What is your view of liberal Christian theology?

Question: "What is your view of liberal Christian theology?"

In liberal Christian teaching, man’s reason is stressed and is treated as the final judge. Liberal Christian theologians sought to reconcile Christianity with secular science and “modern thinking.” In doing so, they treat science as “all-knowing” and the Bible as fable-laden and false. Genesis’ early chapters are reduced to poetry or fantasy, having a message, but not to be taken literally (in spite of Jesus’ having spoken of those early chapters in literal terms). Mankind is not seen as totally depraved, and thus liberal theologians had an optimistic view of the future of mankind. The “social gospel” is also emphasized. Whether a person is saved from their sin and its penalty in hell was no longer the issue; the main thing was how man treated his fellow man. “Love” of our fellow man became the defining issue. As a result of this “reasoning” by liberal theologians, the following doctrines are taught by liberal Christianity:

1) The Bible is not “God-breathed” and has errors. Because of this belief, man (the liberal theologians) must determine which teachings are correct and which are not. To believe that the Bible is “inspired” (in that word’s original meaning) by God is only held by simpletons.

2) The virgin birth of Christ is a mythological false teaching.

3) Jesus did not rise again from the grave in bodily form.

4) Jesus was a good moral teacher, but His followers and their followers have taken liberties with the history of His life as recorded in Scripture (there were no “supernatural” miracles), with the gospels having been written many years later and merely ascribed to the early disciples in order to give greater weight to their teachings.

5) Hell is not real. Man is not lost in sin and is not doomed to some future judgment without a relationship with Christ through faith. Man can help himself; no sacrificial death by Christ is necessary since a loving God would not send people to such a place as hell and since man is not born in sin.

6) Most of the human authors of the Bible are not as traditionally believed. For instance, they believe that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible. The Book of Daniel had two authors because there is no way that the detailed “prophecies” of the later chapters could have been known ahead of time; they must have been written after the fact. The same thinking was carried over to the New Testament books as well.

7) The most important thing for man to do is to “love” his neighbor. What is the loving thing to do in any situation is not what the Bible says is good but what the liberal theologians decide is good.

To answer your question as to what we think of liberal theology, I think it best to see how Scripture judges its teachings. There are many pronouncements of Scripture against those who would deny the deity of Christ (2 Peter 2:1) (which liberal Christianity does); who would preach another gospel than that which was preached by the apostles (Galatians 1:8) (which is what the liberal theologians do in denying the necessity of Christ’s atoning death and preach a social gospel in its place). The Bible condemns those who call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20) (which some liberal churches do by embracing homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle while the Bible repeatedly condemns its practice).

Scripture speaks against those who would cry “peace, peace” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14) (which liberal theologians do by saying that man can attain peace with God apart from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and that man need not worry about a future judgment before God). The Word of God speaks of a time when men will have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5) (which is what liberal theology does in that is says that there is some inner goodness in man that does not require a rebirth by the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ). And it speaks against those who would serve idols instead of the one true God (1 Chronicles 16:26) (which liberal Christianity does in that it creates a false God according to its own liking rather than worshiping the God as He is described in the whole of the Bible).

Recommended Resource: The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns.

Related Topics:

What is the documentary hypothesis?

What is the Synoptic Problem?

What is the JEDP Theory?

What are redaction criticism and higher criticism?

What is Renovare / the Renovare Bible?

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What is your view of liberal Christian theology?