1. View of the Bible as inspired and not inerrant.While I am not one who believes liberal theology, but rather orthodox, evangelical theology, I believe this statement by Thomas to be somewhat true:
2. An understanding that some passages in the Bible are metaphorical or “myth based.”
3. An emphasis on the need to apply human reason, experience and tradition in interpreting the Bible.
4. Application of insights from the social sciences (which are also not inerrant) is crucial to interpreting the Bible. As the social sciences are themselves God’s revelation of truth, they complement rather than compete with Scripture.
5. An emphasis on Biblical criticism and literary analysis.
6. Scripture must be viewed through the lens of time and culture.
7. Doctrines, church authority and Scripture cannot be divorced from subjective personal experience.
8. Community wholeness in relation to God is as important as a personal relationship to God through Christ. (“Shalom” creation.)
9. An understanding that the Bible contains “all things necessary for salvation” but not necessarily all things related to salvation.
10. A refusal to make creeds a test of faith.
11. Openness to “finding Christ in the culture.”
12. Doubt is not inherently the enemy of faith, but can be used by God to engage that very faith.
13. A strong commitment to social justice.
14. The idea that self-reflection is a necessary component of faith.
15. Acceptance that the Bible incorporates an intentional tension between “universal” and “exclusive” salvation. (To remind us that God alone judges?)
16. The possibility that not only may we acquire new understandings of God’s revelation but that it is possible that God is still revealing.
17. Humans, while tending toward depravity, are capable of responding to divine grace.
18. As “imitators” of Christ, we must engage the essential unity of faith and works.
19. That Christian existentialism is criticized but effectively practiced by the “orthodox” and fundamentalists but honestly admitted to by many liberals.
20. Rejection of an over-emphasis on a “personal relationship with Christ” that fails to adequately place faith in the context of community.
21. A strong emphasis on “corporate sin” as being as evil and destructive as personal sin.
22. That while miracles happen, God does not ordinarily suspend the laws of nature.
A frequent complaint about liberal theology is that it doesn’t accept the Bible as authoritative. I dispute that idea. While conservatives/fundamentalists/traditionalists/orthodox may give greater lip service to the Bible’s authority, I find little evidence that they live their lives as if it is more authoritative. Christ calls us to radical obedience where the proof is in the pudding and not in the words... All of us struggle with being “doers of the word” which is the real test of how we view the Bible’s authority.I know that I find it easier to study God's word than to live it out on a daily basis. God, grant me the grace to be a doer of your word.