Brown presents Christian history as the dialectic of orthodoxy, heresy, and the response to heresy. Without heresy, the Church would not be what we know today.
And this is a very nice book. There are plenty of very nice things to say about it. His self-effacing posture goes some way toward countering the polemical rhetoric of left-right politics. And his critique of a certain kind of Christian fundamentalism is apt, if already a little dated looking back on it from As for his prose - well, it does its best not to remind you that the person who wrote it used to be an English instructor.
Forgive me if that sounds a little ungenerous. This is in many ways a difficult work to critique, given its espousal of imperfection and indeterminacy as virtues. That part of it at least. As the book rightly understands, certainty—from the time Emerson diagnosed it as foolish consistency to the more modern guises McLaren names absolutism, totalitarianism, fundamentalism, etc.
A dose of uncertainty keeps us honest, keeps us working. Where the book loses me, though, is in its unwillingness to really grapple with the messy, difficult, potentially irreconcilable, and probably not very nice implications of trying to fit all these systems and attitudes together.
By leaning away from these problems, McLaren ends up neutering exactly what he means to affirm. He insists against charges that his generous orthodoxy represents a kind of relativism that responsibility is central to human interaction, but is loath to concede that actual rules, guidelines, or prohibitions be part of it.
He relates the story of a Christian friend who taught her daughter that Muslim women wear veils to show that they love God, but fails to show how that example is practically different from the one-size-fits-all brand of tolerance promoted by COEXIST bumper stickers and the like, where no one says anything bad about anyone else for fear of either causing offense or inviting criticism on themselves.
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Sure, he takes a winding route through postmodernism, skepticism, and multiculturalism, breaking down and holding together a number of different traditions and ideologies, including conservative ones.
But Dorothy spent most of that movie working her way through Oz and still ended up in Kansas. I only wish he would apply that same critical focus to the hypocrisies and dysfunctions that also exist within the systems he praises, if he means to be at all as rigorous as he claims.Comparing the Christian family to our own extended families, he contends that each denomination has a unique, valuable perspective to offer on the Christian faith.
The traditions he examines are Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Anglicanism, Baptists, Pentecostalism, and Methodism. The sacraments are rituals in which material elements such as bread, wine, water, and oil serve as visible symbols of an invisible grace conveyed to recipients.
sacraments A saint is a holy person (Latin, sanctus). O What has been one major conservative Christian response to Deism and liberal theology? To assert a hierarchy among the elements of the Quadrilateral; scripture first, tradition second, Reason 3rd, experience as a distant 4th.
The Calvinist emphasis on the written Word results in the centrality of the pulpit and the preaching ministry in worship. Orthodoxy with its emphasis on the Word made flesh leads to liturgical worship, liturgical vestments, the use of incense and icons, and most importantly the centrality of the Eucharist in worship.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, with its headquarters located in the City of New York, is an Eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, The mission of the Archdiocese is to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, to teach and spread the Orthodox Christian faith, to energize, cultivate, and guide the life of the Church in the United States of America according to the Orthodox.
The sacraments are rituals in which material elements such as bread, wine, water, and oil serve as visible symbols of an invisible grace conveyed to recipients.
sacraments A saint is a holy person (Latin, sanctus).