Why The Liberal Church Is Dying

There is no forgiveness in liberal and progressive Christianity. You put all your energy into correcting that which is wrong in the world, in line with the teachings of Christ, and when you succeed in making things better you are still expected to feel guilty. If there is nothing in the present to feel guilty about (and the right-on crowd can normally find something) then you are constantly reminded of how badly people who lived, sometimes hundreds of years before you were born, behaved.

In evangelical Christianity there is forgiveness for all who simply repent of their sins (you don't have to change the world or anything). They even have a formula for how this forgiveness works. I am pretty certain that this is the main reason why evangelicals are successful in growing churches and all that liberals are successful at is closing them.

I mean, who the heck, wants to feel guilty all their lives? Who wants to continue to feel bad about themselves when they have achieved something good? Only a masochist, a person who actually enjoys feeling sorry for themselves or who thinks that pretending to be worse than they actually are makes them, somehow, better than everyone else. If you get my drift.

Comments

Why The Liberal Church Is Dying — 7 Comments

  1. In other words, whether we’re liberal or conservative or evangelical or anglo-catholic or whatever, we have to keep coming back to the experience of grace – the receiving of it, and also the giving of it.

    • Yes, Tim, although, to be honest, I am merely saying here that liberals should be more joyful and less eager to add “but….” to the end of everything they say. There’s being realistic and there’s being a killjoy. Too often liberals come across as being a bunch of right-on misery guts.

  2. “Who wants to continue to feel bad about themselves when they have achieved something good?”

    I really don’t think this is a question of theology, MP, but of brain chemistry. The fact that I can feel guilty, w/o feeling terrible, tells me my anti-depressant is working.

    “I am the worst”: yes, this is the Christian affirmation. Seeing your “log” requires it. But note: it is an affirmation. With healthy brain chemistry, “I am the worst” is seen in the LIGHT of Universal Salvation. I am the worst, at this moment. But I CAN change. Tomorrow I can be better (while still “the worst”). I don’t think the clinically depressed brain can appreciate this (life-affirming!) paradox.

    I’m sorry that I am the worst, MP, but what goodness I have, I pray for you. Peace/Shalom/Salaam.

  3. In evangelical Christianity there is forgiveness for all who simply repent of their sins

    …which is great. But from past experience it requires an abusive, control-freaky theology that spends its time slamming you into the ground to make it work.

    • Oh, I hate evangelicalism, James. It’s an incredibly mean religion. But I think liberals could learn a lot from the less puritanical forms of it about celebration and feeling good about being a Christian.