Skip to comments.Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?
Posted on 07/15/2012 4:35:34 PM PDT by WilliamIII
IN 1998, John Shelby Spong, then the reliably controversial Episcopal bishop of Newark, published a book entitled Why Christianity Must Change or Die. Spong was a uniquely radical figure during his career, he dismissed almost every element of traditional Christian faith as so much superstition but most recent leaders of the Episcopal Church have shared his premise. Thus their church has spent the last several decades changing and then changing some more, from a sedate pillar of the WASP establishment into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States. Go to Columnist Page » Ross Douthats Evaluations
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Times Topic: Episcopal Church
Josh Haner/The New York Times Ross Douthat Readers Comments Readers shared their thoughts on this article. Read All Comments (323) » As a result, today the Episcopal Church looks roughly how Roman Catholicism would look if Pope Benedict XVI suddenly adopted every reform ever urged on the Vatican by liberal pundits and theologians. It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.
Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Churchs dying has proceeded apace.
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That would be an oxymoron.
A more important question: are liberal christians christians?
That's absolutely right. There are former liberals who are now Christian and former Christians who are now liberal. But there are no liberal Christians. The core tenets of liberalism are unalterably opposed in every aspect to the teachings of Christ.
God is eternal. The truth of the Resurrection is eternal.
No. Liberals lie (as is their habit) when they claim any connection with Christianity. As I posted in this thread, the philosophy of liberalism is counter to God's Word.
A saying that comes to mind...
You’re either on the wagon, or you’re not.
The Episcopal church is a religion that celebrates homosexuality and abortion. It was founded by an adulterer who murdered his opponents and the women who displeased him. There is nothing Christian about the Episcopal church or its founder. Episcopalians today don’t worship, they gather for emotional support. Their clergy are largely agnostic.If you were a bible believing Christian and became a member of an Episcopal parish, you would soon tire of being told of your therapeutic options.
It’s not worth saving — Liberalism and Christianity is an oxymoron.
Most of what passes for liberal Christianity is just the “vain philosophies of man”.
No. They can not be saved. They are no longer Christian. They are a political ideology. They have been dying for years. People can read. Once they read the Bible they know these “Churches” are lost. Have been for a long time.
You beat me to it.....”liberal” Christianity is NOT Christian.
Marxists—Liberals (now) with the twisting of the word “Liberal” to mean exactly the opposite of what John Stuart Mill and JFK stated-—and the so called progressives or leftists or socialists or atheists or Democrats or Satanists or Wiccans or muslims—whatever they call themselves now—are Godless people.
They want to eliminate the Christian religion because it created the best hope for mankind-—and true Christians do not worship the State and are hard to control and make into slaves. True Christians don’t fall for the Big Lie.
Right. Liberals are not Christians - they are humannists who take over the Christians’ churches and then kick the Christians out.
Succint and on the mark.
Amen to that!
Bishop Spong ... there is a name that belongs in the garbage heap of history's judas goats and false teachers. Wolves dressed in lamb"s clothing.
You can not be a liberal and Christian.
CanWhy Should Liberal Christianity Be Saved?"
My answer: see reply #4. Thank you re_nortex.
They might want to consider joining the Muslims. Neither is much of a religion and both believe in killing babies and butt buddies,
Yes! I have been preaching that sermon for a decade, at least. When I say liberal Christianity is an oxymoron most people look at me with confusion. Sigh.
Amen, sister! That is SO true. Thank you.
Gaining acceptance from mainline denominations is only an excuse goal of the homo agenda. The main goal is to neutralize and render ineffective the denomination which they succeed in dragging down to their level.
Wow. There are a lot of ridiculous comments here about liberals not being Christians. It is apparent that most on this forum haven’t a clue about what makes a person a Christian. Do you all think keeping so-called “conservative” principles will get anyone to Heaven? Do you think modern conservatism is the easy substitute for trying to be saved by keeping the Law of Moses (which no one has ever been able to keep)?
