Finally after going through that essay that I blogged about recently I thought it would be good to share five pivotal points on how to recognise liberal theology:
1. Liberals believe doctrine needs to develop to meet the needs of contemporary thought.
2. Liberals emphasize the need to reconstruct traditional beliefs and reject the authority of tradition
and church hierarchy.
3. Liberals focus on the practical and ethical dimensions of Christianity.
4. Liberals seek to base theology on something other than the absolute authority of the Bible.
5. Liberals drift toward divine immanence at the expense of transcendence.
McLaren fits each of these points like a glove. H. Richard Niebuhr’s famous description of liberalism has not lost its relevance: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of Christ without a cross.”
In McLarenism there is no original sin, no wrath, no hell, no creation-fallredemption, no definite future, no second coming that I can see, no clear statement on the deity of Christ, no mention of vicarious substitution or God’s holiness or divine sovereignty, no ethical demands except as they relate to being kind to others, no God-offendedness, no doctrine of justification, no unchanging apostolic deposit of truth, no absolute submission to the word of God, nary a mention of faith and worship, no doctrine of regeneration, no evangelistic impulse to save the lost, and nothing about God’s passion for his glory. This is surely a lot to leave out.
McLaren’s Christianity is not new and certainly not improved. I don’t believe you can even call it Christianity. It is liberalism dressed up for the 21st century. We can only hope this wave of liberalism fades as dramatically as did the last.
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