Brian McLaren

Brian McLarenBrian McLaren is known as the “guru” of the emergent church movement. He is an articulate speaker and writer, which makes him appealing to those not yet able to discern where his teachings conflict with scripture. McLaren’s writings, while often skirting actual stances (typical of emergent teachers), point strongly to beliefs of universalism and collective salvation. He has publicly doubted the teaching of substitutionary atonement of the cross, referring to this belief as “false advertising” for Christianity. He dismisses futuristic biblical prophecy as close minded.

After several years of teaching English and consulting in higher education, he left academia in 1986 to become the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, a nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region.

NewkindMcLaren favors what he calls a “generous” approach to biblical hermeneutics, claiming that the foundational and objective hermeneutics of Evangelicals leads them to political conservatism. McLaren has been an outspoken advocate of issues such as social justice and peace.

Though McLaren is opposed to what he asserts are oppressive, Evangelical, biblical hermeneutics, his own hermeneutic is often called into question. Often McLaren’s own view on interpreting the Bible seems to call for others to rethink the whole process of interpretation. In his book, A New Kind of Christian, McLaren writes (via his main character Neo):

“Our interpretations reveal less about God or the Bible than they do about ourselves. They reveal what we want to defend, what we want to attack, what we want to ignore, what we’re unwilling to question…” (A New Kind of Christian, 50)