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What Luther Says

10 Signs You Might Be A Liberal Christian

Are you a progressive, Liberal Christian?

I guess it would help if we defined "Liberal" Christian theology first.

Question: "What is Liberal Christian theology?"

Answer: In liberal Christian teaching, which is not Christian at all, man’s reason is stressed and is treated as the final authority. Liberal theologians seek 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 have an optimistic view of the future of mankind. The social gospel is also emphasized, while the inability of fallen man to fulfill it is denied. Whether a person is saved from his sin and its penalty in hell is no longer the issue; the main thing is how man treats his fellow man. “Love” of our fellow man becomes the defining issue. As a result of this "reasoning" by liberal theologians, many false doctrines are taught by liberal quasi-Christian theologians.


Of course, this over-emphasis on "logic" and "reason" and "man's wisdom" is completely contradictory to the Word of God.

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 14:12 (ESV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Proverbs 16:25 (ESV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Hopefully, that establishes a firm foundation for us.

I should also probably clarify something before we continue.

This post is about theological -- not political -- liberalism although the two often go hand-in-hand these days under the banner of the "Social Gospel."

Now, let's look at 10 signs that might indicate that you're a Liberal Christian.

10 Signs You Might Be A Liberal Christian

You Might Be A Liberal Christian If...

You believe that there's nothing wrong with a Christian doing Yoga, because "it's just harmless exercise" regardless of the facts.

9. You believe that man's intellect (as on display in the secular sciences) is so incredible that you marvel over news reports of cutting-edge science experiments like so-called "Resuscitation Medicine" even though Jesus Christ's own death and resurrection isn't quite as "sexy" for you to elicit the same response. Better yet, you can't wait to see what Ray Kurzweil has up his sleeve for the coming "Singularity" especially now that he works for Google. Never mind that we have all of creation and life itself from the Creator Himself to marvel at, which I guess isn't all that "cool" though.

8. You believe that it's ok to tamper and tinker with the holy Word of God to the point where it's no longer a pure, peer-reviewed "translation," but a faulty "paraphrase" written by one man and one man alone. But that's fine since he's a Pastor and since God's Word definitely needs to be "dumbed down" to make it more palatable and relevant to the masses since the more people that can understand it the better. Besides, isn't paraphrasing just what a Pastor does during his sermon on any given Sunday is anyway?

7. You believe that Rachel Held-Evans (or is it the ELCA's Nadia Bolz-Weber?) is this generation's Virgin Mary -- errr, I mean, Mother Theresa -- if not a modern-day Esther.

6. You believe that Christians should not have anything at all to say about homosexuality or "gay marriage" since that would be "judgmental" and "unloving" against two people who are in love and in a committed, monogamous relationship. Besides, you think Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. You believe that Christians should not have anything at all to say about abortion since that would be "judgmental" and "unloving" against women and their right to choose what to do with their bodies.

5. You believe that all Christians need to be living "radical" lives for Christ while exhibiting "crazy love" for Him at all times, or else they should question whether or not they're really a Christian in the first place.

4. You believe that despite what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says it is actually "spiritual abuse" if your sharing of the Gospel (i.e. simply quoting God, quoting His Word as found in the Holy Bible, verbatim) with others makes those other people feel miserable, because then you must be "doing it" wrong. Because remember, whether a person is saved from his sin and its penalty, which is death and eternity in Hell, that is no longer the issue. The main thing is how man treats his fellow man. "Love" of our fellow man becomes the defining, penultimate issue as the "Social Gospel" replaces the Gospel of Salvation. The last thing we want to do if offend people.

3. You believe that truth is relative and subjective for each unique individual and how they personally experience and feel God working in their lives, because that's what's real.

2. You believe that Hell does not exist. Man is not lost in sin and is not doomed to some future judgment unless they have been baptized and faith in Jesus Christ. 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 certainly not when we are all basically good people. But even if Hell is real, then you believe that "love wins" because "God is love" and so we'll all get a second chance after we die and we'll all end up in Heaven. This is why you also believe that a person does not need to believe in Jesus in order to be saved and to get to Heaven.

1. You refuse to believe that the Holy Bible is "God-breathed" despite what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says. In fact, you believe man can never fully know what God really meant to say and with all the translations over the years it definitely has some errors too. That's why you believe that man (or each person for himself) must determine which teachings are correct and which are not. Belief that the Bible is "inspired" (in that word’s original meaning) by God is only held by simpletons, or radical fundamentalists. Besides, how can we really know for sure if our understanding is what God really meant? Did He really mean to say what He said?

