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Biblical authority

Liberal vs. Conservative Christianity

Christianity is often so confusing to those seeking to learn more about the religion because they observe people on all different levels of spirituality.  On the extreme edges of these range of beliefs is a “liberal” and a “conservative”.  I’ve compiled the below chart to help a newcomer understand why they will obtain a myriad of answers on different questions. 

 

LIBERAL

CONSERVATIVE

Goes to church mostly to fulfill some form of
perceived heavenly expectation,
and religious/family tradition.

Goes to church to learn from other’s experiences, serve others, worship God, and participate
 in the community.

Reads the Bible mostly to fulfill some form of perceived heavenly and/or church expectations.

Reads the Bible to study the history of the world, equip ourselves for spiritual warfare,
and gain knowledge.

Believes the Bible is an important source of moral knowledge, but also riddled with inconsistencies, and plagued by translation errors.  Can only be interpreted correctly by a trained theologian.  The stories do not need to be factual to give the same lesson.

Believes the Bible is the authoritative word of God on every life issue – transmitted spiritually by the Holy Spirit to His intended writers and passed down without error by His protection.  Accurate, literal history book of the world.  Understandable by the layman as well as able to be delved deeper by a theologian/minister.

Prays trained/recited prayers and/or prays only in extreme cases.  Most prayers consist of requests.

Prays continually throughout the day.  Most prayers consist of thanksgiving and worship.

Worship is what is done at church
during the music time.

Worship is a lifestyle and is incorporated
into every action of life.

Either does not tithe, tithes when economically favorable, or tithes out of fear of judgment
from the church.

Tithes as much as economically possible.  Knows that everything is given them is not there’s
 to start with.

Believes that issues of morality are not absolute and “evolve” with the modernly accepted culture.

Believes that issues of morality are absolute, clearly defined in the scriptures, and
immovable by cultural consensus.

Heaven and Hell are not necessarily actual places.  Miracles, Angels, and supernatural forces
 are not proven and/or necessary for a
religious person.

Heaven and Hell are absolutely actual physical places where all eternity will be spent.  Humans interact with the spiritual realm in tangible
ways every day.

Believes that their religious life is private and is mostly their church attendance and personal/private beliefs.

Believes their religious beliefs drive their entire life choices all the way down to the music/movies they watch.  Church is just one part of the picture.  Stand up publically for their beliefs if necessary.

Religion is something personal for my own use.  Does not affect my view of others.  All belief systems are valid if they add value to
the person’s life.

Christianity is the only path to salvation.  All persons are born sinful, and in need of this salvation.  All other religious systems outside of Christ are perversions.

Religion is just one path truth is gained through.
Truth is gained through many avenues,
especially science.

Truth is absolute and can only be attained through the one who knows all – God.  All other “truths” must be compared to His revealed words on the matter.  Any “truths” that violate this absolute truth must be discarded.  A scientific consensus is not comparable to absolute truth.

 

In the end, the issue will always come down to what the person believes about the Bible.  Is it authoritative, historical, and infallible?  Or is it simply a good book for general moral guidance but riddled with inconsistencies?  Do keep in mind that most churches have an “infallible” doctrine in regard to the Bible, but their teachings and practices do not align with this often enough.

 

 

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

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  1. Pingback: Conservative? | MzEllen – For the Life of Me - June 19, 2013

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