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What is a "Moderate Christian" theologically?

Discussion in 'Bridge Builders - Moderate Christians' started by FreeinChrist, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Yitzchak

    Yitzchak יצחק


    I think that there is more to it than just whether someone believes the bible or not. It is a matter of how the bible is applied. Espeacially when it comes to contradictory or competing values. Take this passage for example. The bible teaches to keep the sabbath. But in this passage Jesus heals on the sabbath and in the opinion of the conservatives of his day he violated the commandment of G-d by doing this.

    Jesus response is important here. He points out to the conservatives that they also violate the sabbath by circumcising on the sabbath. The issue there was which command of G-d do they keep ? Because the command said to circumcise on the 8th day and if that fell on the sabbath then there was a contradiction in the commands which G-d gave.

    There is a larger point being made here. The sabbath and the circumcision is not the only issue where there are two commands which compete. We have these kind of choices to make in our modern church circles as well.

    I think that part of being a moderate is a recognition that more than one teaching of the bible comes into play in each situation. It is an attempt to balance the entire counsel of G-d rather than just focusing on taking one virtue to an extreme.

    I think that many conservatives and liberals are well meaning. They have gotten a revelation or personal connection to certain virtues and really see and feel those virtues.

    I think with moderates there are two possibilities. Those who are wishy washy as one poster mentioned previously. Meaning they do not see or feel how crucial certain virtues or truths are. Inerrancy would be one example. So they do not feel a need to take a stand on anything and avoid that at all costs. The other possibility though is that a moderate can see or feel two competing truths or values and is trying to keep both.

  2. Yitzchak

    Yitzchak יצחק

    I think that being a moderate is a relative term. When I lived in Pennsylvania around the Mennonites , there was a very conservative church which had a church split over wearing black socks or allowing dark green socks.

    It may sound silly on the surface , but the issues involved were serious issues within that culture. There were several issues involved. One was community values versus individual values. Authoritarian values , respect for community values versus free choice. Also worldliness versus humble and modest dress.

    Their cultural values were a blend of bible and tradition. Which is always the case for every church, by the way , some just are more obvious than others.

    Anyway , these churches had a long history of a percentage of young people leaving the church and becoming liberal and in many cases falling away from their faith in the process. Most of the time , these individuals showed signs of rebellion or at least a questioning of the community values and took small steps over a period of time rather than just leaving one day.

    In that cultural context , someone dressing in a more liberal way , even in such a small way as Green socks was a strong statement of a challenge against the traditional community values.

    In the course of time , many who felt they needed to take a step towards a more liberal view of certain issues started churches that were slightly more liberal , but still very conservative. They did not leave their faith or even leave the denomination. they simply started congregations that gave a little more freedom on certain issues.

    It depends upon which church you speak to , on which group is considered liberal or conservative or moderate.

    On the surface , the arguement seems to be about superficial traditions such as green socks versus black socks. Many would say they are legalistic. But I think legalism is not the issue in that context. We all draw the line somewhere. What about wearing bikinis to church ? or going naked ? where is the line drawn ? It is an issue of where community values and individual values confront each other.

    Even in general secular society , there is a community standard of behavior which if violated brings corporate disapproval or even forced compliance. In many areas there is freedom of individual choice , but only within certain bounds.

    The green sockers are seen by some as champions of individual freedom. Others see them as rebels sowing discord in the community.

    So what is moderate is relative depending on the context. But there is much more at stake than just closed minded or open minded thinking.
  3. lesliedellow

    lesliedellow Member

    I suppose the label "moderate" might belong to me. I am liberal in the sense that I don't think the Bible can be used as a scientific text book, and the findings of higher criticism have at least some truth in them. I am conservative in the sense that I think the higher critics stop well short of giving the Bible its due as divine revelation, or as the final court of appeal in matters relating to Christian doctrine.
  4. SelfProtect

    SelfProtect Regular Member

    Just curious... what is a moderate christian view of pre marital sex?
  5. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

    "Moderate" is vague enough that you'll find all views. I'd say a typical view would be "They'd be better off not doing it", but when they do, not being terribly concerned.