This thread is as bad as when liberals try to describe their version of Jesus. It is obvious some here would try to make Jesus a Republican as if He is supposed to learn from us how things ought to be run.
I’m very disappointed at the ignorance here.
People are not born again by becoming affiliated with a political ideology. They get saved by hearing and believing the gospel.
Many truly born-again believers have no political affiliation. Many do not understand politics. Many vote democratic because they do not understand what they are voting for.
There are plenty of so-called conservatives on this forum going headlong to eternal damnation in the lake of fire. And there are a lot of believers in Jesus Christ who will make it into Heaven in spite of being deceived by politicians and news reporters.
Do you think Rush and Hannity and Savage are headed for the pearly gates because they espouse conservative views. I’ve got news for you. I’ve listened to these and other conservatives for years and never heard one give a testimony of how they were lost in sin and found salvation by God’s grace. Politics, even conservative politics, will not get anyone to Heaven any more than supposed liberal charity will.
Don’t act like fools. Don’t be modern Pharisees. By your words you will be justified and by them you will be condemned.
Why bother? The ELCA, PCUSA and the other looney left denominations are going into the Crapper where they belong. Meanwhile, the other Denominations that have maintained their Scriptural integrity are doing quite well. The PCA has had phenominal groth over the past several years.
Where do you go to church? What does your Denomination teach? If they are teaching Homo progressive theology, you are not in a church. You are in a Sunday feel good meeting that is held at a scheduled time every week.
>> Im very disappointed at the ignorance here.
You’re not comprehending the issue.
You support the killing of nascent life? That’s a fundamental tenet of so-called Liberal Christianity.
You support the states’ redefinition of marriage; a direct assault against Christianity? Another fundamental tenet of Liberal Christianity.
Liberal Christianity is the form, not the person.
No political view will “get anyone to Heaven”.
However, there is a very serious difficulty with attempting to hold modern liberalism and Christianity: modern liberalism is one of that genus of ideology that essentially denies the Fall and fancies that man is perfectible in this world by worldly measures. In liberalism’s world there is no need of grace, just proper social engineering, social engineering that inevitably rejects the wisdom of ages found in the moral teachings of the Torah, the words of Our Lord, the letters of the Holy Apostle Paul, and the writings of the Church Fathers. To be a modern liberal and a Christian requires a sort of double-mindedness that Our Lord and His Apostles very much rejected.
Certainly some tendencies on the American right — for example, the atomism of Randian libertarianism or the extension of proper contempt for state-run social programs into contempt for the poor — are as anti-Christian as anything found on the left. But the core tradition of not just American, but Anglo-American conservatism (from Burke to Lord Acton to Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley, Jr.) is self-consciously Christian and holds views of society and human nature, which even when worldly-colored are far closer to those found in the Scriptures and tradition of the Church than is “liberalism”.
To give credit due, I believe that’s a direct quote from the Apostle Paul in perhaps one of the Corinthian epistles, but I can’t specifically remember which.
I tend to agree, although I like to give anyone who says he is a Christian the benefit of the doubt. After all, it is God who judges in the end.
On the other hand, I can have an opinion, and it pretty much matches your own.
“Do you think Rush and Hannity and Savage are headed for the pearly gates because they espouse conservative views. Ive got news for you. Ive listened to these and other conservatives for years and never heard one give a testimony of how they were lost in sin and found salvation by Gods grace. Politics, even conservative politics, will not get anyone to Heaven any more than supposed liberal charity will.”
Heard someone say the other day, “you’ll never hear Rush start a sentence with, ‘I was sitting in church last Sunday, when the pastor said....’”. Lots of golf and vacations on Sunday, but I’ve never heard him discuss faith. Just because there are people who Christians agree with, doesn’t make those people saved Christians...but it’s not too late.
That would be a “no”, Bob...
“liberal” Christians’ belief is summarized as:
“I believe Jesus is my Savior, but there are many other ways to salvation.”
A self-contradicting statement. There is no reason for Jesus and the Cross if man can save himself.
