at our church recently was on the topic of Christianity and Liberalism. More specifically, the effects liberalism has had on Christianity was discussed in regard to the four spheres of government: self, family, church and civil.
The first thing the speaker did was clearly define that liberalism in its Biblical form is an accurate picture of God's character. Meaning His abundant generosity and enduring lovingkindness (Ex. 34:6-7a). The problem is not in God's meaning but in man's perversion of the word "liberal".
For example, also in Ex. 34, you have to keep reading to get the fullness of God's description of Himself. Namely the vs. 7b part, "Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." However, liberalism under man's exercise has sought to protect man from the conviction of sin.
Unique to this conference for me was that before any pride could be taken in the label of conservativism, the speaker clearly showed that this word has also in man's jurisdiction taken a wrong turn. Conservatism means a holding back of things or preserving of ideas.
At its root, not a bad thing, particularly if the things being preserved are inherently good and of God. But what if the things chosen for preservation are the notions of men?
The example was given from Matthew in Jesus' own discussion of the two leading groups of the day--the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees denied the supernatural work of God, mainly the resurrection of the body. See their testing of Jesus in Mt. 22:23-33. Note especially Jesus' answer to them in vs.29, "You are in error because you dod not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
The Sadducees are the liberals of today. Those who would deny the historicity, infallibility and authority of God's inerrant, inspired Word.
The Pharisees though didn't get off any easier either. Jesus corrects their "conservative" notions of holding to men's traditions over the authority of God's word. That great debate is found in Mt. 15:1-9. The key verse being vs. 3, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?"
The Pharisees are the conservatives of today. Those who would deny the historicity, infallibility and authority of God's inerrant, inspired Word.
Wow. I was sorely convicted in realizing that at all points my purpose is not to glorify or live according to the descriptions and purposes of man, but only unto the Lord. Working through the Scripture and how God's Word is the rule for all life and faith in all its expressions, in all its providences, and in all its revealing of personal sin is tough. An understatement for sure.
But it is clearly a cross worth taking, a path worth following and a crown worth wearing for Christ alone is a Savior worth serving.