Item description for The Secret Message of Jesus : Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything - MP3 by Brian McLaren & Paul Michael...
Overview Pastor and bestselling author McLaren ("A New Kind of Christian") explores Jesus's teaching in this book, placing it in its Jewish context, analyzing its tenets and expression, and trying to work out how it should be lived today. McLaren starts with the assumption that the church may not have accurately understood Jesus's "secret message" (hidden "as a treasure one must seek in order to find"). He revisits the gospel material from a fresh -and at times radical -perspective. The church has focused on salvation as a means to "heaven after you die" for too long, according to McLaren; we should take Jesus at his word when he says "the kingdom of God is here now," and work to assist that kingdom by being peacemakers and loving others. McLaren admits to not exploring every topic here in depth, in an effort to keep the book brief, but he does an excellent job of capturing Jesus's quiet, revolutionary style -the prophet who spoke in parables, who didn't want people to talk about his miracles, who challenged established Jewish thought, and paradoxically found ultimate fulfillment and victory through death. Conservative evangelicals will be critical of some points (and there are weaknesses here), but this book will appeal to a broad spectrum of people who want to understand Jesus.
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Studio: Hovel Audio
Running Time: 440.00 minutes
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.58" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.23 lbs.
Binding MP3 CD
Release Date May 1, 2006
Publisher Hovel Audio
ISBN 1596443669 ISBN13 9781596443662
Availability 0 units.
More About Brian McLaren & Paul Michael
Brian D. McLaren is a Christian thinker, author, and activist. A former pastor with a background in literature, McLaren is the author of over a dozen books, an Auburn Senior Fellow, and board chair of Convergence (convergenceus.org).
Brian McLaren has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Secret Message of Jesus : Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything - MP3?
Political Jesus Oct 22, 2008
I recently read Brian McLaren's bold and challenging book: The Secret Message of Jesus, which was generously provided to me by the publisher in order that I might write about it on this blog.
Let's start with points of agreement. We can affirm much of "the secret message" that McLaren "recovers" in this book. Okay... forget the hyped-up title for a moment (the title sounds more like something from the Gnostic Gospels, or a new Da Vinci Code). If you can get past the McLaren's implicit claim to be just now, after 2000 years, recovering the original message of Jesus, you might just find a lot to agree with.
I appreciate the emphasis McLaren puts on the Kingdom of God as a central component to the gospel. This is missing in many evangelical presentations of the gospel, and its omission is glaring once we read the Gospels in their original context. McLaren is right to bring us back to the idea of God's reign and Christ's lordship as being central to the gospel.
I also affirm the aspects of the gospel that transform life on earth here and now. McLaren does a terrific job of reminding us that Christians should be working to see life here and now look more and more like life in the new heavens and new earth. He challenges us out of complacency to begin working to bring that future into the present. He rightly corrects several mechanistic views of "heaven" and shows how the biblical portrait of God's presence is so much greater than what we have settled for.
But it's here that McLaren swings the pendulum too far... way too far. McLaren's passion for seeing the Kingdom at hand, in the here and now, leaves hardly any hope for the hereafter. You won't find much here about hell or judgment or God's wrath. Instead, you will find an agenda for social action to make our world a better place. Not to say that this advice is useless, but McLaren's social agenda divorced from personal conversion through faith in Christ as the means of salvation leads us to the same cliff as last century's social gospel liberalism.
McLaren frowns on the evangelistic mentality that focuses on "saving souls from hell" because it conflicts with his embrace of inclusivism, which oozes out of this book at every point. Notice how many times he mentions Jesus' "inclusiveness." Not to say that he is altogether wrong when he speaks of Jesus' building bridges to outsiders. Evangelicals can too easily build walls between us and the people we're called to minister to. And in this sense, our exclusivist attitude is an affront to a loving God.
But if inclusiveness means embracing and accepting anyone (including Muslims, Hindus, and Jews) as part of God's Kingdom, we are far from the biblical picture that demands allegiance to the King (Jesus).
McLaren is delightfully counter-cultural when it comes to our capitalistic, consumerist, Western-soaked mindset. He shows how our worldviews fall short of the biblical picture. That is why it is so frustrating to watch him then capitulate so quickly to postmodern culture by refusing to preach Jesus as the world's True Lord and the only way to God. Where's the counter-cultural claim that Jesus is Lord and that His lordship is exclusive? Where's the counter-cultural biblical teaching on human sexuality? McLaren is counter-cultural in some ways and woefully culture-embracing in others.
