In responding to an article that describes two kinds of liberal (or progressive) Christianity, Watson adds a third category:
There is, however, another type of Christianity that has attached itself to progressivism. I will call it “issues-based” Christianity. This type of Christianity leads with issues and couches the issues in God-talk. The goal of our faith is to transform society in such a way as to meet particular ideas of social justice. Salvation is primarily, then, a this-worldly social category. Issues of conversion, personal transformation, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit, and eternal life are simply left out of the discussion. …
To be clear, as a Wesleyan I am thoroughly committed to the Church’s role in transforming society. My own passions in this area are mainly around people with disabilities. Our work in society, however, must be grounded in a full-bodied conception of the nature and work of the Holy Trinity. Our claims about God lead to our understanding of how we should live and what the world should look like, not the other way around. Theology must first and foremost be about God.
As I have begun to explore the issues of disability and theology, I have seen some of what Watson writes about here. The temptation is to start with people and let our conclusions about them shape or limit what are willing to say about God. I hear Watson calling for an inversion of this movement. That God-first approach is what I am trying to do in my own faith and spirituality.