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In what ways are you a liberal Christian ?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Bonhoffer, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. politically

  2. biblically (non-literal/Bible fallible)

  3. theologically (gay acts okay/universalism)

  4. church politics (pro-female ministers/active gay ministers)

  5. attitude (love, love, unconditional love. non-judgemental)

  6. worship (Christian Rock ? happy clappy)

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  1. Bonhoffer

    Bonhoffer Hoping......

    Hi guys. Sometimes its complicated to define exactly what a 'liberal' Christian is.

    Is it where you stand theologically, politically, worship style or biblically?

    I personally get confused on whether to call myself a Liberal Christian or not.

    This is because I am liberal with some things, but orthodox with others.

    For example in regards to Scripture I am an orthodox fundamentalist. i.e literal 6 day creation, non-Christians go to hell, homosexual acts are a sin.

    Eccelesastically (church politics) I am fairly conservative. i.e male elders only, no active gays in leadership.

    BUT politically I am very liberal. i.e seperation of church and state, pro-choice, (unless it can be legally and scientifically proved that early abortion is murder) civil unions for gays, gender equality

    I would also say I am liberal in my attitude to others regarding my faith
    i.e I don't shove in down unbeleivers throats and concentrate more on Gods love than Gods wrath (although I never deny Gods wrath/ hell etc....)

    And worship style I'm into the funky happy clappy scene :wave:
  2. artybloke

    artybloke Well-Known Member

    Christian Seeker
    I would have gone for theologically, but I'm not sure about universalist (I don't mind gay sex as long as I don't have to do it :) )

    I'm not terribly liberal in worship though. Smells and bells, or Quaker worship, that's for me.
  3. wonder111

    wonder111 Love is the message!

    for me, I would like to say it's the attitude, or at least that's what I strive for. I also like to keep an open-mind. I never like to stick to a definite answer, because I can always be wrong

    and I like worship style to be more sacred and traditional (quiet :) )
  4. Mr. Fields

    Mr. Fields Can't fool this cat...

    I stopped thinking that using contemporary worship music was "liberal" a long time ago...


    I used to be a staunchly conservative believer. Life experiences have a way of changing your views on things...

    1. Formerly a believer that the KJV was "the only" true word of God, I now believe that versions such as the KJV are tools that have been used to confuse and deceive the vast majority of people who believe in traditional Christianity.

    2. I now believe that souls do not go directly to heaven or hell, they are most likely in a state of "sleep" until resurrection and judgement.

    3. I believe that hell is a concept created by man as a political tool to control the masses. I believe that if God sent any man to burn and be tortured for an eternity in hell, his judgement would far exceed his grace, love, forgiveness and compassion.

    4. I believe we were created for a much higher purpose than to sing some songs in heaven for eternity. I believe this life is a training and testing ground, a sort of "boot camp" to prepare us for a much greater purpose.

    5. I believe that as God is the Father, and Jesus is the Son, the Holy Spirit is Mother.

    Hmmm... There's more but I'll leave it at that for now.

    And no, I don't wish to debate any of my beliefs within this thread. ;)
  5. Arikereba

    Arikereba Active Member

    All of the above but to a moderate degree--in every aspect but the political, where I think I'm getting more radical.

    Politically: rather libertarian on the social side of things, to the extent of leaning towards drug legalization. Rather socialist on the economic side; I'm sceptical of the ability of government to regulate commerce and industry in an effective way, but I'm getting more and more uncomfortable with the engines of consumption and production, "getting and spending we lay waste to our powers," as Wordsworth said. Tend to side with the democrats on most issues.

    Biblically: the Bible is an accurate record of God's dealings with man and should be taken seriously. However, it is not the literal dictation of God. There are parts that show human bias and are affected by human cultural constructions.

    Theologically: I think gay sex is probably OK. I also think that sex should stay within the bounds of, at the very least, committed and quasi-marital relationships. I can't call myself a complete universalist because I believe it's possible that some people will choose to turn from the love of God forever. However, I don't think that this applies to all people who never become Christians, or even all the ones who are staunch atheists. I also have some more "conservative" beliefs like Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    Church politics: Gay ministers, fine. Women ministers, fine. I have a problem with ministers in mainstream Christian denominations advancing beliefs that I feel are at odds with mainstream Christianity (which is sometimes the sense I get in regards to John Shelby Spong, for example; but I might well be wrong).

    Attitude: It SHOULD all be about love, love, unconditional love. I am not nearly as good as I should be at showing love to people.

    Worship style: I say that Powerpoint is a tool of the devil. I'm joking. Sort of.
  6. Mr. Fields

    Mr. Fields Can't fool this cat...

