If a person is lax to one aspect of the Bible (e.g. failing to repent when making false accusations) but they see themselves as passionate about another aspect of the Bible (e.g. specific teachings about how the first sin affects us), it seems rather self serving to take it upon yourself to assert that only one of these areas of laxity should be called liberal.1. Of course, we could easily respond that it seems rather "self serving" for Glenn to take it upon himself to assert that one isn't a liberal if he denies hell and inerrancy, not to mention the historicity of Adam. Or that it seems rather "self serving" for Glenn to take it upon himself to assert that one is a liberal if one "is unwilling to respond in a biblical way" or "fail[s] to repent when making false accusations." This should be clear to him.
This should be clear to you.
2. Glenn is attempting to redefine what theological liberalism means and entails. He's attempting to say that one is a liberal if one "is unwilling to respond in a biblical way" or "fail[s] to repent when making false accusations."
Sorry, Glenn, even if it were true that Steve "fail[ed] to repent when making false accusations" (not that I grant it for one second), it wouldn't necessarily make him a theological liberal. It'd make him impenitent.
In fact, it's quite possible for a person to be completely orthodox and sound in his theology but impenitent over a particular sin.
Sure, it's a sin to be impenitent. But it doesn't necessarily indicate one is a theological liberal if one is impenitent.
3. After all, theological labels and definitions don't occur in a vacuum. For one thing, there's a historical context behind terms such as "liberal." For starters Glenn might try reading J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism. If he has already read it, he might try better appreciating its content. It'd be even better if he would appropriate it.
4. Anyway, Glenn doesn't get to redefine "liberal" in a way that suits him. How so? Glenn is using his redefined definition of "liberal" as one who "fail[s] to repent when making false accusations" to lend support to his demand that Steve apologize for his apparent slight against Glenn, which apparently occurred when Steve said:
Of course, Glenn isn't really defending Craig. Rather, Glenn is using the Craig incident as a pretext to defend himself. Glenn is a liberal (denies hell, denies inerrancy), so he wants to make evangelicalism a big tent. Defending Craig is just a ploy for making his case that evangelicals should be more tolerant and open-minded with respect to the Glenn Peoples of the world.Glenn has been taking umbrage at this remark ever since.
5. For Steve's part, he actually gave specific and valid reasons for why he labels Glenn a liberal. Steve has pointed out that Glenn is a theological liberal because Glenn denies hell as well as inerrancy. Not to mention the historicity of Adam. Steve isn't pointing out that Glenn is a theological liberal because of the way he conducts or doesn't conduct himself. No, and at the risk of beating a dead horse, Steve gave and has continued to give specific reasons for why he labels Glenn a theological liberal: denial of hell; denial of inerrancy; and denial of the historicity of Adam.
6. Glenn accuses us of being "self serving." But unlike him we actually provide good reasons for why we think he's "self serving." I mean, if redefining a term (liberal now means someone who fails to repent when making false accusations) to suit one's own purposes (Steve Hays needs to repent and apologize to me, Glenn Peoples) isn't "self serving," I don't know what is.
7. BTW, since Glenn thinks his positions on hell and inerrancy are biblical positions, and since those positions have historically been connected with liberalism, why does he mind being labeled a theological liberal? In this sense, isn't "liberal" an accurate description of Glenn's beliefs?
It's true "liberal" has a decidedly negative connotation among conservative Christians. But why does Glenn care what conservative Christians think? It's not as if he thinks highly of them in the first place since he says stuff like this:
[T]he conservative Christian community wants its scholars as long as it can control them.Why would Glenn want to be associated with a community which he alleges controls its scholars? Judging by statements like this, it'd seem Glenn wouldn't want to be affiliated with conservative Christians.
Yet Glenn is rankled when conservative Christians label him a theological liberal.
Hm, why the discrepancy? Why would someone who thinks poorly of conservative Christians, someone who doesn't appear to have any good reason to be affiliated with conservative Christians, care what conservative Christians think about him and label him? It's not as if their opinion of his theology is valuable to Glenn. Or is it?
I can't seem to make heads or tails out of it. Well, unless Steve was absolutely correct in his initial assessment of Glenn:
Of course, Glenn isn’t really defending Craig. Rather, Glenn is using the Craig incident as a pretext to defend himself. Glenn is a liberal (denies hell, denies inerrancy), so he wants to make evangelicalism a big tent. Defending Craig is just a ploy for making his case that evangelicals should be more tolerant and open-minded with respect to the Glenn Peoples of the world.8. Anyway, people can read Steve's original post here, my thoughts here, and Steve's evaluation here.