16 May 2012

Brian McLaren Warns Against Bible's "Texts of Terror"

From 7–10 May 2012, Washington D.C. was host to the Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity (CYNKC) conference. Sponsored in part by the Emergent Village, and hosted by Emergent Church leader Brian McLaren, this event sought to
spark conversations about youth and children within a new kind of Christianity. They will talk about innovative practices, critical issues, and controversial topics like violence, racism, interfaith dialogue, and sexuality. They will embark on a journey together to engage in life-giving ministry with young people. And they will blaze a new trail for the 21st-century church. Source
Indeed, it certainly does sound as though these topics were discussed at length during CYNKC. At the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Barton Gingerich wrote a synopsis of the event. Noting that "the speakers and much of the audience came from the Evangelical Left," he writes:
Carl Stauffer, professor of Development and Justice Studies at Eastern Mennonite University, warned against the Bible’s “seemingly divinely ordained violence.” Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren similarly worried about how church-going parents can give their children “loaded guns” in the form of “texts of terror” condoning war and other violence. He wondered whether unfiltered Bible-reading could “leave them with the idea that God is violent.” And he warned: “Bible-preaching/teaching/reading people are the most dangerous in the world for Muslims.” Source
Gingerich also records that, "After McLaren advised emergent parents to seek out the “texts of healing” in the Bible, he talked about how the Bible’s economic teachings could help stave off violence in society." The concern of these Emergent Christians with the Bible's "violent" texts extends even to the story of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Almeda Wright, professor of Religion and Youth Ministry at Pfeiffer University, confessed a worry about “a Gospel narrative of redemptive suffering…I have a problem with redemptive suffering.” She summarized: “We are saved when we suffer; we are saved when violence is done.” And she asked: “Am I willing to participate in death that is supposed to save us?” ...McLaren tried to clarify the argument. “This is something we need to talk about,” he proclaimed, “Baptism and the Eucharist can be tools for violence or for peace.” He explicitly called out the theory of penal substitutionary atonement, where “the Father inflicts violence [on Christ] for the forgiveness of sins.”...McLaren warned, “If you keep [penal substitutionary atonement], make sure you have a safety on it.” Source
Yet, regardless of whether or not one is agreeable to the idea of penal substitutionary atonement, the fact remains that this is indeed what the Scripture teaches. Heb. 9:22 reminds that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." The subsequent verses (Heb. 9:24–28) go on to teach that it was the blood of Christ that was shed and presented to God by Christ as an acceptable sacrifice. Preaching on these verses in Hebrews, Dr. John MacArthur notes,
God set the rules. "The soul that sins, it shall die." And then God, in grace, moved right back in and provided a death substitute. Jesus' death is the only thing that satisfies God, you see. Because He requires death. And all over the Old Testament He splattered blood in order that they might be constantly made aware of the fact that bloodshed was the only expiation for sin. ...Forgiveness isn't just God looking down and saying, "Oh, it's all right. I like you a lot, and I'll just let it go." It's the costliest thing in the universe. Without bloodshed, there is no forgiveness of sins. If you are forgiven, it is because somebody died. Source
The Word of God is clear on the teaching of the substitutionary nature of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Still, the attack against it is nothing new. Yet when God has spoken, His Word must be the final authority.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11)
True Christians ought to rest and rejoice in the truth of this atoning work of their Savior.

HT: Christian Research Network


  1. We are primitive, we are violent, we are wicked and we are the murderers, aduterers, liars, thieves and haters at heart against a Holy, righteous just God. WE are terrible and destructive at heart

    Thank God that we don't have to be..That's the way the Scriptures communicate the drama of redemption in quite primitive terms. God has condencended to cover our obscenities. The Cross is not barbaric it is REDEMPTIVE. And that is the Gospel that He bore OUR sins all our obscenities and violence

    For McLaren and others who refuse to see God is Holy and repent there is no cure. For those who refuse to look up at JESUS when he is lifted up as the CURE from the snake bite there is a bloodthirsty god-Satan who requires a willing victim--McLaren. Satan demands his victims own blood, but God gave HIS OWN BLOOD so that we don't have to live in the ultimate TERROR in hell for all eternity.

    1Pe 2:8 "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: where unto also they were appointed."

    "For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life."


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