Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Death of "Liberal Christianity"

A really good summary of why the United Church of Canada, and other like minded liberal branches of "Christianity" (I use that term loosely when I refer to them) are surely doomed.

h/t to Upper Canada Catholic.

17 Comments:

  • At Tue Jul 11, 12:26:00 PM EDT, Blogger hancor said…

    Heavens, a blessing in disguise!

     
  • At Tue Jul 11, 02:14:00 PM EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Add all those churches up against population growth in this city and you have a phenomenal decline. Evangelicalism is scarecely represented in the population of Guelph - certainly less than 2% of the City. Grace has what, 200 people or so? Lakeside has 800, GBC and ARBC put together have (on a good day) 200, and Calvary and Crestwick Baptists together have about 400 people. Throw in the Pentecostal church, the gospel hall, and Royal City Baptist and you're barely peeking over the wall of 2,200 in a city of about 110,000.

    So, my perspective is, when a church has for instance 200 people when the city's population was 75,000 and 200 people when it's over 100,000, that church has declined.

    Yes, some of the mainline churches downtown are closing. All churches are suffering losses, that's my point. You can't say that decline is due to some sort of doctrinal infidelity, because let's face it - those churches were seldom bastions of conservative dogma to begin with.

    And you add up the mainline churches in town against the evangelical churches and the evangelical ones will bow the knee. 'Nuff said.

     
  • At Tue Jul 11, 05:41:00 PM EDT, Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own said…

    I really doubt anyone in 2006 is leaving a liberal church to attend a more conservative one. They're leaving the Church to leave the Church. Period.

    I'm not surprised at all that, overall, organized Christianity is becoming more conservative. It's exactly what one would expect to happen. In fact, I'd rather imagine a lot of "liberal" Christians abandoned their "liberal" churches, not because THEIR church had gone to far to the left, but because they were increasingly embarassed to be seen as an active Christian, in a world where Christianity is increasingly being taken over by the right-wing nuts. As the "universal church" moves to the right, some people start to abandon it, and others turn to it, and those who are abandoning it are on the left, and those that are embracing it are on the right. Right now, that manifests itself in liberal churches becoming more liberal, to try to stem the tide, and conservative churches growing as they increasingly become the "only game in town".

    This is great for conservative churches, and church-goers, who seem to believe that ideological uniformity and dogmatic rigidity were the main teachings of Jesus, and that people who don't approach Christ the way they do should stop following Christ (or at least stop SAYING that they follow Christ). It's a losing game for the "liberal" churches though, as they constantly try to lure people who are embarassed by the public face of Christianity to stay in the church. I'd imagine Jerry Fallwell has driven more Christians to leave the United Church of Canada then same-sex marriage ever could. And a church like the United Church keeps moving to the left, to try to sway embarassed parishioners to stay in Christ's Church despite the idiocy of those on the right, and well, in most cases that will never be enough. Again, I'm sure those on the right would applaud all of this, afterall, those being driven away from the Church were never "true" Christians anyway. Eventually though, I think this all leads inevitably to Christianity becoming a tiny, fundamentalist rump of it's former glory, as the right-wing collects and consolidates and the left-wing abandons organized religion all together in embarassment. That may sit well with right-wing Christian conservatives, but to me, it's sad.

     
  • At Tue Jul 11, 09:10:00 PM EDT, Blogger Dirk said…

    "it's key to recognize that North America is a post-Christian culture"

    I'd say that phrase could be expanded to say "the Western world features a post-religious culture". Not only are the numbers of practicing Christians in decline, but if you look at the religious practices of our many immigrant cultures, the majority of first-generation Canadians tend to not carry forward the religious practices of their parents. I can't back that up with any stats or quotes off hand, but I do remember reading about this somewhere in the last year. I imagine Stats Canada has some interesting figures here.

     
  • At Tue Jul 11, 09:48:00 PM EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Thanks, Dirk. Well taken.

     
  • At Tue Jul 11, 10:36:00 PM EDT, Anonymous drew said…

    I guess the question is, is this decline of organized religion in the west (be it liberal or conservative) a positive or a negative thing?

    Btw, I say organized religion because there are many forms of religion that we make for ourselves even beyond the supernatural, such as health, love, money, etc.

     
  • At Tue Jul 11, 10:39:00 PM EDT, Anonymous drew said…

    And I'll go on record to say that I believe leaving religion of any sort behind (be it organized or not, liberal or conservative) is a positive thing, though we may experience negative reactions to our apostasy from others (and in fact I believe that this is at least part of what Christ came to do, free us from religion).

     
  • At Tue Jul 11, 11:47:00 PM EDT, Blogger Dirk said…

    Without getting too far into a semantic debate about the meaning of "religion", I don't see the decline of religious faith in our society as a good thing.

