putting a label on it

Today I am finally starting on my long-promised theology series.  I am going to begin by putting my biases out there.  In other words, a quick overview of where I stand today.  Then I'll dig in and work through some issues that I find interesting.  I have taken to describing myself as a moderate-to-liberal Evangelical.  I'm sure a bunch of readers aren't familiar with those terms so let's begin there.

Evangelical:  of all of those words I will be defining, this one is probably the least accurate in describing me.  But I haven't found a good one to replace it so I'm sticking with it for now.   The Christians I hang with are mostly Evangelicals so perhaps it's a cultural affiliation that draws me to this label.  The National Association of Evangelical has a statement of faith so that's a good place to start.  If you have attended a mainstream protestant church, those beliefs will be very familiar.  Keeping things brief for now, I agree with about half of those statements.

Let's take an detour to explain something to those who don't know; an Evangelical is not a fundamentalist.  Christian fundamentalism is a set of beliefs that arose about 100 years ago in reaction to liberal movements of the time.  That fundamentalism doesn't really exist today even though some people still call themselves fundamentalists.  Most of them don't know where the term comes from; they (rather unknowingly) use the term to say they are theologically conservative.

Liberal: This is a adjective addressing theological views, not political.  Liberal Christianity is a belief that the Bible is a document containing people's temporal beliefs about God rather than a document containing eternal truths.  Some liberals subscribe to classically conservative beliefs such as the virgin birth and others do not.  To say one is liberal is not to define precisely what one believes, rather it is about the methodology of Biblical interpretation that leads to one's beliefs.  I could stop there and say I am a liberal Christian and be done with it.  But something doesn't jibe.  I share a lot of beliefs with the conservative side.  Yes, I just got done saying that liberalism is not a set of beliefs.  Still, there's a lot more anti-supernaturalism on the liberal side than I am comfortable with.

I'm not aware of anyone using the term Moderate Christian to describe someone somewhere between conservative and liberal.  But it only makes sense to do so.  I say I am moderate-to-liberal because I lean towards the liberal side more than the conservative side.

With that, I think I've given a good introduction to where I'm starting from.  Next post, we dig in!