Liberal Christianity. . .
Scary stuff, and when you dig deeper, at least for me, it gets even scarier. First of all, the two words, “liberal” and “Christian” don’t really go together. Christianity is full of absolutes, truths, yes’s and no’s. It is not a way of life that is ever-changing according to one’s own beliefs and interpretations of what it should be, or what someone, personally, would like for it to be. The fundamental truths of Christianity are un-changing. The definition of “liberal” is as follows:
First off, it seems to me that by its very premise, liberal Christianity is built upon a broken foundation. Liberal Christianity is an attempt to meld the theology of the church with the ‘wisdom’ and positions of the world, an attempt to help the two “mesh.” Liberal Christianity would like to make things like evolution, moral issues such as tolerance towards abortion, gay rights and other sin issues, and ecumenicalism with other “faiths” all fit in with Christian teaching. But to do so, they have to do away with some of the basic truths of orthodox Christianity. It is not about one fitting their life to the instructions and teachings of Christ, it is an attempt to take those teachings and instructions and mold them around one’s own beliefs, desires and world views. This is plainly evident in some of the testimonies written by ‘liberal’ Christians. Most of them seem to have one thing in common; A dismissal of biblically-based traditional Christian views because of a wish to compromise moral values, appear tolerant, or accommodate a scientific world view, such as evolution. It sounds wonderfully ‘modern’ and ‘free-thinking’ on the face of it, but therein lays the problem. Jesus never tells us our beliefs, practices and morals should change as society changes. Liberal Christianity would have us believe that the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to Jesus, when Jesus says just the opposite:
Matthew 7:13-14 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
What are some of the earmarks of liberal Christianity? Well, one of the biggest is the fact that their beliefs are fluid. Their beliefs can and do change according to the present course of society. Here are some facets of liberal Christianity:
1) They deny the inerrancy of scripture. They consider some teachings in the Bible good, but others are not, and it is up to liberal theologians, and liberal Christians themselves to determine which teachings are good, and which are bad, or no longer relevant in today’s world. Some of the Bible’s instructions are inspired, others were simply written by well-intentioned but flawed men, and their flaws colored the text. Instead of relying solely on scripture to shape their beliefs and faith, they rely on scripture they deem acceptable, tradition, reason, and experience together as shaping their Christianity. What does the Bible say?
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2) The Virgin birth, the Atonement, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and the Resurrection are in most cases given new interpretations by liberal Christians. Liberal Christian’s views on any of the above tenants of Christianity bear little resemblance to what the Bible says about them. The Virgin birth is simply a mythological story. The Trinity and deity of Jesus are turned into a form of panentheism where God is seen as being part of everything, instead of an all-powerful creator God with a plan for saving a fallen and inherently sinful creation. The Resurrection was not the resurrection of Jesus in bodily form, it was simply spiritual. The Bible states the subjects very different than the liberal Christian views above. It also has something to say about abandoning sound doctrine in favor of adopting doctrine that sounds good and is world-friendly:
2 Timothy 4:3, 4 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
3) There is no literal hell, and even if there was, our God is a loving God who would never send anyone there. Liberal Christians, by and large, are Universalists. They believe that everyone will be saved, no matter what their relationship to Christ. My Bible says differently, when you interpret it literally, as it was meant to be interpreted.
Matthew 10:32-34 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
I could give myriad scripture for a literal hell, and who winds up there, but I think most of us know they are there.
This movement goes under several different names. The newest one is called “progressive” Christianity. This is what one website, www.progressivechristianity.org says about their position:
“Progressive Christianity is an adaptable art form, not a rigid “explain-all” dogma that over-literalizes and distorts the grand mysteries it seeks to illuminate…
- Do you find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions rather than in the answers?
- Do you have religious interests and longings but cannot accept the beliefs and dogmas you associate with Christianity?
- Are you repelled by claims that Christianity is the “only way”?”
What is described here is not Christianity. It isn’t even close. These are their 8 Points, their creed as to what they believe:
“By calling ourselves progressive, we mean we are Christians who…
1. Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
- Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
- Believers and agnostics,
- Women and men,
- Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
- Those of all classes and abilities;
4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
6. Strive for peace and justice among all people;
7. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;
8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.”
This is nothing more than secular humanism masquerading as Christianity. It’s New Age philosophy wrapped up in a different package and calling itself something else.
We see many liberal denominations today pretty much abandoning biblical teaching on subjects such as abortion, homosexuality and other sins and in some cases, actually saying that these behaviors are perfectly acceptable. And they do so in total opposition to what the Bible actually says. To be both ‘Liberal’ and ‘Christian,’ something has to get tossed aside. There has to be a compromise and that compromise always comes at the expense of Christ and biblical values. These are sacrificed to allow worldly views to be accommodated.
This stuff is frightening, and it’s why we see so much divisiveness in “Christian” circles. You have ecumenicals, the emergent church, New Agers and so-called “Progressive” Christians saying that just about anything goes in the name of tolerance and reason, and you still have conservative Christians who still believe in being totally dedicated to Jesus, that the Bible means what it says and says what it means, and the two groups are at lager heads. Looking at the 1st century Church as established by the Apostles, and the gospel they preached, which position would be wrong?