Conservatism / Liberalism

[I believe this writing must originate with Robert Friedman.  There is a paragraph on page 92 of Mennonite Piety Through the Centuries which briefly states the same thoughts in almost identical words.  I’m not sure if Mr. Friedman expanded on those thoughts in another writing, or if another writer did it.  In any case, it is worthy of our serious consideration.]

There are two types of conservatism: a living one by which the faith is passed on intact and unchanged, always being kindled anew by the power of the Word and of the Holy Spirit; and a conservatism without life, that makes outward formalism the exclusive evidence of faith, with no reference to the condition of the heart.

There are also two types of liberalism: the one characterized by an openness to the ever-moving Spirit that makes the faith applicable to every age and nation;  and the other one which makes inward feeling the exclusive evidence of faith, unhindered by doctrine or Scriptural evidences.

The living conservatism and the spiritual liberalism are essentially one and the same thing, as they are evidences of the work of the  same Holy Spirit; the dead conservatism and the worldly liberalism seem to be mutually exclusive, but lead one to the same sad end – a false hope in a Spirit-less Christianity.

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