f The Wittenberg Door: What is Liberal Theology and Why Should I Care?

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What is Liberal Theology and Why Should I Care?

Many Evangelicals embrace liberal theology without even knowing it. Without a strong understanding of Sola Scriptura, and to a lesser degree a commitment to the historic creeds, confessions, and catechisms, we leave ourselves open to having the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints” reinterpreted for us by the culture. It’s also important to identify the fox before he arrives with designs on your theological chickens. Pastor Kevin DeYoung offers some help:

Gary Dorrien, an Episcopal Priest, a professor at Union Theological Seminary, and the foremost expert on American liberal theology, explains:

“Before the modern period, all Christian theologies were constructed within a house of authority. All premodern Christian theologies made claims to authority-based orthodoxy. Even the mystical and mythopoetic theologies produced by premodern Christianity took for granted the view of scripture as an infallible revelation and the view of theology as an explication of propositional revelation.” (The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion, xv).

Dorrien goes on to say that later “Reformed and Lutheran orthodoxy heightened the Reformation principle that Scripture is the sole and infallibly sufficient rule of faith, teaching that scripture is also strictly inerrant in all that it asserts” (xv). He further argues that Roman Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and the Anglican tradition were all based on external authority in their own ways as well.

But liberal theology, which Dorrien believes to be “the most creative and influential tradition of theological reflection since the Reformation,” charted a different course. Liberalism is both a tradition, coming out of the late-18th century Protestant attempt to reconfigure traditional Christian teaching in the light of modern knowledge and values, and a diverse, but recognizable approach to theology. . . .

Click here to continue reading.

--The Catechizer

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