Sunday, April 16, 2006

Comparing Dever to McLaren

Nothing But the Blood - Christianity Today Magazine:

For those of you who were at the discussion night at Richview Baptist Church with Brian McLaren, I thought you might enjoy reading this Christianity Today piece from Mark Dever. Dever looks at the atonement, too... but I think he demonstrates the fundamental difference between an "emergent approach" and what I have suggested is needed.

Besides, there is good fodder here for Easter worship!



  1. To be fair, McLaren didn't argue against the penal-substitutionary mode of the atonement. He presented all the views and stopped short of giving his own. (Just in case people read too much into the comparison here.)

    Praise God that Jesus took our place and rose again!

  2. Thanks for that clarification, Darryl. And I agree with your analysis.
    I should have made this clearer in my post, but I was trying to post in a hurry!
    What I was driving at was the difference between just presenting an assortment of views (some of them fundamentally flawed) and leaving it up to the hearer to run with the one they intuitively feel is good - as compared to presenting the views but comparing them to the Word and then proclaiming what the Scriptures say is true.
    McLaren did not proclaim - Dever did.
    And I agree: "Praise God that Jesus took our place and rose again!"
    Happy Resurrection Day!!

  3. McLaren did say after outlining some of the theories of the atonement that he thought it best not to focus on theories of the atonement but on the concept of "Kingdom". That is a little more than just stopping short of giving his own view. It is saying that your view doesn't matter. Put your focus elsewhere.

    He creates a false dichotomy "kingdom not atonement should be our emphasis". Jesus talked a fair bit about His death and what it meant, as well as talking about the Kingdom. Paul talked much about atonement but was not negligent in teaching about the Kingdom. We shouldn't have to choose and we shouldn't imply that different views of the atonement don't matter. Holders of different views can certainly learn from one another but when penal substitution is getting the things said about it such as are being said these days it is certainly time to focus on it and let people know where we are in the "conversation". McLaren cannot be left off the hook just because he said nothing about his view. Absence of something is more than nothing.

  4. Scot McNight is much more generous in the conversation. Right now on his blog he's in the middle of explaining why he thinks penal substitution is an inadequate model in deference to the recapitulation theory, and his thoughts all spawned by Devers article.