How to (Actually) Spot a Theological Liberal

How to (Actually) Spot a Theological Liberal December 3, 2015

I came across this comic from Cute. But not exactly accurate.

So I fixed it. Enjoy!

How to (Actually) Spot a Theological Liberal

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  • Edwin Woodruff Tait

    “Liberal” can mean a lot of things. What you call a “theological liberal” I would call a “heretic.” But since you have chosen to market yourself as a heretic, I see why you wouldn’t use that term. I think it says something about the odd distortions of evangelicalism that you are more comfortable being called a “heretic” than a “liberal”. . . .

    • In claiming “heretic,” I’m primarily acknowledging the name I’ve been given, regardless of whether I may think it accurate. As for defining “heretic” in this manner, I covered that too (first historical definition).

      So I agree with you. This definition of a “heretic” is pretty much the same as the classical definition of a “theological liberal.”

      • Edwin Woodruff Tait

        Chuck, I totally get your rhetorical reasons for choosing the label, and I’m not necessarily saying that you’re wrong to do so. I just think it’s interesting that your response to the accusation of being a “heretic” is to say, “OK, fine, I’m a heretic, so there,” while your response to the accusation of being a liberal is to say, “Oh no, only those who deny basic doctrines of the ecumenical creeds are liberals.” I take this to mean that in your cultural context “liberal” has more loaded, pejorative connotations than “heretic.” “Heretic” is redeemable because the Protestants, and particularly your heroes the Anabaptists, were called heretics.

        • I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. 🙂

        • Another side of this is the fact that most Christians (of the non-fundamentalist variety anyway) are able to recognize the poor taste in throwing around the H word. They view “heretic” as a more serious charge than “liberal,” and thus they are less apt to apply it.

          Thus also, my claiming of “heretic” is more readily apparent as an ironic claim. Whereas if I were to claim “liberal,” no one would bat an eye. It would be assumed that I meant the term in all sincerity and truly did believe myself to be a liberal.


    Do you deny those things in the first panel? I’m not entirely sure what the point is here.

    • No, I fully affirm the creeds. The point of this is to respond to the sloppy definition of a theological liberal, as presented in Adam4d’s original comic.


        I suppose I’m a heretic for not reciting all of the Apostle’s creed (the descended into hell bit) due to me not really seeing the biblical evidence for it. Although, I’m happy to change my mind if I can be shown the evidence.

        • Yeah, that’s the phrase that trips a lot of people up. Some of that just has to do with translation. “Descended to the dead” is another acceptable way to translate it (and gets at the core of the affirmation). Any disagreement with that rendering?

          • TH0RODINSON

            Not at all. He died. I can fully affirm that he died. Haha

          • Then I’d say you’re good on this one. 😉

          • TH0RODINSON

            I still won’t say “descended into hell” though. I have to take Jesus’ word for it when he said that “it is accomplished.”

          • That’s a fair enough stance to take. Personally, I do believe that Jesus entered Sheol (or Hades or the realm of the dead) in order to free the prisoners, lead captivity captive, and destroy death from within. But as long as we can agree that Jesus entered death for us, the rest is interpretation.

          • TH0RODINSON

            Honestly, I’m currently working through the concept of death and how that works. I haven’t done a lot of study yet, but the concept of death being “sleep” and the resurrection of the dead from that “sleepfulness” is something that is interesting. I’m also working through conditional immortality. So much going on in my brain.

            He definitely died and overcame death. I guess I’m just working through what death and hell are.

          • Lots of great stuff to process there.