When theologian Hans Frei first coined the term "generous orthodoxy," he envisioned a Christianity that included both liberal and conservative views. Expanding on Frei's vision, McLaren provides a model based on a radical Christ-centered theology that's driven by love, defined by missional intent, and reflects an ecumenical perspective. Provocative and challenging! 297 pages, hardcover from Zondervan.
By celebrating strengths of many traditions in the church (and beyond), this book will seek to communicate a generous orthodoxy.
this book will make you think. In a time when wee seem to be preaching intolerance in the name of God, McLarens book is a voice of reason. YouthWorker
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Reviewed by Steve Duby
(Denver, CO), July 04, 2008
Brian McLaren is obviously a person of leadership savvy who is speaking to the concerns of many (especially younger persons)within the church. While I welcome the general concept behind this book's title (highlighting the contributions of various expressions of Christianity), I am concerned by its philosophical sloppiness. Frankly, it is frustrating to hear McLaren and others saying essentially that one can be a child of Descartes and the Enlightenment or adopt a post-foundationalist approach to Christian thought. One wonders why the more nuanced epistemological considerations of thinkers like Robert Audi, William Alston, and David Clark (see his To Know and Love God) seem to be left untouched. In addition to these epistemological questions, I find that McLaren is not particularly good at framing the issues he wishes to discuss. For example, while he does not advocate universalism, it sounds like he (unnecessarily) places in tension the answering of certain soteriological questions and the engagement of the church's mission. Yet, as he says, he intends to be a bit mischievious in his presentation. However, I am not convinced that this is a virtue when discussing such important matters. I recommend this book because it is influencing many people, not because it is particularly compelling.
Reviewed by Timothy Sander
(Port Orchard, WA), March 12, 2008
Do not waste your money or your time with this book. It contains more heresy than orthodoxy. In fact, the title itself is an oxymoron --- by its very nature, orthodoxy is not "generous"; it draws the line in the sand. The only line McClaren draws is against true orthodoxy. He claims to believe the Truth, but by the time he's through twisting things around, the Truth has gotten lost in his post-modern fog. I read this book at the request of a friend, but I can't think of one good thing to say about it.
Reviewed by David
(Alberta, Canada), November 22, 2007
McLaren's "A Generous Orthodoxy" is neither "generous", nor "orthodox". The book begins with an experiential description of seven different Christian traditions and of how McLaren discovered the particular emphases of each group against the (primarily) negative experiences of the formation of his faith. Unfortunately he treats each Christian tradition from the perspective of his own experiences rather than from solid scholarly research. The end result is that he labels the "Jesus" of each tradition is an extremely reductionist manner. As the book is then developed from this analysis, the whole of the book is tainted with a very poor examination of traditions that deserve far better. In addition, the author refuses to be clear on major points of theological enterprise (e.g. the place of hell in a "generous orthodoxy"), and leaves the reader with the experience of extreme frustration, followed by deep sadness that this author is described as being on "the cutting edge" of post-modernity, and a "must-read" for students of the emerging church. McLaren then defines how people who are "generous" fit within a framework that he describes as "emerging". In the process, through invective, pushes out of this circle those who do not hold to his view of what constitutes "Orthodoxy". The only reason to read this book is to understand McLaren's thinking when confronted by those who uphold him as an influence leader of a new wave in the emerging church. Post-modernity deserves much better than this.
Reviewed by Tim
(Canada), August 22, 2007
This book is a clear exposition of what kind of influence postmodernism and oeucumenism can mean in the church. It is a direct threat to biblical doctrine and to sound scriptural exegesis. I would not, at any rate, recommand this book to someone who isn't strongly rooted in the scriptures and the truth revealed in them.
Reviewed by Brian
(Rockport, MA), July 25, 2007
For the record, McLaren states in this book, "The generous orthodoxy of this book . . . consistently, unequivocally, and unapologetically upholds and affirms the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds." McLaren goes on to say "Let me go on record as saying that I believe sound doctrine is very, very, VERY important (Titus 2:1-3:11), and that bad doctrine, while not the root of all evil, is a despicable accomplice to a good bit of evil in the world." I hope these two quotes offer a bit of clarity as some think this book distorts the Christian faith. I would say that this thoughtful book does quite the opposite. I found it to be a very eye opening and intriguing book. Any Christian would do their faith a great service by opening these pages and reading them fresh.
Reviewed by Roger N. Overton
(Lakewood, CA), May 29, 2005
Brian McLaren has some good points on occassion, but most of the book twists and abuses Christianity. He doesn't like traditional Fundamentalism, Protestantism, Calvinism, etc., so he changes what they mean so he can still use the labels. Some how he even blames Calvinism for slavery, Manifest Destiny, and the south African aparthied. I would recommend this only to those who have strong Biblical discernment who are studying postmodernism in the church.Write a review of A Generous Orthodoxy