Home > Liberal Christianity > In Defense of Liberal Theology

In Defense of Liberal Theology

May 16th, 2007
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

Call me an old stick-in-the-mud, or, as I recently admitted to a fellow Lutheran blogger, I unashamedly consider myself on the cutting edge of 16th century Lutheran theology, a new book from Augsburg-Fortress Press, to me, pretty well summarizes the problem with mainline Christendom in this country. Sasse once observed that the classic liberals of the 19th century were like little children playing in their sandbox unaware that the sun was setting on them. In the same vein, the publishing house of the ELCA, a church body in a flat spin, has issued an apologia for liberal theology, the "great movement" that has delivered to the church doubt, confusion and damning apostasy. Why would anyone wish to advocate for it? I’m all for understanding it, but defending it? Arguing for it? Not so much. Here’s how this new book is described:

In this incisive work, distinguished theologian Peter Hodgson
reflects on the precarious yet vital role of theology today and
its nearly lost and sometimes discredited tradition of liberal
thought, especially liberal theology. Liberal theology has been
the main thread of Christian thinking over the last 200 years, but
it threatens to be obscured by a rising tide of conservative and
even fundamentalist Christianity, on the one hand, and a secular
materialism, on the other. Hodgson’s sure-footed work offers a way of seeing our religious
and political situations together. He calls for liberal theology to
reinvent itself and to fulfill its crucial historical roles as a mediator
between Christian commitment and the cultural situation and
as a critical lens through which to retrieve and reconstrue key
Christian doctrines. The heart or root of Christian commitment, Hodgson finds,
lies in its radical vision of freedom – God’s, nature’s, and our
own. In the end, Hodgson’s proposal embraces not only theology
but Christianity itself and its relevance to today’s most
pressing problems.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Categories: Liberal Christianity
  1. May 17th, 2007 at 08:23 | #1

    Liberal Christians always fail to deal with what is, on the merely practical level, the central question (I think): If someone is going to be essentially a secularist, looking for salvation in government programs and universalism, why should they bother with the nuisance of church attendance and the expense of church stewardship? I mean, everybody’s going to Heaven whether you do anything or not, right?

  2. organshoes
    May 17th, 2007 at 09:01 | #2

    Exactly, Lars Walker.
    I always wonder what liberals could possibly get out of church attendance, besides feeding a habit, perhaps, or feeding a felt need for connection to something–nothing definitive, mind you–just something….other.
    I’m sure it’s never a liberal’s expressed intention to undermine faith, scripture, the church, others’ souls… But, guess what?

  3. Chi Chi
    May 17th, 2007 at 11:59 | #3

    It’s sad to see that the “official” ELCA always assumes a false dichotomy about non-Liberals: either one is aconservative/Fundamentalist/fanatic or one is a secular (i.e., totally godless) materialist.
    This paradigm is “safe” for those wanting to hang on to the vestiges of Christianity (love, peace, justice, and a tiny, little Jesus) while not appearing mundane, stupid, or archaic.
    Liberals just don’t seem to recognize that they fall from the same tree as the Fundamentalists, whom they so feverishly disdain. Both are the rotten fruit of Reductionism.

  4. Carl
    May 19th, 2007 at 11:18 | #4

    Once a person or church body/denomination discounts the truth of
    God’s Word and says that it only “contains God’s Word” what can
    we expect in the end? Apostasy! A sad, but obvious reality!
    “Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word!”

  5. Nate
    June 15th, 2007 at 22:19 | #5

    I relate to this all to well, I go to an ELCA Lutheran church in North Carolina and have been working to actually get some gospel in to it and enough of this redundant liturgy. Liberal theology has created an extreme sense of apathy, like the other guy said, they think everyone is going to heaven so why even bother doing anything…
    gah, enough to drive you up the wall

Comments are closed.