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Theological Liberalism and the Democratic Party

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by joseph_, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Did Theopedia use the term heresy?
     
  2. JackRT

    JackRT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In the article you cited earlier, N.T. Wright was referenced as calling my heresy "the liberal myth of Christian origins". And yes, the term heresy was used. I am content with that term. After all a great many of the Church Fathers were heretics according to other Church Fathers.
     
  3. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    You mean the drill down article:

    http://www.theopedia.com/liberal-myth-of-christian-origins

    I thought the United Church of Canada was Trinitarian.

    From "What we believe" United Church of Canada:

    Based on the understanding that the Bible is the ultimate standard for our faith, membership in the church is based on a profession of faith, not on adhering to a particular creed. New members are asked to profess their faith in the triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - and to commit themselves to faithful conduct in the church and in the world. Additionally, United Church ministers are required to be in "essential agreement" with the 20 Articles of Faith set out in The Basis of Union.

    As members of one body of Christ, we acknowledge our Reformation heritage and the teaching of the creeds of the ancient church, particularly the Apostles' and Nicene creeds.

    Our membership in the World Council of Churches links us to a fellowship of churches that confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures.

    Along with our statements of faith, the following information offers an overview of the beliefs of the United Church....

    More:

    http://www.united-church.ca/community-faith/welcome-united-church-canada/what-we-believe
     
  4. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    You know, most of the "liberal" Christians around don't subscribe to a "demythologized" Christianity; that is, we actually believe and confess the historic creeds. We do, in fact, believe that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, buried, and on the third day rose from the dead (this actually happened, Jesus stopped being dead) and that He now sits at the right hand of the Father from whence He will come in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end. We actually believe what Christianity has taught.

    So this "liberalism" narrative seems to be either outdated or simply off in some way. On the other hand I can't count the number of self-identified "conservative" Christians who don't believe what Christianity has taught. So if we are going purely by anecdotal evidence, that's mine.

    Further, if you want to ask me what the biggest threat to Christianity today is, perhaps look to those religio-political movements which have sought to claim for themselves the mantle Christianity; the Moral Majority, the Christian Right, Christian Reconstructionism, and the New Apostolic Reformation. Want to talk about bad theology? There you go. Want to talk about being an internal threat to the Church in America? There you go.

    The small corner Episcopalian church that preaches the Gospel every Sunday and then helps hand out blankets and coats to the homeless, and who also happens to think being gay shouldn't exclude someone from participating in the life of the Church isn't what I'm worried about.

    The massive light show mega church that spends every Sunday telling people to be afraid of people who are different, who preaches a false gospel of health, wealth, success, and works-based righteousness; which has embraced the heresy of American Exceptionalism, and is incapable of separating the City of God from the City of Man--that's the kind of church I'm worried about.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  5. joseph_

    joseph_ New Member

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    But the Episcopalian church, statistically, is declining. Most liberal Christians that I know don't evangelize and are interested in other religions or have very little interest in Christianity.

    If you look at the Pew Forum, it shows that the mainline movement is declining, and historically has declined every year. Now mainline Christians account for 15% or so percent of the population, the number used to be %25 percent I believe.
     
  6. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Why I find it important to define these matters.
     
  7. bhsmte

    bhsmte Newbie

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    Is something stopping you from practicing the Christianity you personally choose to practice?
     
  8. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    There was a point in time when the Church consisted of a handful of men and women sitting at a table with Jesus in an upper room sharing a meal together.

    I don't subscribe to a "Church Growth" ecclesiology, and so I don't see such numbers as particularly significant except as a matter of raw data.

    I suspect you and I will also highly disagree on the issue of evangelism, since I approach the topic of evangelism from within a Lutheran theological framework; therefore

    A) Scripture says quite clearly that not all are called to be evangelists.
    B) We are called to "give an answer to the hope that is in us with gentleness and respect", which isn't going to look like someone handing out pamphlets on a street corner or aggressively proselytizing their neighbor.
    C) It is not our job to make other people Christian, not least of all because we can't--because it is the Holy Spirit working through the Means of Word and Sacrament which brings faith.

    So your issue with "liberal Christians not evangelizing" is almost certainly nothing to do with "liberal" anything, but simply a major difference of theology due to the fact that Mainline Christians do not receive their theological tradition from the teachings of 19th century Revivalists such as Charles Finney, or 20th century Revivalists such as Bill Bright and Billy Sunday--ours is going to be a theology which is defined by the historic tradition of the Christian Church as expressed in our respective confessional texts. That doesn't mean Lutherans and others don't share our faith (we do), or that we don't believe in preaching the Gospel (Heaven forbid! the preaching of the Gospel is absolutely central to everything we are as Lutherans)--but that it's probably not going to look the same way it looks from within the tradition and practices of your particular tradition and denomination.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  9. joseph_

    joseph_ New Member

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    I would encourage you to study more about the well being of the mainline world. Many churches have closed. It is not an issue of church growth per se, so much as it is an issue of doctrinal and ecclesiastical solvency. Many mainline churches are dead. Also, if you look at the prevalence of spiritual gifts as evidence of the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, it gives other signs of the decline of liberalism.

