What are liberal beliefs?

Presbyterian and other mainline denominations are more likely to espouse liberal protestant views.Presbyterian and other mainline denominations are more likely to espouse liberal protestant views.

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by Contributing Writer

Liberal Protestants come from various denominations, particularly mainline denominations such as Episcopalian, Presbyterian and United Methodist as well as self-identifying liberal churches such as Unitarian Universalist or non-denominational congregations. However, denominations do not define liberal Protestants; it is their underlying perspectives on truth, Jesus, morality and salvation that shape their beliefs.

Perspectives on Truth

Many liberal Protestants believe that the Bible is a piece of literature about God more so than the literal word of God and that it should be read in its historical context with primary focus on the words and life of Jesus. Other liberal Protestants see the Bible as the word of God but approach it more broadly and believe it is open to various interpretations. Prominent liberal theologian and author of “A New Kind of Christianity, ” Brian McLaren echoes this perspective on his blog. He argues that God can communicate truth to human beings without the requirements of traditional religious constructs, such as denominations, temples or dogma.

Beliefs About Jesus

Foundational to Protestant Christian belief structure - liberal or conservative - is that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth, modeled an example for humans to follow and sacrificed himself for sin before rising again on the third day. Nevertheless, prominent liberal theologian Marcus Borg, Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, dismisses the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus on earth as inconsequential to the faith. He writes on his website, “Easter is not about believing in a spectacular long ago event, but about participating in what we see in Jesus.”

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