Describes and defends a long-standing tradition that maintains a proper balance between religious faith and human rationality
Many of the early apologists, including Justin Martyr and Origen, presented a defense of the Christian faith that sought to combine the message of the Gospels with respect for the kind of rationality associated with Socrates and his followers. Michael Langford argues that, despite many misunderstandings, the term "liberal theology" can properly be used to describe this tradition.
Langford's Tradition of Liberal Theology begins with a historical and contemporary definition of "liberal theology" and identifies eleven typical characteristics, such as a nonliteralist approach to interpreting Scripture, a rejection of original guilt, and the joint need for faith and works. Langford then gives vignettes of thirteen historical Christian figures who personify the liberal tradition. Finally, he explores some contemporary alternatives to liberal theology -- fundamentalism, the Catholic magisterium, Karl Barth's theology -- and presents a rational defense of the tradition of liberal theology.