OK I must admit that the title of Brian Mclaren’s new book The Secret Message of Jesus made me wince a bit. Just a bit but a wince nonetheless. With the gospel of Judas coming on the heals of Brian’s new release a link between The Secret Message of Jesus, Gospel of Judas and gnostic heresy was sure to be made by evangelical fundamentalists. Brian saw it coming.
A number of people have asked about the title. Some people are concerned that it has “Gnostic connotations.” Obviously, I was aware that some might draw this conclusion, but my main audience for the book (and really, for most of my books) is not members of the Christian subculture who would even know what “Gnostic” means. Instead, my primary audience is the “spiritual but not religious” people who are interested in what Jesus was about, but are generally turned off by the Religious Right, institutional religion, etc. I felt that the title would connect with this audience, and I was willing to risk being misunderstood for that purpose. Jesus, I think, took similar risks again and again. As I worked on the book, I was repeatedly struck by how “strategically indirect” Jesus was – hiding his message in parable, sign, and wonder. I began to realize that this strategy of hiddenness was integral to Jesus’ whole message and ministry. I think people who read the book will be struck by this theme as well.
Well here is it Living Journey » The secret teachings of Brian McLaren here’s his response to the idea that Jesus used parables strategically.
Let’s look at Matthew 13, and see if the above is in accordance with scripture.
Mat 13:9-14 The one having ears to hear, let him hear. And coming near, the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, And answering, He said to them, but it has not been given to those. For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have overabundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. Because of this, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled on them, which says, "In hearing you will hear and in no way understand, and seeing you will see yet in no way perceive.
Ok, firstly the parables are not for them (the unsaved), but for us his disciples.
I haven’t gotten a copy of the book yet so I can’t rebut any of the comments on the book but the idea that the parables were only for the "saved" seems simplistic if not dead wrong. I expect even more of this kind of rhetoric to come. I’m looking for ward to this conversation in the blogosphere. What say you?