Liberalism and the Church

We’re continuing our series on illiberal Protestantism.

So far, we have looked at Martin Luther’s Two Kingdoms doctrine and how Lutheranism has traditionally held that God governs his earthly kingdom or “the left hand realm” of the world through the structures of the Orders of Creation – family and work, the church and the state – and how these structures were created by God before, and independent of, revelation and salvation and apply to all human beings. The kingdom of the world operates on the basis of reason and natural law. God is active in the world in “the right hand realm” or the realm of redemption through the Gospel. It is the spiritual realm of the Church and applies to Christians.

In the 19th century, the conservative Lutheran theologian Adolf von Harless systematically elaborated on the Orders of Creation, which he identified in his book A System of Christian Ethics as nation, state, race, marriage and economics. Conservative Lutherans believed these were the divinely ordained structures that channeled their earthly lives. From Luther’s time until the mid-19th century, there was no such thing as religious freedom in Lutheran Europe which integrated church and state. Lutheran Europe was governed by kings and princes and the church and state worked closely to maintain a homogeneous culture based on Christian morality.

This was the cultural backdrop of how Lutherans came to support the Third Reich. Lutherans were already accustomed to authoritarian rulers, obeying the state and having a healthy, homogeneous and unified culture. This had long been the norm. Northern Europe was Lutheran and did not have the same history or traditions of the liberal, pluralistic culture of England and the Netherlands where Calvinism had tried and failed to establish its dominance over Anglicanism and Arminianism. Liberalism came late to Scandinavia and Germany in the Second Reich in the late 19th century. The problems unleashed by the Weimar Republic were new.

What happened to Christianity in the 19th century? Specifically, how was it changed by the rise of liberalism? Especially in Northern Europe? What was going on in European Christianity in the early 20th century?

There is a lot to digest here.

How did we go from Martin Luther to an abomination like Nadia Bolz-Weber? Can you imagine what Luther would have said about this woman?

We need to look at Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher, Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann and a number of other figures from the 19th and 20th centuries who had an enormous cultural impact and who are likely not familiar to non-Christians who tend to assume that the current problems with Christianity somehow stretch back all the way to Antiquity when in fact we are dealing with the problems of a very modern version of Christianity.

It will suffice to say though that Lutheranism was changed beyond recognition after 1800 and that the old model of an integrated Lutheran church and state which originated in the mid-16th century at the end of Luther’s life was gradually replaced by the liberal model of the state. The problems it unleashed in the Weimar Republic led to the Third Reich and World War II. Germany’s defeat in World War II by the Allies led to the total ascendance of liberalism in Northern Europe.

In this video, we see how Christianity reacts to the new science and philosophy and goes in two directions in the 19th century. The progressive branch goes in a “social justice” direction:

In these videos, we learn about Friedrich Schleiermacher who basically stands in history at the intersection of the impact of the Enlightenment on Protestantism:

In this video, we learn about how the existentialist theologian Rudolf Bultmann argued that the myth of Christ found in the Bible can be seen as a source of inspiration for the Self:

In this video, we learn about how the Reformed theologian Karl Barth rejected special revelation and general revelation and on that basis attacked Luther’s Two Kingdoms doctrine:

This is hardly an exhaustive list.

I just wanted to emphasize the impact of all these various figures on modern Protestantism and contrast it with, say, Lutheranism and its model of an integrated church and state in Early Modern Northern Europe. The point is that we need to look closely at the more recent history of Christianity rather than getting lost in the weeds of Antiquity. We don’t even need to get lost in the weeds of the Reformation because liberalism did not exist in Luther and Calvin’s time.

About Hunter Wallace 9453 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

34 Comments

  1. What the heck is a clitorus and where can I buy one? Do you think there are any good Christmas sales on them? In all seriousness, I’m totally aghast at that video. Speechless.

  2. I’m working on theosis. (Not the Eastern Orthodox kind, but the sort proposed by thinkers like Owen Barfield.) Theologians have become materialists worshipping gods of ideology. They usurp the moral foundation we were granted, not to raise us higher, but to weigh us down in the globalist view of malleable human nature that ultimately has no meaning. It is turning universal reason and order into divisive evil and chaos. So I’m not trusting any organized church. They are filled with those with minds so open that they will believe in anything except God and the moral order handed down to us and placed within us. Most denominations are hopelessly converged, imho.

  3. I am a Pagan – yet I am horrified and DISGUSTED by these obscene creatures. Occidental Dissent Guidelines prevent me from commenting on how this all should be dealt with….

