Feb 08 2013

John Meunier: What is liberal theology?

Original post at https://johnmeunier.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/what-is-liberal-theology/

I don’t find a lot of my tribe out on the wilds of the Christian blogosphere.

I was a fairly nice, fairly typical Midwestern middle-class American with no particular religion. I was neither spiritual nor religious. Then I started responding to the tug of grace. I read Joseph Campbell’s books and eventually John Shelby Spong and Marcus Borg. I grew more and more comfortable attending and taking part in the life of a theologically liberal United Methodist Church.

Then a preacher who took the claims of Christianity a bit more literally than the others I’d encountered came along. He was not at that church long. I don’t think the people of my church cared for how seriously he took it all. When he left I heard little sorrow. But he laid some bread crumbs for me. He and a little book by Will Willimon got me to the baptismal font. I met Jesus there on my knees and received grace and faith that broke the grip of fear and death.

Not too long after that, I left Borg and Spong behind and started reading more traditionally orthodox writers, including John Wesley. I learned to love singing “And Can It Be” and “Depth of Mercy” and “O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing.”

I don’t meet a lot of people who have made this same journey.

Mostly, I encounter bloggers who either were cradle Christians or walked the opposite path that I have. They started in conservative or fundamentalist churches and moved toward Marcus Borg, even if they stopped well short of him.

All this is by way of encouraging you to take a look at an interesting post by Roger Olson about what constitutes liberal theology in Christianity and why he would stop calling himself a Christian if he ever became convinced of the truths of theological liberalism.

You may not agree with his six points that help him discern liberal theology, but it might provoke some interesting thoughts. As always, the comments thread on his blog is active and energetic.

About the author

John Meunier

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2013/02/what-is-liberal-theology/

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