Sunday, January 21, 2007

Brian McLaren, Arminius and What I'm Reading, and Why

I have not posted anything about my reading since beginning my blog, but I thought I'd go ahead and do so. I know boring, boring, boring, but then again people who read blogs are readers, and a glimpse into the reading records of another person is a glimpse into the workings of their mind.

So here is what I am reading at this moment, and why.

I am reading Brian McLaren's book "The Secret Message of Jesus." I am reading it, because I thought that since I am putting a book proposal together, I should keep up with the popular writings in the Emergent Church. That was the only reason I bought the book. Dang, that's real redemptive ain't it? I have read through to the end of the 8th chapter. It's been slow going - not because the book is a difficult read, but because I just couldn't get into it. I got to chapter 7, and 8. I read those last night, and got out the underlining pen. When I get out the underlining pen that's huge. I usually reserve the underlining for writers like Chesterton.

Brian McLaren presents some thoughts in chapter 7 and 8 which speak to my question to Tony Jones the other day about how Pentecostals and Emergent folk could fit together. Not that the answer is practically solved, but the theological considerations are in place through these chapters - well, I think they are. More reading to go. Maybe I'll say more later.

I am also slowly plucking my way through the writings of Arminius. Why? Because everyone reading theology reads Calvin. After reading Calvin, they feel that they have a lot to say about the Calvinist/Arminian debate, but I've never heard that they read Arminius. So I am at the 4th Oration of the first Volume of the Works of Arminius. I am reading them online at - which if you do not know about, you do now, and you should go there to read classics for free at least once a month - so methinks.

I generally dislike reading passages of scripture strung together to create something like a Systematic Theology, but this is the first time I have ever been impressed by a theologian's ability to connect sciptures together in a readable and dynamic fashion. Whatever you think about Arminian doctrine as it is presented today, this guy is worth a read if you enjoy the dryness of theology.

I only read one thing I would disagree with, that would have to do with my view of the voice of God speaking to humanity today. I am more of a mystic than Arminius I suppose.

Okay, that's it for now. What are you reading? and why do you think I should I read it? or avoid reading it?


Anonymous said...


You are one high energy guy. Three blogs updated. Pastoring a church. AND reading classic theological writings plus other books.

I can't keep up with that. Not that I feel the need to.

I have been thinking about this Pentecostal/ Emergent blending you have been mentioning. I thought I knew what "emergent" was until I saw you regularly capitalize it and mention that most of them were Democrats.

So define "Emergent" for me.

Then if both these groups will take seriously the scripture in Ephesians about maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond the bond of peace...what's the hang up?

Unity isn't about doctrine. It is about knowing the peace of the in-dwelling Christ and functioning from there, no?

Since I'm here instead of the other blog...I really related to your piece about Jesus as heretic.

Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

At CCEL are the works of George MacDonald. Ever read him?

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Ded,

My next post will give a link to a Christianity Today article which does a great job of defining the emerging church, separating it from Emergent, and defining the streams of the movement.

I'm with you on the unity issue, but unity is always easier to talk about, andin my experience the people who talk about it the most, practice it the least. Ultimately they preach it to demand others to fall in line with what they believe and do. That's one sick form of unity.

Pastor Phil said...

I've not read much of George, and not for many years now, but thanks for mentioning it, because I needed the reminder to go back read him.

Jenelle said...

Here's what I'm reading and why you should read them:

The Shaping of Things to Come (Hirsch and Frost) - You've probably already read this. It is a buoyant call to the church to reclaim her missional posture.

Simply Christian (NT Wright) - A nice defense of the faith in readable language. A step down from Mere Christianity, but still well done.

Listen to me Satan! (Annacondia) -
Translated from Spanish. Not the most well-written thing, but fascinating. The story of Argentine evangelist, Carlos Annacondia. He begins every sermon with a directive that Satan let go of his hearers, at which point hundreds of people in the crowds begin manifesting demons visibly. It's been documented by non-Christian journalists that these strange things actually happen. And then people supernaturally encounter the power and love of God, some through visible healings and miracles.

Pastor Phil said...


Actually I've not read any of these yet. I find myself most interested in the book by Annacondia

Jenelle said...

Yeah it's pretty wild. I had to buy it cause everyone else I was reading kept quoting the dude. I can send it to you when I'm done.

Pastor Phil said...


Oh, that would be more than way cool!

Anonymous said...

That is certainly some serious meat that you have on the platter. Must be sure to leave room for the brandy and cigars... now that is living *snicker*

I must admit that Arminius is a challenge, especially in light of the fact that I have both strong reformed and pentecostal theological bents (hence why I like Driscoll) :)

Be that as it may, I do wish I had more time to devote toward reading to catch up on some of the more contemporary readings. I have been reading alot of the Early Church Fathers over the past few months, some works from C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer. I like some of the devotional works by the Puritans which I have found to be a tremendous help in my private times. The most recent works I have been trying to plow through include Grenz's Primer on Post Modernism; "Postmodern Times": A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture by Gene Veith; and two larger works which fall in the flavor of "Biblical Theology", which I really enjoy because of its simple and concrete description of the "Meta-Narrative" of the Gospel contained through the Holy Scriptures, "Biblical Theology" by Geerhardus Vos and "The Drama of Scripture":Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story by Craig S. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen. This work is especially refreshing compared to reading the dry systematic theology and it brings balance, I think, with the emphasis of today's contextualized teaching of scripture. If any of you are in San Diego/Southern Cal area, or if you will be in the area next month, the Author Michael Goheen will be speaking at a seminar in February. I think you can either Google it or check out some details from the Acts 29 Network Ministries (I hope it was ok to give him a plug) I normally do not do that but I just really enjoy this book and cannot wait to hear what he has to say. Anyways, time for me to catch some zzz's

Thanks for your plug of your books you are reading and thanks again for your insight and feedback.


William (hylander)

Anonymous said...

The Truth

It is the only thing written in stone and it can be very ugly. The truth stares right back at you, unblinking. Truths can be covered up or ignored. The truth is looked up to, not down upon. Is the answer Truth...

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Anonymous,

I have seen a number of epitaphs written on stone.

Anonymous said...

...on the cover of the "Rolling Stone" .... :)

Fois, na sithean