“Liberalism” is simply the political expression of the religion of Humanism, which began with the lie “you will be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
It will continue to be an influence in this world until its author is banished to the pit forever.
Anybody who thinks this is just some right-wing nuts calling left-wing Christians unchristian just because they don’t vote conservative Republican normally, I’d consider telling people to read John Spong’s stuff cruel and unusual punishment, but you really need to. We’re not talking about a guy who professes more or less orthodox Christianity and just lives it out by voting Democrat. Politics aside, we’re basically talking about a high-church atheist. And he’s as representative as any of the current leadership. The Episcopal Church of today is pretty much exactly what Spong said it needed to become to attract members in today’s world, and it’s bleeding to death. That’s not right-wing rhetoric, that’s simple observable fact.
I have always saved Elliot’s analysis on my home page:
“The world is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time; so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and to save the world from suicide.”
T.S. Eliot, Christianity and Culture
I’m listening to a book called “Occult America.” It is not what I expected, but it actually explains a lot about “Liberal Christianity.”
First and foremost, it is anything but Christian. Mostly, it is a combination of “Spiritualism,” “New Thought” and Socialism. The Christianity part is just a very thin candy shell.
Another funny thing - a lot of this cr@p started in the North East, especially the western and central part of New York state, aka the “Burned Over District” or “Psychic Highway” (between Rochester and Syracuse) so it is mostly a Yankee thing.
Well, it is this thing about “Thou shalt not steal.”
Since most of Liberal Ideology is based on coercion and theft, any church supporting this has wandered a awful long way from the flock.
They have also departed from the Bible in their support of homosexuality. They have gone from loving the sinner and hating the sin, to loving the sin, too.
But if conservative Christianity has often been compromised, liberal Christianity has simply collapsed. Practically every denomination Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance.
Policitally, I am libertarian / anarchist, but I almost always end up voting Republican beause that is almost always closer to what I believe than what the other major party espouses.
I am 60 years old, have been voting since I was 18 and have NEVER voted for a Democrat.
I actually once voted for a Green Party candidate for State Treasurer because the Republicans did not put forth a candidate and the Democrat was a convicted felon
For this election cycle, I find myself in a sparsely-populated State with very few electoral votes, so I'm voting for Gary Johnson.
I am part of a non-denominational group that is Bible based. They do not teach or preach liberal politics or theology. Politics gets very little attention... less than I would prefer personally. That being said, the focus is not on saving people with a political agenda. Remember, most of the Jews who rejected Jesus did so because they were expecting a political and military savior rather than someone Who would save them from sin. That is exactly what I am talking about here. Homosexuality is identified as sin and preached against. But you do not have to be homosexual to be on your way to hell. And adopting conservative political views will not save you even if it went so far as to abstain from immorality.
My conservative views spring from my Christian world-view, but I do not confuse the two. A conservative world-view is, by itself, not enough to save anyone from sin.
“Youre not comprehending the issue.”
I think I do. The author made a clever play on words about salvation but with the intended meaning of preserving the existence of liberal Christendom rather than salvation from sin which is the real issue.
Many of the comments seem to indicate a similar misunderstanding that conservative politics is a prerequisite to being born again. While I do believe Christians who seek God diligently and grow in His Word will see through the deception of leftist politics, I also recognize that believers have different levels of maturity and also can be deceived.
“You support the killing of nascent life? Thats a fundamental tenet of so-called Liberal Christianity.”
I am 100% pro-life. Let me give you some examples of how true believers can be deceived on this issue. I have talked first hand with Christian doctors who delivered babies and prescribed birth control pills to prevent new mothers from conceiving too soon after giving birth. Birth control pills are definitely, scientifically and medically abortifacient. Some Christian doctors do not know this in spite of (or maybe because of) their medical training.
I have heard fertility clinics advertised on Christian radio programs. Anyone who understands life begins at conception should be aware that far more abortions are performed by these businesses than abortion clinics.