    I'm all for secularism -- I think that religious experiences have far more meaning in an environment where a particular religion isn't forced or legislated. However, my own take on Christianity is that part of the mission of Christians is to be a positive, healing agent in the world. So it is a sad thing for me that the Christian church is in decline, and meanwhile many of the remaining churches spend most of their time obsessing over red herrings instead of genunine injustices (ie. today's "widows and orphans").

     
  • At Wed Jul 12, 12:45:00 AM EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Can't say it any better than how dirk did.

     
  • At Thu Jul 13, 12:30:00 PM EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    And, maybe I'm the only person who reads this blog who feels this way, but I really don't appreciate the constant slamming of theological "liberals" (and, as an FYI - the United Church of Canada is not completely liberal. There are a number of renewal groups within it who are quite conservative and keep trying to push the denomination in a more conservative direction. For you to grossly generalize about that church is unfair) when the people doing the slamming couldn't defend their own positions in a debate with a theological "liberal" if their lives depended on it. I'm sorry, this constant attitude of "we're right by definition, because we wave around a book and scream "thus saith the Lord"" really irks me.

     
  • At Thu Jul 13, 01:23:00 PM EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    I do understand that not all United members are "liberals", it was indeed an overall generalization.

    But do you not agree that, overall, when it comes to the United Church "the shoe fits"?

    Mainly, my thoughts are for those in charge, not necessarily those in the pew, within the United Church.

     
  • At Thu Jul 13, 01:33:00 PM EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    As far as the leadership goes? No question.

    But my concern about the bashing of liberalism still stands. If one is incapable of fairly interacting with liberal theologians in fair dialogue, then one should not slam them as though one has all the answers - am I right?

     
  • At Thu Jul 13, 04:07:00 PM EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Yes and no... no, I don't have all the answers, but I bash "liberalism" in general because most of them, not all, seem to think they HAVE all the answers, and don't leave room for debate of any kind. If you see me "trashing" liberalism, that's generally what I'm going after.

    On a related, but independent note... a friend of mine sent me this. YES, it is a line from Ann Coulter... sorry, but I had to laugh...

    "Their [the New York Times] reaction to al-Zarqawi's death was to lower the U.S. flag at the Times building to half-staff. (Ha ha -- just kidding! Everybody knows there aren't any American flags at the New York Times.)"

    (and just for the record... I've seen photos of the NYT building, WITH flags... but it's still funny)

     
  • At Thu Jul 13, 04:37:00 PM EDT, Blogger Blake said…

    Wait, was I supposed to laugh at that decidedly unfunny joke, or at Ann Coulter? I'm confused.

    No, liberal Christians of the non-fundamentalist variety (yes, there are fundamentalist liberals) are open to dialogue, but they - like me - don't take the arrogant attitudes of some conservatives well, and really don't take very kindly to the assumption that disagreement to some conservative dogma constitutes unfaithfulness or some disobedience or ungodliness or other such things. If you approach them like you're some sort of prophet with a superior belief set than them and they have to change to believe what you believe, you're probably not going to get a lot of positive dialogue. People are funny that way.

    If you approach liberals with the mindset that they have as much if not more for you to learn from than they do from you, it's likely that your experiences will be a lot more positive.

     
  • At Thu Jul 13, 04:53:00 PM EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    If you approach liberals with the mindset that they have as much if not more for you to learn from than they do from you, it's likely that your experiences will be a lot more positive.

    This has been my experience too.

     
  • At Thu Jul 13, 10:24:00 PM EDT, Anonymous drew said…

    "I don't have all the answers, but I bash "liberalism" in general because most of them, not all, seem to think they HAVE all the answers, and don't leave room for debate of any kind."

    I should point out that this is generally a reaction (whether justified or not) to being told how wrong we are for choosing to think for ourselves rather than be told what to do by religion and/or tradition, as well as a reaction to the various unnecessary laws and societal taboos that have been in place both now and throughout history restricting (or attempting to restrict) our freedom (and yes, we realize that some restrictions are necessary, but not to the extent that most societies have chosen to do so). When those on the conservative side who try to control our thoughts and lives stop trying to do so (and I am not saying that this is not all conservatives) perhaps those on the liberal side who act superior will back down as well. But keep in mind that many, if not most, conservatives (particularly of the religious variety) act like "they HAVE all the answers" too, quite possibly moreso than their liberal counterparts because they often think that God is on their side and against the liberal heathens.

    Those are my thoughts based on my personal observations, anyway, I could be wrong (see, we don't all think we HAVE all the answers). :)

     
  • At Fri Jul 14, 10:33:00 AM EDT, Blogger Dirk said…

    "... I bash "liberalism" in general because most of them, not all, seem to think they HAVE all the answers, and don't leave room for debate of any kind."

    Two wrongs don't make a right.

    I have found that the bashing of centre-left thinking that goes on here amounts to little more than repeats of common Coulter-esque lines that we see all over the place.

    Instead of bashing, please try informed critique. And that would mean not using the term "lefties".

     

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