Wings of wax?
The Strange Yet Familiar Tale of Brian, Rob, and Don
A decade ago, they stood as the leading voices for our evangelical future. We all know what happened since. But do we know why?

At the author's request, this post has been removed.

Kevin writes,

"I still stand by my fundamental point in this article, namely, that we need a movement-wide, soul-searching look at the results of our ecclesiology. However, the article has produced a food fight in the church's cafeteria that I did not intend. I regret that it has not been helpful to the body of Christ.

It's Lent, a time to be quiet, confess my own sins, and serve the people in need in my own parish and community."

Thanks to all for your honest dialogue and engagement on a pressing issue. - Paul

February 18, 2014

Displaying 1–10 of 53 comments

Cary Peterson

April 06, 2014  10:12am

Its surprising when you chuck a bunch of food at people and they don't sit and take it. It is disappointing the author does not stand by his opinion, rather than pulling the story. A large church in my area is in the process of doing the same. I guess the author needed to trim his sails rather than standing by what he said.

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David Wierzbicki

March 06, 2014  3:03pm

I am saddened that the author's comments following the removal of the article do not include an apology to the Christians whose faithfulness he decided to question. To Brian, Don, and Rob; your faithfulness resulted in me rediscovering God roughly a decade ago. I don't know where my life would be if it weren't for radically spiritual people like you who helped me discover a more thoughtful and empathetic way of faith in a simultaneously wondrous and shattered creation.

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Mary Miller

March 06, 2014  2:52pm

I am astonished that this article was taken down, and the conversation about it was minimized to "a food fight in the church's cafeteria." Would he have taken the article down if more of the responses showed agreement with him? What happened to the need for "honest dialogue and engagement on a pressing issue"?

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John Ford

March 04, 2014  7:26am

Honestly, I don't know what to make of this piece. It's just so odd to see a Protestant appeal to the authority of the church so clearly. It makes me wonder: will Mr. Miller be returning to the Catholic church? Does he want to undo the Reformation? It was just...odd. And the utter lack of introspection, of consideration that perhaps the critics mentioned had any points worth considering, was very disheartening. That said, Mr. McLaren's response was lovely.

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James Wheeler

March 03, 2014  10:52pm

How does this article describe leaving church as ironic? I think that leaving church or at least stepping a few paces away from right wing evangelicalism is neither ironic nor heretical. It seems pretty logical given their personal journies. Lets not overblow this either. Did the three men become atheists? No. So the problem is that there evangelicalism is not approved of my Mr. Miller. No big deal.

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Phil Moser

March 03, 2014  9:08am

It might be useful to look how the church handled issues of scripture & conscience. Slavery came to mind, like the current concerns there is a conflict in how we understand scripture & issues of conscience. The record of the American slavery debates will show the decades long debates were between well armed literal scriptural folks & those of conscience with biblical principals & not as many verses. If you were on anti-slavery side, you would envious of the number of biblical texts available to the other side. I am troubled by the 50 years of the scriptural debates which prolonged the awful suffering of generations of God's people. I would to like see Kevin Miller argue, from a literal scriptural framework, the case against slavery. I believe the pro-slavery folks would leave him looking like a faithless liberal, scriptural compromisor. How long would it take before he would buttresses his position with his conscience & Biblical principals?

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Fred Massie

February 28, 2014  2:04pm

Thanks Kevin for a great article. I really don't see this as an "us and them", situation. It's really a "scripture or me" issue. It's as if, somehow, they find a reason to view Paul as extraneous. Believe me, I've heard people say....supposedly "christian" people... "Paul was a bigot". We need a renewed understanding that we are called to passionately defend the faith that was "once for all delivered to the saints".

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Tania Harris

February 27, 2014  4:16pm

I was extremely disappointed to see this article published here and it has sadly effected my view of this publication. Thank you to Brian for your very thoughtful and well-written response. To state that the reason for the rejection of these three men is the pride of celebrity, is such an insult to the intelligence of these highly dedicated and thoughtful Christian leaders.

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Michael Stell

February 27, 2014  6:54am

Unlike most people who have responded to this article, my problem with the author is that he doesn't go far enough. I absolutely agree that Evangelicalism as a whole has a deficient ecclesiology. The inclusion of his three interlocutors seems puzzling because he does not connect them to his conclusions, with the possible exception of one thing - Miller's "do-it-yourself-communion." I absolutely agree that this is reflective of evangelicals diminished view of the church, but then Miller does not do anything with that. Yes, we need to think of the Church as our mother - the Reformers certainly thought and taught in those terms. But a key part of that is a proper understanding of the sacraments as means of grace. The Church, as the body of Christ, feeds us through the preaching of the Word and the ministry of the sacraments. I reject this at my peril. But Miller's solutions have nothing to do with this. They fall flat ultimately because they are not radical enough.

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David Perez

February 26, 2014  3:36pm

THANK YOU BRIAN MCCLAREN FOR YOUR HUMBLE RESPONSE! it saddens me that kevin miller's article was even published by CT to start this whole thing. i, for one, am tender to voices of love and civility in the faith we share and continue to run from the doctrinaires, like kevin miller. my christianity has been made deeper by the voices of brian, rob, and don because it has become more compassionate and understanding and more devout. in your own words, kevin's article was called "controversial" and "sharp" but not because it's original or even artful, but because it's battering and hubristic (which i would hope would disqualify it's publishing). kevin miller calls for a "loftier ecclesiology". just what we need, higher walls in the church to keep the love that Jesus talked about in. man! i'm pretty sure i read this story before.

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