Thursday, February 9, 2017

Liberal Theology Fails Churches

Before we saddle up for the journey, I wanted to share some personal remarks from my history.

Way back when, my father was the pastor in the liberal United Methodist Church denomination. He denied the inerrancy of Scripture, supported the ordination of women as pastors, and had other unsavory views. (Interestingly, he was against ordaining homosexuals, and was ready to resign if the denomination passed that in a vote. Sad that it was subject to a vote in the first place! He also rejected evolution, and that was before all the evidence we have refuting it and affirming special creation that we have today.) The UMC denomination has become far more liberal after his time.

When I attended a Christian high school and learned the truth of the Bible, things began to get my attention, such as the phrase "reach the unchurched". Seemed to me that they were more interested in building up numbers than in reaching the lost with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, after I had left the denomination, I had not officially requested to be dropped from the registry. I was living quite a distance away, but they sent me a bundle of tithe envelopes. Gotta keep that money coming in, don'tcha know, but no interested in my family and me, or our spiritual well-being.

Many Protestant churches have gone into liberal theology, which includes compromising on the foundations in Genesis. This may have been a way to appear "relevant" and "intellectual" to pack the pews. This compromising was part of the reason the Fundamentalist movement started in the United States, and it was also a reaction against anti-faith intellectualism (see "Fundamentalist and Literalist" for my thoughts on Fundamentalism).


Mainstream Protestant denominations went into liberal theology. A new study suggests that this bad idea has led to their membership losses, and more people coming to conservative churches.
Image credit: Morguefile / Denna
One problem that many churches have to build up membership is worldliness. I know, I know, that word is used too freely, and often means, "Something I don't like", so they call it "worldly" and misquote Scripture. For an extremely enlightening message on worldliness and Christians, I recommend "Brothers, We Are Not Worldlings" by Phil Johnson. Free to listen online or download the MP3.

 Liberalism is a passel of hassle. Not only are liberal church rosters falling, but conservative churches are growing. Mayhaps it's because people do not respect compromise, but are more likely to respect those who stand for what they believe. It may be that they know they need the Word of God and not religious sounding schlock, that's a strong possibility.
Shrinking church congregations have been a problem in the West for many years now, particularly for mainline Protestant denominations. For example, “since the 1960s, Canada’s mainline Protestant denominations—made up of the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United churches—have lost anywhere between 40 to 60 per cent of their membership.”

Pastors have been encouraged to adopt liberal theology to stem this exodus. But a new study suggests liberal congregations are still shrinking, while conservative congregations are growing.
To finish reading, click on "New Study: Liberal Theology Doesn’t Save Shrinking Congregations".


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