Traditional style, progressive substance

We blogged about Rachel Held Evans, her point that Millennials can’t stand the church growth efforts to reach them and how the Sacraments are what make the church relevant.  David French observes that what she is really calling for are churches that are “traditionally progressive,” keeping the old forms while changing orthodox teachings on theology and morality so that they conform to to the canons of progressivism. [Read more...]

Catholic family synod & liberal Protestantism?

The first document from the Catholic synod on the family–which is considering divorce, cohabitation, homosexuality, etc.–says that the church should tone down its application of doctrine, advocates “gradualism” in salvation, affirms that sanctification can take place apart from the church and its sacraments, says that the church should tailor its teachings to “people’s real problems,” and calls for “courageous pastoral choices.”  (What do you think that means?  Aren’t these formulations based on existentialism rather than Thomistic natural law?)

Without simply proclaiming Christ’s forgiveness–apparently, those outside the church’s blessing are not even allowed to confess their sins and receive absolution!–the document tries to establish a new “tone.”  My question:  How is this any different from liberal Protestantism? [Read more...]

Whatever happened to the National Council of Churches?

The ecumenical organization of liberal mainline Protestants (plus the Orthodox, which I never understood) known as the National Council of Churches used to be enormously influential.  But now it has dwindled to insignificance.  Jacob Lupner explains what happened and how the NCC is trying to rise again. [Read more...]

The post-Protestants

We have the post-moderns and the post-Christians; now we have the post-Protestants.  Referring mainly to post-mainline Protestants, these are the children of those liberal denominations who have preserved their parents’ self-righteousness, individualism, millennialism, and sense of being chosen–except without Jesus and any kind of Biblical faith.

Catholic author Joseph Bottum explores this new WASP establishment in a new book, An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America.  After the jump, a link and an excerpt to a review of the book by Matt McCollough. [Read more...]

Back to the social gospel

Hillary Clinton cited her commitment to the “social gospel” in a speech to United Methodists.   That goes back to the 19th century when many Protestants said that instead of emphasizing the gospel of eternal salvation in Heaven through Christ, they should emphasize a gospel of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

The social gospel, which inspired all kinds of social reforms and progressive political activism,  became the hallmark of liberal theology.   After World War II, even in liberal theological circles, neo-orthodoxy reacted against the utopianism of the social gospel, though in the 1960s it came back with liberation theology.  Conservative theologies, of course, rejected the social gospel, but today there is arguably a social gospel of the right. [Read more...]

When the church “doesn’t really stand for anything”

Newsweek has an article about how Protestantism is dwindling in the land of Luther.  It shows, I think, the futility of the liberal theology that the state church has embraced, the notion that in order to reach people you need to change your teachings so as to conform to the dominant culture.  That’s a formula for making the church irrelevant.

The article also credits the Lutheran churches of East Germany, under great persecution under Communism, for its role in the anti-communist protests that brought down the Berlin Wall.  This reminds us that NOT following the path conforming to the dominant culture can have great power and that the church is at its best in times of cultural conflict. [Read more...]


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