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A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Metho
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A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Metho

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  4,494 Ratings  ·  241 Reviews
A confession and manifesto from a senior leader in the emerging church movement--A Generous Orthodoxy calls for a radical, Christ-centered orthodoxy of faith and practice in a missional, generous spirit. Brian McLaren argues for a post-liberal, post-conservative, post-protestant convergence, which will stimulate lively interest and global conversation among thoughtful Chri ...more
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Zondervan (first published February 1st 2004)
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Victoria Sweatman
If A Generous Orthodoxy is any indication, Brian McLaren seems to be a very nice man. And this is a very nice book. There are plenty of very nice things to say about it. McLaren’s eagerness to embrace complexity is admirable and needed. His self-effacing posture goes some way toward countering the polemical rhetoric of left-right politics. And his critique of a certain kind of Christian fundamentalism is apt, if already a little dated looking back on it from 2014.

As for his prose - well, it does
I found A Generous Orthodoxy thought-provoking. McLaren uses honesty and wit to portray hard things with gentleness. I especially enjoyed the following points:

The Seven Jesuses I Have Known - McLaren discusses in detail the different ways Jesus has been manifested in his life. In particular, I identified with the Conservative Protestant Jesus (since I grew up in a Southern Baptist church…); it was the first time I realized that the Jesus of my church life is not necessarily the Jesus of the rest
Dillon Rockrohr
Aug 15, 2013 Dillon Rockrohr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am tired of reading McLaren with the mindset of an open-minded Christian setting out to defend him from my less generous brothers and sisters. In doing so, I have been holding him at arm's length, racking up the points in his favor, ready to show how he's been right all along and making sure I have explanations for his particularly controversial statements. I'm done with that. I'm done reading him like I'm his attorney before the judges and executioners in our fellow Christian ranks.

I have rea
Karen Mcintyre
Jun 26, 2008 Karen Mcintyre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Anyone wondering how to unite with or accept Christian viewpoint
Shelves: faith
In 1989 I did storytelling at an regional event in PA. The keynote presenter was a Serminary professor Leonard Sweet. What he said resonated deeply with over-simplification was that we no longer live in an either/or world. We live in an AND world. He spoke about paradox and the nature of truth in ways I had not been exposed to and I understood for the first time, why I was uncomfortable with the very conservative Christians who believed that they heard the voice of Jesus in everything in ...more
Oct 08, 2007 Stephan added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any christian or non christian curious about what christianity has the capacity for
this book should not be skimmed, or used to perpetuate further flimsy arguments against the author, but rather digested.
May 27, 2011 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
I enjoy reading books that I disagree with on topics I care about, because I believe that truth can withstand a challenge. I also think it equips me to consider ideas and talk about them with greater care. On that basis, I found this book enjoyable a few years ago when I read it.

What I did not particularly enjoy were McLaren's meticulous and manipulative attempts to be disarming. He's obviously a friendly and intelligent guy who knows the Evangelical landscape like the back of his hand, and he u
Mar 01, 2013 Emi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like traveling around the world, moving through different denominations can nurture in you a sense of appreciation for diversity, unique beauty of each, and awareness of an increasingly larger/whole picture despite the equally increasing tension among the particulars. Such is what McLauren helps us to see through his personal journey of faith, in a very humble, compassionate, and respectful tone that is permeated by the love of God. Much of what he says resonates deeply with my experience and al ...more
Amos Smith
Sep 23, 2015 Amos Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found McLaren witty and whimsical. I like his unique style, with lots of long sentences and parentheses. He bends the language like his own mind bends more than most. He has a supple and fluid use of the English language. His numerous declarative "I statements" may seem exhaustive and bordering on ridiculous to some readers. Yet, he playfully presses the point that the game has changed. We live in a postmodern world that looks very different than anything that's transpired before, a world wher ...more
Nov 13, 2007 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an interesting read. He writes in a clear and concise manner and adds humor to the book that a lot of theology writers don't have. He makes a good case for why we can be all of those things....why we don't have to choose to alienate one another with our titles and labels.
Rena Sherwood

Although considered a crucial book in the development of the emergent church, Brian McLaren’s book is filled with convoluted sentences, lack of organization and perhaps the world’s worst subtitle.

