Critical and faithful

Magnanimity rooted in the gospel
When asked where the new members of liberal churches will come from, David Jenkins, former Anglican bishop of Durham, replied: “Where they have always come from—the evangelicals.” This is only partly true, of course. Most members of liberal churches were born or married into a mainline congregation. Yet it is true that many members of liberal, mainline churches are former conservatives. It’s a story that has been told over and over: the twin acids of modernity—science and historical criticism—erode people’s traditional views of biblical authority. People also discover that faith doesn’t deliver what is promised to them in conservative churches: folks who “get right with God” still get divorced, suffer from terminal cancer and watch their children go astray. Confronted by the hard knocks of life, they need a church that is not afraid to ask tough questions, a church where doubts can be aired.

 

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