There has been a lot of feedback to Ross Douthat’s “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?” in the New York Times. Most notably, Diana Butler Bass’s “Can Christianity Be Saved?”
However, I would like to take the time to ask a different set of questions, beginning with, first, “Can Concern Trolls In The Church Be Saved?” Every few months there’s a news report or survey that is taken place that points to one harrowing fact: Both liberal and conservative churches are shrinking in the pews, or what we in Capitalist America call “dying off.” We associate a church that doesn’t fit the definition of success (i.e., making profit and growing larger, constructing a bigger building) in capitalism as “dying.” Having life, therefore is tied solely to living the American Dream. American Christianity therefore, since it is not living up to the American dream, is “dying.”
In this context, another question comes to mind, “What exactly is SALVATION, or BEING SAVED?” Does salvation look like a mega-church on every street corner? And if so, are mega-churches inherently wrong? (I would say no, but that topic is for another day) I must say I have to take sides with both James W. McCarty III’s Christianity Doesn’t Need Saving: A Response To Douthat and Bass [linked here] and Lee M.’s A Few Points On Liberal Christianity [also linked here]
“Professors of theology don’t “save” Christianity. Bishops, priests, and popes don’t “save” Christianity. Even popular pastors don’t “save” Christianity. God is already saving the world and uses faithful, though sinful, people to do it. That is all that matters.”-McCarty
“–Mainline denominations are actually not as liberal as people think but contain a wide range of theological and political views. For instance, in 2008, Barack Obama got only 44 percent of the white mainline Protestant vote (see, e.g., this study). Similarly, a review of official church statements on issues like marriage and abortion would show that mainline churches have hardly bought into “sexual liberation” hook, line, and sinker.”-Lee M.
Other great follow-ups and commentary around the blogosphere:
So, what exactly would Christianity being saved look like?