First, let me mention that Ross Douthat himself has written a follow-up piece, “What Is Liberal Christianity?” In it his primary conversation partner is Steven Holmes, a British Baptist who wrote a response to Douthat’s initial piece in which he addressed this issue of defining Liberal Christianity. Holmes has now responded to Douthat, tempering his passion in the interest of Anglo-American mutual comprehension across our linguistic divide.
Ken Schenck asks what the relationship is between truth and popularity. Likewise the blog Progressive Involvement notes the different interpretations conservatives offer when Liberal churches decline and when their own conservative ones do. The piece is worth reading all the way to the end, since the last line packs quite a punch. Morgan Guyton also emphasized that churches decline in attendance for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad.
Ed Kilgore has some sharp words for Ross Douthat, including the following:
It never seems to occur to religious “traditionalists” like Ross Douthat that an equally grave charge could be aimed at Christian conservatives who are in perpetual danger of confusing worship of Jesus Christ with such entirely secular preoccupations as maintaining economic privileges and mid-twentieth-century ideas of family structure and sexual morality—not to mention the worldly interests of the Church itself.
Indeed, instead of lecturing “liberal Christians” about our alleged lack of serious spirituality and advising us on how to put more posteriors in the pews and more money in the coffers, perhaps Ross Douthat should spend his time proctoring conservative Christians who attend churches he actually knows something about, and whose growing tendency to conflate the Gospels with the agenda of the American conservative movement and the Republican Party could use some critical attention.