When Brian McLaren began offering an alternative vision of Christian faith and life in books such as A New Kind of Christian and A Generous Orthodoxy, he ignited a firestorm of praise and condemnation that continues to spread across the religious landscape. To some religious conservatives, McLaren is a dangerous rebel without a doctrinally-correct cause. Some fundamentalist websites have even claimed he's in league with the devil and have consigned him to flames.
To others though, Brian is a fresh voice, a welcome antidote to the staleness, superficiality, and negativity of the religious status quo. A wide array of people from Evangelical, Catholic, and Mainline Protestant backgrounds claim that through his books they have begun to rediscover the faith they'd lost or rejected. And around the world, many readers say that he has helped them find-for the first time in their lives-a faith that makes sense and rings true. For many, he articulates the promise of what is being called "emerging Christianity."
In The Secret Message of Jesus you'll find what's at the center of Brian's critique of conventional Christianity, and what's at the heart of his expanding vision. In the process, you'll meet a Jesus who may be altogether new to you, a Jesus who is…
Not the crusading conqueror of religious broadcasting; Not the religious mascot of partisan religion; Not heaven's ticket-checker, whose words have been commandeered by the church to include and exclude, judge and stigmatize, pacify and domesticate.
McLaren invites you to discover afresh the transforming message of Jesus-an open invitation to radical change, an enlightening revelation that exposes sham and ignites hope, an epic story that is good news for everyone, whatever their gender, race, class, politics, or religion.
"Pastor and best-selling author McLaren revisits the gospel material from a fresh-and at times radical-perspective . . . He does an excellent job of capturing Jesus' quiet, revolutionary style."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Here McLaren shares his own ferocious journey in pondering the teachings and actions of Jesus. It is McLaren's lack of salesmanship or agenda that creates a refreshing picture of the man from Galilee who changed history."
--Donald Miller, Author of Blue Like Jazz
"In this critical book, Brian challenges us to ask what it would mean to truly live the message of Jesus today, and thus to risk turning everything upside down."
--Jim Wallis, Author of God's Politics and editor of Sojourners
"Compelling, crucial and liberating: a book for those who seek to experience the blessed heat of Christianity at its source."
--Anne Rice, Author of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt
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.