People are so uptight about McLaren asking some of the same questions that most of us have thought about… if we’re being honest about it at all :::sigh::: Having read the book myself, I don’t think McLaren is saying that you can be saved without Christ, he is saying that you don’t have to become a “cultural Christian” to be saved.
Thank goodness, I think I would puke if I saw an Iraqi Church that made their people dress up in western clothes, with western hairstyles, and speak English! Isn’t that it? The Church has attached so many cultural things to itself that it is weighed down in irrelevance.
FYI – I don’t believe that “cultural christians” get past go, they don’t get to collect $200, and they don’t get to eat at the wedding feast.
edit – I am struggling with this idea, but it is clear that if we do not “put on Christ”, as in clothe ourselves in Him, if we remain unchanged, comfortable in ourselves and our own abilities, we are already doomed. That’s one reason I can go on when I fail, I see my need, and I crawl to the foot of the cross. I am gaining the perspective that salvation is really about movement and change, in God’s direction. The woman at the well was saved because she changed, was moved… the Pharisee, although without a doubt externally much cleaner was not saved, because he did not change, he was unmoved!
I think all that Mclaren is saying that if you follow Jesus, really obey His commands, do what he says, believe in him ( become a follower of The Way), then your cultural context is irrelevant as long as you have Christ. Keep it, dump it, whatever you think best, only don’t think that it helps you for one minute.
The early church did not separate itself from Judaism, their cultural context, and did not call themselves “christians”. They were followers of The Way, and were known as a sect of Judaism. They only left when they were kicked out.
Frankly, I am starting to disbelieve all of the hype about this being a “Christian nation”. It never was. It always had a substantial majority of imperfect christ-followers in it, doing good, changing their world for the better. But the nation itself was never “Christian”. Too many cowboy brothels, moon-shiners, broken Indian treaties, and such to qualify as that. It was culturally a Judeo-Christian nation, with followers of “The Way” mixed in.
My theology is changing, I am tired of the same old stuff… I think we need to bring forth the fruits of repentance before we go, do, or say, anything further. I don’t get to escape here, this especially is meant for me.
I want my wife and kids to love Jesus, to live Jesus, but if the only pattern they have to go by is the “go to church on Sunday” mentality then I am afraid that they will just not get it. Heck, I don’t get that.