Here's another edge to the issue. From reading The Story We Find Ourselves In, I get the picture that McLaren doesn't believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Without Adam and Eve, you have to throw out the doctrine of Original Sin altogether, as well as much of New Testament theology. What do you do with this passage from Romans 5 if there was no Adam and Eve?
Not only that, but if we throw out Original Sin, then the Methodist movement is meaningless. Wesley said the Methodist Movement is built on three doctrines: 1) Original Sin, 2) Justification by Faith, 3) Holiness of Heart and Life.
12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. 15But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
I'm coming to understand how much the historic Christian faith is built upon the literal interpretation of the Bible. If you start allegorizing Genesis 1-11, you lose Original Sin and you have to come up with another "gospel" in order to remain a Christian.
No wonder Paul was so distressed in Galatians 1, where he wrote:
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!I'm not saying Brian McLaren is to be accursed. I actually still like him. I'm just trying to digest all this strange food I've eaten lately, and throwing up some of it.