    How many liberals can prophesy? I hear things from the Holy Spirit every day. The church needs to be open to the Holy Spirit. It is not a debate about abstract ideas, theological liberalism is an impotent church, unsure of herself and lost in an unsanctified, undisciplined manner. Even Mark Noll called the mainline world "spiritually comatose".

    Also the issue with evangelism is an issue of spiritual maturity. When Christians mature spiritually, they will reach out to others and attempt to confront sin. I agree that not all are called to be evangelists, but all are called to warn people that are perishing. This is important for the spiritual health of Christian communities, to have people that are willing to hold others accountable. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself. Eze 3:19
     
  10. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    You base this on what?

    You base this on what?

    You keep saying "liberalism".

    I suspect you and I have very different ideas about the nature of the charismata.

    The same number as "conservatives" I reckon. Which, depending on how you're defining "prophesy" can either mean none or every pastor who is faithfully preaching the Gospel to their flock.

    Or, rather, you believe you hear things from the Holy Spirit every day. I'm extremely doubtful that you've ever personally heard anything from God.

    How do you believe the Holy Spirit principally operates in the Church? I believe the Holy Spirit principally operates in the Church through the established Means which Christ Himself instituted for the Church: the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments.

    If you believe the Holy Spirit principally operates in the Church through some other means, then we're at a pretty significant impasse.

    Again, you keep saying "liberalism" but at every point along this discussion it seems your issue isn't with some sort of nebulous "liberalism", your issue is with traditional Churches doing what they've always done for two thousand years. Namely, your problem is that we haven't embraced Charismaticism as a viable, faithful, or biblical expression of Christian faith and practice. The term "liberal" seems to simply be largely the word you want to use to lambast the entirety of historic, traditional Christian churches regardless of any "conservativism" or "liberalism".

    Confusing having a log in one's eye with "spiritual maturity" is probably a poor route to go.

    According to....who? What?

    And now we come to another crucial issue: A failure to rightly exegete Scripture by assuming that the Bible is principally written to oneself. You'd do well to stroll back a few verses to verse 16. Unless you're a 7th century BC prophet of Israel named Ezekiel then this wasn't directed at you. The "you" here is Ezekiel, and it was Ezekiel's calling as a prophet to Israel to speak to the people of Israel. Trying to make that about yourself is a fundamental failure on how to read the Bible.

    This discussion, honestly, doesn't belong in this board because this isn't a political issue. This is a debate topic that belongs on one of the theology boards, because your issues aren't about politics, but theology, and specifically it's clear that your issue is with the fact that there are Christians who don't share the particular teachings of your Charismatic tradition.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  11. joseph_

    joseph_ New Member

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  12. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Very interesting from the link you provided.:

    Mainline Protestantism lost its way when it forgot how to balance being American and being Christian, choosing American individualism and self made spirituality over classical Christianity. Nearly all mainline seminaries had embraced modernism by the 1920s, rejecting the supernatural in favor of metaphorized faith integrated with sociology and political revolution.

    By the 1960s, not in-coincidentally, too few clergy were left in the Mainline with strong educations in theological orthodoxy, hence their inability and even unwillingness to evangelize, preferring to adopt the themes of radical cultural and political change that was hyper utopian, egalitarian, therapeutic and individualistic. A 1967 survey found 60 percent of Methodist clergy, for example, disbelieving the Virgin Birth and 50 percent disbelieving the Resurrection.
     
  13. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    What that describes is not really modern. That is to a large extent the Christianity of some of the most revered founders of this country--most notably Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and James Madison. They admired Jesus as a moral teacher, but were skeptical, if not outright deniers that he was in any way divine or supernatural. This is the influence of the Enlightenment, which goes back 200 years before the 20th century. And since Protestantism has no hierarchcal authority to enforce doctrinal orthodoxy, it has been affected much more than Catholicism.
     
  14. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    The American colonies were mainly populated with Christian churches adhering to theological orthodox beliefs. Although some of the upper crust founders may have been unorthodox and influenced by Enlightenment teachings, the majority of the founders and citizens were not.

    Unlike the continental experience of the time, orthodox Christian beliefs in the American colonies was bolstered by the First Great Awakening. Which came about much earlier than Enlightenment.

