Thursday, May 18, 2006

In Review: The Secret Message of Jesus

Last week I finished Brian Mclaren's new book The Secret Message of Jesus. My conclusions about the book itself are mixed, though the only negative thoughts are primarily personal (and in view of it's intent the positive outweighs my negative sentiments). I certainly have gained a deep respect for Brian as a missiologist. He not only knows the culture that he his hoping to reach, by the work of the spirit, but also he has written a book that is biblical, in a holistic sense.

As I mentioned in an earlier post his influences are clear. N.T. Wright and Walter Brueggemann I'd say seem to have had a very formative influence, as well as Dallas Willard. So TSMJ, to some extent, can be viewed as a popular synthesis of their works in a missiological framework. This aspect of the book is truly hospitable. Also, and I think this is of vast importance, he shares a subversive Gospel (thanks, no doubt, to N.T. Wright) that challenges empire, of every variety.

To a Christian that is both politically conflicted (think Sojourners) and also acquainted with Mclaren's influences, the primary sources if you will, TSMJ feels a little...well lite. But, while I find a it little 'lite' for my tastes, I think, in that we can see part of Mclaren's intent. Remember spiritual infants need spiritual milk. So, while it didn't conform to my desires I can say that for its intent TSMJ is a success.

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