For a time, my brother and I did not get along. We were both raised Born-Again Protestant Christians. He still is and is part of the emergent church movement. I’m an atheist. In 2005, my brother send Mom a book that he thought was one of the most important books in the history of Christianity – Brian Mc
Josiah Faville
Jan 22, 2014 Josiah Faville rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book encourages one to move beyond "right thinking" to something else, something more generous... more dangerous per the critics (a "radically indeterminate anything-goes gospel that means anything and thus is worth nothing"), but per McLaren, more in line with the narrative story of the Gospel. Is there a "right" way to love God 2000 years after Jesus any more than there is a "right" way to love your spouse? "The biblical witness to Jesus Christ as the unique Savior and hope of the world d ...more
Jul 10, 2008 Pete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read my review
Recommended to Pete by: Phil Hudson
The highly scrutinized, non-self-proclaimed manual for the Emerging Church movement.
Pros: I enjoy the thoughtful, stream of conscious, rabbit trail writing that I think McLaren feels at home with. The authors humility and personal pursuit of Christ is evident. I think that the label of "relativistic-pluralist" by some critics is harsh. He is not denouncing the fundamentals of the Gospel, instead is affirming them and encouraging that we constantly grow and mature in our understanding and applic
Thomas Freeman
This book is an apologetic for exercising a "Generous" "Right Thinking" (orthodoxy). Brian McLaren basically considers every category of Christian view that claims exclusive truth. From denominations, movements and even doctrines Brian will try to persuade you to blur all the lines for the box you fit truth in. However, he never confronts the fact that he feels he has the answer on truth that lead him to blur the lines on truth. I do not recommend this book because it has no true substance.

At ti
Chauncey Lattimer
This book was my introduction to the writing of Brian McLaren and, I must admit, it was not what I expected. Though I do not agree with all that McLaren postulates, I found the book to be very provocative and thought-engendering. If McLaren can be put into any box it would have to be one that opposes almost any 'us/them' distinctions. McLaren fulfills his statement regarding he purpose of the book - i.e., that he is writing "to try to help us realign our religion and our lives at least a little ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
This is the book where someone has finally put into words all the questions so many people with a large dollop of 'evangelical' in their background, and a brain that does not stop thinking, have had to keep buried. It is desperately sad that the author has had to face such a backlash for his courage. The author knew it would be like that; readers might understand why, or they might be so furious at the 'heresy' that they join the protests. I recognised so much of what is described, have experien ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I kind of liked McLaren's approach, but he lacked references. I have not read his other books, so am unsure of his destination. I know only a little about the emergent movement.
Mar 25, 2009 Joey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
"I've never heard of a church or denomination that asked people to affirm a doctrinal statement like this: The purpose of Scripture is to equip God's people for good works. Shouldn't a simple statement like this be far more important than statements with words foreign to the Bible's vocabulary about itself (inerrant, authoritative, literal, revelatory, objective, propositional, etc.)?"

"As a generously orthodox Christian, I consider myself not above Buddhists and Muslims and others, but below the
Vance Halfaker
Once upon a time, Vance was an angry Calvinist and hated McLaren without knowing why. So a few years later when he found a copy of A Generous Orthodoxy at a used book store for one dollar, he jumped at the chance to read it and find out why angry Calvinists are obligated to despise McLaren. Vance is still scratching his head as McLaren's book, in addition to being funny and winsome, didn't really say anything that pretty much any Christian hasn't already thought but been too afraid to say.
Greg Dill
Sep 23, 2015 Greg Dill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I knew going into this that McLaren has been pegged with a lot of red flags. The bad publicity alone piqued my curiosity and therefore I wanted to see for myself what the issues were. From my perspective there wasn't any glaring unorthodox views that has caused me to toss the book aside or label McLaren a heretic as so many have done. I have agreed in most part with McLaren's views about salvation. I also like how McLaren draws on the strengths and weaknesses of all the different traditions of t ...more
Geoff Glenister
Jan 07, 2015 Geoff Glenister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I had been putting this book off for quite a while, and now wish I hadn't. I put it off because I feel as though I've "graduated" from the "School of McLaren" to more difficult and scholarly writers. But McLaren has such a way of cutting right to the heart of issues very directly and simply, but doing it in a gentle and loving way. "A Generous Orthodoxy" is really about why labels are too limiting - and when we accept a label and claim it as defining us, we are almost always selling ourselves sh ...more
Sep 29, 2016 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed the book, and actually subscribe to a lot of McLaren's beliefs on Christianity and the role of the church, I'm torn on how he almost seems to be too accommodating to every belief.

