Against Liberal Theology Now Available!
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Today is June 7, 2022 and today my latest book, “Against Liberal Theology: Putting the Brakes on Progressive Christianity” (Zondervan) is available to purchase.
Here are three endorsements of the book:
”Against Liberal Theology is a clear, timely, and compelling book. Given his experience with the liberal church, and his decades of theological study, Roger Olson is uniquely poised to write this book. While making a careful distinction between progressive Christianity and liberal Christianity, Olson offers a warning for progressives that needs to be heeded by this new generation. This book deserves to be read and discussed widely.” (Sean McDowell, Biola University)
”A courageous and calm definition, examination, and evaluation of the collapse of authentic, orthodox Christian theology in the minds, hearts, and hands of one liberal (not progressive) theologian after another. In their own words, Olson often shines a bright, piercing light on their own criticisms. This is a vintage example of Olson being Olson: he knows the literature, he is candid, he is fair, and he is unstinting in criticism of the pitfalls of liberal theologians. Those most attracted to progressivism and then into liberalism will benefit from a humble reading of this book.” (Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary)
”Roger Olson shows us the absolute theological vacuity of American liberal Christianity. Olson demonstrates that liberalism’s God is a mirror image of themselves, their Jesus is not worthy of worship nor a savior of any sort, and the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol for their own musings. Olson’s verdict is damning but indubitable: liberal Christianity has little to do with classic or historical Christianity.” (Michael Bird, Ridley College)
The idea for this book began way back, a long time ago, when I found myself a member of a liberal Baptist church. Like many such churches in America, it was dying. It’s mainline denomination was dying. The idea for the book grew as I invited self-identified liberal pastors and theologians into my classes and as I studied liberal theology, reading books by self-identified liberal theologian. It grew more as I participated in a theological professional society that met twice annually and was composed of mostly liberal university and seminary professors. I am not someone who stands off and apart from the subject; I know it first hand and close up and through much research.
In this book I repeat, but with updated information and insight, J. Gresham Machen’s conclusion in his classic book “Christianity and Liberalism” that was published in 1923. In a way, my book is a centenary celebration of his book but filling in the gap of a century between that book and mine.
Machen concluded that real liberal theology is not real Christianity. I argue the same. However, one of my purposes in writing this book is to inform readers of what “real liberal theology” is. It is not just Christianity re-interpreted via fresh and faithful interpretation of scripture; it is Christianity deeply accommodated to modernity (and in some cases postmodernity). It uses traditional Christian language but reinterprets it in a way acceptable to modern, naturalistic minds resistant to belief in miracles or anything supernatural.
Another reason I wrote the book is to warn progressive Christians against going too far, against throwing the baby of biblical, orthodox Christianity out of their lives with the bathwater of fundamentalism. I have seen many of the best and brightest of my theology students do that and it is not necessary or helpful.
Real liberal theology is, in my informed opinion, counterfeit Christianity. I think I ably demonstrate that in this book using the words of self-identified liberal theologians.
This book is scholarly without being technical; anyone can read and understand it. I explain all technical theological terms.
I urge you to read it and recommend it and heed its warning about falling into liberal theology which means leaving true, biblical, historical, orthodox Christianity completely behind and adopting a new religion that thoroughly cuts the cord of continuity between itself and authentic Christianity.