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Liberal Christian Denominations?

Discussion in 'Liberal Christianity DIR' started by JonM, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. JonM

    JonM Member

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    Hello, everyone! I have a question I'll bet some of you can answer. I am a Reconstructionist Jew (info), which is a very liberal denomination that's more traditional than Reform, meaning more Hebrew and more traditional melodies in services, but very lenient and informal in terms of observance. We don't believe the Torah is the literal word of God, we only uphold the commandments we are comfortable upholding, and we do not distinguish (or discriminate) on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. In short, we are very invested in Jewish identity, but not in a communalistic way. While more observant denominations may hold that their first responsibility is the welfare of the Jewish people, we believe that our first responsibility is to stand up for everyone on behalf of the Jewish people.

    I am wondering if there are specific Christian denominations with similar approaches. I read the information in the Liberal Christianity forum, and it sounded like the same ideas, but there was no information on specific churches. I know that Quakerism and Unitarianism were originally Christian schools of thought, but many Quakers and Unitarian/Universalists I know are not Christian (when the Unitarians merged with the Universalists, did they drop the worship of Christ altogether?). So what churches are out there for people who interpret Christian theology the same way Reconstructionists understand Jewish theology?

    Perhaps the answer to this should be obvious, in which case I must ask you to forgive my ignorance, because, like far too many American Jews, I grew up so surrounded by Jews that I never actually got to learn the specifics of how Christianity works. Thanks for your help in advance!
     
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  2. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    Got these from a friend of mine on another forum:

    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    United Church of Christ - probably the most liberal of all
    United Methodist
    Presbyterian USA
    Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) - the name is a little misleading
    Society of Friends (Quakers)

    Broken down into groups:

    Baptist group
    Liberal: Northern Baptist, American Baptist, Progressive Baptist
    Conservative: Southern Baptist, Primitive Baptist

    Methodist group
    Liberal: United Methodist Church (though not all)
    Conservative: Nazarene

    Lutheran group
    Very liberal: United Church of Christ
    Liberal: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (though not all)
    Conservative: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
    VERY conservative: Lutheran Church-Wisconsin Synod

    Presbyterian group
    Liberal: United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.
    Very, very, very, very, VERY conservative: Presbyterian Church in America

    Episcopal churches will vary within each diocese. Some are very liberal, others not so much.


    Unitarian Universalists are not a Christian denomination. We are very liberal, however.

    I should note that even within denominations, individual churches vary greatly on the liberal-conservative spectrum.
     
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  3. JonM

    JonM Member

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    Wow, thanks a lot! You know, you just revealed to me a pretty silly mistake I made. My congregation meets in a CCUCC church, which I knew stood for "Congregationalist" something, because thats what people in my synagogue call it because the acronym is such a mouthful, but I knew there had to be more to it than that. Sure enough, the UCC part is the United Church of Christ. Seeing as I share a house of worship with them (and a BEAUTIFUL one at that), I should probably check them out!

    Anyway, thanks for the extensive list! You're good at those.
     
  4. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    You're very welcome!

    I forgot (at least) one! :bonk: (One I should remember anyway!)

    The Metropolitan Community Church
    [size=-1]is a Christian Church, founded by Gays and Lesbians, for all people and [/size]is considered to be a liberal mainline denomination.
     
  5. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Jon,

    I have been impressed with the UCCs that I have come across. Excellent people who are incredibly empathetic.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Well, as far as I'm concerned, all Christian denominations should do exactly what you describe. But they don't. I was reared in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Denominationally, Disciples are quite liberal. In fact Diciples and the UCC are working together toward full intercommunion. I think you would also find mainstream United Methodists, mainstream ELCA Lutherans and mainstream Episcopalians basically on the same page.

    There should be no room in Christianity for the kind of judgmentalism so typically found. That's just not who we're called to be.

    I have a very good friend who's atheist, and married to a Reconstructionist Jew. We have a great time arguing the existence of God. And we are able to do so with respect for the other's viewpoint. Why? Because we love each other, and we operate out of love for each other.

    It's so good to know that there are other people out there who love God (and Jesus, too...) and choose to champion love, as you say, on behalf of others, and on behalf of God. I live in the Midwest, and I get so, so tired of being told that my views aren't "Christian." As far as I'm concerned (and please don't take this the wrong way!!!) The Reconstructionist Jews are more "Christian" than many many Christians I know.
     
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  7. CaptainXeroid

    CaptainXeroid Following Christ

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    Me, too...another Disciple!:woohoo: I haven't seen too many others of us here.