    Some would say all MS products are of the devil. ^_^
  7. jessedance

    jessedance Well-Known Member

    I don't believe that abortion is murder. I believe it is wrong , but i do not believe you are killing a human. i don't believe you get your human spirit, which is who you really are until you are born. prior to that time, when you are a fetus , you are just a body and a soul without a human spirit. but like i said, i think its wrong, just not murder, however i figure its ok for unsaved to have abortions cause most ofthier children are gonna grow up to be unsaved anyway, and burn in hell for ever.
  8. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    Hmmm. I am, perhaps, your opposite, Bonhoffer. I believe all politics are demonic and evil, so I am not liberal or conservative politically. Of course, with a gun to my head and only two options I will choose the lesser of two evils, usually the liberal.

    Theologically I am liberal, and that stems from biblical liberalism (as I define it, not Outspoken, btw.) I cannot condemn what God does not condemn, and I see that God typically condemns motivations and attitutudes, which I cannot personally judge.

    When it comes to worhip, I am not a fan of happy clappy. I come closer to smells and bells (loved that, cracked me up, Artybloke). But then I don't think worship is just what happens on Sunday. I suppose I am truly liberal by believing that acts of service are worship. James and I agree that taking care of widows and orphans is an act of worship. I am not currently helping many widows, but I do love and serve six orphans. For me, that is worship and I tithe directly toward the welfare of these kids.

    Back on politics a minute. I believe abortion is wrong. I would never have one or encourage it. But at the same time I believe it is wrong to force this stand on people via political power. The proper way, IMO, to address this is through persuasion and love. Unfortunately, not enough Christians are involved in actually caring for those involved in unwanted pregnancy. Sure, they line up to adopt the baby, especially if it a white, male child. The line for cocaine addicted baby girls of color is considerably shorter. But the assistance to mothers with unwanted pregnancies is even rarer. It exists, but is not as widespread as the groups with photos of dead fetuses blockading the abortion clinic. I have even been witness to some interchanges between these picketers and the women coming in. It is enough to make me want to deconvert.
  9. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    You are joking, right? Or do you truly value the life of the "unsaved" less than that of a "saved" person?
  10. Biarien

    Biarien Dúnadan

    I'm not sure I agree with the first two points (could you explain what 'Biblical liberalism' entails more specifically?) but the rest of the post is great. :)

    And I don't think believing acts of service are a style of worship is liberal at all. :confused:
  11. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    I mean that I apply a consistent methodology to ALL biblical texts. There are no sacred cows. This is an interdisciplinary effort with dialogue between the text and a number of contexts. For example, there is the context of foreign languages. Some word meanings have changed in all cultures. Just knowing the "meaning" of the English word is insufficient for determining the intent of the author. We have to see other biblical uses of the word and secular uses as well. Strong's dictionary is not a good one, but the fave of many fundamentlists. It does not take into account secular usage.

    Another context is culture. We must understand the culture as best we can from the biblical text and other sources. Otherwise we miss important facts. For example, women were the property of men. This must be kept in mind when reading laws about women. They were often property laws. We might also miss the paganism in the culture, the barbarism, what a "covenant" really means, etc.

    Another context is literary form and style. Truth is communicated as poetry, as narrative, and as myth. You have to know what you are reading and why.

    When I read the text this way, I discern certain priorities and principles behind the specific actions and choices made. I discern that these priorities are violated by the breaking of some rules and restrictions. These priorities and principles are what we must apply to culture today, and not the "plain sense" reading of the text. If we apply the straightforward English meaning of the text, we might actually be violating the principle behind it. A good example of this is divorce. The plain reading of the text is that divorce is not allowed except possibly for adultery. So a woman with a man who abuses her is not free to divorce. But the spirit behind Jesus' prohibition of divorce was actually a protection for women, who were being abused by men taking the dowry and their virginity and abandoning them. The priority was the protection of women, but a straightforward application today would actually harm many women.

