Revisionists are the cause for American church decline

Sep 29, 2022 by

by David Virtue, VOL:

The Liberal Protestant experiment began in America at the time of American theologian Walter Rauschenbusch and Congregational pastor Washington Gladden, the two most famous proponents of the Social Gospel. They flourished at the end of the 19th century.

Both taught that doctrine divides while experience unites, and besides (sound familiar?) and besides, the doctrine of blood atonement to appease the Father’s wrath sounds pagan. So, let’s not talk about that–too many disagree with it–and focus on what we can all agree on, Jesus’ social teaching.

Shailer Mathews brought this teaching to the University of Chicago Divinity School in the 1920s, writing several books on the social teaching of Jesus.

Ironically, all three–Rauschenbusch, Gladden, and Mathews–called themselves evangelicals. And all talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus.

This was pietism, the movement that proclaimed that the most important thing is knowing Jesus personally, and that after that doctrine is unimportant. It discounted theology.

This was the methodological beginning of Protestant liberalism: they all proclaimed that all that matters is having warm fuzzies for Jesus. They taught the Bible as the Word of God and misused Luther’s priesthood of every believer to suggest that we are free to interpret the Bible as we may, since doctrine is only man’s thinking and we all disagree anyway. So, let’s unite on love, and try to apply it to politics and international relations. Thus, the movement to ban war in the 1920s.

Tragically, it has left a legacy of brokenness and failure, spiritual loss of confidence in the gospel and in the authority of Scripture. The social gospel has morphed into the (homo)sexual gospel. It is playing out so destructively that whole denominations have split over the issue, with churches emptying faster than a drug raid in West Philadelphia.

The homosexual gospel has resulted in demographic decline in mainline churches, empty pews, and wokeness leading to a near total loss of transcendence in the pulpit in favor of issues that have little to do with the souls and the ultimate destinies of parishioners.

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