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February 15, 2012 Tags: Christian Unity

Today's video features Brian McLaren. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

Today's video is courtesy of filmmaker Ryan Pettey, director/editor of Satellite Pictures, and features pastor and author Brian McClaren.

In today’s video, Brian McClaren talks about reconciliation in the face of differences. He offers insight into how to treat those whose opinions differ from yours and points out how to have constructive dialogue. Even if we disagree with a person’s ideas, we can still show interest in the person who holds them and why those interests are important.

As he concludes, “To me the invitation to love and understand and in a sense to not be ruled by reactions, that to me feels like it is part of maturity.”

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.

Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders. He graduated from the University of Maryland with his degrees in English (Bachelor of Arts and Masters). In 2004, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Carey Theological Seminary in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and in 2010, he received a second honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary. Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors. He is a popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings around the world. He is also an accomplished writer and has authored books such as A New Kind of Christianity, The Secret Message of Jesus, and Finding Our Way Again.

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Loren Haas - #67942

February 15th 2012

    There goes that radical McClaren guy, throwing bombs again.

    Thank you pastor McClaren for these words that build up the Kingdom instead of splitting it along another fault line. Sounds like something Jesus might have said.

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67997

February 17th 2012

Loren Haas,

There goes that radical McClaren guy, throwing bombs again… Thank you pastor McClaren for these words that build up the Kingdom instead of splitting it along another fault line. Sounds like something Jesus might have said.”

Yesterday, when I first read your facetious use of “throwing bombs”, I smiled.

I guess it stuck in my brain, though, because it kept coming up in my memory. Finally, today, it brought to my mind what I thought might be a Bible passage. After some searching I found it!

And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to BID FIRE COME DOWN from heaven and consume them?”” [Luke 9:52-54]

James and John wanted to be (fire) bomb throwers!

But Jesus tells them ‘No.’

Or maybe “No, not yet”? Because wait until you hear this!

See, after finding the passage above, I did a search on “fire”. And I found the most extraordinary passage. I’m sure I must have read it before, but I guess I had forgotten about it. It seemed new, and more than a little bit shocking to me. Here it is:

I came to CAST FIRE upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? NO, I tell you, but RATHER DIVISION; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” [Luke 12:49-53]

That’s Jesus Christ, Himself talking!

I thought, Jesus Christ! (I quickly added “Help us and save us!”, to make it a prayer, and not something else.)

I thought again about what you wrote vs. what I just read. And I thought

Jesus Christ becomes a (fire) “bomb thrower”, who splits the “Kingdom” ‘along a fault line’!!!

Talk about ironic! What do you make of this?


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68063

February 18th 2012

Dont Blame,

What I make of your statement is that Jesus is the Judge and we are not. 

You seem quick to judge people based on ideas.  Jesus judges people people based on their heart.  The fault line is between those who judge Jesus as not the Messiah because they disagree with His theology, and those who accept Him for Who He is, the Messiah.    

Right now it seems that you do not accept Jesus as the Logos the rational Word of God, Who is the Meaning of Reality.  Jesus is not the fire or the Judge, but He is the Standard by which all humans are judged by God the Father.  Right now in my considered opinion, you stand on the wrong side of that divide. 

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68072

February 18th 2012


You wrote: “Jesus is not the fire or the Judge.”

Versus what Jesus said in my post above, and what He said below:

“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man… “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”” [John 5:22, 26, 27, 30]

Lots of judging will be going on. Jesus even gets the apostles into the act!

“And I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Luke 22:29-30]

Roger, when you finish writing your bible, if you haven’t completed it already, hopefully we can arrange for me to get an autographed copy.

Wikipedia may begin: “The bible by Roger, founder of Sawtellism or Sawtellinanity.”

It may be worth something, someday. It may be the subject of much curiosity. Like this one:



Roger A. Sawtelle - #68099

February 19th 2012

Don’t Blame,

Whether Jesus is the Judge or the Father is the Judge is of no real consequence.  They are both God and the Trinity always works together in all that the Trinity does.  Jesus is the Standard.  We are judged by our relationship to Him.

The main point is that we are not to judge or condemn others as you seem to be trying to do me.  “But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Mt 5:22

I do not mind criticism.  That is a part of life and learning.  I do think that your narrow legalistic attitude sucks and am concerned about your inability to discuss matters of faith in a thoughtful manner.   

Loren Haas - #68073

February 18th 2012


Some Christians find Pastor McLaren’s ideas to be radical, hence a “bomb thrower.” I just find it disarming that instead of speaking of what divides us, he focuses on what unites us. I am the first among sinners in this regard. I have had to leave a church over issues that included insisting on a six day creation. Sometimes I have said harsh things about this, but when I am more filled with the Spirit, I recall the insightfull teaching in other areas and the rewarding fellowship I shared with these brothers and sisters. Pastor McLaren just reminded me of the familiar ties that bind us together as the bride of Christ and how sweet it can be as we build the Kingdom. Let us not allow a fault line to become a place where Satan gains purchase.