    Now most fundamentalists will do this kind of study and scholarly analysis on the topic of divorce. They will do the same to explain why women can talk in church and not have to be quiet in the back. But they balk at the application of the same scholarship to the doctrine of hell and homosexuality, because the results challenge deeply held beliefs. I don't hold back. I liberally apply scholarship to the entire text, not picking and choosing which parts to believe.
  12. jessedance

    jessedance Well-Known Member

    no im not joking. the simple facts are that most babys born to heathen parents end up heathens themselfs, so allowing them to abort if they want just prevents another human from being cast into hell. if christians had more babys and the unsaved had less then the world would be in a lot better shape and the unsaved would have a better chance at getting saved.
    I figure God aborts children all thetime. babys that are born and die in say crib deaths are probably spared going to hell for all eternity and will wind up instead as going to heaven , although they wont be the bride of christ it sure a lot better than hell.well likewise never having been born is a lot better than having been born and living a life without chirst and going to hell for all eterenity.
    you gotta look at it with your eyes open , real life , the way things are.
  13. jessedance

    jessedance Well-Known Member

    look its like this the unsaved are living in sin anyway so if they wanna commit abortion, well its not murder so why try and stop um. i mean adultry is wrong too but i don't see christians picketing whore houses.
  14. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

  15. nadroj1985

    nadroj1985 A bittersweet truth: sum, ergo cogito

    You should be.
  16. Biarien

    Biarien Dúnadan

    Pastor, thanks. That was very helpful. :)

    What dictionary(ies) do you use for your studies?
  17. Arnold_Philips

    Arnold_Philips what

    In Relationship
    I voted for all of them, though it felt kinda weird to do so. Living in Texas, it's just sort of unsettling to actually read and take into account how different you are from all those around you.

    I'm pretty liberal concerning politics, but then again, my knowledge of the subject isn't as exhaustive as it could be, so I shouldn't really place my bets just yet. I took the political compass quiz though, and it placed me fairly liberally, between Mandela and Gandhi. If that's any indicator.

    Also, I am uncertain as to what exactly the worship one was. I guess in my experience I have never been to a smells and bells service. But if the opposite of that is something like Acquire the Fire, then I guess I would like smells and bells, cos I hated Acquire the Fire.
  18. fragmentsofdreams

    fragmentsofdreams Critical loyalist

    Politcally - Niether liberal conservative. My libretarian sensibilities gets offended by both political sides.

    Biblically - Liberal. I believe the Bible to be an important set of writings recording the relationship of the Biblical authors with God not a verbally dictated, innerrant in every sense book. I believe that many of the messages of the Bible are obscured by language and history.

    Theologically - Somewhat liberal. I believe that homosexual acts are okay within the context of a homosexual marriage. I lean toward anihilation over universalism because I think universalism contains an implicit denial of free will. Also, I tend to accept traditional doctrines unless I have reason to reject them. For example, I believe in the virgin birth even though I understand the reasons why some would think that it didn't happen.

    Church politics - Fairly liberal. I support woman pastors but would honestly change my mind if someone could give me a good reason for a male-only priesthood. I support the celibate priesthood and religious orders but would like to see some expanded roles for married persons, such as an expanded deaconate. I believe homosexuality is not a reason to bar someone from the priesthood and would hold homosexuals to the same standards as heterosexuals (no extramarital sex but allow homosexual marriage).

    Attitude - Liberal. I believe that it imperitive that Christians remain approchable by those outside of the Church. People should feel welcome even if Christians do not approve of their sin. Also, Christians need to listen to people in order to figure out to help them and be willing to help others out as they work to overcome their sins. It is easy to condemn prostitutes and exotic dancers but hard to help them find ways to make good money and still have time to be with their children. It is easy to pray for the women entering an abortion clinic but hard to help the mother find alternatives and support her as she implements them.

    Worship - Fairly conservative. I guess I'd fit under "smells and bells." Traditional liturgy is as it is partially because it is what Christians have found to work over the centuries. One needs to remain reverent and conscious of what is going on. Some experimentation and adaptation to local culture is appropiate, but it is very important that one understands why things are the way they are and the implications of the changes. For example, seeing liturgical dancers at a service bothers me it often turns into a performance because our culture has no methods of conveying messages through dance. People can worship in whatever way they desire, but individual roles within communal worship need to interact with the rest of the community in some way, such as communicating a message to them or serving them in some way.
  19. PastorFreud

    PastorFreud Lie back on the couch.

    I like Brown, Driver and Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon for Hebrew Bible word studies. I like Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament for Greek Bible word studies. But I admit, it is a lot harder to use. If you want the nuances of word use, these are better than Strong's, which draws heavily on the KJV version of the Bible.

    I like the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible for culture and background studies. I also like several of IVP's products such as the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters and the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels and the Cultural Background Commentary. I think I have those titles correct. Sorry if I don't. And I have the Dictionary of Evangelical Theology from Baker that helps me understand the fundamentalist perspective sometimes. :)
  20. Fideist

    Fideist Member

    I'm moderate and an independent politically. I tend to vote for candidates, not for parties. The music thing is not all that important, if you ask me, so I'm neutral there. I'm liberal in the rest of the categories. Thanks for asking!
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