Douthat on liberal Christianity

Ross Douthat opines about the collapse of the Episcopalian Church and the mainline church in general.

What should be wished for, instead, is that liberal Christianity recovers a religious reason for its own existence. As the liberal Protestant scholar Gary Dorrien has pointed out, the Christianity that animated causes such as the Social Gospel and the civil rights movement was much more dogmatic than present-day liberal faith. Its leaders had a “deep grounding in Bible study, family devotions, personal prayer and worship.” They argued for progressive reform in the context of “a personal transcendent God … the divinity of Christ, the need of personal redemption and the importance of Christian missions.”

Today, by contrast, the leaders of the Episcopal Church and similar bodies often don’t seem to be offering anything you can’t already get from a purely secular liberalism. Which suggests that perhaps they should pause, amid their frantic renovations, and consider not just what they would change about historic Christianity, but what they would defend and offer uncompromisingly to the world.

ADDED 7/15/12: Diana Butler Bass offers her rebuttal of Douthat’s argument.


13 thoughts on “Douthat on liberal Christianity

    1. Yes– an outstanding response indeed– and one completely in keeping with what I observed at General Convention and continue to observe about The Episcopal Church through my wife (an Episcopal priest and deputy to this GC) and son (an active Episcopal youth, and member of the Official Youth Presence).

      And here’s another– one that takes Mr Douthat to task also for conflating too many different kinds of things into one, “bland” and really stereotyped/strawman version of “liberal Christianity”–

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