Brian McLaren is one of the major leaders in the Emerging Church movement. This book sets out his basic argument as to why this new transition in the Church is pivotal. McLaren writes a fictional story based on a true story. Character names and events are different, but the conversations are very much the same.
The main argument of the book is that since the culture is changing, the Church must therefore change with it. The culture has gone from modern to postmodern and the Church must do the same. If the Church hangs on to it’s modern traditions, making propositions and absolutes, rather than postmodern, and it’s implications, the Church will become irrelevant.
This becomes a major factor in the whole Emergent movement. The Church must adapt to the culture at large. Neo, the postmodern, is helping Dan, a pastor, adapt to this new form of thinking. Through their conversations, not only does Dan renew his faith, he changes it. They radically shift Biblical absolutes on issues like the gospel, salvation, heaven and hell, righteousness, Jesus, evangelism, etc.
Because McLaren is so influential, this is a critical book that lays out the basic argument from McLaren and the Emerging Church as a whole. This is groundwork to what the Emerging Church is trying to do. They seek to move the Church from it’s modern era, with it’s doctrines of absolutes and exclusivities, to a Church that resembles the direction of the culture: postmodern and relative. McLaren lays out how one should view Scripture through the lens of postmodernism.
The one critical error made in the book is it’s self-contradiction. McLaren criticizes Christians for interpreting Scripture through the lens of their culture, and then turns around and tells his readers to do the same with postmodernism.