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68082

February 19th 2012

Loren Haas,

“he focuses on what unites us.”

I’m all for unity. But not for its own sake, i.e. unity at all costs. Better to say we should focus on unity in the truth.

“I have had to leave a church over issues that included insisting on a six day creation.”

So, you left over issues that were in addition to issues of creation. What were some of the other issues?

“Let us not allow a fault line to become a place where Satan gains purchase.”

A fault line, by definition, destroys unity, unity in the truth. By definition, Satan is sitting on every one of those fault lines. He rules those fault lines. Forget about trying to prevent a fault line from becoming Satan’s purchase. As long as that fault line exists, Satan ALREADY has gained purchase.


PNG - #68077

February 18th 2012

Rather obviously, Jesus wasn’t talking about splitting His Kingdom or believers using a sword on each other - He was talking about the obvious and inevitable split between those in believe in Him and those who don’t. 

What you seem to be a about, whatever your name is, is dividing believers from each other, or do you really believe that the people at Biologos who think that God used evolution aren’t part of the Kingdom? Are you insisting that agreeing with you about evolution is necessary for salvation? If so, I suggest that you are inventing a new gospel, or adding something to the gospel that isn’t there in the Bible.
dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68085

February 19th 2012

PNG (or “whatever your names is”),

How about we take care of first things first?

Which came first, Christianity or the theory of evolution? I think the former.

The title of this blog is “Reconciliation”. How about we reconcile “Christianity” itself, before we worry about reconciling it with something else? I have a distinct feeling that many reading this right now would have misgivings, perhaps serious misgivings, about worshiping at certain “Christian” churches besides their own (assuming they regularly go to church at all.). And as Loren Haas has said here, these misgivings extend beyond issues regarding creation. Frankly, some “Christians” wouldn’t want to be caught dead in any of the other “Christian” churches.

Maybe “Christianity” needs to ‘get its head together’, and ‘grow up’ a bit, before it goes to the altar with any new kid on the block (including someone named Charles).  


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68102

February 19th 2012

Here’s an article about an interesting, surprising complaint from a woman in the old country. “A Muslim Cabinet minister has become the latest member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to urge the country to embrace its Christian HERITAGE. Sayeeda Warsi also said that “militant” secularism poses a threat to Europe, a comment that has angered atheists and highlighted the DIVISIVE political potential of religion. (And note the last paragraph. Stunning.)



Roger A. Sawtelle - #68108

February 20th 2012

Don’t Blame,

I think that you need to understand the difference between Christianity and Fundamentalism.

Of course Islam is legalistic and thus very close to Fundamentalism.  Very likely that is what she meant.

On the other hand I agree that we need to be more Christian in that we need to be less legalistic and more loving and accepting, which does not mean more secular as many assume.

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68120

February 20th 2012


Let’s look a word roots. FUNDAMENTALism.

Are there any fundamentals in historic Christianity?

Let me guess. ‘The only fundamental is…… Logos!’

Because as Fielding said at the end of the article: “it’s potentially a divisive and dangerous issue if it’s taken to anything other than talking in generalities.”



Roger A. Sawtelle - #68121

February 20th 2012

Don’t Blame,

What is your problem with Jesus Christ, the Logos?

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68143

February 20th 2012


Did I hear that, in addition to your own bible, you’re coming out with a children’s game?

“Yes, christian parents! Your child will one day be able to write his or her very own version of the bible, in the proud tradition of Roger, founder of the denomination known as Sawtellinanity! But in the mean time, your child can “build his kingdom”, with Roger’s new creation:


*Patent pending.”


Did I hear that?


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68150

February 21st 2012

Don’t Blame,

Get help. 

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68160

February 21st 2012

Hasta logos, Roger!


I mean, hasta luego.

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67952

February 16th 2012

More nice music to go to bed by.

Does BioLogos sell CDs of its tunes?

Merv - #67972

February 16th 2012

Don’t blame, am I correct to understand from your comment above that you found nothing worthwhile in Mr. McLaren’s talk?  What could possibly be wrong (or unnecessary?) with the call to listen to the strengths of other people’s arguments?


beaglelady - #67976

February 16th 2012


He just enjoys derailing discussions.

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67993

February 16th 2012


As I said, I thought the music was somewhat soothing. I was going to leave it at that.

But since you’ve asked directly, I thought the lyrics, or words, were unremarkable.

Now, here’s something I thought was remarkable. It’s somewhat related to the video above. It’s by an atheist you’re probably familiar with. In 53 seconds he makes some powerful points, and makes a lot more sense than most of the Christians I hear. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/11/17/how-much-do-you-have-to-hate-somebody-to-not-proselytize/


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