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A Fellowship of Differents by Scot McKnight
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The book seeks to describe what the Church is supposed to look like, specifically, as a Body with many different parts who are united in Christ. McKnight emphasizes two points: the diversity of the Church and, in light of this diversity, the challenge of unity.

The book is refreshingly ecumenical and (as one might expect and hope from such a title) diverse. McKnight does a good job of exposing the homogeneity in many evangelical churches. And really this is a book written for evangelicals, as a corrective for evangelicals. And as a book for evangelicals, it suffers from the typical evangelical problem: looking so appealing to the world so as not to be distinctive from it. I sense in McKnight a desire to paint a vision of the Church so that would be palatable to 21st century urban populations so as not to give offense: a) by saying everyone is equal (radically so: despite many Paul dictions between the sexes, McKnight manages to act like those distinctions don't matter when it comes to church authority... an innovative idea, which is the product of recent cultural moves) b) homosexuality isn't that bad really (McKnight lands on the orthodox position on homosexuality and still maintains a solid and deeply (and appropriately) compassionate to the struggles of the gay community, but he seems to reluctantly accepts the historic Christian response to sexual sin). It is McKnight's radical sense of equality that is the more disturbing of the two. (I'd bet he would say that my being disturbed is exactly the point.) It is not disturbing because of the conclusions he comes to, but because of the methods he uses to get there: he totalizes one application of doctrine (e.g. Paul's treatment of race) to include (almost) all other applications (e.g. gender); he ignores much of Paul's application of gender issues in particular (Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Tim 2); and he ignores 1970 years of Church history as well.

But despite these two faults, the book is worth a read. I was challenged by McKnight's vision of inclusion... it will change the way I live. If I'm reading McKnight correctly, I disagree with him on the ordination of women, but I was also challenged... the great weakness of the historic Christian position on the ordination of women is: "Well, what CAN women do in the church!?" I was challenged by his emphasis on the Holy Spirit as well (though I think here too, he opens the door methodologically for liberalism and apostasy).

I'm thankful I read this book, but I recommend it cautiously. Read it with a critical eye.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 21, 2016 – Shelved

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