An Open Letter to Brian McLaren

 

By Jim Fletcher


Mr. McLaren:

 

For a long time I have noticed the disconnect between your seemingly serene, peace/love/justice/mercy persona and the vitriol with which you discuss Christian Zionists, and what I would call Bible-believers in general.

 

From your publicity photos, to your blogs and video links, you project an air of compassion and spiritual healing. Your eminently marketable brand fairly screams Frank Costanza’s famous mantra, “Serenity now!”

 

Your English degree has served you well as a bestselling author and popular conference speaker. Your provocative book titles, like The Secret Message of Jesus, and A New Kind of Christianity, seem inspired by your friend, Marcus Borg, and reveal your considerable marketing skills. You are skilled at presenting your liberal views to mainstream evangelical audiences.

 

references a letter from Naim Ateek to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Ateek makes the following statement, which you indicated that you felt was so important that it needs to be in bold print:

 

With candor the last two groups of extremists, i.e. Jewish and Western Christian Zionists are a greater threat to us than the extremist Islamists. In fact, these extremists have more military power and clout to uproot all Palestinian presence both Christian and Muslim from our homeland.

Extremists? Do you seriously believe that Bible-believing Christians (I think you’d call us fundamentalists) are extremists? And to imply that Christian Zionists are more violent than Muslim terrorists is not only an infinite stretch, but it is outright hate-speech—incendiary and violently provocative.

 

It is unacceptable.

 

Elsewhere in your writings, you have referred quite often to Christian Zionists, as in this call to understand:

 

“The need to confront the terrible, deadly, distorted, yet popular theologies associated with Christian Zionism and deterministic dispensationalism.”

 

Terrible? Deadly?

 

You don’t know us, yet you seem very comfortable in your slanders, which tells me a great deal about the state of modern evangelicalism—which you and your friends have successfully infiltrated.

 

To date, you seem to insulate yourself effectively from those of us you view with such disdain. Since you would (I am assuming here) frown on the word “debate,” I wonder if you’d care to have a public conversation about Christian Zionists, with a Christian Zionist? Please name a date and place convenient for you, or allow us to host you with real hospitality—which you do not, evidently, return in-kind.

 

Mr. McLaren, your tolerance has very visible limits, and I wonder if your followers understand this reality. Your public dislike of Dispensationalists and Christian Zionists is outrageous. It is simply wrong and quite unjust.

It’s time to practice the love and compassion you preach.

 

As of right now, sir, I view you as the most intolerant Christian leader active in America. Will you repent of your hate-language directed at Christian Zionists?

Sincerely and eagerly awaiting your reply,

 

Jim Fletcher