Before I get to the articles, in studying for this week's Young Adult study, I was struck by the stern rebuke of the risen Christ. Some of McLaren's universalism sounds nice. I wish it was true, but the stern warnings of Revelation, imminent judgment also promised, seem a far cry from McLaren's happy thoughts on divine judgment and the particularism of Scripture. Just a thought, now to at least one guy who really knows what he's talking about, and certainly two guys who know more than I do...
I encourage you to hit the links below for nuance, but what I most appreciated from Dever was the need for the church, despite its warts, to form people. There is much to be critical about in the church, but it is God's vehicle of transformation much more than other forms of experiencing Him (swimming with dolphins, etc...), as great as they may be. He also nails McLaren for false dichotomies. For example, salvation isn't about heaven, McLaren says through his characters, but about being good, transformed. I think this is a huge issue that McLaren touches on, but Dever reminds me to not fall into the false dichotomy - it isn't an either/or thing. It is both/and. Why didn't I think of that? Most importantly for me, Dever does a good job of reminding us of the centrality of Scripture. God can speak in a ton of different ways. I don't dispute that, but never as clearly as in His Word - that is described as a foundation, not a spiderweb (Eph. 2.20).
The second article by Miller didn't have a bunch of new stuff, but there was one great point. Perhaps the most interesting perspective McLaren laid out was the transition of eras and pointing to how Luther and the Reformers were moving the church into the new age. I thought it a good point, but I was corrected (rightly) by Dever that Luther was not trying to forge into new territory, but to point people back to the forgotten truth of Scripture - justification by faith.
These were profitable reads all around - good food for thought and good reminders of the basics for those of us who tend to get caught up in a good story.
The Link to Dever's article: http://www.9marks.org/CC/article/0,,PTID314526%7CCHID598026%7CCIID1946990,00.html
Miller's article: http://www.evangelsociety.org/miller/anewkindofchristian-review.html