Also troubling, he redefines repentance as "discovering you may be wrong." Is that it?
I thoroughly enjoyed much of McLaren's book, but I kept wanting him to say more, to be bolder in confronting our pluralistic, postmodern worldviews, not just the comfortable evangelical ghetto we inhabit.
That brings me to my final critique. The church and her role in salvation history is completely missing in this book. McLaren rightly condemns church abuses in the past and how Jesus' followers have botched His message. But McLaren never comes around to speak of the importance of the local church for God's Kingdom. McLaren advocates small group discussions of his book. But nowhere does he direct his readers to the broken, fallen, but nevertheless divinely commissioned followers of Christ found in churches all across the world.
I come away from this book saddened. Does theology have to be "either-or" all the time? Is there anyone who can effectively bring together the present implications of Jesus' message without neglecting its future implications? Is there anyone who can counter both evangelical culture's love affair with modernist assumptions and our world's blind leap into postmodernism's arms?
False teaching Oct 15, 2008
What a louzy book. There is no secret message of Jesus. What Jesus has to say is completely found in God's Word, the Bible. It is the message of repentant faith found solely in the Savior, Jesus-- only one way for salvation. McLaren is very misinformed and trusts humanistic/ecumenical ideas and reinterprets sola scripture. Stay away from this book. It is completely flawed. God to God's Word. It alone is sufficient!
Too safe by far Sep 8, 2008
This is the type of book that spiritually immature readers will castigate as they will perceive it as being anti-Christian or even anti-Jesus. In reality, it reads as a harmless, non-threatening, sermon.
Clearly, the author is frustrated with the current state of Christianity, and the world at large, and is trying to get his readers motivated enough to make changes. He correctly states that Jesus came to change the world, but regrettably, and owing to his own theological presuppositions, the author does not face up to the Big Lie of the Church - that Jesus came to die for our sins.
Honesty is what is now required from Christian leaders. Not more of the same. The forced and myopic interpretations of the past no longer wash. Honesty is the absolute prerequisite before any meaningful transformation can occur anywhere. But the author skirts around all the essential issues. Without a rejection of the manipulative and misleading concepts about Jesus himself, then Jesus' message can never be understood and will always be subject to confusion.
Great Introduction to the Kingdom of God Jun 15, 2008
This book is written on a level that is very accessible and easily understandable. Therefore, I would recommend it if you haven't read much on the Kingdom of God and/or Jesus' message before. You may find McLaren's writing to be somewhat less "loaded" or profound than other writing on similar themes (take, for instance, that of N.T. Wright or Donald Miller). However, it still strikes some very relevant chords and makes some inspirationally "radical" observations. The thematic strands are very well laid out and easy to follow. A good read, all around.
Why didn't we get this sooner? Jun 6, 2008
Brian McLaren's goal in this book is a part of his journey to better understand Jesus, His message and His Kingdom. McLaren is curious, he is a learner, an explorer, an excavator, an observer, a discoverer, a thinker and a truth seeker. In this book McLaren explores three areas, Jesus and his times, the message of Jesus and our time, our world today and his hope is that our curiosity will not be satisfied in the reading of this book but ignited as we continue to explore its application.
I like McLaren's style of raising and asking questions, digging, searching, looking at the Jewishness of Jesus, the religious backdrop of prophet and priest of that history and context. This will be very helpful for people that consider Jesus a great teacher and or a prophet. He explores the political and social message of Jesus in a land that was occupied by Rome, the superpower of the day. I think that it is sometimes easy for us to read the Bible, consider the life of Jesus and even become followers today without fully grasping what that message meant to the hearers in Jesus' day. It was good to be reminded.
McLaren reflects on Jesus' private and public conversations, his parables, his language, his indirect or hidden approach that eventually becomes visible, that raise questions, that require further engagement not just the sharing of information. "This form of parable helps to shape a heart that is willing to enter an ongoing, interactive, persistent relationship of trust in the teacher." page 46. " It was the most religious who seemed to get the secret message of Jesus the least, and the least religious who seemed to get it the most." page 81.
What does this book say to us today? It raises the significant question, what does the Kingdom of God look like in the 21st century? How do we live out the life of God in every sphere of society today? If the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us today, what does it look like and when it comes, what can we expect? What is our role to play or where do we start? This book gives us some things to think about and to act upon.