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February 18 - Brian McLaren: It’s time to re-write pro-war hymns
Article: Emerging Church
Brian McLaren, a leader in the emergent church and postmodern Christian movements, has rewritten Onward, Christian Soldiers, which he said reflects a disturbing pro-war theology. For decades, activist, author and pastor Brian McLaren has helped redefine American Christianity in his role both as a leader in the emerging church and the postmodern Christian movements. To continue reshaping faith in America, McLaren is also rewriting traditional Christian hymns, especially those he and others consider dangerously outdated theologically. One of the chief offenders, McLaren told Baptist News Global, is Onward, Christian Soldiers the 19th-century English hymn that connects Christian beliefs with militaristic images and metaphors.
His version of the historic favorite is posted on his website at brianmclaren.net. Rewriting hymns is nothing new for McLaren. But he felt compelled to rewrite this iconic song because of the ways it blends faith, patriotism and war. It’s similar to how Christ and conflict are coming together in the current cultural and political climate, he said. “I had started a rewrite of Onward, Christian Soldiers lyrics awhile back,” McLaren said in an email to BNG. “But after watching one of the Republican presidential … debates and hearing several candidates in one breath speak of Christian faith and Jesus and in the next breath speak of carpet bombing and the like, I felt it was time to finish some alternative lyrics.” McLaren answered questions about this rewriting of the song, the theology of the two versions and more. Here is some of what he had to say.
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