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What is liberalism? is often better framed as Who is a liberal theologian? Unfortunately, some point at someone today and what is not said is that this person is no more liberal, and sometimes less so (!), than the accuser. It’s best to look at the face of modern liberalism himself.
Before we get there a reminder than in theological discussions there is a collection of names, movements, and methods that pervade theological and biblical discussions that are not discussed in the standard theology textbooks one reads. Yet, those names and movements are central to the discussion. Had my friend Mike Bird included these names and movements it would have made his (already) long book far too long.
Book - Names - Movements - Methods - Kirk
There is now a book that covers many, if not most, of these names, movements and methods, by Kirk MacGregor, and it’s called Contemporary Theology: An Introduction — Classical, Evangelical, Philosophical, and Global Perspectives.
The face of modern liberalism is Friedrich Schleiermacher. Long time ago, for sure. German and not English or America, for sure. Issues and debates no longer interesting, for sure. But, once you grasp him you grasp the heart of what liberalism is. He was a part of the Enlightenment and beloved by the Romantics.
MacGregor - Chapter - Book - Description
MacGregor opens his chapter (2 of the book) with this very pointed description:
It is well known that Schleiermacher’s project was as much about apologetics (of his sort) as it was about exegesis or theology or history. He wanted the Christian faith to be understandable and amenable to his contemporaries. By the way, a brand new edition of his The Christian Faith is now available.
Hence - Schleiermacher - Point - Contact - Christianity
Hence Schleiermacher desired to locate a point of contact for Christianity in his circle of friends, most of whom were highly skeptical of traditional religion. For them he wrote On Religion, which postulated that the...
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