Pastor Kevin DeYoung believes it is wise for Christians to know what the characteristics of theological liberalism are. The question is, are liberals creating something other than Christianity?
Liberalism is both a tradition—coming out of the late-18th century Protestant attempt to reconfigure traditional Christian teaching in the light of modern knowledge and values—and a diverse, but recognizable approach to theology.
Like any “ism,” liberalism is not easy to pigeonhole. But Gary Dorrien’s magisterial three volumes on The Making of American Liberal Theology present a coherent picture of a movement that has been marked by identifiable hermeneutical and sociological commitments. Even if one wishes to avoid liberal theology, it would still be wise to know something about a movement that has exerted such considerable influence over the past 200 years.
Below are seven characteristics of liberalism that have been culled from the first volume of Dorrien’s trilogy. The headings are mine; the indented text is from the book.