On one hand, it's a relief to see someone with views about how Christianity can be more accommodating and less judgmental. As a Christian, I think we spend way too much time focused on the hot social topics, and less on just showing each other love and respect. When we spend more time preaching down each
Aaron Kleinheksel
Jan 20, 2014 Aaron Kleinheksel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me state upfront that I disagree w/ much of what the author argues in this book as far as his theological approach is concerned. In addition, I think anyone who reads this book would be well advised to also read "Becoming Conversant With The Emerging Church" by D.A. Carson. This will give the interested reader a more full-bodied understanding of the issues under discussion.

That being said, this book is a best-seller because Brian McLaren is a very compelling and winsome writer. I like the gu
Brian McLaren is a controversial figure for many, but I enjoyed his frankness in this book. It struck a chord with me in a time when I was looking for more balance among contemporary Christian thinkers. And I appreciated that his arguments are well thought out and not complaining and petulant. Challenging and thought-provoking.
David Blankenship
Sep 26, 2016 David Blankenship rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a decade ago and did not care for it...but perhaps I have evolved in my thinking to be more sympathetic to McLaren's way of thinking about how we live faith. It seems that one's faith is not easily defined, and while McLaren may not be correct in all of his understandings (perhaps 'too' generous in his definition of what Christian faith is...there are some things, actions and attitudes, that we must categorically reject, something I'm not sure he is willing to do in his generosi ...more
Kevin Griffin-Moreno
To say that this book finally helped me realize that I'd become a Christian somewhere along the way would be glib. But I will say that it helped clarify some of my ambivalence over my religious identity. A worthwhile read.
May 15, 2007 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The denominated.
Definitelynt a speed read. This is a book designed for slow digestion and though. Brings forth the beauty of the different parts of the Church, and incites a real desire for more unity or at least tolerance within it.
Ken Orton
Oct 22, 2016 Ken Orton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This is one of those books that has much to offer and much to speed through. It is difficult to review a book on theology without letting your own opinion seep into your evaluation. So, on the positive side the overall way the book is set up is appealing to me, especially the chapters in which information is presented as if that is his choice, although he is clear that it is both a part of his "orthodoxy" but not without issues or problems. I read the hardback which was difficult because for som ...more
Dec 06, 2007 Jhcuatro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that has ever thought about what they believe.
God is way bigger than I. There are people who are challenging the "boundaries" and pushing the "walls" of what it means to be a Christian.

I learned that, "I don't know what I once knew."

Apr 01, 2007 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone disenfranchised with modern day "Christianity"
It guaranteed I would "love this book" on the cover, and it was right. McLaren continues to offer a fresh and interesting perspective on what it can look like for someone to be a Christian this day in age.
Sep 15, 2007 Vera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still reading this. Stopped midway as I started researching the author and finding out if his views (controversial they may be) are seen by mainstream Christian organisations as biblical and legitimate.
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Brian D. McLaren is an internationally known speaker and the author of over ten highly acclaimed books on contemporary Christianity, including A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and The Secret Message of Jesus.
More about Brian D. McLaren...

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“I’m sure I am wrong about many things, although I’m not sure exactly which things I’m wrong about. I’m even sure I’m wrong about what I think I’m right about in at least some cases.” 30 likes
“We must never underestimate our power to be wrong when talking about God, when thinking about God, when imagining God, whether in prose or in poetry. A generous orthodoxy, in contrast to the tense, narrow, or controlling orthodoxies of so much of Christian history, doesn't take itself too seriously. It is humble. It doesn't claim too much. It admits it walks with a limp.” 21 likes
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