  4. The Lure of Geometry

    Descartes’ vision of a logical, geometrical universe fascinated political thinkers throughout the seventeenth century. Thomas Hobbes’ defense of the state’s near-absolute sovereignty in Leviathan (1651) was surely governed by his Cartesian worldview: a political world analyzed in terms of mathematical precision. Belief in mathematical laws that govern the affairs of men – laws that can be discovered by the enlightened few – remained a tenet of Continental Enlightenment thought, especially in France.64

    Nevertheless, more was needed than Descartes’ mere theoretical assertions in order to make this mathematical vision a part of all educated Englishmen’s thinking. French speculation was not sufficient to persuade these “practical men of affairs.” What was needed was a practical and seemingly irrefutable demonstration of the inescapable relationship between man’s rigorous mathematical speculations and the physical operations of the external world. This was what Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia gave to mankind in 1687. His work was part of a one-generation shift in worldview that transformed European thinking. This era was the beginning of both rationalism and romanticism, the eighteenth century’s incarnation of two sides of autonomous man’s thinking: rationalism and irrationalism.65

    In philosophy, the reaction was pantheism, especially in the works of Spinoza. In trinitarian religion, a dual reaction was evident within a decade of Newton’s death: the rise of Arminian Methodism in England and the revivalism of the Great Awakening in the colonies. In the colonial case, the authority of the established churches over the thinking of the laity, especially in politics, received a mortal wound from which it has yet to recover, especially in Puritan New England.

    Isaac Newton: The Trojan Horse

    The central figure in Enlightenment thought was Isaac Newton. This is a conventional view of the Enlightenment. There is little question that Newton was a touchstone for philosophy in the United States in the eighteenth century. When men spoke of Nature with a capital N, they meant nature as interpreted by Newton: a world whose operations are governed by religiously neutral mathematics, either as a primary cause (autonomously) or secondary, under God. I call this the unitarian worldview, a world in which the doctrine of the trinity is superfluous scientifically.

    Isaac Newton was a secret unitarian. Had he admitted this fact in public, he would have lost his job at Cambridge University, as his friend and associate William Whiston did, just as Newton had warned him, advising that he continue to deceive the public. Newton was the dominant intellectual influence in the eighteenth century, and he remained so until the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859). His mechanical model of a not-quite autonomous cosmos was then stripped of its few traces of deity by his successors. His ideal, so stripped, was unitarian: a world that can be understood by its effects in terms of reason rather than traditional theological confession. It is in this sense that I discuss the world of the Framers as Newtonian. With Isaac Newton, we can mark the overwhelming triumph of Enlightenment faith in the English-speaking world. From 1690 to 1790, we can date a major and nearly self-contained intellectual era that laid the philosophical and cultural foundations of modern atheism.67 Because of what was done during that century – begun by Newton and ended by the French Revolution – and also because of what Darwin did in 1859, we live in a culture in which, for the first time in mankind’s history, belief in God is optional, a world in which “The option of not believing has eradicated God as a shared basis of thought and experience and retired him to a private or at best sub-cultural role. The bulk of modern thought has simply dispensed with God.”

    https://americancreation.blogspot.com/2009/12/gary-north-on-natural-law-aquinas.html

  5. Nadia is crazy. Watching her gesticulating like a demon is unsettling, even in an age that denies the supernatural. She’s being used with no more concern for her well-being than of some lab rat.

  6. There is very little difference between a: Wiccan Coven, Mainline Protestant Church, or an (((Organized Atheist Meetup))). All let women assume leadership, they all promote dildo and poz, and they all promote faggotry and feminism.

  7. Mr. Wallace,

    Well it looks like it is a race to the pits of hell between Protestants and Catholics in Germany (and other places as well). The following came from lifesitenews.com

    German Bishops proclaim Homosexuality Normal and Adultery Not Grave

    The Commission for Marriage and Family of the German Bishops’ Conference has come to a consensus that homosexuality is a ‘normal form of sexual predisposition.’

    Two German prelates have also claimed that Amoris Laetitia teaches that sexual relationships formed after a divorce are neither gravely sinful nor a bar to the reception of Holy Communion.

    On December 5, the German Bishops’ Conference published a press release detailing the results… on the topic ‘The sexuality of man: how to discuss it scientifically-theologically, and how to assess it ecclesiastically?’…

    The consultation, which included a panel of bishops, sexologists, moral theologians, dogmatic theologians, and canon lawyers, took place in Berlin and concluded on December 4. The timing of the event coincided with the German bishops’ departure along their own .synodal path..

    According to the press release, the experts agreed that .human sexuality encompasses a dimension of lust, of procreation, and of relationships..

    They also agreed that homosexuality is as .normal. as heterosexuality and that neither sexual attraction should be changed.

    ‘There was also agreement that the sexual preference of man expresses itself in puberty and assumes a hetero- or homosexual orientation. Both belong to the normal forms of sexual predisposition, which cannot or should be be changed with the help of a specific socialization,’ the press release stated……..

