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Religion Library: Protestantism

Principles of Moral Thought

Written by: Ted Vial

In the last decade there have been several shifts in the conservative/liberal split, and new issues that are difficult to fit into these categories. Rick Warren, for example, author of The Purpose Driven Life, is a Baptist who is "conservative" on issues of sexual morality, but "liberal" on issues of climate change and combating AIDS in Africa. Lynne Hybels, wife of Willow Creek Community Church founder and pastor Bill Hybels, has become a major advocate on behalf of those with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Some of the "mega-churches" (like Warren's Saddleback Church in California or Hybels's Willow Creek in Illinois) have integrated racially more easily than mainline congregations. This is the result of a concentrated effort to reach out to unchurched people rather than rely on the traditional neighborhood or families of people who are church members already to provide a flow of new members. It is also the result of an effort to create a "relevant" worship style that cuts across the worship styles historically associated with certain ethnic groups. The use of rock bands and gospel choirs tends to appeal across ethnic lines in a way that the traditional use of organ music does not.

Study Questions:
1.     Do Protestants believe that good works are necessary for salvation? Explain.
2.     Do salvation and good works always go hand in hand? Explain.
3.     How did liberals and conservatives develop different moral priorities?


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