Conservative Christianity Defined
The author of this manifesto started from a context different to mine but this need not have led to conclusions different to mine. He tells us of his ancestry and some very hard times his family experienced. He reminds us of historical attitudes and denominational tensions and divisions then, noting that labels and categories can bring dangers of stereotyping and caricatures he lists five categories he uses to illustrate his journey.
- Conservative Christians
- Conventional Christians
- Uncertain Christians
- Former Christians
- Progressive Christians.
Borg writes that he has moved from Conventional Christianity to Progressive Christianity. It seems that my understanding of Christianity means I am more like his definition of Conservative Christianity so although I do not accept his definitions entirely what I have written concentrates on the first and last forms of Christianity in his list.
To Borg this Conservative Christianity includes fundamentalist and conservative-evangelical Christians, some mainline Protestant and Catholic Christians. He says the foundations of this group includes
- Belief in the absolute authority of the Bible (for Protestants)
- Emphasis upon an afterlife, that how we live now, what we believe and how we behave matters because where we will spend eternity is at stake.
- Sin is the central issue in our life with God, the obstacle of going to heaven.
- Jesus died to pay for our sins so that we can be forgiven. Because he was the Son of God, he was without sin and thus could make the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
- The way to eternal life is through believing in Jesus and his saving death.
- Most also believe that Jesus and Christianity are the “only way”
- Other beliefs such as the virgin birth, performed miracles, rose from the dead in physically bodily form
- Jesus is coming again soon for the final judgement and thus it is important to be ready.
I will respond to these on this blog but will do as Borg does and start with two: Emphasis on the afterlife and Sin is the central issue in our life with God.
I then come to this conclusion:
I would re-write them this way:
- A Christian is born again from death to eternal life by the power of the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead; enlivened and enabled by that same Spirit the emphasis is on living that new life until, upon dying, they enter their full inheritance with Jesus of which they have been assured.
- By the grace of God a Christian has been given the gift of faith in the effectiveness of Jesus death on the cross so that, believing in and following Jesus as Saviour and Lord, they daily find full forgiveness and cleansing and, all obstacles of going to heaven having been removed, regard themselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
“Every Christian should be both conservative and radical; conservative in preserving the faith and radical in applying it.”
― John R.W. Stott