A New Kind of Christian is a narrative of an evangelical Pastor called Dan, and his friend Neo. Dan can be described as a burned out evangelical who is not contented with the current Christianity lifestyle, while Neo, trained Philosopher, a high school science teacher, and also a former Pastor, is very good in history and church issues. In this narrative, the two friends discuss how the church could become something with difference.
The book is presented as a fictional tale, in which the characters present the points the writer wanted to make. In the book, McLaren makes his presentation and arguments while discussing what it takes to incorporate postmodernism in his Christian faith, a thought he refers to as ‘a new kind of a Christian.’ This postmodern Christianity is still to a certain extent orthodox in belief, but fresh in one way or another. He provides a critical and a provocative evaluation of the present Christianity, and especially evangelicals and how they approach post-modernism.
In the New Kind of Christian, the dialogue between the evangelical pastor and his philosopher friend shows that the solutions for most critical spiritual questions of life can come from sources that are most unlikely. This rousing tale brings out the post-modern spirit of Christianity. This new spirit of Christianity emphasizes on personal devotion to God, rather than institutional structures of the church. This personalized interaction with God emphasizes on faith as one and only way of life rather than a system of belief, where one’s current location doesn’t matter; as long as you have an orientation. McLaren presents an outstanding outline of what it means by being a postmodern believer, and gives an outstanding overview where being doctrinally ‘right.’ is more important than being authentically good.
The burned-out pastor is being convinced by the postmodern philosopher Neo not to give up on Christianity but to be transformed in his way of thinking. Pastor Dan however is having a particular problem; he fears that he may become removed from what is being expected of him. He puts it that ‘it’s not just a burn- out but it is more like he was losing his faith’ (McLaren 2001). Pastor Dan explains to his friend Neo that he keeps squeezing everything into the tiny systems he learnt in the seminary and even before seminary; however life is just too cluttered to fit (McLaren 2001).
On the other hand Neo argues that in the present moment is a transition from what was referred to as ‘modern’ era in the past human history (McLaren 2001). We are now therefore in a modern era to the prior modern era. He relates this era of transition to comparable struggles and issues experienced as humans progressed from medieval era to modern times. After recounting how closely knit the world system and religion view was in medieval period, Neo then challenges the students in he was lecturing in a class whether it was possible for as, modern as we are, to have been entangled in the same way or differently, but equally reliant worldview with our faith (McLaren 2001). He challenges them ‘are we just as fixed to our belief through a contemporary prism as they were in 1572? ‘(McLaren 2001)
Having met for a number of months, discussing issues of theology, and especially Christianity, Neo submit to his friend Daniel that he thinks that he (Daniel) was suffering from a problem of immigration. He explains the problem of immigration to mean that Daniel had a modern belief he had developed in his modernity homeland, but that he was migrating to a new land, which was a postmodern world, and that he felt like he didn’t fit in either of the worlds. He couldn’t decide whether he wanted to settle in a small ghetto or move out into a land that was new, but he couldn’t make the transition alone to the other side (McLaren 2001).
During their discussion over coffee, Neo claims that the modern era which begun around 1500 was being replaced by postmodernism. Some modern age characteristics are analysis secular science, consumerism objectivity, machines and individualism (McLaren 2001).
Dan and Neo then began discussing other religions other than Christianity. This topic of discussion is one of the sizzling discussions that cause a turning point for Dan. Neo says that it’s greatly annoying to see Christians disregard Judaism, Islam and Buddhism without understanding of these beliefs, or/and even fully considering the message of Jesus (McLaren 2001). Dan challenges Neo if he thought Christianity as religion is better than other faiths to which Neo answers that he believes Jesus as the savior but not in Christianity (McLaren 2001). This realization had a far-reaching impact on his ministry and to the lives of his congregation, as well as his own life.
There is another high point in this account was inform of an email discussion on the subject is Salvation. The issue the discussion tried to resolve is who is excluded and who is included. Neo therefore describes Universalism as believe that regardless of ones faith, all will be saved, while he describes Exclusivisim as the believe that only the only way to gain salvation is through Jesus (McLaren 2001). Neo comes up with a more biblical outlook, which he refers to as predicamentalism; his point is that every individual should think about his/ her own fate as far as life in eternity is concerned, and stop speculating about others (McLaren 2001).