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Who knew? Liberal interpretation of scripture does not result in a growth of church attendance!

In the spirit of honesty, most mainline denominations with the US are experiencing a decline in church attendance regardless of whether they define themselves as liberal, emergent, welcoming, conservative, or whatever. Mainline denominations are simply playing a smaller role within increasingly busy lives. But despite reports in the media to the contrary, the majority of Americans still identify themselves as religious according to the Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey.

But the drop-off of attendance is certainly being felt most strongly in liberal denominations. Why? The commentary answers this question as follows:

But if liberals need to come to terms with these failures, religious conservatives should not be smug about them. The defining idea of liberal Christianity — that faith should spur social reform as well as personal conversion — has been an immensely positive force in our national life. No one should wish for its extinction, or for a world where Christianity becomes the exclusive property of the political right.

What should be wished for, instead, is that liberal Christianity recovers a religious reason for its own existence.

Pushing a liberal political view is apparently insufficient reason for existence of a church. I agree. Pushing a conservative political view is equally insufficient. People have this strange idea that the focus should be on God. Note also the subtle bias of that commentary. Since liberal Christianity aligns with liberal political views, it must be preserved. And the opposite is also therefore implied. Conservative Christian views which do not align with liberal political views do not deserve to be preserved.  Ultimately, if God cannot be aligned with liberal political views, well it follows God does not deserve be preserved.

I think that is challenge of liberal Christianity. Whenever God and liberal views collide, liberals demand God must yield.

Liberal Christian churches, more often than not, are not about glorifying God but instead using God to glorify their agenda. Certainly not all liberal churches fall into this trap. But when a church focuses on equality and social justice more than the Bible, that focus is a warning sign. Like churches promoting the Prosperity Gospel, liberal Christianity churches tend to use the Bible as a prop to support their views rather than use it inform their congregation about God’s plan and purpose for us. Liberal Churches often quote the Sermon on the Mount and other selected verses that support their views while disregarding the rest. But ask yourself this question. Did Jesus advocate a top down government driven solution to the challenges of poverty and injustice? Or did He encourage individuals to make a change within themselves to walk humbly, show mercy, and glorify God?

Related: The Light That Failed