    On doctrinal authority? The transcendent standard for testing truth claims in colonial, modern times and in the NT era was and is Holy Scriptures.

    The link posted by @joseph_ points this out quite well.
     
  15. Received

    Received True love waits in haunted attics

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    I think if liberalism is practiced in its real form it's no threat to Christianity. It could actually be seen as an homage, seeing how liberalism is about the idea that you should be free to follow or even construct your own conception of the good and follow it freely. Now, that's different than the issues that are usually fused with any political party, but the basic idea honors human freedom.

    It becomes problematic when you consider someone wrong for trying to get another person to believe something, seeing how beliefs entail valuations that might entail some things to be better than others. It's this type of extremist liberalism that there are multiple forms of the good (i.e., pluralism) that can become problematic and relativising, and in my view really isn't liberalism at all, seeing how it goes from holding that everyone is free to pursue his own conception of the good to enforcing a conception of the good as accepting all beliefs (or cultures or values, etc.) as equally good.
     
  16. PeaceByJesus

    PeaceByJesus Unworthy servant for the Worthy Lord + Savior

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    But if we are going to go by survey after survey, it is Catholics and mainline Prots who tend to be the most liberal in Biblical and moral views.

    94.4% of Evangelical Protestants and 84.9% of Catholics and 72.2% of Mainline Protestants [classifications based on denominational affiliation in this study] believe that Jesus is the son of God. 42.1% of the former and 46.1% of the latter say they pray once a day or more.

    6.5% of Evangelical Protestants and 19.8% of Catholics and 22.0% of Mainline Protestants believe the Bible is a ancient book of history and
    legends, versus literally true.

    42.1% of Evangelical Protestants and 7.1% of Catholics and 16.0% of Mainline Protestants read Scripture weekly or more. (http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/33304.pdf)

    9.3% of Evangelical Protestants, 33.1% of Catholics and 21.9% of Mainline Protestants never read Scripture.

    Catholics and Mainline Protestants also tend towards more belief in a more Distant God, not active in the world does not “do” things in the world and does not hold clear opinions about our activities or world events, versus the Authoritarian God held byEvangelical Protestants and Black Protestants who tend to believe that God is highly involved in their daily lives and world affairs.

    The latter overall strongly hold to conservative moral views (abortion, adultery, cohabitation, fornication, sodomy) versus Distant Deists, who hold to liberal moral views. However, both are fairly close in belief in the importance of such things as taking care of the sick and needy.
    (http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/33304.pdf)

    73% (highest) of Pentecostal/Foursquare believers strongly affirm that Christ was sinless on earth, with Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists being tied at 33%, and the lowest being among Episcopalians with just 28%. (http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/53[FONT=Arial, sans-serif])[/FONT]
    That's a wide brush, and while there are many aberrations so also do we find the strongest contentions for our basic core believes and values within what i presume you deride as evangelical-type "Bible Christians."
    The pot that boils over get more attention than the aberrant one that barely simmers. It is the latter than represents Mainline denoms, and which members tend to support liberal moral views.
    It seems you are you are presenting a evangelical - too broadly defined - vs Episcopalian comparison, and misrepresenting both, as for the former are also committed to helping the needy, while Episcopalians tend to not simply affirm being gay but actually sanctions homosexual relations and marriage, which is manifestly contrary to Scripture.
    As i am, and on the question “Is wealth a sign of God’s favor?” (it can be, but not necessarily) asked of 1,000 American adult respondents who describe themselves as either “born-again” or as an evangelical Christian, 9 percent of white, 34 percent of blacks, and 24 percent of Hispanic evangelical Christians said “definitely” or “probably” (wealth is a sign of God’s favor). (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/...ngelicals-more-favorable-toward-the-prosperit)

    Yet 90% of evangelical leadersworldwide, reject the so-called prosperity gospel, the notion that God will grant wealth and good health to those who have enough faith. 52% (75% in the “Global South”) believe drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good evangelical, 97% likewise reject astrology, 96% reject reincarnation, 95% reject denying Jesus is the only way to salvation, 92% reject yoga. (http://www.pewforum.org/2011/06/22/global-survey-of-evangelical-protestant-leaders)
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
  17. PeaceByJesus

    PeaceByJesus Unworthy servant for the Worthy Lord + Savior

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    Only in official teaching, not what she effectually teaches and fosters (which Biblically defines what one believes), while the definition of Protestantism mostly refers to groups that would be considered aberrant in early Protestantism, and those who hold most strongly to the authority and integrity of Scripture - the primary aspect of Protestantism - testify to the strongest unity in core beliefs. Even if not as much as we should.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
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