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The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity [Hardcover]

By Brian D. McLaren (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.16" Width: 6.52" Height: 0.95"
Weight:   0.94 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2005
Publisher   John Wiley And Sons
ISBN  0787975923  
EAN  9780787975920  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
For all those seeking more authentic ways to hold and practice Christian faith, Brian McLaren has been an inspiring, compassionate?and provocative?voice. Starting with the award-winning A New Kind of Christian, McLaren offered a lively, wide-ranging fictional conversation between Pastor Dan Poole and his friend Neil Oliver as they reflected about faith, doubt, reason, mission, leadership, and spiritual practice in the emerging postmodern world. That conversation widened to include several intriguing new characters in the sequel, The Story We Find Ourselves In, as Dan and friends continued to explore faith-stretching themes from evolution to evangelism, from death to the meaning of life. Now, in this third installment of their adventures, Dan and his widening circle of friends grapple with conventional Christian teachings about hell and judgment and what they mean for our relationship with God and each other. Is there an alternative to the usual polar views of a just God short on mercy or a merciful God short on justice? Could our conflicted views of hell be symptoms of a deeper set of problems ? misunderstandings about what God?s justice and mercy are about, misconceptions about God?s purpose in creating the world, deep misgivings about what kind of character God is and what the Christian gospel is for?

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More About Brian D. McLaren

Brian D. McLaren Brian D. McLaren is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Washington-Baltimore area. He is the author of four previous books on contemporary Christianity, including The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix (2000) and A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey (Jossey-Bass, 2001), which won a Christianity Today Award of Merit for Best Christian Living title, 2002.

About Leadership Network
The mission of Leadership Network is to accelerate the effectiveness of the church by identifying and connecting strategic leaders and providing them with resources in the form of new ideas, people, and tools. Churches and church leaders served by Leadership Network represent a wide variety of primarily Protestant faith traditions that range from mainline to evangelical to independent. All are characterized by innovation, entrepreneurial leadership, and a desire to be on the leading edge of ministry.

Brian D. McLaren currently resides in the state of Maryland. Brian D. McLaren was born in 1956.

Brian D. McLaren has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Finding Faith
  2. New Kind of Christian Trilogy

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Well Written & Wrong  Jan 5, 2007
If you are already convinced that Orthodox Christianity has been fundamentally flawed in its conception of God's justice, in the existence of Hell, in the manner in which Scripture is to be read and interpreted, and the purposes of God in Creation, then this book will affirm your convictions and make you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

If you are grappling with the issues of life and wonder how this notion of God fits in a world which seems to explain everything without regard to a vital spirituality. Then in this book you will find all the right questions being asked and done so in a highly readible, winsome manner. Be Aware! The right questions are asked but the wrong answers provided. (Yep, I believe in certainty & that certainty of doctrine is a good thing!)

If you are seeking insights into how Conservative Evangelical Christians handle these questions and how they have discovered the Scriptural warrant for their answers, then all you will find in this book is a straw man caricature that reduces the highly nuanced, warmly compassionate views of Reformed Theology down to a power monging, insecure soul who just cannot rise to the challenge of critical thinking.

There is no doubt of McLaren's courage nor his willingness to address tough questions. The essential problem is his post-modern convictions about truth. To McLaren, anything that is repugnant to his own sensibilities must be wrong. He, at heart, must be the final judge of what is true (for himself, I am sure he would say, even if not for anyone else). Therefore, if the Scriptures proclaim something which he finds repugnant to his own sensibilities, i.e. God inflicting an eternity of conscious torment on people that McLaren considers "good", then the Scriptures must be interpreted in some way that is more in line with his own thinking. "God is much better than we have ever thought" is his version of the Gospel and on the bare face of it, that idea has much to commend it. But the idea that God is "much better", or "too good" to countenance the idea of Hell comes down to recasting God in McLaren's image, something which I would think God finds highly offensive.

McLaren seeks to elevate our thinking about God. That is good. What is not good is that he is more than willing to read back into Scripture every post-modern literary technique which he has adopted and to presume that Jesus dealt with issues the way that he, McLaren, would deal with them.

