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By David W. Virtue, DD
September, 28 2022

The Liberal Protestant experiment began in America at the time of American theologian Walter Rauschenbusch and Congregational pastor Washington Gladden, the two most famous proponents of the Social Gospel. They flourished at the end of the 19th century.

Both taught that doctrine divides while experience unites, and besides (sound familiar?) and besides, the doctrine of blood atonement to appease the Father's wrath sounds pagan. So, let's not talk about that--too many disagree with it--and focus on what we can all agree on, Jesus' social teaching.

Shailer Mathews brought this teaching to the University of Chicago Divinity School in the 1920s, writing several books on the social teaching of Jesus.

Ironically, all three--Rauschenbusch, Gladden, and Mathews--called themselves evangelicals. And all talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus.

This was pietism, the movement that proclaimed that the most important thing is knowing Jesus personally, and that after that doctrine is unimportant. It discounted theology.

This was the methodological beginning of Protestant liberalism: they all proclaimed that all that matters is having warm fuzzies for Jesus. They taught the Bible as the Word of God and misused Luther's priesthood of every believer to suggest that we are free to interpret the Bible as we may, since doctrine is only man's thinking and we all disagree anyway. So, let's unite on love, and try to apply it to politics and international relations. Thus, the movement to ban war in the 1920s.

Tragically, it has left a legacy of brokenness and failure, spiritual loss of confidence in the gospel and in the authority of Scripture. The social gospel has morphed into the (homo)sexual gospel. It is playing out so destructively that whole denominations have split over the issue, with churches emptying faster than a drug raid in West Philadelphia.

The homosexual gospel has resulted in demographic decline in mainline churches, empty pews, and wokeness leading to a near total loss of transcendence in the pulpit in favor of issues that have little to do with the souls and the ultimate destinies of parishioners.

Toss a coin and you can hear sermons on racism, climate change, gender contortion, homosexual marriage and why children should be exposed to drag queens in the name of "education", inclusion and diversity.

However, it is not playing well with aging Americans who want to hear the consolations of grace, mercy, and forgiveness as they near life's end. Post-Covid, millions have stopped going to church. Over one million died of the disease, mostly the aged.

Hearing calamitous sermons on climate change while a year or two from a columbarium is hardly Good News.

Living on the symbols of faith without the faith itself, leaves one empty and ultimately alone.

The cross is now a meaningless symbol for revisionists. As the late John Shelby Spong said of Atonement Theology, especially in its most bizarre "substitutionary" form, it presents us with a God who is barbaric, a Jesus who is a victim and it turns human beings into little more than guilt-filled creatures. The phrase "Jesus died for my sins" is not just dangerous, it is absurd. He later went on to say that the cross was child abuse.

It is interesting that today not even Presiding Bishop Michael Curry quotes Spong, nor do most diehard revisionist bishops and priests plead his theology from their pulpits. Spong, along with his 12 Theses have disappeared before our eyes.

Pansexuality, on the other hand, has eclipsed the resurrection or any talk of the Last Judgment. Revisionists want a sophomoric god, a sweet nice indulgent god, who continually cries 'I love y'all' no matter what sin you may be indulging in.

It is profoundly ironic that the only sexual sin left in TEC that meets with universal disapproval is adultery. It can get you kicked out, at least temporarily. Fornication was back doored in with Resolution D039, but sodomy is blessed, praised, eulogized, flag waved, pride animated and its proponents gushed over in the name of a god who excludes no one from His presence.

Eastern and Western Michigan Bishop Whayne Hougland Jr. was suspended for one year as part of a Title IV disciplinary action after admitting to an extramarital affair. Houghland is now interim rector at St. Chrysostom's Chicago, one of the wealthiest parishes (with Ascension) in the diocese. Lexington Bishop Douglas Hahn was suspended for one year after people learned that he had a sexual relationship with an adult female parishioner and intentionally withheld this information when seeking the position of bishop.

Their punishment amounted to little more than a wrist slap. Bishop Gene Robinson successfully navigated the sexual tide waters by first marrying a woman, then divorcing her, meeting and fornicating with a man, marrying and then divorcing him and is now in yet another homosexual relationship. But let's not get picky about the sexual peccadillos of Robinson. He is forever seared in the history and conscience of The Episcopal Church.

The homosexual brainwashing is now complete in TEC. No voice raised against it will last or thrive. Like former Albany Episcopal Bishop Bill Love, any dissident will be driven from the church, never to be heard from again. There is not a single bishop now who would dare stand up in the HOB and declare that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman in life long union. That day is done. The takeover is now complete.

Even as TEC declines and revisionists rage against orthodox Anglicans in the Global South for halting their progress towards sexual "freedom", the war they started and waged has borne the fruit of decline and, in time, will result in TEC's very disappearance. Like petulant children screaming homophobia at any and all who disagree with them, TEC tries to blame others instead of itself. Sexual freedom has brought about the inevitable and enveloping spiritual darkness.


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