I have friends and family members who attend liberal churches. I know a little about these institutions and have even attended their services once or twice. Strictly speaking, I don't think they can be accurately called "Christian" churches. Their authoritative standard is not the biblical Christ, but a pastiche of all-too-human ideas.
Historical Christianity isn't a collection of warm, fuzzy feelings. It encompasses many things, but at its heart, it makes bold and substantial claims about the way the universe is organized. God is God – the maker of all things, the cause that underpins all mere effects. Man, although loved by God, is merely a creature. [Ron: Actually ensouled beings are not just "creatures". They are indwelt by a fragment of the Creator and hence they are individual aspects of the Creator and are in the process of becoming one with God.]. The universe does not revolve around how we humans happen to feel about it. Liberal "Christianity" has turned this basic relationship on its head. Liberal Christians believe, typically, that God created the universe and man by an evolutionary process we ourselves can fully understand. Now, they would have you think, God serves us like a kind of rich uncle who whispers helpful advice now and then and rigs the odds a little in our favor.
For two thousand years, real Christians have turned to the Bible as the authoritative word of God, no matter how uncomfortable the consequences. Odd though this may seem to the secular mind, belief in the Bible's authority is an entirely coherent belief.
[Ron: Christians haven't been turning to "The Bible" as the authoritative word of god for two thousand years. The Bible didn't exist in 325 AD when Emperor Constantine organized and presided over the Council of Nicea. In 331 Constantine commissioned fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople, but little else is known (in fact, it is not even certain whether his request was for fifty copies of the entire Old and New Testaments, only the New Testament, or merely the Gospels). In fact the Bible probably didn't get more or less settled until Emperor Justinian called the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553-54 AD. At that time Emperor Justinian had Pope Vigilius Arrested for 'Believing in Reincarnation'. Eradication of the doctrine of Reincarnation, ie knowledge that the evolvement of life and hence MIND is based on reincarnation (which is essential to enable spirit beings to avail themselves of sufficient physical incarnations to adequately explore and understand the immensity of life, the universe and everything) is the mechanism used by the Talmudists and their demonic controllers to convince many humans that they are merely physical creatures having one, only, lifetime which has no meaning, destiny or purpose. Concomitantly, this LIE makes it easy for Talmudists, Christian religious controllers and materialists generally, to instil fear of death into congregations and to distort science by having scientists promulgate the false and ridiculous idea that people on this small planet on the edge of the universe are the most, and probably the only, consciously intelligent beings in the Cosmos. LOL. ].
We believe that God exists and that He spoke by the prophets and the apostles, creating an authoritative written text.
[Ron: the Creator certainly exists and so does Christ Michael Aton, the creator (God) of this universe of Nebadon; BUT 'the prophets and the apostles' DID NOT create 'an authoritative written text'. The Bible has been cobbled together by humans on this planet and the teachings of Esu Immanuel (aka Jesus the Christ) have been substantially distorted by Pharisees, neo-Pharisees and others ever since Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisees and Roman Emperors set out to create the Christian religion. Jesus the Christ did not incarnate to establish a religion and he didn't. He came to teach the truth that had largely been lost and was being grossly distorted by the Pharisees.].
The unstated "doctrine" of liberal churches is far less coherent. They believe that the Bible is subject to a kind of literary analysis (the so-called "higher critical method"), which implicitly assumes that the Scriptures themselves are faulty – requiring not merely insightful interpretation, but substantial correction by a purely human means. In other words, they believe that academics can legitimately rewrite the Bible to explain what it would have said but for the errors of its human authors – if not the errors of God himself.
[Ron: As Christianity has been created by Pharises and neo-Pharisees (in conjunction with Roman Emperors) whose aim was to totally eradicate the truth in the teachings of Jesus the Christ, this result is not really surprising. After all, the Talmud is written by Pharisees who claim that they have corrected the words of their g-d so it stands to reason they will also have sought to corrupt Christian thinkers by having them believe they can do the same thing with the teachings of Jesus.].
The higher critical method itself was really only the beginning. Having wrested scriptural authority away from God and put it in the eager hands of fallible men, liberal churches have helped themselves to a host of unsupported (or very weakly supported) innovations. For example, largely on a basis of two verses in 1 Timothy ("This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."), they have established the doctrine of universalism, by which all people are saved, irrespective of their beliefs. Those passages in the Bible that inconveniently negate this view can, by the human authority of false teachers, be whittled away as antiquated human error. Somehow, liberal churches manage not to see the irony in this. They are unable to see it because they believe that the centuries have made humanity wiser, not merely in technological terms, but in moral terms as well.
[Ron: Every ensouled human being is indwelt by a fragment of the Creator. That means that each and every ensouled human is able to "go within" to commune with the Creator and, if sincere, eventually become enlightened as a result. There is no need for anyone to seek enlightenment from priests, gurus or books. The truth dwells within them.
