Denny Burk, a blogger and NT scholar, got Criswell Theological Review to send me some files of the Spring edition of the journal. It is devoted to the emergent movement, and they sent me the editor’s introduction, an interview with Brian McLaren, a piece by Mark Driscoll, and then a study of truth in the emerging movement by David Mills at Cedarville. I’ll look today at the interview with McLaren.
I mention five points, and then a comment about the interview itself.
First, McLaren defines the emerging movement as those who “are seeking to faithfully incarnate the gospel of Jesus Christ — the gospel of the kingdom of God available to all through Jesus — to people in our mission context.”
Second, when asked about the major deficiencies today Brian speaks about the alignment of the evangelical movement with the Republican party. He comes back to this more than once in this interview, and it expresses a central concern: and I’m with him, and I don’t think many of us get it.
Third, when asked about the relationship of kingdom to church, Brian explains that he used to see “kingdom” as heaven, and now he sees it “as primarily being about God’s will being done on earth, in history, with a forward light cast beyond this life.”
Fourth, when asked about the Battle for the Bible, Brian says this: “At the end of the day, I think that neither liberals nor conservatives have taken the Bible seriously enough. Perhaps what was really going on wasn’t the battle for the Bible at all. Perhaps what was going on was “The Battle between Two Ways of Interpreting the Bible.” Maybe what we really need is a third way … .” (He’s right on that.)
Fifth, when asked what question he’d like to be asked more often, he said, “I wish people were more interested in the question how the Religious Right has changed our evangelistic context… .”
Overall, this is a decent interview, but I have to admit that the issue of the Battle of the Bible is simply not one I hear that much anymore. Harold Lindsell wrote that book in about 1976, and I read it when I was a senior in college. What I am hinting at in this comment is that the central issues facing the emerging movement are not directly addressed but instead the piece focuses (yet again) on how the emerging movement reportedly (not necessarily truly) threatens conservative evangelicalism.
Tomorrow: Driscoll’s piece.