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Brian McLaren, the Emerging Church I

The more I read Brian McLaren, the more I am convinced that he has put his finger on some crucial issues facing evangelicals. I resonate with several of his concerns with the contemporary evangelical church in the United States. I also feel I can relate in many ways to the journey he has undergone, as well as to the one his character Dan Poole has experienced. However, I also do not agree with McLaren in several key ways. As committed followers of Christ, what should we learn from him? To what extent should we accept his diagnosis and suggestions for the contemporary church?

I want to survey some of the most important strengths of McLaren’s ideas and proposals. To do that, first I will summarize his account of modernity and its influences upon the church. After examining some strengths of his proposals, I will question the extent of the accuracy of his description of modernity in regard to foundationalism, an epistemological view which he blames significantly for disastrous effects upon the church. The cogency of his solutions (which involve embracing a new way of being a Christian in postmodern times) depends upon how accurate his description and related criticisms of modernity are. If he is mistaken here, then I think his solutions simply will not follow. Moreover, I will survey and assess briefly his description of the philosophy of postmodernity. . .

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R. Scott Smith

R. Scott Smith, is associate professor of ethics and Christian Apologetics at Biola University. He authored Truth and the New Kind of Christian: The Emerging Effects of Postmodernism in the Church and Virtue Ethics and Moral Knowledge: Philosophy of Language After MacIntyre and Hauerwas (Ashgate 2003) as well as many articles and essays.  He has been a professor at Biola University. Christian Apologetics program since summer 2000. He has a B.A. in Political Science/Public Affairs and Administration from California State University at Hayward (now Cal State East Bay) in 1980, an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot School of Theology at Biola in 1995. He earned his Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics in 2000.


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