Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Carson on McLaren

Readers might be interested in Scot McKnight’s new blog. McKnight is a respected NT scholar who taught for many years with D.A. Carson. In his new blog—JesusCreed.blogspot.com—he is going through Carson’s book on Being Conversant with Emergent chapter by chapter. McKnight comes from an interesting viewpoint, as he respects Carson and is friends with him, and yet is also sympathetic to Emergent. With regard to Carson’s analysis of McLaren, McKnight writes:

No one who reads Brian McLaren or who finds him to be a significant theologian can afford not to read the seventh chapter of DA Carson’s book. Here’s what I mean: if DA Carson is right, McLaren’s book is seriously problematic and not just in a pedantic or miniscule way: if DA Carson is right, McLaren is seriously wrong.

Here are Carson’s conclusions on McLaren’s Generous Orthodoxy:

“Every chapter of this book succumbs to the same elementary analysis. Every chapter has some useful insights, and every chapter overstates arguments, distorts history, attaches excessively negative terms to all the things with McLaren disagrees (even when they have been part of the heritage of confessional Christianity for two thousand years), and almost never engages the Scriptures except occasionally in prooftexting ways” (180).

“Sadly, I find just about every step of McLaren’s argumentation at this point either factually questionable or frankly manipulative” (135).

“I have to say, as kindly but as forcefully as I can, that to my mind, if words mean anything both McLaren and Chalke have largely abandoned the gospel” (186).

McLaren endlessly employs false antitheses to set up his point. So I was especially happy to see Carson forcefully deal with this issue:

“Damn all false antitheses to hell, for they generate false gods, they perpetuate idols, they twist and distort our souls, they launch the church into violent pendulum swings whose oscillations succeed only in dividing brothers and sisters in Christ” (234).