Even in the Christian movie called Facing the Giants, the star writer and director gives the reason for his Christian-informed decision to forego fertility treatments as being because they didn’t have enough money. What he should of told the doctor is that he believes life begins at conception and would not be able to violate his conscience by having a test tube baby requiring the formation of multiple embryos which will mostly be discarded, destroyed, or even worse, used for scientific research and then destroyed. This film-maker is definitely a true believer in Christ as far as I can see. He probably considers himself pro-life. Yet his ignorance and being deceived about this led to a serious mistake in an otherwise excellent film.
Bill Clinton’s pastor advised him that life begins when a baby is born and takes its first breath because God breathed into man who then became a living soul. This is not biblically sound, nor does Clinton seem to have any indication of being a believer; but it does show you an argument that could mislead a true believer.
“You support the states redefinition of marriage; a direct assault against Christianity? “
I believe what Jesus and the apostles taught, that fornicators (whether sodomites or heterosexual) must repent or will go to hell. I also believe there will be many people who never committed this particular sin who will be in hell for eternity, and some of them will be Republicans.
I agree. I have also read many of your comments in the past and often find myself enlightened by them. Keep using your gift.
My point is not to agree with liberal theology but to point out that true believers have the capacity to be deceived by it as much as other lies. This will harm them and others, but it is still not the litmus test for what makes someone a believer or not.
Agreed. I’m afraid though that he and many more “conservatives” may be close enough to the truth to be desensitized to the conviction of sin needed to be saved. An atheist knows he is not a believer. A Muslim or Hindu knows the same. But people who have grown up in or around Christianity are at great risk of mistakenly thinking they are somehow automatically Christian. Or even worse, they may have done some act that they think makes them a Christian - said a prayer, raised their hands, walked an aisle, got baptized, joined a church, etc. These might be good things, but they are no guarantee of a genuine salvation. I wish I could say otherwise, but I have no reason at all to believe Rush is a believer in Christ. His brother apparently is. So you are right. There is hope.
You are right about liberal theology. Unfortunately there are real Christians who are deceived by it. If just the true believers in Christ who are caught up in this deception could be delivered from it, we would have a major shift in our country to the right. I wish I knew how to persuade more to rethink their beliefs on this. I do have one liberal leaning Christian friend who is starting to come around. We just need a few million more.
“But people who have grown up in or around Christianity are at great risk of mistakenly thinking they are somehow automatically Christian. Or even worse, they may have done some act that they think makes them a Christian...”
Hadn’t thought of this. Food for thought.
>> I think I do. The author made a clever play on words about salvation but with the intended meaning of preserving the existence of liberal Christendom rather than salvation from sin which is the real issue.
By “issue”, I was referring to the criticism of Liberalism, and the negative impact it has on Christianity — specifically, the “understood” forms of abortion, and the homosexuality you generalized as fornication. The comments condemned this negative influence, but I didn’t notice comments suggesting Liberals are undeserving of Salvation.
I certainly wouldn’t question your Faith nor comprehension of it.
FWIW, I’m not that interested in qualifying how others practice their faith. That’s between them and whatever they’re praying to. On the other hand, I take exception to the abuse of my Faith which is most often condemned by the Left, and misrepresented by some in the Liberal camp.
Well, as a Methodist, all I can say is Thank God for the African Methodists. If not for them, we’d have gone the same way as the Episcopals.
Was in Tallahassee this weekend. Drove by my father’s old church, St. John’s Episcopal. Most of the congregation decamped and they’re left with a tired old pile that costs a fortune to maintain and a Bishop with expensive tastes.
Meanwhile, the Anglican church they joined are getting ready to build a Cathedral!
Thank you for your kind words. Give glory to God if anything I write here at FR is truly enlightening.
And you are right: the double-mindedness needed to believe both the Gospel and “liberal” ideas is quite feasible for fallen men and women. The best thing to do with such folks is to pray that the Gospel will prevail in their hearts. Unfortunately when they act publicly in ways which will deceive others, especially into confounding modern “liberal” ideas with the Gospel, it is also necessary to publicly oppose them.