Could We Have a Passionate Progressive Christian Revival?

In a guest post at Bob Cornwall’s Ponderings on a Faith Journey blog, Dr. Bruce Epperly of Lancaster Theological Seminary suggests just that. As a sample, he speaks of the conviction (nice evangelical word) he received from some words in a conversation:

…we are involved in a type of spiritual warfare and that we, as progressives, haven’t yet gathered a strong team of peaceful warriors to get our message out in the theological, spiritual, political, and public sphere. We seem content with slow decline, when we should be moving forward to take a central place in North America’s future spiritual landscape.

I think that after reading his points, there is a reason that I think “passionate moderate” is a better description for me than liberal, even though I have been dubbed a “liberal charismatic.” Nonetheless, I think that mainline Christianity has lost most not in doctrinal content, but in passion.

My tendency is always to say, “Let’s start a discussion around that!” But the fact is that it might be better to say, as does Dr. Epperly, “That will preach” and then go preach it.

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  1. John Hobbins says:

    I am passionate about being “moderate,” but maybe not in the way you intend, Henry. I’m not sure.

    I want to see the center hold. I want to be in a catholic church, and whenever the UMC is that, I rejoice. That is, where flaming liberals, diehard conservatives, charismatics, even charismaniacs, and people like me who prefer Calvin to Wesley as a theologian and should just be kicked out, for goodness’ sake, bear one another’s burdens. Trust in God rather in their theology or politics.

    I think progressives are downcast if not downright speechless because they have put so much emphasis on politics, and politics just is not what it is cracked up to be. I mean, you can get only so much mileage out of saying “I’m not a Republican” (and I’m not). I feel the hate, but is that enough? Obviously, at the moment, since the Dems are in power across the board at the national level, and are not exactly putting on the best show, you might get a lot more mileage out of saying “I’m not a Democrat” (and I’m not). And I feel the TPiers’ hate, but I want none of it.

    But really, if progressivism is about politics, in which the law of unintended consequences is king, why on earth would anyone have fire in their belly about that? And if it is not about politics, but theology, what does that mean? In my conference, when those who self-identify as progressives hold a pep rally, they invite Bishop Spong. Those who self-identify as conservatives, or evangelicals, invite Adam Hamilton, and if they could, they would invite Bishop Wright. I’m sorry, but this is a very easy choice.

    Thanks for the conversation, Henry.

    1. I think you and I need a little more conversation. I often find myself disagreeing with your terminology and some of your peripheral comments, while agreeing with the substance. There are a number of points in the post I linked with which I would not agree. The key element here is a passion for what one believes. If there is no passion, in my view, there is little to discuss. In your case, I am certain there is passion. I’ll try to get back to a couple of points later. I’m just checking this late tonight.

  2. John Hobbins says:

    Thanks, Henry. I look forward to it.

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