    A few years ago, there was an interdenominational synod among DoC, UCC, and some of the denominations you mentioned related to 'reconciliation'. The goal was a dialogue to emphasize our similarities in theology, practices, and missions. IIRC, most of them extended recognition of each others' ministerial credentials and invitations to deliver the Word in each other's pulpits.

    Our minister is ordained in both DoC & UCC, and a few years ago, we had a statewide work day at a UCC church in Dublin, GA, and while he was on sabbatical last summer, we enjoyed several guest preachers from churches outside DoC.
    I like this.;)
     
  8. JonM

    JonM Member

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    Thanks for chiming in, everyone! It's good to meet you!
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I like that quote you found! Sorry I haven't responded to your post sooner. Hi, fellow Disciple!!!:bounce
     
  10. Izdaari

    Izdaari Emergent Anglo-Catholic

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    Let's add one more denominational group to it, the Pentecostals. There is one church often described as being "liberal Pentecostals", the Vineyard. I've attended services at my local Vineyard church, and that would seem to be an accurate description.

    My own church is Assemblies of God, a decidedly not-liberal Pentecostal denomination, however my particular congregation at least is very accepting and loving in attitude if not in doctrine, not judgmental or legalistic at all, and our pastors are big fans of Rob Bell, one of the leading lights of the Emerging Church movement.

    Oh, btw, DoC was one of the churches I grew up with. I went to a DoC church during my teen years. I have good memories of it, and if there had been one near me, I'd have included it in my recent church search.
     
  11. Antiochian

    Antiochian Rationalist

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    Just thought I'd make a correction, though this thread is quite old and dead, that the UCC isn't a Lutheran group, but a Reformed church.
     
  12. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    Mainly, although the historic groups and denominations whose series of mergers led to the UCC included Lutherans as well as Reformed churches. Rather than a strictly Reformed denomination, it's more of a blend, like the Evangelical Church in Germany, with which it has a close relationship.

    In the context of Lutheranism, Evangelical or Evangelische denotes the Lutheran tradition, as distinguished from the Reformed or Reformierte tradition.
     
  13. Cricket

    Cricket Member

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    So far, I have been impressed and inspired by Quakers, though I've only gotten to know Quakers of the "Liberal" persuasion, so far. "Orthodox" or "Conservative" Quakers are a little more Christ-centric, typically, however, most Quakers don't believe the Bible to be literal word of God. More of a...Guidebook. It has more to do with doing good, and establishing a personal relationship with God or the "inner light", hence the reason for silent worship. There are even some Jewish Quakers, I think.

    With Respect,

    Cricket
     
  14. *Anne*

    *Anne* Bliss Ninny

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    Unity, often confused with Unitarians, is quite liberal. I started attending a Unity Church last August and am still learning, but real quick, some snippets from the site:

    It's very, very different from my Catholic upbringing and has taken some getting used to. My family, though outwardly supportive, are secretly afraid it's a cult. :rolleyes::D It's not.
     
  15. Greystone

    Greystone Member

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    The Family International are a moderately liberal denomination, they used to be called The Children of God. They have a fairly liberal attitude towards sex though disprove of homosexuality.

    QUOTE: "We believe that God created and ordained human sexuality, and we consider it a natural part of life. The Bible says that God told the first man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). God “saw everything that He had made”—which included the first man and woman as well as their bodies and sexuality—“and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

    It is our belief that heterosexual relations, when practiced as God ordained and intended between consenting adults, are a pure and natural wonder of God’s creation, and permissible according to Scripture."
     
  16. edx500

    edx500 New Member

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  17. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I've always been a proponent of Unity, although I tend to find them a little on the fluffy side for my taste. It's been a loooong time since I've been to a Unity church, though, so that may be an unfair assessment at this point.
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Just a note:
    I don't think I'd label the UCC as "Lutheran." It isn't. The UCC was formed by the merger of the Congregationalists (Presbyterian/CoE roots) and the Evangelical and Reformed Church (German, with roots in Lutheranism, but not Lutheran). They almost need their own grouping.
     
  19. Thirza Fallen

    Thirza Fallen Crazy Cat Lady

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    I attend a PCA church and it's more like a non-denominational church. Why do you think it's so very conservative?:confused:
     
  20. Devananda

    Devananda Well-Known Member
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    Y'know, within Unitarian Universalism, there is indeed a group known as the UU Christian Fellowship, for any and all Jesus-followers! Of course, being UU's they're understandings of Christian faith and practice are very liberal/progressive for the most part.
     
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