If you are asking the questions that McLaren asks, then "you go, girl!" Keep at it. Do not allow yourself to stop with the answers he provides. There are answers "after that."
Hopefully Not McLaren's Last Word!  Nov 10, 2006
Absolutely loved this book! It is possibly my favorite of McLaren's books from the New Kind of Christian series. He tackles the subject of the hereafter with amazing finesse. I thought the book was thoughtful,kind and challenging while looking into the subject of hell. His chapter regarding the Holocaust Museum was incredibly moving and personal.
The characters vary some from book to book, but the main ones are recognizable, and new ones keep the focus fresh. It is possible to jump right in on this third book without previously reading his first two.
However, I found it helpful to have some background from reading them in order. McLaren always leaves me hungry for more.
Frustrating discussion on the nature of hell  Sep 5, 2006
The Last Word and the Word After That by Brian McLaren is the third and last book in his New Kind of Christian trilogy. In this entry, Pastor Dan Poole is put on administrative leave by his church after some controversial changes in his preaching. This book focuses more on Dan and his family than previous books, but most of the book is focused on Dan's main question: What is the nature of hell? There is a great deal of theology and eschatology from great religious minds, past and present in this book, and Dan makes a study of the Gospels and all references to hell or judgment in them. McLaren is less in-your-face with his ideas in this book, but they are no less divisive. Is hell a real place of fire and judgment? Would a loving Father truly condemn his children infinitely for finite crimes? Is hell just a state of mind? There are lots of questions that McLaren brings up, and while I can admire him for not giving a definitive answer, I'm also frustrated that he refuses to tell what he believes. Both the character Neo and McLaren dance around the tough topics without stating flat out their beliefs. The good news is that Scripture is referenced again and again throughout the book, so the reader can do their own Bible study and try to find some answers. The bad news is that in a world of crumbling foundations, McLaren is ready to sweep yet one more away from Christianity without providing an alternative. He also slaps Tim LaHaye and other conservative Christians in the face with his criticism of the thinly veiled "Left Behind" series of books as well as in his description of their views on colonialism and the environment. For someone who writes about getting rid of stereotypes, he certainly isn't afraid to give them to those who don't believe like he does, and that's a flaw I've noticed in all of his books: if you don't agree with him, you're ignorant and not worthy of the tolerance he lavishes on others. I don't know if I'm glad that I read this book or not; it raised some questions in my mind that I want to discuss with others, but at the same time, it frustrated me with McLaren's refusal to be pinned down on his own beliefs.

Great job at raising questions  Mar 17, 2006
I found The Last Word and The Word After That to be a refreshing attempt to address the idea of hell and the large question of the problem of evil. These ideas are often real stumbling block to Christianity to people with an unchurched background. By raising the questions, I think McLaren does a service to the Christian Church affording us the chance for critical analysis and evaluation. It may be that nothing I believe about hell changes as a result of reading this book, but at least after reading it, I have a stronger notion of why I believe.

One area I think McLaren doesn't adequately addres is the issue of supernatural evil. It is hard to for me to understand how the reality of supernatural evil fits into some of the alternative views on Hell that McLaren explores

All in all though, I think that, as with the first two books in the series, this is a good read if you are all uncomfortable with your concept of God and the way he interacts with us.
New Kind of Old Revisionist Culture-Accomodation  Mar 9, 2006
Jesus has the Last Word on the afterlife: the narrow gate to life vs. the broad road to destruction. It's either heaven or hell. It's either sheep or goat. It's either eternal life or eternal punishment if Jesus' parables and clear teaching can be taken seriously at face value.

Along comes Neo-Post-Christianity. It says we today on the cutting edge of emergent evolving spirituality have the Word after That. We have the final say about how to understand religious reality. What Jesus is thought to have said to his audience is limited to the context of 1st Century Palestinian Judaism. But that doesn't work here and now. It must be re-contexted, revised, updated for our multi-cultural, open-minded, progressive, advanced spirituality of the current age.

This book at least does the service of forcing the reader to choose: Jesus' original words as they stand without post-modernizing revisionist spin. Or as reinterpreted/translated under emergentizing cultural accomodation.

Your present and eternal destiny depends on your choice of who to believe: Jesus; or this kind of author.

Challenge: do a brief study of the New Testament to find all the references to Jesus as Coming Judge of the World. Start with Matt.25:31, John 5:27, Acts 10:42, Acts 17:31, 2Tim.4:1,8. You'll quickly notice how conveniently this concept is omitted from New Kinda Spirituality.

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