    The article continues

    Everything is accelerating fast. After it is all over I plan to write books on how and why it happened. Does even one day go by without the dung heap getting higher?

      • November,

        Catholic prophecy always foretold this would happen. That in the end times there would be the great apostasy. That most Catholics would lose the Faith and that the Vatican would become the seat of the Anti Christ etc. This is suggested in intelligent speculation of the 3rd Secret of Fatima, La Sallette and other Catholic prophecies. In our family library at our main home elsewhere there is a whole list of prophecies proclaiming this including several that said Moslems would have to be driven out of Europe.

        A more secular explanation is the infiltration of the Church by Freemasons and Jews. This also has been written about. If I remember correctly someone named Bella Dodd testified in Congress in the 1950’s that the Communists and others had started to infiltrate the Catholic Church in order to change it from the inside. One book that covers this is called The Plot Against the Church written in the mid 1960’s. There are others.

        When school is out and I go to Mexico for the Holyday I will have to read some of the material we possess.

        Unfortunately for humanity the perversion and degeneracy is not limited to Catholicism but the Protestants and others are falling apart as well.

      • November,

        The Revolutionary principles of the American and French revolutions were not crushed but spread and expanded in the following centuries. Those principles kept growing more inclusive and more radical as they picked up steam until each new phase of the revolution seems less and less shocking to us now.

        Each phase of the revolution is radical until society accepts it and then it becomes the norm. The counter revolutionary forces are weak. That is because the core principles of freedom, equality, and democracy are the new Trinity.

        Christianity did not put up much of a resistance when all is said and done. In fact they are now at the cutting edge of the revolution itself.

        Even in the 1960’s when the Revolution really hit the Catholic Church, Franco said the Church had turned on a dime and went from being strongly on his side to giving him more trouble than the Communists.

  8. Hey…don’t dumb so hard on Calvinism. What the modern Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed, and Methodist churches have become are NOT the same as what the Puritan Fathers believed.

  9. The gospels of Matthew and Luke are just revised versions of Mark, with extra material thrown in. The gospel of John is a metaphysical Greek interpretation of the Christ myth. And all of those gospels were written decades after Christ was supposedly executed. So there really is no firsthand account of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. Christian theologians realize this, but if they were to admit it they’d have to seek legitimate employment.

    • I can tell you don’t know anything about ancient history if you think a few decades is too long to write an accurate tale of an event. The sources we have of Alexander took WAY longer than that to be recorded, so by your (talmudic) logic, he didn’t exist.

      • Strange how the Emperor Tiberius never heard of anyone named Jesus of Nazareth, even though he ruled the Empire while Christ was supposedly active. The first century Roman and jewish historian Flavius Josephus never heard of him either. And yes, I did read his book on the history of the wars between Rome and Judea. Have you ever read any books, Soothsayer? I didn’t think so.

        • You’re wrong about Josephus, and you also look up Tacitus, too, and the Talmud, among others. There is one dubious passage in Josephus, but one not in dispute is where he mentions “James, brother of the so-called Christ.”

          • There were a lot of jewish men named Jesus in first century Palestine, because it was a common name – Joshua. And there were more than a few religious leaders who were referred to as the Anointed One, ie, the Christ. The brief references to Jesus the Christ that are found in Josephus and Tacitus are clumsy insertions that were scrawled into the original text during the Middle Ages. But you already fucking knew that.

  10. This series of lectures was given in a high school class? I’m sure it wasn’t Eldridge Cleaver HS in the Bronx.

  11. Sorry to be the bearer of uncomfortable truths.

    But objective Truth is Truth and YOU MUST ACCEPT IT if you want to move forward !

    Liberalism and the Church is a symptom of a larger ill.

    Liberalism has entered the Church because the people in that church have either moved AWAY from Christ’s empirical Logos and/or that particular church WAS NEVER TO BEGIN WITH an Apostolic Church !!

    Now deal with that Truth !

  12. oh yeah ….
    Let’s ask the pretend leader of Nationalists in America, what he thinks about the moral health of the Church today….

    Oh hang on, I forgot.
    He is a ” tragic atheist”, as he refers to himself!! How’s that for a so called “leader” hey???

    Way to go forward people …. hehehehehehe
    Maybe he’ll channel Nietzsche and get some answers …

    • I write with tongue in cheek.

      It will be quite amusing when Christians, jews, muslims, buddhists…all find themselves shaking their head in hell wondering how they got there. As it turned out, “the creator’s” actual divine worshippers were Baha’i.

      • I know that you do, ‘November’ and keep writing and rattling the proverbial cage. No issue take from me.

        Look, at the end of the day I’m expressing my point of view on the RS issue and later down the track, I might just find that I was all wrong about it.

        But, for now I’ll stick to my guns, until I’m wrong.

        And If I do end up in hell, then the first and last shout at the local bar is on me.

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