One facet of Christian liberalism is the overarching priority of inclusiveness for the achievement of ideological diversity. It is held as a moral imperative the simple phrase: “The more the merrier.” However, there is a serious and profound danger in the pursuit of such diversity. Inclusion opens avenues for the legitimization of ideas that are counter to the foundational ideas on which the Christian religion is built.
In reformed traditions, creeds and confessions record attempts to clarify and organize the core beliefs on which the church stands and functions in the world. In these creeds, there is held the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Holy Son of God. Inclusiveness would allow within the church ideas that would hold Jesus as merely a wise teacher or a political martyr. Deeper still, Christianity assumes the existence of a transcendent God who governs the affairs of the material universe. Inclusiveness would give equal credence to the belief that God is in a place of disconnect, such as Deism, or that there is no God at all, Atheism.
It might be argued, and rightly so, that belief unchallenged is belief unsound. Even the writers of Holy Scripture record that the testing of faith develops the strength of perseverance (cf. James 1:3). Ideological diversity within the church, however, has the effect not of strengthening the certainty of belief, but rather weakening of that certainty. There is a difference between mere belief and committed belief. A person may have a belief, but there is always the possibility that such a belief can be changed through argument or persuasion. Committed belief, on the other hand, is a belief that refuses change, even if evidence to the contrary is presented. This is dogma, something Christian liberalism openly resists. Inclusion of counter ideas with the assumption of equality for the sake of diversity moves the Christian from committed belief into mere belief, where the only certainty is uncertainty itself. The Christian stops being a person of faith, committed belief, and becomes a person of secular skepticism with religious trappings.
In other words, the overarching expectation is not that the Christian holds that Jesus is the Christ, but that the Christian holds that Jesus might not be the Christ. This simple difference is the dividing line between what we might call “conservative theology” and “liberal theology.” So important is this distinction that the derogatory label of “fundamentalism” is oft used to describe committed belief that simply will not be shaken in the face of secular skepticism.
The open-ended exploration of ideas serve to weaken the faith of Christians for the sake of diversity and inclusiveness. Doubting hearts and minds cannot be propped up by simply replacing committed belief with blind optimism in human achievement. The Christianity identity is predicated on committed belief in those ideas that have been the foundation of the Christian faith for centuries. Exposing the purposeful uncertainty in liberalism and working to expunge its presence from within the church will give the church a much stronger stance in an emerging secular world.