Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?

IN 1998, John Shelby Spong, then the reliably controversial Episcopal bishop of Newark, published a book entitled “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” Spong was a uniquely radical figure — during his career, he dismissed almost every element of traditional Christian faith as so much superstition — but most recent leaders of the Episcopal Church have shared his premise. Thus their church has spent the last several decades changing and then changing some more, from a sedate pillar of the WASP establishment into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States.

Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.


Why would we want to save it? Liberal Christianity has done more to destroy the Church than any outside influence ever has.

Let it die.

Why would we want any individuals to be excluded from His truth? Christ placed importance on the single sheep being returned. It’s seems to me that there is an importance of having a ‘flock’ come back. In all things, love…

Hmmmmmmm… Is Liberal Christianity Truth? :shrug:


“Liberal Christianity” (read apostasy and damnable heresy) is far from truth.


No one said it was, but it appears some people are satisfied to have others separated without trying to become united and of the same mind and judgment. That makes me question whether either point presented in this thread is presenting His truth.

Ok, I can agree. Where I find disagreement is keeping people separated without trying to love correct them into His truth. We are to love all people according to His commandment, even our enemies.

But as these Episcopalian churches die out, where are the people going? Many of them are going to more traditional churches, including the Catholic Church. Letting the failed churches die doesn’t mean letting the congregations spiritually die.

This is a comment posted in the comment section of the article:

My family came from a long line of liberal Christians, Mr. Douthat. My great-grandparents were Catholics who became Congregationalists, my grandparents were Congregationalists who became Unitarian Universalists, my father was a Unitarian Universalist who became an atheist, my mother a Christian who became an agnostic, my sister and I are atheists who’ve adopted moral utilitarianism as the framework of our morality.
Since all of us were all raised in liberal households that encouraged open and individual thought, we came up with our own ideas, and now our younger members have come to the honest conclusion that God does not exist. We don’t believe you need religion to be a good person. You don’'t need someone to tell you to a moral obligation to other people.
That’s why liberal Christianity will die- liberals don’t need it. It’s problem is simple: no matter how accepting you are of homosexuals or women or other faiths, you won’t win over the growing number of people who don’t believe in a higher power. Conservatives, people who indoctrinate their children from a young age, will pass Christianity on to their children. That’s the great divide, between the religious and the non-religious.

Says it all really.

Indeed. Quite interesting.

“Liberal Christianity” has nothing to do with His Truth.

Christ placed importance on the single sheep being returned. It’s seems to me that there is an importance of having a ‘flock’ come back. In all things, love…

Do we get people to His Truth by going through lies?

One has to go through lies to get to the Truth whether we wish it so or not. I had to go through a whole lot of lies to get to the Truth! (and I started out Catholic to begin with!)

Why would you assume that we want any individuals excluded???

What is of concern is not about individuals but about sin, conversion, repentance, changed lives, growth in Love, and the perfection to which we are called (Mt 5:48)

EVERY individual is welcome…What is not welcome is sin.

I suggest that you read 1 Corinthians and in particular Chapter 5 to see what the Spirit, through Paul has to say about those who wish to claim to be Christians and yet live immoral lives. In part it says…
1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you…

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber…

Certainly we know from our Lord that we are to forgive those who repent. We should support and hold up those who struggle to overcome sin and call home the lost sheep.
What we may NOT do is to embrace sin and try to call it “not” sin or acceptable in the eyes of the Lord.

All individuals are welcome to the wedding feast, but only if they are properly attired.


Exactly. Liberal Christianity is doomed to fail. It can inspire no martyrs, saints, and missionaries to die for, live out, and spread the faith, if its adherents fail to show any conviction in their tenets (apart from arguing zealously that truth in the moral domain is all relative and those who disagree are in need of conversion only from intolerance).

Didn’t these particular liberal Christians seperate themselves from the Truth?

WOW - an excellent summary…
Thanks for sharing that…


When you believe in nothing, and teach your children to believe in nothing, then there is nothing to believe in. And no need for a church.

Blind men Leading Blind men leads to a horrible demise and an inevitable collapse. Pray that the masters sheep return to his pen.

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