Liberal Christianity is made up of three reductions:
1. The reduction of religion to morality.
2. The reduction of morality to love of neighbor.
3. The reduction of love of neighbor to tolerance plus welfare programs.
The classic expression of the first reduction is found in Matthew Arnold’s definition of religion as “morality touched by emotion.” Liturgy doesn’t much matter. Nor does dogma. And it certainly doesn’t matter whether your form of church government is congregational, presbyterian, episcopal, papal-episcopal, or even no-church-at-all.
God says, “I don’t care what you believe, how you worship, etc. Just be good.”
The reduction of morality to love of neighbor allows liberal Christians to escape from the Augustinian puritanism that has been the mark of orthodox Catholicism and classical Protestantism. As long as you love your neighbor, you are being good.
Thus moral goodness is compatible with fornication, unmarried cohabitation, out-of-wedlock childbirth, abortion (unborn babies don’t count as “neighbors”), and homosexual sodomy. It is also compatible with small-scale lying and cheating.