Liberal Christians

In many ways you could describe me as a "Liberal" - that is, I believe in a progressive society that is continually questioning its own attitudes and bias and is trying to improve itself over time.

But, on the other hand, I am also a "Conservative" in that I believe in Sola Scriptura, which means that certain beliefs of mine are determined by the Bible and are thus in harmony with the so called "judeo-christian belief".

Of course, the primary source of authority is the Bible - hence Sola Scriptura. Any time "liberal" or "progressive" beliefs come into conflict with the revealed word of God, I always side with God's word (the Bible).

There is, however, much that the Bible does not talk about, and this implies that Christians can still have varying opinions on things. As a "social liberal", I obviously think that greater government spending on welfare and higher taxes to pay for it is not a belief that is against the Bible. But, then again, nor is the idea that governments should be small and tax minimally either.

I'm saying this because Ali has a posting entitled "Social Liberals: Do they know what they are doing?" which is an interesting read. Check this out:
So what do I mean by the title of this post? Am I anti-liberal? No. In fact, I don’t believe a biblical Christian can afford to adopt a conservative or liberal label too strictly because biblical teaching overlaps on both sides and yet remains distinct. However, much of liberal thought has at its base the idea that humans are good and that people just want to get along.
It's good stuff. Go read it.


David Castor said...

I do get quite frustrated when I hear these constant depictions of Liberal Christianity believing in the intrinsic goodness of humankind. Most Liberal Christians are all too aware of the evil that pervades our society on every level. Furthermore, many Liberal Christians have suffered great evil at the hands of other Christians, so evil is something of which they are quite personally aware!

Ali said...

G'day David,

I wrote the post Neil linked to. I think it's important to clarify that I was talking about "Social Liberals" not liberal Christians. Of course, the two can exist together, but not all Social Liberals are liberal Christians.

Having said that, I do believe most expressions of liberal Christianity believe that humans are intrinsically good. It may be that we have different definitions of liberal Christianity, but my observation has been that most liberal Christians consider the human need to be healing, education and love, and not intrinsic change in the core of their being from evil to God.

Still, you may be a different variety I haven't come across. I have had a hurried look at your blog and I suspect you'll have more in common with the liberal christians I have grown up with and studied with than with me. And, if other people's experience is anything to go by, people in your group will continue in that direction.

But hey, I don't know you, so I could be totally wrong.