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Driscoll forgot #11: Demonize everyone in the denomination who disagrees with you. If possible give that group a name, like "liberals" for example, and try to make it sounds like there's some vast conspiracy between ordained women, gay people, and anyone else who isn't a straight white male.

or #12: Decide that the aforementioned nebulous yet nefarious group is singlehandedly responsible for the decline of the mainline instead of taking good long hard look in the mirror.

or #13: Use insulting hyperbole and rhetoric to insult those "Baal worshiping, reefer-smoking" mainliners.

Driscoll's argument is that the mainline is declining because of liberals, a rationalization ignores most of the facts about the demographics of the mainline denominations. Driscoll seems more intersted in being snide and insulting than actually thinking about the real problems facing mainline churches. But then, he's invented his own church, so his gleeful explanations about the troubles in the mainline seems like only so much self-promotion.

When a person who is supposed to be a Minister comes off sounding more sarcastic than Rush Limbaugh (and at least as partisan) I generally have doubts that the Spirit is actually leading him to say those things.

Joel Thomas

It's great to hear of the tolerance of conservatives Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox, George Wallace, David Duke, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, James Hagee, Richard Mellon Scaife, Paul Cameron, Howard Ahmanson, and so on.

I wouldn't dispute that there might be some pastors burning in hell.

Larry B

I think Driscoll makes some salient points albeit with a fair amount of contempt in his prose as Alan pointed out.

I agree with much of your comments in regard to them too John B.

But for me personally, I too will leave my mainline church when/if it begins to canonize some of the more "progressive" views it currently plays around the edges with.

Personally, I don't think that people who advocate the "progressive" views are necessarily eternally condemned, but I can't live my own religious life in a position where I am having to be intellectually dishonest with myself by going along with progressive viewpoints I take fundamental issue with.

Looking at it from the other side, I can understand the frustration of the progressives in the church with people like me, so I suppose I'm a bit puzzled why they continue to persist in their activities and why they haven't just left either. Maybe they have and I just haven't noticed.


" why they continue to persist in their activities and why they haven't just left either."

Well, I can't speak for all of us progressives, liberals, Baal-worshiping potheads (whatever label we are being called these days), but I think if you make a committment to a church you should keep it. Many conservatives seem to advocate a cut and run strategy.

Larry B

Well, I can't speak for all of us progressives, liberals, Baal-worshiping potheads (whatever label we are being called these days).

Ok - seeing it all strung together is pretty funny. I just have this weird picture in my head of people sitting cross legged passing the dutchie and bowing down to some weird statue while rolling around laughing at me all stiffnecked over in the corner trying not to cough from all the smoke.


"I think if you make a committment to a church you should keep it."

I also think if a church makes a commitment to it's people through it's written doctrines it ought to keep that too. Commitment is a two party affair.


I can only speak to the PCUSA, but we've not made any changes to our Book of Confessions for a very long time. The last significant change to our Book of Order was to place yet another ban on ordaining gay people. So, not sure what you're referring to.

And remember, in our case "the church" is representative. There's no vast and nebulous and nepharious "them" out there. It's just "us."

Anyway, this conversation is definitely harshing my mellow. Gotta go back to worshiping Baal now.


To be perfectly honest, it seems to me that the "mainline" churches are struggling because we fight among ourselves. We insist upon labels, and we demand adherence to our own way of thinking. We do not seek to influence; we're bucking for a fight.

John B made a comment that in his experiences, liberals are "some" of the most intolerant. Even as a conservative person, I would say that the remainder of "some" are the conservatives in their intolerance. To be too extreme to one end or the other simply means that they cannot be distinguished one from another.

Larry B


Strictly speaking, tolerance is defined as believing that the someone is wrong about an issue, but allowing them to hold to that view even though you personally believe it to be in error.

Holding an extreme view doesn't qualify one as intolerant. Intolerance would be forbidding someone to hold any other view except the stated view. Among both conservative and liberals you will find a large amount of tolerance within any methodist denomination.

The intolerance of the liberals largely manifests itself in wanting to rewrite traditional (aka conservative) doctrine and expecting conservatives to shut up and agree to all of it.

The prime example being the Book of Disciplines statement on whether homosexuality is a sin. I think the current Methodist statement is as tolerant of both sides as it can be without shutting out one or the other sides views completely.

Look at the annual conference resolutions that have been passed in reference to the subject. Nearly any annual conference that ultimately passed a resolution this year, passed one that would urge the 2008 general conference to revise the stance on homosexuality to one of full acceptance. That leaves no room for anyone who believes that homosexuality is not acceptable and is by definition intolerant of a particular group of people.


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John B

By stating that I believe some liberals are intolerant, I in no way mean to imply that conservatives are more tolerant. I believe that conservatives are naturally more intolerant than liberals. I readily admit that I am intolerant. I beleive certain things are absolutes and I will not simply say "I have my opinion and someone else has theirs and that's okay." I believe the way is narrow that leads to life and those who take the broader path are in for big trouble.

Some of these absolutes are; but not limited to,

The supremacy of Scripture
The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ
The physical resurrection of Jesus Christ
The sacred worth of all people
The unconditional grace of God for all who will accept this gift
The falleness of humanity
The oneness of God, known in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
That Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life without whom no one comes to the Father
That those things the Bible say are sins, are sins and no amount of human rationalization can change that

What gets me is that liberals claiming to be tolerant, can't stand my intolerant views. As I said, everything is tolerated but intolerance.


"What gets me is that liberals claiming to be tolerant, can't stand my intolerant views."

What gets me is conservatives painting all liberals with the same brush.

There is, of course, logically no reason someone who says they are "tolerant" needs to be "tolerant" of "intolerance"

The problem is that conservatives who throw the label "tolerant" around at liberals are simply using a straw man. No liberal I know of, or have ever met, believes that tolerance extends infinitely. Conservatives like to mock liberals for being intolerant of their views, but there's no logical contradiction there, if one has a *reasonable* definition of tolerance. For example, I may be tolerant of other people's beliefs, but I'm not tolerant of murder. Or, I may be tolerant of wrong opinions, but there's no reason that I need to be tolerant of bigotry.

Understand that I'm not calling anyone here a bigot. I'm simply stating that, in the abstract, being intolerant of intolerance is not a contradiction.


I think in many cases when liberals call conservatives "intolerant" they really mean "uncompassionate." Conservatives seem to define themselves by what they're against, and this unfortunately sometimes shows itself as hypocritical self-righteousness.


Larry B,

In my own perspective, the more liberal viewpoint seems to demand that there may be more than meets the eye. If we lock something in and insist on 'one' way (namely, our way), we are demanding that others not only agree with us but also think like us - and that, my friend, is never going to happen. It is reality.

I, too, believe that there are some absolutes and I will preach them until the Lord is done with me, but we are talking about the decay of the "mainline" churches. Demanding adherence to tradition and doctrine insists that some man (Wesley, for instance) got it all correct and that everyone should fall lock-step in behind them.

I want abortion to go away. I want homosexuals to acknowledge the reality of Scripture teachings about marriage and sexuality but those things are not going to happen, so what am I prepared to do about it?

I can do one of two things: I can make myself miserable wishing and demanding that everyone agree with me, or I can acknowledge the differences and live as best I can according to what I say I believe.

When I can live, truly live, according to what the Gospel teaches and preaches, then - and only then - will others believe me.


Well then I am the first person then...but I have left a church for being too conservative.

I cannot subscribe to intolerance which basically makes up the bulk of conservative churches.

Thankfully God's Word has shown me that I could never be a conservative or Republican.

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