When I received my copy of Reforming Fundamentalism, I began reading from the very beginning--the Preface, the Introduction, and then the body. Already, at the Preface, I was impressed with Marsden's candor and, frankly, insight:
Inevitably one's point of view will shape one's work. Since it is impossible to be objective, it is imperative to be fair.But it was as I began the Introduction that my heart leapt. I "couldn't believe" whose names I was reading as being associated with Fuller Seminary from the very beginning.
. . .I work from a particular Christian commitment that makes me generally sympathetic to what Fuller Seminary has been trying to do since its inception. At the same time, I have also tried to step aside from my sympathies. I think the primary justification for having historians these days is that they can provide critical perspectives, especially on traditions that they take seriously. Partisanship, then, although to some degree inevitable, is to be suppressed for the purposes of such historical understanding.
This approach will not entirely please those who see Christian history as adequately understood only as a battle in which it is perfectly clear who stands with the forces of light and who with the forces of darkness. I do not have any difficulty with the concept of the Christian life as a battle; I do not believe, however, that we can identify the forces of light and darkness so easily. My world is filled with ambiguities. Even with the light of Scripture we are very limited humans who see as through a glass darkly.