Sunday, April 13, 2008

Theological Liberalism as a symptom of Institutional Decline

This is another qoute from Alan Hirsh's forgotten ways which hit me when I first read the book.

Theological Liberalism is an indicator of institutional decline not only because it tries to minimise the necessary tension between gospel and culture by eliminating the culturally offending bits, but because it is basically a parasitical ideology. I don’t mean this to be offensive to my liberal brothers and sisters; I wish to merely point out that theological liberalism rarely creates new forms of church or extends Christianity in any significant way, but rather exists and “feeds of” what the more orthodox missional movements started. Theological Liberalism always comes later in the history of a movement, and it is normally associated with its decline. It is therefore a highly institutional manifestation of Christendom. As such it is deadly to apostolic forms of missional movement. But most established denominations, including the move evangelical ones, are also built squarely on Christendom assumptions of church and therefore, like all institutions, are facing significant threat and need to be led to the edge of chaos. It is there, by living in the tensions that it brings, they will find more authentic and missional ways of being Gods people. So leaders turn the heat up, but manage it.

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