When I am presented with a new idea or proposal, my first question is more likely to be …
___A. Is it acceptable to my religious/ideological community or belief system?
___B. Is it possibly true, valuable, and worth exploring?
If you chose A, you’re probably a fundamentalist, and probably shouldn’t read my new book because it will only get you in trouble. If you do decide to read it, don’t let your fundamentalist friends know. Hide the book in a brown paper bag, and only read it in private.
If you chose B, you’re curious, and I think you’ll enjoy my new book.
Here is McKnight’s response:
I don’t think that question’s answers separate fundamentalists from the curious. The opening answer is about traditionalism, and in fact characteristic of all of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism.
First of all, McClaren seems to have found a very good way to promote his book in the evangelical blogosphere.
Second, McKnight’s response (of which I largely agree) raises the question of how to distinguish between a “traditionalist” and “fundamentalist.” I just got done telling my first-year students today that it is possible to be an adherent to an historic faith tradition with doctrinal boundaries and still be open to the engagement of knew ideas. This kind of intellectual engagement from within a tradition happens every day at church-related colleges.