking must be flexible, natural, and collective -- a habitual group-think. It is a new and lasting reconciliation between humanity and God, and among all the at-odds individuals and groups that comprise humanity.
Paul said it like this: 'Old distinctions like Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female no longer exist, for you are all one in Christ. The tattooed and pierced granddaughter with her prim and proper grandmother Christians with Jews and Muslims and Hindus. But Paul wrote his letter to Christians, not to unbelievers.
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His assurance of oneness "in Christ" applies only to those who have been joined to Jesus through the cross. Remember, Jesus said, " I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. In spite of his call to radical inclusiveness , McLaren's earthly kingdom does exclude certain groups. It tells us that -.
In other words, the kingdom of God seeks to include all who want to participate in and contribute to its purpose, but it cannot include those who oppose its purpose. Whose purpose?
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That's why this system must exclude us! McLaren isn't alone. Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela learned what happens when you try to expand the borders of who is considered 'in' And if critics see you as a transgressor and criticize you for opening the doors and expanding the boundaries , you go pursuing your purpose, making it clear that the kingdom of God is open to all, except those who want to ruin it by dividing it against itself. That may be true of some who call themselves Christian, but the faithful servants I know are focused on fulfilling -- not escaping -- their God-given assignments here on earth.
By His grace, they serve their beloved Lord wherever He sends them, be it in hostile lands or among the needy at home. Many would rather face persecution and death than deny His gospel. Bearing His sweet fragrance, they are despised by those who hate His truth but loved by those who follow the King. Knowing their true citizenship is in heaven, they seek heavenly treasures rather than earthly thrills. Their faithful deeds are recorded in heaven, not tracked in the high tech data banks of churches that give far more praise to people than to our King.
And when their work on earth is done, they, like Paul, will delight in the Master's welcome: Well done, good and faithful servant Enter into the joy of your Lord. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
The Secret Message Of Jesus
See also The Kingdom of God. Are you in the throes of Transformation? See our selection of wonderful books by Berit Kjos. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal.
The Secret Message of Jesus | Book Reviews | Books | Spirituality & Practice
He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Pag e now. Finally, we would love to hear from you.
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