Two paths ahead for liberal Christianity

Ross Douthat continues his writing about liberal Christianity and the fundamental choices before it.


4 thoughts on “Two paths ahead for liberal Christianity

  1. Sister Laurie Brink memorably (and controversial) described as “moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus” — shedding the “bounds of institutional religion” and dropping a focus on “Jesus as Christ” in favor of a pilgrimage that seeks “the spirit of the Holy in all of Creation.”


  2. Whatever your doctrinal views are sooner or later you reach a point where you have to draw a line as to what is or is not acceptable. Liberal Christianity seems unwilling to draw the line. The path toward total inclusivity brings in some whacky view points.

  3. John, I seem to remember you mention something about going to school.
    I hope you will be one of the better teachers. We have so few that are really good.

    I am not sure this is directly related to your post but I do think it is related to the liberal vs. conservative understanding of scripture.
    Let’s take one statement Christ makes as an example.

    “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you“. John 15:16
    Now how is this understood today and how would that statement be understood then?

    The tradition of Jewish education was:
    Avot 5:21, a tractate from a collection of rabbinic sayings called the Mishnah, which states:
    At five years of age, one is ready for the study of the Written Torah, at ten years of age for the study of the Oral Torah, at thirteen for bar mitzvah [the religious coming-of-age ceremony], at fifteen for the study of halachot [rabbinic legal decisions], at eighteen for marriage, at twenty for pursuing a vocation, at thirty for entering one’s full vigor…

    Young men, seeking advanced education as “scribes” or doctors of the law would apply to renowned teacher and become a disciple These men were known according to who their teachers were– “from the school of….”

    Is there any question Christ was the great Rabbi a great teacher?

    Taking the above into account it is easy to see Jesus choosing them” is directly related to student teacher relationship and a reversal of who chose who. That, most likely, would have been how the apostles chosen would have understood the statement “I have chosen you” by Jesus. To be chosen would have been a great honor. It answers the question, ‘Why would rational men do what appears to be an irrational act and walk away from their professions?”.

    How may pastors have you ever heard preach and teach such things?
    How many preachers know these things?

  4. Hello John,

    I am not too surprised to find that the original “Social Gospel” was rooted in serious bible study, prayer and commitment to Christ. Yet, I’m also getting a sense that the original group did not have a reliance upon the government to meet out social justice.

    Yet, I’ve run into people that seems more interested in the government doing what’s the Church job. Oddly enough, social conservative like the idea of government saying something about morality. Gee, I thought that was the Church’s job too.

    It seems the author is confirming what I seem to be seeing. What I’m finding is this. There seems to be a drawing to a common center. I’ve visited a UMC and they are rooted in traditionalism. They are seeking to be more firmly rooted in Scripture and applying biblical teachings to today’s society. I think God is weaning out the ideology that stems from secular progressivism

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