Brian D. McLaren is an author and leading spokesperson for the emergent church movement, having appeared in interviews on Larry King Live and Nightline and in Time (as part of its list of 25 most influential evangelicals), Christianity Today, and Christian Century.
McLaren is a graduate of the University of Maryland, earning a BA and MA in English. He was also awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Carey Theological Seminary. While teaching college English in Baltimore, McLaren helped start Cedar Ridge Community Church. Leaving his teaching position in 1986 to serve as the church’s first pastor, he began writing books that articulated the emerging church ideas. He resigned his pastoral position in 2006 to continue his international writing and speaking ministry.
McLaren is active in the maze of organizations that identify themselves as part of the emergent church movement, including the Emergent Village, Sojourners/Call to Renewal, Red Letter Christians, and Orientacion Cristiana. He travels extensively and is largely responsible for the international spread of emergent ideas.
The conservative evangelical community has generally distanced itself from McLaren’s theology. In Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, D. A. Carson said, “As kindly but as forcefully as I can, . . . to my mind, if words mean anything, both [Brian] McLaren and [Steve] Chalke have largely abandoned the gospel.”
Emergents discount the possibility of an inscripturated, propositional revelation from God that clearly and authoritatively provides one standard for all people in all places.
It appears that McLaren does offer an alternative to the traditional concept of Hell as the place of everlasting torment for the unsaved. While the doctrine of everlasting punishment disappears from McLaren’s thinking, . . . the final and universal salvation of all humanity emerges in its place.
For McLaren, Hell is not a place of everlasting torment for the unrighteous dead. It is a defining experience of a divine-human encounter, a defining experience of self-awareness and purgation when confronted by God.
Books by Brian McLaren
The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix
(Zondervan 1998, revised 2000)
Finding Faith (Zondervan 1999)
A New Kind of Christian (Jossey-Bass 2001)
More Ready than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix (Zondervan 2002)
A is for Abductive (with Leonard Sweet and Jerry Haselmayer, Zondervan 2002)
Adventures in Missing the Point (coauthored with Tony Campolo, Zondervan 2003)
The Story We Find Ourselves In (Jossey-Bass 2003)
A Generous Orthodoxy (Zondervan 2004)
The Last Word and the Word After That (Jossey-Bass 2005)
Everything Must Change: Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope (Nelson 2007)