Archives For Pluralism

Christendom to Post-ChristendomChristendom is dead. For some, this is a time of lament. For others, it is a time of renewal and revival. I want to offer my reflections on the three different phases of Christianity and culture and the corresponding posture for Christian cultural engagement.

Christendom: Synced with Culture

Syncretism is the blending or assimilation of two belief systems into one. There was a time when Christianity enjoyed cultural approval and widespread recognition. When someone spoke of religion, it was rare that anyone thought of another faith beside Christianity. Monuments to the Ten Commandments were erected in the public square. Prayers were offered by teachers in public schools. God Love for God and country were seen in churches who displayed a Christian flag on one side of the pulpit and an American flag on the other. Christianity was synced with American culture.

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Brian McLaren recently jumped into the fray of the Love Wins fracas by offering an interpretation of Albert Mohler’s interpretation of Rob Bell’s interpretation of the gospel.  That may sound like an odd way to make a contribution, but if you’re Brian McLaren, offering an interpretation of someone else’s interpretation is actually the best thing one can do.  So I will attempt to enter McLaren’s world and offer an interpretation of McLaren’s interpretation of Mohler’s interpretation of Rob Bell’s interpretation of the gospel as explained in his book Love Wins.

Are you with me?  Good.

One of the principle charges McLaren brings against Mohler is his misinterpretation of Rob Bell’s interpretation of the gospel.  McLaren argues that Bell is not trying to offer a version of the gospel better than the one we have in the Bible; rather, Bell is trying to get us to see past all the “imperfect versions or approximations of it” in order to “be bound to that original story rather than to a popular (perhaps the most popular in some settings) version of it.”  McLaren is working on the assumption that Bell has greater insight into the original story than most throughout Christian history.  For thousands of years, we have unfortunately been victims of shoddy interpretations and static interferences of what Jesus actually said and did.  Both McLaren and Bell, on the other hand, assert that the “original story” is better than what we have allowed it to be due to our inaccurate approximations.

But my question for McLaren is, “How do you know this?”

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Oprah the Pluralist

Tim Brister —  July 10, 2008 — 6 Comments

This is one of many reasons why in seminary I have devoted my studies to critiquing philosophical pluralism and soteriological inclusivism. Oprah’s pluralism is answered by the good intentions of inclusivism (which I disagree with as well), and while academia is responding to John Hick’s Copernican revolution and Clark Pinnock’s “faith principle,” the everyday person is responding to Oprah Winfrey and the neighbor next door.

Again, I don’t endorse the answer or the attitude in which the lady responds to Oprah, but this shows the need for Blue Collar Theology in defense of the faith once for all handed down to the saints.

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