I doubt anyone's been pining for it, but here are very brief thoughts on two more chapters of Brian McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN."
Previous reviews include:
0. John Franke's Foreward, McLaren's Introduction, and his Chapter 0: For Mature Audiences Only.
1-4. chapters 1-4, "Why I Am a Christian"
Chapter 4: "Why I Am Missional"
McLaren isn't a missional guru, but he gives a fair taste of the missional thrust. The mission of the church, he says, is "To be and make disciples of Jesus Christ in authentic community for the good of the world" (117). The last phrase is what is missional.
Being missional, for McLaren is about living for the good of the world rather than for personal salvation or an inward looking focus.
One questionable part of the chapter is where he says the question of whether everyone is saved, few are saved, or more are saved than have explicitly confessed Christ is the wrong question. On the one hand, I appreciate a sense that we are to be going for the good of the world regardless. That I agree with.
But it might very well make a very big difference. If I believe the world is headed for massive judgment and have a narrow view of who will be saved... further if I believe my bringing the good news can make the difference between salvation and condemnation... if these things are true then it matters a great deal that I redouble my missionary efforts.
What I am saying is that this is only an unimportant question if everyone is saved or is saved regardless of my bringing the gospel.
A final interesting quote in the chapter is from one of McLaren's mentors, "in a pluralistic world, a religion is valued based on the benefits it brings to its nonadherants" (121). We shouldn't live because we want the rest of the world to like us, but I understand what the statement is saying. The world will be more attracted to us if we are bringing value to it.
Chapter 6: "Why I Am an Evangelical"
McLaren seems happy to wear the title "evangelical," especially if it is defined the way Robert Webber does in his excellent book we have reviewed here, The Younger Evangelicals. He admits he no longer really understands the big E Evangelicalism of his youth, but he doesn't want to give up on the little e evangelical.
The positive definition he likes is an evangelical as 1) someone who highly respects the Bible and 2) emphasizes personal conversion, 3) emphasizes intimacy, a "personal relationship" with God, 4) wants to share their faith with others. (Let me reiterate if I haven't before, this McLaren knows some stuff, despite his attempts to pass himself off as a slacker)
What he likes the most about evangelicals is their passion, a passion that leads them to cross oceans and even lose their lives for what they believe.