Friday, January 8, 2010

Liberal Theology is Idolatry

Liberal theology should not be confused with liberal political or social views. In Christian theology, a liberal is a person, claiming to be a Christian, but denying certain fundamental truths that Christians have held for 2000 years. Two truths that liberal Christians do not believe is in the infallibility of Scripture and the deity of Jesus Christ. There have been those who believe in the infallibility of Scripture and have still denied the deity of Christ through the ages but it requires that one read the scriptures in some extraordinary ways. For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses have their own corrupted translation of the Bible in order to deny Christ's full deity.

Liberal Christians use the scriptures in the way that they see fit (in a "scholarly" manner, of course) but do not hold that the scriptures are altogether true. They pick and choose what to believe, or not believe, according to the thinking of the age in which they live. They interpret it as metaphor as it pleases their own modern sensibilities and decry any sort of 'literalism' that would require them to actually believe what it says. They generally interpret clearly historical events such as the Resurrection of Christ as something that happened to the disciples rather that something that happened to Jesus. They deny the physical reality of the Resurrection while claiming to accept the spiritual import of it.

In the nineteenth century, liberal Bible scholars began to interpret Jesus according to their own liking. They felt free to reject the deity of Jesus while accepting him as a great moral teacher or a prophet or whatever suited them. Another liberal scholar, Albert Schweitzer, wrote a book in the early 20th century pointing out that each of these new views of Jesus turned out to support that scholars view. Their own individual "Jesus" agreed with them completely. How convenient. It just so happened that Jesus believed whatever that scholar believed.

What was happening here was obvious. These scholars were trying to make Jesus in their own image and likeness. They were making an idol out of him. It is no different from what Isaiah told the unfaithful Israelites. "He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is man's fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, Ah! I am warm; I see the fire. From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, Save me; you are my god." Here is a description of the ancient Israelite making an idol for himself. Isaiah shows clearly how foolish this is.

This is no different than the modern, liberal Christian making Jesus into whoever they want him to be. They are making him into an idol. They use their tools (critical scholarship) like the workman in Isaiah. And like that workman they apply the same tools to God's Word that they would to any common book. They have no respect or awe for the Word or for the real Jesus as depicted in the New Testament.

We cannot pick and choose what aspect of Jesus we want to believe in. We have to accept those things about him that offend modern sensibilities (things like miracles, pronouncement of judgments to come, and especially who he claimed to be). We must accept things we do not like and assume that God knows better than we do.

What the modern liberal Christian do is really worship his or her own thoughts. They do not worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. They set up idols in their minds and expect us all to bow down to their 'enlightened' views.

This should be a warning to us conservative, Bible-believing Christians as well. We must make sure that we are not trying to make Jesus into Someone who supports whatever we think or believe. We have no right to believe anything but God's Word. We need to accept what the Word says no matter how it fits our personal theology.

Many times I have had trouble accepting certain things in the Bible because they did not seem right to me. I accepted them anyway. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Liberals think that their thoughts are above the Word.) As I have matured in the Lord I began to more fully comprehend some of the things that I had trouble with earlier. I gained wisdom. "[God] lays up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a shield to them that walk upright. He keeps the paths of judgment, and preserves the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness, and judgment." Proverbs 2:7-9

So let's not follow down the liberal path of idolatry. Let's renew our minds to the Word.

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