Conservative Christianity: Wikis


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For conservative political views within Christianity, see Christian right.

Conservative Christianity (also called traditional Christianity) is a term applied to a number of groups or movements seen as giving priority to traditional Christian beliefs and practices. It is sometimes called conservative theology, an umbrella term covering various movements within Christianity and describing both corporate denominational and personal views of Scripture.

The term conservative Christian is frequently used by Protestant evangelicals and Protestant fundamentalists as a way to distinguish themselves from the more liberal Protestant denominations, in which the Social Progressive Christian and Christian Modernist movements flourish. This often leads to different understanding of what is and is not "conservative". It is also applied to the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches as well, not only in the case of moral theology, but also more traditional in the sense of the practice of Christianity itself.


General beliefs

There may be considerable overlap between certain aspects of Conservative Christianity and Christian fundamentalism, but the two terms are not synonymous. All core traditional beliefs of conservative Christians can be found in the three creedal statements, i.e. Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed; however, many Protestant evangelicals and Protestant fundamentalists reject creeds of any kind. The Protestant Auburn Affirmation in the 1920s asserted the main points of difference with the liberal Christianity of the time.

Conservative Protestantism

Scholars, theologians, and writers

There are a variety of threads including the Conservative Evangelical Movement, the Holiness movement, the Pentecostal Movement, the Fundamentalist Movement, the Charismatic Movement and the Confessing Movement. Each has its distinct aspects, but also many similarities.

Conservative Protestant scholars and theologians include:and please notice they are all male



Popular conservative Protestant writers and Christian apologists include:

Conservative Catholicism

Conservatism in Catholicism primarily refers to the upholding of the Catholic Church official teachings concerning the sanctity of marriage, the prohibition of artificial birth control, the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, the importance of traditional male clergy, prohibitions on divorce and homosexuality, and other similar theological and moral matters.

The encyclical Humani Generis (1950) of Pope Pius XII began the process of affirming that the doctrine of the Catholic Church is compatible with scientific findings relating to evolution. See also Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have questioned the necessity of death penalty in modern society, as well as having opposed the US War in Iraq-- in addition to claiming as morally incompatible with Christian living: abortion, in-vitro fertilization, and embryonic stem-cell research. They also continue to call for arms control (but not elimination of gun rights) and debt relief for poor nations.

Traditionalist Catholics

A traditionalist Catholic is a member of the Catholic Church who believes that there should be a restoration of the liturgical forms, public and private devotions, and presentation of Catholic teachings that prevailed in the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).[1]. There is a difference between "traditional Catholics" and "traditionalist Catholics", the former being Catholics loyal to the Church's teaching, but not necessarily desiring liturgical reform or a return to the Tridentine Liturgy.

Different types of traditionalists

Traditionalist Catholics may be divided into four broad groups.

  • Traditionalists not enjoying the favour of the Holy See: traditionalist priests and laypeople who practise their faith outside the Church, therefore existing in a state of schism, though they vehemently affirm their loyalty to the Church and to the papacy. The largest priestly society of this tendency is the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), which was established in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a founding figure of Catholic traditionalism. Members of this category view the post-Conciliar changes as being unacceptable and doctrinally unsound. The fact that they recognise the official Church hierarchy while rejecting its decisions draws accusations of disloyalty and disobedience from the preceding group - whom this group in turn accuse of blind, un-Catholic obedience. However the SSPX bishops have remained in contact with the Holy See over their doctrinal discussions and in January 2009, Rome declared the implied excommunication of the SSPX bishops to be null, thereby confirming their status as "inside the Church".
  • Sedevacantists: priests and laypeople who regard the Pope and the bishops of the "official" Catholic Church as having supposedly fallen into heresy and therefore have forfeited their authority. Such people neither possess nor seek the approval of the Church's hierarchy. The terms "sedevacantist" and "sedevacantism" derive from the Latin phrase sede vacante: "while the chair [of Peter] is vacant", a term which is normally reserved for the period between the death or retirement of a bishop and the consecration of his successor. Sedevacantists usually date the vacancy of the papacy from the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, though some regard Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) as a true pope. Sedevacantist groups include the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV) and the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI).
  • Conclavists: priests and laypeople stemming from the sedevacantist movement who have given recognition to a nominee of their own, claiming them as the "true Pope". Since they hold that the see of Rome is no longer vacant, they are not, strictly speaking, sedevacantists, but they are often classified as such, since they reject the official papal succession (and do so for the same reasons as sedevacantists). Conclavist groups include the so-called true Catholic Church, the Palmarian Catholic Church, and the followers of David Bawden ("Pope Michael I").


Critics of US conservative Christianity believe that these Christians deemphasize what they see as the central message of the Gospels, namely as social justice and concern for the poor. Liberal or progressive Christians note that Jesus spent much of his ministry in the company of "sinners," such as prostitutes and tax collectors, and that he criticized the religious authorities of his day as self-righteous, excessively judgmental, legalistic, and lacking compassion (see, for example, Matthew  12:1-7, Mark  3:1-6, Matthew  23).

Critics also claim that conservative Christians in the US are excessively concerned about issues pertaining to sexuality. In addition, they see nationalistic or patriotic undertones found among some conservative American Protestants as contrary to Jesus Christ's teachings of peace.

See also


  1. ^ Traditionalist Catholics usually belong to the Latin Rite. See, however, the article on the Priestly Society of Saint Josaphat

External links

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