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Definition

Liberal theology is rooted in modern, secular theories of knowledge and has moved towards participation in the work of the church as the priority for Christians at the expense of delineating theological belief, which has led to the abandonment of many orthodox beliefs in many mainline denominations.

Summary

Liberal theology, although including a wide variety of theological, philosophical, and biblical perspectives, is rooted in the substitution of modern, Enlightenment theories of knowledge that reject external sources of knowledge and substituted subjective autonomy of human reason or experience. While earlier theology was rooted in the belief that the Bible and the creeds articulated a coherent, unified and authoritative worldview. Through multiple developments, including writings from Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Thomas Jefferson, and Walter Rauschenbusch, liberal theology eventually led to the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy, where theologically conservative Fundamentalists defined certain orthodox beliefs that were fundamental to true Christianity, which liberal theology generally rejected. Today, the attitude of liberal theology—its underlying insistence of becoming relevant to each generation—has become the prevailing attitude of American culture.

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