You are hereBrian McLaren: Q2 - The Authority Question

Brian McLaren: Q2 - The Authority Question

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By Virgil - Posted on 24 February 2010

In this second installment, Brian McLaren covers the issue of Biblical Authority and whether or not the Bible should be read as a "Constitution" or as a "Library." Which one leaves space for conversation, exploration and questions, and what are the downsides of either method? Any idea where this leaves prophecy, anyone?

Mick's picture

I still think this is a false dichotomy. Let’s take proverbs 6:16-19 for example:

Proverbs 6:16–19 (ESV) — 16 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Why not read this as a “constitution?” It reveals the heart of God. Now we may need to do some digging to define what if means to have a lying tongue or when is blood innocent and when is it not. We may even want to discuss a social application like abortion in the context of shedding innocent blood. So you see we need both views; “constitution” and “conversation” or whatever label you want to use. Twenty years ago we prefaced much of our speech with the phrase, “my current understanding of this is…” As I have pointed out before, what grows tiresome amongst the “Emergent Sect” is they speak as if they are the only ones who have had doubts and questions in the history of Christianity. I cannot remember a time when I did not have something on the “backburner” to research and try to integrate into what I currently understand the scriptures to teach.

In both as leader of discussion and participant, “study” has always involved asking questions and everyone trying to come up with answers from the text and context. If all we are going to do is have conversation and never come to conclusions; there is no insight in to the heart of God. If there are to be no conclusions, then why do we not hold the same respect for “preterist eschatology” and “dispensational eschatology”.

In my experience the problem arises when I tell someone I do not believe what the Bible says about something, and offer no reason why I do not, without some scriptural support. I suppose that may be reading the Bible as a “constitution,” but if it contains everything for life and Godliness, as it says it does, where else am I to turn for “true” answers.

Mickey E. Denen

Virgil's picture

Let me play the devil's advocate here and see how it goes. The passage you quoted says "six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination" - does this mean that there are 13 things that God hates and only seven are included? Or six things are hated, and then one is left hanging out there to be an abomination? Or they are both an abomination but God only hates one of them? Etc...

McLaren's point is that little good comes out of a "constitutional" reading of the Bible. It only contributes to a legalistic way of understanding Scripture and it may even miss out on the actual point of the message, like my example above. Heck, I could in fact see the Pharisees arguing over WHICH point in the passage can be excluded from the list in order for them to get away with lying or sewing discord.

Mick's picture

Devils don't need advocates, especially Christian ones.

I can play that game too if you like; did you just call Brian McLaren a devil? Of course you did not. Sometime expressions are used to make sure we are listening before the point is made.

Do your questions about 6, 7 or 13 have anything really to do with the heart of God and what God is trying to reveal about His heart. I submit no, it does not. The questions of 6, 7 or 13 are “straining out the gnat” and missing the camel. So with the type of questions you ask you support the very thing you are arguing against. Your argument is self contradictory and as a result irrelevant.

I now apologize for the harshness of my words. I have grown tired of people making the same points over again, repackaged for a new generation and a new book to sell. Oh! I said that before.

Again Mclaren presents a false dichotomy. Oh! I said that before too. :)

P.S. How do we keep the video from replaying everytime we comment on a post? The music drives me nuts. I know I can just mute it but in the old PP format the videos did not start unless you hit the play command.

Mickey E. Denen

Virgil's picture

Mick I fixed the video issue; it was a small configuration change.

My problem is not with what you are saying because in essence I agree with you; I am pointing out what McLaren is saying and how he would argue his point, and I see both sides of the argument.

As far as devils go, he's been called worse names than that...I am sure.

Ransom's picture

As far as devils go, he's been called worse names than that...I am sure.

I've even heard people refer to him as an influence on Virgil Vaduva. A low blow, for sure.

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