Review: Brian McLaren's 'A New Kind of Christianity'
Has McLaren answered his critics or simply given them more ammunition?

Scot McKnight, a regular contributor to Ur, has written a review of Brian McLaren's latest book for Christianity Today. McLaren and his ideas have been the subject of much debate in recent years. Does A New Kind of Christianity pacify his critics or add more fuel to their fire? McKnight has a breakdown of the book's strengths and weaknesses, but in the end finds McLaren's perspective a rehash of established liberal theology.

A New Kind of Christianity shows us that Brian, though he is now thinking more systemically, has fallen for an old school of thought. I read this book carefully, and I found nothing new. It may be new for Brian, but it's a rehash of ideas that grew into fruition with Adolf von Harnack and now find iterations in folks like Harvey Cox and Marcus Borg. For me, Brian's new kind of Christianity is quite old. And the problem is that it's not old enough.

Read the full review at

You can also read Brian McLaren's response to Scot McKnight's review on his blog.

March 18, 2010

Displaying 1–2 of 2 comments


March 19, 2010  9:33pm

I agree with McKnight's assessment, except that it is a little bit too kind. The slick double talk of McLaren spinning spinning his old modernism as "new" is very dark (evil) in my opinion, much like wool glued onto a wolf's body. I'm not fooled by it. McLaren is right that evangelicalism is in great need of spiritual transformation, but like Joseph Smith years ago, McLaren does not offer one truthful transformation. He has the wrong antidote for what evangelicalism needs.

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March 18, 2010  10:43am

I read Scot McKnight's review on his blog when he posted it. I happily agree with him, though I think in some ways he let Brian McLaren off too easy. The failure of McLaren's theology is a reflection of the larger problem in the Emergent group. They have offered nothing but rehashed and remodeled modernistic liberalism from the last half of 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. There is just nothing new about his views here. What is really dangerous about the McLaren's text is that it has some weird kind of passive aggressive angst towards anyone who (rightly) disagrees with him. Its weird. His views aren't surprising and aren't well informed. In fact they seem like he just came up with them from experience instead of engaging the Scriptures. McKnight's review is a good one.

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