One of the podcasts I listen to weekly is Unbelieveable. If you have yet to discover it, it is one of the best apologetics shows going. On last weeks show the reformed Baptist apologist, James White, squared off with emergent church leader Brian McLaren. The show is available here. First of all, I was impressed with James’ restraint and professionalism. He obviously did his homework. Second, McLaren seems sincerely concerned for the lost. I have often seen him demonized but he seems very genuine. While McLaren’s empathy is admirable, it has certainly clouded his better judgment. His postmodern stance on Bible interpretation is nonsensical. Like compatriot Rob Bell, he questions biblical truths which have withstood millennia of scrutiny.
James White represented evangelicals well and in fine presuppositionalist style demonstrated that no postmodernist can really live consistently within their worldview. James quoted McLaren’s books and McLaren largely sidestepped. After some discussion, McLaren’s cognitive dissonance became apparent. He argues that because evangelical systematic theology is based on exegesis filtered through a western colonialist worldview, we cannot really be sure about basic doctrines like penal substitutionary atonement. What nonsense!
I wonder does he think John the Baptist was influenced by Western colonialism when he exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!“(Jn 1:29) Seriously…
John the Baptist’s prophetic title for Jesus is theologically rich. It infers the doctrine of substitutionary atonement which would be accomplished by Jesus death on the cross. Thus, fulfilling the pattern set by the Old Testament sacrificial system by the shed blood of the substitute animal which covers sins and propitiates divine wrath by way of atonement. It’s right there in the early first century. Compassion notwithstanding, it seems that McLaren has lost the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).