We stay in an age of nice compromise and confusion, particularly concerning the Christian religion. In some methods, meaning we stay in the identical type of day and age that each Christian has lived in since Christ ascended to Heaven roughly 2,000 years in the past.
The New Testomony authors, writing beneath the inspiration of the Holy Spirit within the speedy many years following the life, loss of life, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, have been aware of the necessity to defend the pure instructing of the religion towards those that would undermine its doctrine and utility.
In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul writes that “The Spirit clearly says that in later occasions some will abandon the religion and observe deceiving spirits and issues taught by demons.”
God knew what He was doing when He gave the Church such sturdy warnings.
However whereas there isn’t any doubt that false instructing and heresies have all the time plagued the Christian Church, every period has its personal battles to battle. Within the early Church interval, they needed to take care of Gnosticism, Christological errors, and confusion in regards to the Holy Spirit.
Fortunately, in our day and age, we’ve got creeds and confessions, just like the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed, which set ahead the clear, uncompromised rules of historic, orthodox Christianity. Or, if you’re a Baptist, we’ve got the Baptist Religion & Message 2000.
Nonetheless, although we’ve got these statements, false instructing abounds. One significantly pernicious pressure of corrupted Christianity is what’s generally known as “theological liberalism.” The late R.C. Sproul warned that “We live in a day when liberal theology has made deep inroads within the church.”
Even in case you don’t know its title, I’m assured you’ve encountered a few of its teachings — like those that deny the fact of the resurrection of Christ. So, to higher equip you to identify and counter theological liberalism, let me clarify what it’s and why it’s harmful.
What’s theological liberalism?
In his e book The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Faith, 1805 – 1900, Gary Dorrien explains,
“The concept of liberal theology is sort of three centuries previous. In essence, it’s the concept Christian theology may be genuinely Christian with out being based mostly upon exterior authority. For the reason that 18th century, liberal Christian thinkers have argued that faith needs to be fashionable and progressive and that the which means of Christianity needs to be interpreted from the standpoint of contemporary information and expertise.”
In different phrases, the place to begin of theological liberalism is that it trades the exterior, goal, God-given commonplace of the Bible in issues of religion for a person’s private, subjective opinion and expertise.
That is an actual inversion of the Christian religion. We all know who God is and what He needs from mankind as a result of God speaks — and speaks first. Theological liberalism trades “Thus saith the Lord” for “So saith man.”
Summarizing Dorrien’s e book, pastor and theologian Kevin DeYoung gives six different traits of theological liberalism together with the rejection of exterior authority (along with the one above). He says it argues that:
- “Christianity is a motion of social reconstruction.”
- “Christianity have to be credible and related.”
- “Reality may be recognized solely by way of altering symbols and kinds.”
- “Theological controversy is about language, not about reality.”
- “The historic accuracies of biblical info and occasions are usually not essential, as long as we meet Jesus within the pages of Scripture.”
- “The true faith is the way in which of Christ, not any specific doctrines about Christ.”
DeYoung concludes that “Liberals consider they’re making Christianity related, credible, helpful, and humane. Evangelicals within the line of J. Gresham Machen consider they’re making one thing aside from Christianity. That was the dividing line a century in the past, and the division persists.”
What does this appear like in observe? Theological liberalism denies key doctrines just like the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. They deny that the Bible is, within the phrases of Chicago Assertion on Inerrancy, “to be obtained because the authoritative Phrase of God” and that “Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit” and serves as the ultimate rule of religion and observe.
As a result of it denies the truthfulness and reliability of Scripture, it denies the historic creation account, occasions just like the flood, the virgin delivery, the miracles of Jesus, and infrequently the resurrection of Jesus itself.
In different phrases, theological liberalism largely rejects the supernatural and miraculous occasions recorded within the Bible as reality, calling them fiction as an alternative. Moreover, it denies important doctrines like unique sin and the indwelling sin in all mankind, which makes the sacrifice of Christ on the cross pointless.