    For us (PCUSA) the issue would arise primarily when choosing elders and deacons. Would we choose someone who is living with someone else without marriage? That would probably depend upon the congregation and people. I could imagine my congregation doing it, but in some of the situations we'd accept, you could reasonably take the view that in NT terms the couple is actually married.
  6. Son of Israel

    Son of Israel Well-Known Member

    Christian Seeker
    Hi :wave:

    Scripturally, “Moderation” has a specific meaning. It is altogether a personal and spiritual level of development into peace and gentleness specifically. The more in moderation a person is, the more they are peaceable and gentle.

    The only verse where the word “moderation” occurs in the Bible is;

    (Php 4:5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

    So, everyone should know your moderation lol!

    The Strong’s # 1933 is described as;

    “appropriate, mild, gentle, moderate, patient.” Fruit of the Spirit!

    It comes from the root of #1503 &1504 which is “to resemble an image”.

    We know what “image” we are to be known by of others of course, and that is this image;

    (Col 3:10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

    The fullness of the meaning of “moderation” is to be actively conforming to the image of Christ as;

    (2Co 3:18) But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

    So good question then, are we “moderate”?

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  7. Gavinswalker

    Gavinswalker Newbie

    In Relationship
    Hey all, I love this discussion, I was a Evangelic, Conservative Fundementalist Christian, But Now I am a moderate , to me that means I still believe in what I believe but dont push it on others or look down at others for believing differently to me. At the same time believe Sin is Sin and not to look at the spec in someone elses eye in order to try and hide the lof in mine .
  8. WannaWitness

    WannaWitness Shining God's Light for a Lost World.

    You've hit the nail on the head, and have explained it very nicely. Of course, that doesn't mean that I am not going to try to tell others of my beliefs when I can, but I also know there is an appropriate time, place, and way to do it. That's why extremists on both ends don't understand -- the anything-goes people think I'm too strict (for so much as voicing what I believe) while the ultra-legalists think I'm not strict enough, and think that calling oneself "moderate" is nothing more than an "excuse for lukewarmness" (or what they believe is lukewarmness). Both sides fail to see where I (and others like me) are coming from, and that just makes it all the more confusing.

    I like the term "Bridge Builders" as it attempts (although sometimes failing) to bridge the gap between fellow Christians who happen to have differing opinions regarding a variety of things -- politics, Bible translations, pants on women, music styles, TV programming, eating meat, and so on. That's why Romans 14 is one of my favorite Scriptures: encouraging believers to respect one another despite differing convictions, and realizing that we all have the same God to give account to for anything done on earth.

    For further commentary on this issue, here are a couple of links to take a look at as individual time allows. Although clearly written by a layperson, this is pretty deep stuff.

    Fundamentalism and separatism « Stray Thoughts

    Fundamentals and secondary issues « Stray Thoughts
  9. BiblebelievingChristian

    BiblebelievingChristian Member

    I check "none of the above" when it comes to the labels of conservative, liberal, or moderate. But if someone is conservative on some issues but liberal on other issues does that average out to being moderate?
  10. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

    That sort of describes me: I'm fundamental on the most basic things (the historic "five fundamentals"), conservative on other basics (Apostles' and Nicene Creed-type stuff), but liberal on many other less central issues. So overall, "moderate" probably is the most correct label for me.

