I’ve been reading Roger Olson’s blog for a few months now, I have to say, I really like it.
Today, Dr. Olson posts about Theological Liberalism.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people throwing labels around when they don’t understand them. I teach at a seminary often accused by the ignorant of being “liberal” because it allows women to study for the ministry. I’ve been asked when I “became liberal” and started believing in women’s ordination and women as lead pastors. The first denomination to ordain women as pastors was the theologically conservative but socially progressive Free Methodist Church and it did that way back in the mid-19th century. (Quakers, or Friends as they prefer to be called) had women leaders before that but they didn’t exactly “ordain” anyone or have lead pastors in our modern sense.) I grew up in a very conservative denomination that ordained women. We had women pastors and evangelists. Both my birth mother and stepmother were licensed to preach.
People tend to throw the label “liberal” around without regard to history. Most of the time it means little or nothing more than something they don’t like or agree with and perceive to be too progressive. When someone says a person or church or institution or book is “liberal” I have no idea what they mean until I press them for a definition. Usually they can’t give a real definition; they can only say something about their disagreement or dislike.
Give the full article a read. I found it to be very informative.