Just a few quick thoughts I threw together today.

What else can we about Liberal Christians though?

Well, we simply cannot ignore the most obvious truths about Liberal Christianity.

There are many pronouncements of Scripture against those who would deny the deity of Christ (2 Peter 2:1) -- which Liberal Christianity certainly does with their "Big Guy Upstairs" and "Jesus Is My Homeboy" idolatry.

"When they have heard God's Word, they make light of it again and ignore it. But their wickedness is responsible for this (that they perish), not God or His election."
[FC Ep XI 12]

"Therefore since you now have God's Word, you must expect to have false teachers too...They will retain the terms 'God,' 'Christ,' 'faith,' 'church,' 'Baptism,' 'Sacrament,' and let them remain. Under these terms, however, they will proceed to establish something different."
[AE 30:168,170]

Scripture also denounces those who would preach a different Gospel from what was preached by the apostles (Galatians 1:8) -- which is what Liberal Christianity certainly does in denying the necessity of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection by preaching a Social Gospel in its place.

"God's Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else."
[SA II II 15]

"Horrible errors likewise arose...The holy apostles had to attack these teachings forcefully in their sermons and writings."
[FC SD Intro 7]

The Bible also condemns those who call good evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20) -- which many Liberal Christians do by embracing and encouraging various sinful lifestyles while the Bible repeatedly condemns them. Sin brings the ultimate confusion. God's counsel condemns human folly and wickedness.

Scripture speaks against those who would cry "peace, peace" when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14) -- which Liberal Christians do by saying that man can attain peace with God apart from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, His Word and Sacraments, 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 precisely what Liberal Christians do when they say that there is some inner goodness in man that does not require a rebirth by the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ.

And, finally, it speaks against those who would serve idols instead of the one true God (1 Chronicles 16:26) -- which Liberal Christians certainly do when they create a false god according to their own liking rather than worshiping God as He is described for us in the whole of the Bible.

How does the Bible deal with these heresies? Titus 3:10 says, "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject." Other translations say "divisive person," "factious man," and "person who stirs up division."

When a person in the church departs from clear Biblical teaching, the correct response is to, first, try to correct him, but if he refuses to listen after two warnings, have nothing more to do with him. Excommunication is implied. The reason for excommunication is not a person's misunderstanding per se, but that the person persistently teaches and imposes that misunderstanding on others, creating division in the Church, the Body of Christ.

The truth of Christ will unify believers (John 17:22-23), but heresy, by its very nature, cannot peacefully co-exist with the truth.

Of course, not every disagreement in the church is heresy. Having a different opinion is not wrong, but when the opinion is divisive or maintained in defiance of clear Biblical teaching, it becomes heretical. The Apostles themselves disagreed at times (Acts 15:36-41), and Peter once had to be rebuked for divisive and legalistic behavior (Galatians 2:11-14). But, praise the Lord, through an attitude of humility and submission to the God of truth, the Apostles worked through their disagreements and set an example for us.

How do we guard against heresy? Philippians 2:2-3 is a good starting point: "Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."

As we submit ourselves to the authority of God’s Word and deal with one another in love and respect, divisions and heresies will be diminished (Ephesians 4:11-15).

Needless to say, all these Liberal Theologians (and the Liberal Christians they have produced and are producing) have one thing in common -- recognition of the authority of "modern thought" alongside or above Scripture and tradition. Some have even described the essence of Liberal Christianity as granting authority to "The Best of Contemporary Thought" and the bottom line difference between Conservative Christians and Liberal Christians is...authority.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, discerning whether someone is theologically liberal is a black-and-white process, because God and His Word are the final authority.

In closing, I pray that my Liberal Christian counterparts who are reading this right now will take the following under prayerful consideration:

God brings us out of sin and into new life in Christ, beginning with the cleansing and rebirth He provides in Baptism. This is all accomplished by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not by anything we can do on our own. Those who stray away from God's truth and stir up division among God's people must be disciplined by the Church. We are committed and fervent in our beliefs, but we also check ourselves, our words, and our behavior against God's trustworthy Scripture. We pay attention to the guidance, counsel, and teaching of our pastor and elders. O God, Your Word and Sacraments sustain, guide, and nurture me in the one true faith. Guard me against all error. Amen.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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