However, people are not saved "irrespective" of their beliefs. Every ensouled being is responsible for his/her thoughts, words and deeds, and failures to act when action is necessary. That means that souls progress on their eternal incarnational journey as a result of their own efforts. No one is, or can be, "saved" by believing in Jesus Christ. Nor can anyone be saved by Jesus or anyone else. Jesus explained what is required: 'Love your neighbour (everyone and everything) AS yourself (we need to learn to accept and love ourselves) FOR the love of God (ie ALL and everything). This process is usually a very long one. That is the purpose of reincarnation. The purpose of physical life is to LEARN and manifest the truth about life, the universe and everything; and the task, and hence the journey, is veryyy hard and veryyy long. BUT eventually every ensouled being who wishes to reach oneness with the Creator will achieve that goal. The only way one can fail is if one consciously and deliberately chooses to not continue the incarnational journey. I understand that Lucifer made that choice when he recently faced adjudication. He rejected the rehabilitation process.].
The inevitability of human progress is not a Christian belief, but an entirely secular one – a tacit assumption we've held over from the Enlightenment. It is not an accident that what is left after this sort of scriptural "correction" is little more than the latest postmodern social mores with a vestige of ecclesiastical authority grafted awkwardly on top. Should we wonder about the ordination of gay clergy? Not when the ultimate authority behind the church has been hijacked by human beings. Vaguely comforting to its adherents this new religion may well be – but it isn't Christianity.
This shift to the secular moral standards will be the eventual death of those mainline churches that have gone along with it. It is as though the 2nd-century bishop Polycarp, instead of refusing to make a worship offering to Caesar, had shrugged and bowed to the norms of his day. It is though the Apostle Paul had self-edited verses 24 through 27 of Romans 1 because he didn't want to offend any Roman homosexuals by pointing out their sins. In the short run, it is far easier to fill pews with congregants who are confident they'll get an encouraging pep talk rather than be chastised with dire warnings – but in the end, the encouraging pep talk is inherently self-defeating. Eventually, even stupid people realize that if everyone goes to Heaven, Christian or not, giving up a Sunday morning is a waste of time. One might as well watch Star Wars and believe in "the Force." Liberal Christianity is just an intermediate step to atheism for people who dislike God but like the comfort of a pseudo-Christian group identity.
[Ron: Every ensouled being who chooses to continue the incarnational journey WILL eventually learn the truth and act on it, and when they do they WILL become one with the Creator. Eternity is a looong time. Physical life is a classroom and in it we learn through our mistakes (pejoratively and unhelpfully called "sins"). Those who don't learn from their mistakes repeat them until they do.].
It is ironic that when atheists laugh at the pitiable credulity of Christians, they are often laughing at the credulity of the watered down churches secularism has itself produced. The default assumption of many atheists is that Christians are faint-hearted morons who have a psychological need for the irrational promise of an afterlife in Heaven.
[Ron: the "Heaven" idea is largely a human construct. One doesn't attain Heaven and then stop growing. The Creation is huge. There are seven super universes each containing a hundred thousand local universes that each contain a hundred Constellations each of which has a hundred local systems containing, in all, about 100,000 inhabitable planets. Each local system contains about a thousand solar systems. See eg: https://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-15-seven-superuniverses
I understand that Lucifer was a local "System Head" who potentially governed a thousand solar systems. His rebellion resulted in the Celestial staff of perhaps a third of the planets in those solar systems rebelling with him. That is why Christ Michael Aton and Universe Management's Star Fleet is here to recover this planet and its inhabitants. It is also why Presidents Trump, Putin and Xi have incarnated here to assist in that process of restoring our world to its rightful place in the Nebadon universe. Each mature solar system usually has one or more inhabited planets. Moreover the cosmos is contiually expanding with new universes steadily being created. ALL of those universes and worlds have to be organised and managed. Once an individual completes his/her journey to Paradise to meet the Creator, s/he then returns to the Creation to assist in some aspect of its development and governance. And so it goes...].
The irony is that real Christianity is in no way profligate with that guarantee. It is only the more liberal churches with their universalist view of salvation that dole out the promise of Heaven as though it were Social Security writ large. The theologian R.C. Sproul characterized universalism succinctly as "justification by death."
[Ron: This sort of thinking has been inculcated by the Talmudic denial of reincarnation which underpins atheism by convincing many people that they are merely physical creatures having one, only, lifetime which has no meaning, destiny or purpose. This LIE belittles our essential worth and destiny and causes many to sink into materialism and despair because it instils fear of death and nothingness when in truth EVERY ensouled individual is a fragment of the Creator of all that is.].
The way in which Christianity has been bifurcated into the devout on one hand and the childish on the other becomes apparent every time we have a national election. Functionally, polling data tend to identify real Christians as "evangelicals" – regardless of the actual meaning of the word. Next time you hear the term in a political context, substitute the phrase "people who actually believe in God," and you will understand what I mean. On the other hand, news and polling institutions have no word for liberal "Christians" because they are too amorphous a blob of humanity to constitute a coherent polity. To be a member of one of their churches, one need not believe in anything in particular – or ultimately in anything at all.
[Ron: This is all religous nonsense fostered by millenia of Talmudic mind control.].