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The Making of American Liberal Theology

February 4, 2011

Kevin DeYoung points out that there is an irreconcilable difference between the three main branches–Catholicism, Liberal Protestants and Evangelical Protestants–concerning where our ultimate authority lies.  He gives the following quote from Gary Dorrien’s The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism, Realism and Modernity, 1900-1950:

The essential idea of liberal theology is that all claims to truth, in theology as in other disciplines, must be made on the basis of reason and experience, not by appeal to external authority. Christian scripture may be recognized as spiritually authoritative within Christian experience, but its word does not settle or establish truth claims about matters of fact.

DeYoung also quotes Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith:

Ultimate authority always resides outside the self and even outside the church, as both are always recievers of the Word and hearers of its judgment and justification. The church is commissioned to deliver this Word (a ministerial office), not to possess or rule it (a magisterial office). Thus, the authority is always transcendent. Even when it comes near us, it is never our own word that we hear (Ro. 10:6-13, 17).

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