Engaging Brian McLaren’s New Book “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?”—Preface

Post Series

Reimagining Christian Religious Identity (Part 1: The Crisis of Christian Identity)
Reformulating Christian Doctrine (Part 2: The Doctrinal Challenge–1)
Reformulating Christian Doctrine (Part 2: The Doctrinal Challenge–2)
Reconstructing Christian Practices (Part 3: The Liturgical Challenge)
Redefining Christian mission (Part 4: The Missional Challenge)

On September 11, 2012, Brian McLaren released his newest book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World. While I wonder who is still reading McLaren anymore, a few weeks ago I picked up and finished reading this newest iteration in McLaren’s theological enterprise. I was interested in reading it because I spent my ThM thesis, and subsequent book, tracing the theological development of liberal Kingdom grammar from Friedrich Schleiermacher to Brian McLaren. So I wanted to see where this trajectory has taken McLaren.

After finishing his book I am not at all surprised at his conclusions. In the end, McLaren is a dyed-in-the wool religious pluralist, along the lines of Huston Smith. While his ideas stopped being Christian at least two years ago with his theological opus, McLaren’s latest takes the cake. Which is why I’d like to spend 5 blog posts reviewing it, beginning Wednesday with an introduction. The other four will focus on the book’s four parts: reimagining Christian religious identity; reformulating Christian doctrine; reconstructing Christian practices; and redefining Christian mission.

So if you’ve been wondering what Brian has been up to, and would like some interaction with his ideas, then stick around the next 2 weeks for what should prove to be a very interesting set of posts.

PS—These blog posts will form the final part of a short, cheap ebook I’m launching at the end called The Gospel of Brian McLaren: A New Kind of Christianity for a Multi-Faith World. It will include these posts and the chapter on McLaren’s Kingdom grammar from my Kingdom book. All for $2.99!



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  • mikewittmer

    I also “wonder who is still reading McLaren anymore,” and now I know. Looking forward to reading your review–it’ll help me decide if I need to buy it!

    • http://www.novuslumen.net Jeremy

      I didn’t realize you still read my blog, Mike! Yes, apparently I am “one of them.” Probably not worth the buy, but it’s quite the read that’s for sure—especially when he says we should transform the celebration of Christmas day from celebrating Christ’s birth to “a birthday party…for the new humanity.” I’d like two birthday parties like the next guy—but I mean, come on!

  • BOB

    Brian McLaren just made reference to John 14:6 on his blog.

    “In the Q & R times on the book tour, in about 14 out of 18 cities someone asked about John 14:6. I’ve written about this at some length in Secret Message of Jesus and A New Kind of Christianity … and also addressed it in the new book.”

    I’d be interested in getting your insight into comparing how his handling of John 14:6 in these 3 books looks. Has he always said the same thing or has it shifted over time? Is his position clearer now than it was in the past?

    • http://www.novuslumen.net Jeremy

      Hi Bob. Thanks for stopping by—and for your questions. He does, and I’ll check out how he deals with it in the other books for a shift, a development and report back. I can’t remember off hand where he talked about 14:6, but what I can say is that he doesn’t believe Jesus actually is God. He’s merely the highest representation of God’s character. And salvation for Brian is merely living the universal human ideal of love—which Jesus models for humanity through his loving life example.

  • BOB

    “he doesn’t believe Jesus actually is God. He’s merely the highest representation of God’s character”

    I’d like to see that demonstated.

    • http://www.novuslumen.net Jeremy

      I will. But my Kingdom book does a better job of explaining, particularly because it traces the development of his theological system from generations of theological liberals from the past.