Q: #194. What is a liberal Christian?
By: Steve Shirley
A: Unlike conservative, often fundamentalist Christians (like me)(See Q: #40), liberal Christianity (sometimes called modernism or humanism) is very hard to define. Conservative Christians are fairly unified on most major doctrinal issues, however, a liberal Christians' beliefs often vary greatly from person to person. The main reason is because the liberal generally defines himself as: open-minded, free- thinking, using reason, trusting in experiences, and tolerant. Nowhere is this more clear than in the liberal's view of the Bible. The Bible is generally believed to be fallible (has errors), and not to be taken literally. As a result, everything in the Bible is up for debate. What the Bible means depends on how you interpret it. In other words, it may mean this to me, but something different to you, and "that's ok." Obviously then, this means that with each person, you get a different set of beliefs, which makes it hard to define.
This being said, here is a list of what "very generally" defines a liberal Christian.
1. Again, the Bible is fallible, not to be taken literally, written by human authors, not "God-breathed."
2. The Bible must be continually updated and reinterpreted to reflect the times we are now living in (often called the "Age Of Enlightenment").
3. Greater emphasis on the teachings of Jesus rather than all teachings in the Bible are equal and equally important.
4. Jesus was a good man, but not really God.
5. Man is generally good, not evil.
6. Hell is not a literal place. A loving God could never send anyone to a place like that.
7. The love of God is emphasized, rather than saying God is equally love and justice.
8. The virgin birth is often denied.
9. There is no need to evangelize. Everyone is going to Heaven.
10. No need for repentance. "God will forgive me."
11. Tolerance. Everyone sins, we should not judge anyone's sins as being
wrong. Sin is sin.
(Sin is not equal: Q: #85)
12. There are many paths to God. "My God is right, your God is right, everyone's path is valid."
13. Everyone is a son or daughter of God.
14. Evolution generally accepted rather than Creationism.
15. Biblical miracles should not be taken literally.
16. Deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
In addition, as a result of some of these beliefs, there is usually widespread acceptance of abortion (pro-choice), homosexuality (including gay marriage and gay clergy), man and woman living together unmarried, and rejection of the death penalty (always odd to me that it is "ok" to murder the innocent unborn but not to kill those who have murdered others).
I was going to refute each of these statements from a conservative Christians viewpoint with Bible verses to back it up, but for the sake of space, let me simply say that what the liberal teaches is the exact opposite of what the conservative believes. And, from my viewpoint, I believe that a "liberal Christian" is almost certainly not a Christian at all depending on which of the above tenants they hold to: i.e. if one denies the deity of Jesus or His resurrection, he CANNOT go to Heaven (Rom 10:9-10,13)(See: Q: #36).