British theologian Theo Hobson has a paradigm-scrambling article in the Christian Century, the magazine of record of mainline liberal Protestantism. He says that liberal theology has suffered a “huge collapse,” particularly in its intellectual credibility in academic theology. The “bad” liberal theology is faulted for being little more than a vague, rationalistic humanism, cut off from historical Christian doctrines and rituals (meaningful worship, the Sacraments). There is, however, a “good” liberal theology, he says, one that supports the “liberal state.” By that he means a state characterized by freedom (religious liberty as opposed to established churches, individual freedom of conscience, civil liberties).
Now, of course,in this country, the cause of political and religious liberty is championed by conservatives. Theological conservatives would no doubt have a broader conception of liberal theology than Hobson does, finding other “academic theologies”–he mentions that of Barth and the radically orthodox Milibank–equally “liberal” insofar as they take a critical stance on the truth and authority of the Bible. Still, you’ve got to read this, after the jump. What do you make of all this? [Read more…]