“How then have we come to believe that at the cross this God of love suddenly decides to vent his anger and wrath on his own son? The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse — a vengeful father punishing his son for an offense he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith.” Steve Chalke

“What I think I can say is, and this is where I get into trouble, I’m not so sure that when this life is over that all possibilities for salvation are over.”
Tony Campolo

“It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”
Dallas Willard

“For too many people the name Jesus has become a symbol of exclusion, as if Jesus statement ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me’ actually means, ‘I am in the way of people seeking truth and life. I wont let anyone get to God unless he comes through me.’”
Brian McLaren

“Could you elaborate on your personal theory of atonement? If God wanted to forgive us, why didn’t he just forgive us? Why did torturing Jesus make things better?”
Question addressed to Brian McLaren on his website (answered below)

“This is such an important and difficult question. I’d recommend, for starters, you read “Recovering the Scandal of the Cross” (by Baker and Green). There will be a sequel to this book in the next year or so, and I’ve contributed a chapter to it. Short answer: I think the gospel is a many faceted diamond, and atonement is only one facet, and legal models of atonement (which predominate in western Christianity) are only one small portion of that one facet. Dallas Willard also addresses this issue in ‘The Divine Conspiracy.’ Atonement-centered understandings of the gospel, he says, create vampire Christians who want Jesus for his blood and little else. He calls us to move beyond a ‘gospel of sin management’ — to the gospel of the kingdom of God. So, rather than focusing on an alternative theory of atonement, I’d suggest we ponder the meaning and mission of the kingdom of God.”
Brian McLaren’s answer to the above question

Younger evangelicals disenchanted with the institution of the church and seeking refuge in the “conversation” of the emerging movement would do well to heed the words of Francis Shaeffer:

“If we do not make clear by word and by practice our position for truth and against false doctrine we are building a wall between the next generation and the gospel.”

I’m concerned that some biblically orthodox evangelicals are too easily dismissing the influence of the emergent conversation. While there may be some redeeming elements to the movement, the reality is that the leadership of this movement, as demonstrated above, is moving far from the center of what have been historic orthodox beliefs. We cannot ignore the influence that the emerging church is having on Western Christianity. Perhaps that quotations from above will heighten our awareness of the battle brewing for orthodoxy within the Church.

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