There’s been a lot of good discussion since Brian McLaren’s swing through Toronto. Some discussion has been helpful, although it’s sometimes hard to focus with all the noise that’s generated.
Ultimately, the real issue isn’t McLaren. He’s important, but the issues are much bigger than him. That’s where I sometimes wish I had never heard of the emerging church. I don’t really care that much about the emerging church as I do the entire church asking and answering some important questions on the nature of the Gospel and church. It’s not about the emerging church. It’s about the church.
McLaren’s visit has got me thinking about some of the people who influence us – not just McLaren, but whoever else is out there on the circuit, speaking and writing books.
I’ve been thinking about James 3:1, which says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” As a friend has quipped, this verse says that there will be two lines when it’s time to be judged: teachers and everyone else. Those of us who are teachers will receive greater judgment. If you’re not in the teaching line, you’ll have a much easier time.
This is a verse that scares me. When I think about it I remember the weight of teaching.
It also makes me think of the authors and speakers who write books travel. When I speak, I influence a couple of hundred. When they speak, they influence tens of thousands or more. And those they influence also end up influencing countless others in a cascading effect.
I don’t care what you think about McLaren, MacArthur, Olsteen, Hybels, or even some bloggers with big platforms. You may or may not like them, but I hope you do more than criticize them. I hope you pray for them. I sure don’t envy the weight of teaching that they carry.