what is theologically conservative/liberal?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by questdriven, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. questdriven

    questdriven
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    So the political definitions of conservative and liberal have pretty defined definitions, but seems to me that the definitions of theological conservatism or liberalism are more loosely defined. Or maybe it’s just that not enough distinctions are made?
    What do you consider to be theologically conservative? What do you consider to be theologically liberal? Please give specific examples.
     
  2. TCassidy

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    We must first define Theological Liberalism in order to correctly understand Theological Conservatism.

    It is unrealistic to refer to anything as theologically liberal before Friedrich Schleiermacher, the early 19th century “father of liberal theology.” Schleiermacher was certainly influenced by previous and contemporary thinkers in philosophy and theology, but he almost single handedly created “liberal theology.” On this most historians agree. (Before Schleiermacher there were “free thinkers” and deists and unitarians but not liberals per se.)

    Theological Liberalism first appeared as a movement with German Lutheran theologian Albrecht Ritschl and his followers in the late 19th century. This was born out of German Rationalism. Schleiermacher introduced into the stream of Christian theology a revolution in theological methodology that believed it was necessary to adjust traditional Christianity to the culture of the Enlightenment–what we call “modernism.”

    Schleiermacher redefined Christianity as primarily about human experience. That is, as he put it, doctrines are nothing more than attempts to bring human experiences of God (God-consciousness) to theology. Schleiermacher placed universal God-consciousness at the center of religion and Christ’s God-consciousness communicated to the church at the center of Christianity. All doctrines and all teachings of Scripture became malleable, changeable, in the light of human experience. This, or course, reflected the popular philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

    Delwin Brown (a convert to liberal theology from evangelicalism) in his dialogue with Clark Pinnock in Theological Crossfire: An Evangelical/Liberal Dialogue, Brown asks the crucial question of modern theology: “When the consensus of the best contemporary minds differs markedly from the most precious teachings of the past, which do we follow? To which do we give primary allegiance, the past or the present?” Brown rightly gives the evangelical answer: “We ought to listen to the hypotheses of the present and take from them what we can, but ultimately the truth has been given to us in the past, particularly in Jesus, and the acceptance of that is our ultimate obligation. Everything the contemporary world might say must be judged by its conformity to biblical revelation.”

    And that last sentence is your definition of Theological Conservatism. :)
     
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  3. Deacon

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    To put it succinctly, liberalism denies (or ignores) divine inspiration.

    Conservatism emphases divine inspiration.

    Today many are finding some middle ground.

    Rob
     
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  4. Revmitchell

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    Defining theological liberalism is as difficult as defining political liberalism. The reason why is the boundaries are always moving. It really depends on who you talk too. The reason is there are some liberals who do not like the label but want to be understood as moderates. A moderate is merely nothing but a liberal light. Some people hold a certain pride in being seen as somewhere in the middle. Really they are just wishy washy people who refuse to be cornered on most positions. Some times they are liberals who hold to a few minute conservative positions..

    Liberals by and large reject the supernatural, trust in Jesus' words more than other authors in the Bible, deny the historical nature of Genesis 1-11, and hold experience up as higher than God's word although they may deny it.
     
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  5. Greektim

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    From a previously written research paper?
     
  6. TCassidy

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    No, gleaned from internet articles written by men who, even though I may disagree with them, are knowledgeable concerning the proper, historic, meaning of terms such as "Theological Liberal" and "Theological Conservative."

    I edited a cut and paste from my lecture notes on the subject of Historical Theology I used to teach in the Seminary. I can give you the authors' names if you would like to research their writings. :)

    The use of terms such as "liberal" by many Christians to mean "different from me" tends to trigger the pedant in me. He uses a bible translation I don't like so he is a liberal. He likes music I don't like so he is a liberal. He disagrees with me on escatology so he is a liberal. :D
     
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  7. Van

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    Liberals tear down past beliefs, conservatives hold to past beliefs. The fly in the buttermilk is that if past beliefs are wrong, we should be liberals, but if past beliefs are correct, we should be conservatives.

    Word for word philosophy translation conserves both the word meanings and grammar of the underlying text better than functional equivalent translations, thus are less liberal.

    Some of the greatest men I happened share living time with in America were intent on tearing down past beliefs, JFK, RFK, and MLK. And America is a better place now. But others are intent on tearing down our culture based in part on Christianity, and these are spreading misery.

    It is important for us to know what we believe, and thus able to recognize liberal or conservative efforts, but it is just as important for us to be able to evaluate our beliefs against the unfiltered message of God. Sometimes we will discover we were wrong.
     
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  8. Rippon

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    You are in the wrong forum to discuss your wacky Bible translation theories. And as a theological liberal you have some nerve to castigate Bible translators.
     
  9. TCassidy

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    No such thing. :)
     
  10. Van

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    So much for those that deny the obvious.
     

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