Lastly, in our current second, theological liberalism is commonly seen within the rejection of the creation order and biblical sexual morality. Denominations that deny the truthfulness of God’s Phrase virtually all the time find yourself rejecting what it teaches about intercourse and marriage when the world pressures it to compromise. For this reason lots of the main “mainline denominations,” just like the Presbyterian Church of the USA (PCUSA), most United Methodist church buildings, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, American Baptists, and the Episcopal Church, are all LGBT-affirming.
Make no mistake about it: As soon as a denomination, church, pastor, or Christian chief adopts the core teachings of liberal theology, progressive (Bible-denying) political positions will likely be adopted as nicely.
Why theological liberalism is harmful
The primary motive theological liberalism is so harmful is that it destroys the Gospel. What’s the Gospel? It’s “the facility of God for salvation to everybody who believes” (Romans 1:16), the message that “all have sinned and fall wanting the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace by way of the redemption that got here by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24), and that this salvation is discovered solely in Jesus Christ, the “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
Liberal theology denies that man is so sinful he wants a savior. It tells us that we will’t belief the Bible as God’s Phrase and that Jesus may not have been something greater than a very good instructor who set an instance for ethical dwelling. Theological liberalism is a “non secular system” that has been constructed to assist sinful man really feel higher about himself, not present him that he’s a insurgent on the way in which to Hell after which reveal a gracious, God-sent, God-incarnate savior.
Thus, the hazard of theological liberalism is that it sends folks to Hell. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s a biblical reality. For this reason Paul warns that false instructing is, in reality, the instructing of demons — as a result of it comes from Hell and damns man to Hell within the remaining judgment.
J. Gresham Machen was a devoted theologian within the twentieth century. He wrote a best-selling theology e book referred to as Christianity and Liberalism that’s nonetheless well-known and well-read immediately. On this e book, Machen warned that liberal Christianity isn’t only a compromised type of Christianity, however actually one other faith altogether — and a false one at that. He argues that “regardless of the liberal use of conventional phrasing fashionable liberalism not solely is a totally different faith from Christianity however belongs in a very totally different class of religions.”
In different phrases, it’s not Christianity — and it’s not even near being Christian.
Sproul agreed with Machen, warning that “Liberalism stands in each era as a flat rejection of the religion. It should not be considered as a easy subset or denominational impulse of Christianity; it have to be seen for what it’s — the antithesis of Christianity based mostly on an entire rejection of the biblical Christ and His Gospel.”
Jesus warned His followers to “Enter by the slim gate; for extensive is the gate and broad is the way in which that results in destruction, and there are lots of who go in by it. As a result of slim is the gate and troublesome is the way in which which ends up in life, and there are few who discover it” (Matthew 7:13).
Theological liberalism represents the “broad gate” that in the end results in destruction. Why? As a result of it follows within the footsteps of the serpent, who, within the backyard planted the deathly seed of doubt within the type of “Did God actually say?”
As devoted Christians, we reject this query and confidently declare, “Sure, God actually did say” — He stated we’re fallen, Jesus Christ is the savior, the Bible is reliable, males are women and men are girls, marriage is between a person and lady, Heaven and Hell are actual, and the one option to everlasting life is to repent of our sins and belief within the completed work of Christ on the cross.
That’s the slim gate. It would sound improbable — and it’s. However it’s the method that results in life. So, reject theological liberalism, which is not any Christianity in any respect, and, because the Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Watch your life and doctrine intently. Persevere in them, as a result of in case you do, you’ll save each your self and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
Initially printed on the Standing for Freedom Heart.
William Wolfe served as a senior official within the Trump administration, each as a deputy assistant secretary of protection on the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs on the State Division. Previous to his service within the administration, Wolfe labored for Heritage Motion for America, and as a congressional staffer for 3 totally different members of Congress, together with the previous Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in historical past from Covenant School, and is ending his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Comply with William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe