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A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey Hardcover – March 28, 2001

3.7 out of 5 stars 200 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

McLaren, pastor and author of The Church on the Other Side, proposes that postmodernism is the road to take in order to move on from the current stalemate between conservative evangelical and liberal Christians. His books are part of his activist work to promote "innovation, entrepreneurial leadership and a desire to be on the leading edge of ministry." Here he has adopted the fictional tale of an earnest, very conservative pastor who has become so burned out in his church life that he is planning to quit the pastorate. Instead, he makes friends with his daughter's science teacher, who leads him to an enthusiastic embracing of postmodernism as applied to the Christian message. In this fictional conversation, McLaren describes this process as a journey of Holy Spirit-guided faith "through the winds and currents of change." His conservative pastor character comes to accept the Bible as a premodern text that presents its message in story and does not have to conform to our modern expectations. The book's attention-grabbing format is an effective mode of presenting McLaren's ideas. Recommended for all public libraries. Eugene O. Bowser, Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“…This book is, quite simply, brilliant…” (Faith for Life, 21/12/04)

"This is a book that heightens the depths and deepens the peaks. Like all the best things in life, it is not to be entered into lightly, but reverently and in the fear of a God who is waiting for the church to stop asking 'What would Jesus do?' and start asking 'What is Jesus doing?'" (Dr. Leonard Sweet, E. Stanley Jones Chair in Evangelism, Drew University, and bestselling author of Post-Modern Pilgrims, SoulSalsa, SoulTsunami, and AquaChurch; coauthor of A Cup of Coffee at the Soul Cafe)

"Get ready to wake up your spirit and breath deep. McLaren's A New Kind of Christian is a street-level, lived excursion into this present millennium-a world where ministry by control, condescension, and smug certainty gives way to incarnational faith." (Sally Morgenthaler, president, SJM Management Co. and author of Worship Evangelism)

"McLaren's courageous and honest reassessment of our cherished customs and cliches stimulates creative thinking on these vital issues. A New Kind of Christian is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in preparing the church to be vital force in the next generation." (Chuck Smith, Jr., senior pastor, Capo Beach Valvary Chapel and author, The End of the World As We Know It)

"...an engaging tale..." (Christianity & Renewal, July 2002)


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Product Details

  • Series: Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078795599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787955991
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James A. Libby on October 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A New Kind of Christian: Thoughts on Brian McClaren's Book

Brian McClaren has written a new and fascinating book entitled A New Kind of Christian. I have a deep affinity with what Brian has both attempted and accomplished here. Brian has stood upon the ramparts, seen the battle around him and is pointing to a new way of being Christian in the 21st century. He is motivated by nothing but love for Christ and his kingdom. He understands that the old wineskins have burst, and that the long-suffering Spirit of God is now pointing out a new way forward. Yet, for all of that - Brian's work is not all of one piece. It is both a thoughtful investigation of evangelicalism's failure to recognize the transition from Modernism to Post-modernism, and also an unsatisfying solution to the problems posed by that shift.

From the very beginning of the book, Brian's observations are unassailable. Post-modernism is a new era - one that has dawned with force in Western culture. Christians aboard the cultural ship of state today watch wide-eyed as the moral machinery of their worldview is getting heaved overboard - piece by piece. They find themselves on a cruise they never imagined. Brian argues effectively that the comprehensiveness of this change is frightening. And yet, like any new era, although the transition is filled with painful changes, it is also filled with unimagined opportunities.

To best make his point, Brian casts his views in the form of a fictional narrative (the lingua franca of Post-modernism!). The protagonist of the narrative is a wizened person of color, appropriately named Neo. Neo is a "new kind of Christian", stuffed full of fresh insights in how to navigate the waters of Post-modernism.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a lot of respect for Brian and this book is a rare gift. I fear that some won't hear the essential message because they'll get bogged down criticizing some of the details. I walked away from it disturbed and refreshed - disturbed because Brian challenged me to a deeper understanding of faithfulness; refreshed because he takes the first steps toward clearing a path for those willing to set aside preconceived notions about what it means to be a Christian. Pastor Dan and his mentor Neo address some of the key issues concerning how we can be faithful followers of Jesus in a world that has largely rejected institution-propped faith as out of touch with both current reality and the original message of Jesus. This book made me rethink my own journey both as a disciple and a pastor trying to navigate new terrrain. Aspects of this book are guaranteed to distress Bible worshippers, denominational loyalists, and institutional addicts. With a firm but loving challenge, McLaren dares 20th Century evangelicalism to pack up and move out of the house of its introverted individualistic salvation and onto the front porch of a 21st Century faith where it can once again be engulfed in the fresh air of a world where God is at work and people are hungry for authentic faith.
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Format: Hardcover
Bryan McLaren, who I'm certain is no stranger to being misunderstood, takes a great risk in "A New Kind Of Christian." He risks finding himself on the wrong side of the Christian establishment.

McLaren's attempt is to open the door of understanding that if we as the Church are going to gain an audience with younger generations (and older post-modern thinkers, as McLaren would point out), we better stop pretending to have all the answers and start being open to some questions. McLaren's premise is that we're not just talking about adding candles to existing services, we're talking about changing the way we think about the Church. McLaren doesn't advocate an addition to or subtration from the gospel. He doesn't advocate a "touchy feely" faith with no moral imperatives at all. What he asks for is an admission that we may not have cornered the market on truth and that there still may be some mystery in this ancient faith.

McLaren asks that we realize that we're fallen people in need of a savior, and that we start following Jesus and making room for others to do so as well. It's not a liberal/conservative duality any more.

McLaren is a well-spoken advocate for an emerging generation that otherwise may not ever find their way into the Church. If you radically disagree with everything McLaren says, look in your church on Sunday or Wednesday and see how many people between the age of 18 & 35(ish) are there that didn't grow up in the church.

If your experience is that Christianity is often to stale and rigid, or if you're dissatisfied with what you've found in your traditional Christian practice, this book is for you. It was a freeing perspective for me, and it helped me find my way back to Christ.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are growing restless with the hang-ups and idiosyncracies of conservative evangelicalism this book is for you. If you find that you are still as committed to the person of Jesus Christ as ever, but have a really hard time swallowing half the things his followers claim you'll find hope in this story. If you are wondering whether there is a third option besides close-minded conservative and wishy-washy liberal you'll find the answer here.
"A New Kind of Christian" is the first steps of author/pastor/conference speaker Brian McLaren at spelling out exactly how the postmodern revolution might substantially alter what it means to be a devoted Christ follower. Previous books both by this author and by other well known spokespeople for postmodern Christianity have really focused primarily on ministry issues and broad cultural trends. These books have dealt mainly with the question of how to minister to a postmodern culture as an outsider who is not fully immersed in it, but they have rarely asked what postmodernism looks like from the inside. In other words, what does it look like for a conservative evangelical Christian to "lose his faith" in conservative evangelicalism and undergo a personal postmodern transformation, while at the same time attempting to hold on to the core of their faith in Christ? Can it be done?
One thing I greatly appreciated about this book, and something that sets it apart from the vast majority of other books on postmodern Christianity, is that it goes beyond the trite formula "postmodernism changes the methods but not the message of Christianity". While there is a sense in which this is true (i.e.
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