    But that's just Izzy. There are plenty of other people on Bridge Builders who don't fit that at all. :p
  11. Trampoline

    Trampoline Guest

    I appreciate your speculating as it arouses people’s concern today and lets this topic be discussable. We all know about it here.
  12. Norah63

    Norah63 Newbie

    Really liked that post of Son of Israel. Gives a lot of meaning to the word moderate.
    Yes it is a topic that does need to be thought about. How can we build a bridge with out being able to see both sides. Not agree maybe, but just understand a little better.
  13. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

    Good point, Norah. I do try to build bridges in that way. I understand both liberal and conservative Christian thinking, and try to help them understand each other.
  14. OceanPoet87

    OceanPoet87 Husband 'N Wifi

    Politically I'm a Liberal becuase I believe in helping the poor and becuase I'm generally a libertarian in terms of social issues (G/L/B but transgender surgery should be banned forever bc God intended you to be male or female for a reason, the abortion issue, gun rights, not-hawkish in foriegn policy which I pay attention to more than social issues). I also respect the Constitution (Jesus did say to render unto Caeser). That said there is a difference between believing in rights under civil law and promoting it. I also believe that the church has the right to not marry people who it disagrees with. The church also has the right to hire and fire people as it sees fit and forcing religious (or faith based becuase its a Relationship) groups to let in everyone undermines the goals and doctrinal goals of the organization.
    Sex should only be after marriage. Pre-Marital sex is wrong becuase man and woman become one flesh when they are married.

    I agree that there is oppression of the church here in the USA and that secularism is a grave threat to this country and the world.

    I believe in orthodox theology and I go to a very conservative church (AoG). I feel like I belong there. My one no-no is when pastors from either liberal or conservative churches tell people how to vote in their sermons. Outside of church, they can tell me on facebook or email, but not in church. I feel like too much of the liberal church puts too much emphasis on social justice at the detriment of talking about salvation by faith alone and evangelism. Its wierd, I am liberal in election season, but I just can't bring myself to go to a church where certain ideas are promoted when it says in the bible they are wrong. We have to respond in love and pray for them. While I would consider myself a liberal (politics), I would never never never refer to myself as a liberal christian. At the core, too much is given up to bend to society. We have to respect others but unless we evangelize and fight pluralism (multiple paths theology), we aren't loving our hellbound friends and family as brothers or sisters by maintaining silence or pretending its not there.

    Its funny becuase within Pentecostalism or Charismatic churches, conservative means churches like the Baptists who by and large denounce the Gifts of the Holy Spirit today (like tounges). Liberal, though not used implies a church in this case like AoG or Four Sqaure in which charimastic worship is encouraged.

    Liberal, Conservative, and Moderate are have different meanings when applied to different contexts.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  15. Franny50

    Franny50 franny50

    Both politically and theologically I am a moderate.Although raised as a Catholic,I do not believe in the churches insistance on NFP but I am not for abortion unless it is to save the life of the mother.I have also always believed in open communion,although the RCC believes otherwise.I also question the infallibilty of the Pope.
  16. Pegasus1982

    Pegasus1982 Newbie


    Amen. I approve all you say.
  17. Pegasus1982

    Pegasus1982 Newbie

    I think that a moderate christian is also somebody that doesn' t reject evolution.

    Personally when i heard of the evolution theory in junior school, i never thought for a moment that it was against the existence of God.And neither is the Big Bang theory.

    I think that i the universe not even a leaf falls from the tree if the Lord doesn't want to. The bible is not a scientific book, it teaches love, not science.

    If evolution is the way the man was brought into existence, that mean God wanted it to happen this way. There is not such thing as a coincidence in this universe.
  18. Izdaari

    Izdaari Episcopalutheran (TEC/ELCA)

    Theologically, I'm on the moderate side of conservative, in an Anglican kind of way, and on the conservative side of critical theory. I am charismatic, though I don't put a great deal of emphasis on it. And I tend emergent. N.T. Wright, Gordon D. Fee and Brian D. McLaren are major influences for me.

    Politically, I'm a libertarian, though a moderate and pragmatic one.

    Former AoG member, in the process of joining TEC.
  19. ChristianRealist

    ChristianRealist Guest

    Let me take a stab at this: Moderate Christians believe that both Liberal and Conservative Christians are Christians--they just have a different set of priorities. Otentimes, the best course of action is to come up with a compromise. Also, diversity is good for a church, not bad, so long as disagreements are expressed with civility and respect.