A Few Notes on Liberal Protestantism

– A good deal of older liberal Protestantism (Tillich et al) seems to conceive that reality can only really be understood and participated in by virtue of ‘symbols’

– When it comes to Christian beliefs and dogma, the agenda seems to be primarily one of stripping away the time and space elements from Christianity to transform Christianity into a kind of ‘timeless symbol’.

– This idea, as far as I can tell, comes from the belief that the if there are genuine time and space elements within the kerygma, then that entails that the kerygma depends on contingent time and space elements.

– Thus, the time and space elements are stripped away, leaving the ‘timeless’ message (Bultmann, for example).

– I see this as a reaction to the perceived ‘modern’ world, but ultimately a misunderstanding of the ‘modern’ world.

– There’s also a genuine distrust of metaphysics (perhaps this comes from Heidegger?).

– Finally, there is a loss of realism (moreso in, say, Tillich, than in others) – theological statements and formulations don’t have an external reference but have only symbolic value.

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2 thoughts on “A Few Notes on Liberal Protestantism

  1. Chris Falter July 17, 2014 / 8:38 pm

    H. Richard Neibuhr on liberal Christianity: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

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    • whitefrozen July 17, 2014 / 8:40 pm

      I forgot about that quote. Yeah, that’s about it – or, if it used those terms, then they were so changed as to not really have meaning at all. Not that a lot of the concerns aren’t legitimate – a lot of the liberal/neo-orthodox ideas were serious issues.

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