Review: The Secret Message of Jesus

Sometime in late 2005 I was sent a pre-release copy of Brian McLaren’s new book (Publication date is today, April 4), The Secret Message of Jesus. I was really intrigued by the title, and couldn’t wait to find time to read it. However, I found the book very disappointing, and left me with the conclusion that this is not a book that should have been published. Of course, I could say that about at least half of the books filling up Christian bookstores, but I’m not reviewing them.

The first section of the book, which McLaren calls Excavation, is okay. It was obvious to me that he’d been reading NT Wright, which is a good thing. However, in his attempt to make the information accessible, it ends up not being as well written or as powerful. The “Secret Message” didn’t seem to have the punch that it should have, and actually seems kind of anti-climactic. In fact, throughout the book, I felt like McLaren had a hard time maintaining his focus on the Kingdom of God without losing the gospel, as if the two were separate concepts.

There are a few specific things McLaren says that I find troubling, but I’m out of time today. I’ll continue this review in one or 2 follow up posts, and eventually put an entire review up on Small Voices.

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