I’ve been accused of disliking a liberal person who claims Christ solely because I have a “conservative theology.”
I’ve been thinking about this term ‘conservative theology’ more deeply this week. Usually when a charge like that is made they mean a person who believes the Bible more closely or more literally than they do.
The people making the claim usually possess a more liberal theology, which is to say, having put a wedge between the Word and their heart so as to allow room for man’s ideas. Real examples of a more liberal theology, in my opinion, would be to allow for abortion in certain man-prescribed cases. Or to allow for homosexuality, if it is not ‘acted upon’. A liberal theology might be to downplay the sin of flirting with a woman with adultery on the mind, but not to actually do the deed.
But all those are still sins.
The fact is, God is the ultimate conservative. If you believe His word, you’re conservative. If you don’t, you’re not liberal, you’re an unbeliever.
If one believes His Word, there is no room for liberalism. Why? So many verses warn of wandering away from His precepts, drifting away. We are told to stick close. The closer we stay to God’s word and live His precepts, the better off we are. Leave no room for a wedge to open in your heart or mind. I repeat what you’ll read below, from Michael J. Kruger, “Put simply, liberal Christianity is not Christianity.”
Stick close to His word. This is conservative theology, or rather, “theology”.
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! (Psalm 119:10)
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
Like the Gospel which needs no adjectives like Social or Prosperity, or the word sinner that needs no additional explanation, like grieving or abashed, theology needs no further clarification such as conservative or liberal. It’s just theology. It’s God’s word.
Liberal theology deceives, in that it is full of half truths.
A liberal theology rests on a false assumption that propositional truth cannot be known. See #4 and 5 in Kevin DeYoung’s essay Seven Characteristics of Liberal Theology. Once propositional truth is done away with, man’s sinful mind creates all sorts of reasons why this or that isn’t really a sin. It’s what we sinners do.
In 1923, J. Gresham Machen, then professor at Princeton Seminary, wrote the book, Christianity and Liberalism. The book was a response to the rise of liberalism in the mainline denominations of his own day. In short, Machen argued that the liberal understanding of Christianity was, in fact, not just a variant version of the faith, nor did it represent simply a different denominational perspective, but was an entirely different religion altogether.
Put simply, liberal Christianity is not Christianity.
Here are Kruger’s 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity, each are a separate blog essay. You can find his links to each one by clicking the main link above.
1. Jesus is a model for living more than an object of worship.
2. Affirming people’s potential is more important than reminding them of their brokenness.
3. The work of reconciliation should be valued over making judgments.
4. Gracious behavior is more important than right belief.
5. Inviting questions is more valuable than supplying answers.
6. Encouraging the personal search is more important than group uniformity.
7. Meeting actual needs is more important than maintaining institutions.
8. Peacemaking is more important than power.
9. We should care more about love and less about sex.
10. Life in this world is more important than the afterlife (eternity is God’s work anyway).
As for me, I’m a Christian, not a “Conservative Christian.” I’m a believer, not a “conservative believer.” I adhere to the Gospel, not a “Conservative Gospel.” I reject those appellations, and simply cling to the word as I understand it and insofar as the Holy Spirit has given me understanding and illumination.
Liberal Christanity is no Christianity.