Future of Mainline Protestantism
New Visions: Or, Church for People Who Aren't So Sure about Religion
Not only conservatives will wonder and worry where one should draw the line. And that's the point: we've now entered an age where we no longer know how to draw lines, because the old criteria just don't work anymore -- except to exclude the vast majority of the people whom we hope to interest.
As I look back over what I've written, I think, "Yes, this is a world, and a kind of church, that Jesus would have understood." I'm not sure he would have understood the papacy, or Christian imperialism, or the monumental systematic theologies, or the "church triumphant" in Victorian America. But what about an age in which people passionately yearn to experience God, to live a lifestyle of love and self-emptying, to embrace the needy whoever and wherever they are, even as the old orthodoxies are collapsing around us? Somehow, I think Jesus would have been at home in this world. Perhaps he still is.
Philip Clayton is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Claremont Graduate University and Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology. He is primarily known for his work in constructive theology and the religion-science debate. He is the author or editor of over 100 articles and eighteen books, most recently The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, Adventures in the Spirit, In Quest of Freedom, and Transforming Christian Theology. Visit his blog here.