Emergent Church Leader Performs Same-Sex Ceremony

(Christianity Today) Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian and a prominent Christian speaker, led a non-traditional marriage commitment ceremony this weekend, according to The New York Times.

Held at the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase, Maryland, this ceremony included “traditional Christian elements,” but no bride. And the groom—one of them—was McLaren’s son, Trevor McLaren. The Times reports that Trevor McLaren wed Owen Ryan Saturday in Washington, D.C., followed by the afternoon commitment ceremony.

Brian McLaren, who formerly was chair of the board for Sojourners, is among a minority of evangelical progressives who advocate that the church should abandon heterosexism and move toward reconciliation with homosexuals.

CT has previously covered Brian McLaren, including reviews of his book Everything Must Change and The Secret Message of Jesus, and the emergent church, with which McLaren has been associated.

This really shouldn’t surprise hardly anyone, despite McLaren’s continuing popularity with many in the mega-church and emergent movements. It’s all fun and games when one publishes books with subtitles like Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. But then of course once in a while it turns out that that sort of thing (“A Generous Orthodoxy”?) essentially is smoke and mirrors masking a dedication to something other than the rather robust doctrinal and moral sensibilities associated with the communities most of those words generally signify.

His speaking schedule lately has apparently been fairly limited to “emergent” and mainline churches, but no doubt he’s still selling books. One hopes that less wind-blown Evangelicals will just get on with classifying McLaren’s work as yet another permutation of liberal mainline theology.


  1. That explains why he called the 5 year moratorium on the issue when he was asked about that topic

    1. This is sad, but why highlight the sins and shortcomings of someone else on your blog? This seems more like preaching to the choir than helpful discussion. Should we publicly comment when a prominent Orthodox leader sins?

      1. This isn’t about commenting on sins, but commenting on theology. In this case, the theology is part of the “emergent” milieu. No one here has condemned McLaren for his sins, but we are indeed critiquing his theology. In this case, we’re indicating that it really belongs in the general mainline liberal category.

      2. Thank you for the clarification Father. I guess I see the value of pointing out the theological flaws in this forum. I suppose I am not surprised to see such things to come out of “emergent” liberal theology/practice.

  2. I don’t see a theological critique here at all. To be honest, this seems to be triumphalism. And over a comparatively minor deviation – minor by comparison to separating oneself from the Bishop, denying the reality of the Holy Mysteries, abstaining from the Eucharistic assembly and all the other hallmarks of “conservative” evangelical protestantism. Is this really any worse?

    1. Interesting point that you’re making anon. i had to take a moment to really think it through. Though it is true that the most important things would be among those that you mentioned but does it mean that we are not to mention actions that make a mockery of Christianity? I’m sure that those who hold signs that read “God hates fags” isn’t really a true issue compared to the Eucharist but is this not something that deserves to be pointed to as a mockery of Christ’s love?

      I can’t say i see it as “triumphalism” given the topic.

  3. Interesting read. As someone who grew up in the more conservative branch of emergent church, this is familiar territory. I wish I felt shock, but I’m not surprised. It is, though, slightly more surprising that denominations are following suit. I am thankful that things like this get highlighted. It’s one of the reason I fled to the safety of Orthodoxy (and found home of course 🙂 ).

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