Can such a thing as a “liberal Christian” actually exist? Is it possible for Christianity and liberalism to co-exist?
Questions like this, when asked, may sound like they are meant in jest. But actually, they are not meant to be funny at all. In reality, the question reflects a quiet serious inquiry. And furthermore, the answer has some serious implications for the millions around the world who call themselves Christians. Another way of asking the question is this: Is it a reality that one can be both a Christian and a liberal at the same time?
To answer this, one must first consider some basic theological tenets: Jesus came to this planet centuries ago with only one thing in mind. He wanted to provide an escape for humankind from being eternally condemned. God knew that the use of animal sacrifices, that at the time were being offered for the atonement for sin, was ultimately never going to really work in the end. People were simply habitual sinners and had limited resources or patience for the endless sacrifices. Something else had to be done.
So, Jesus came and died on the cross, and in doing so, created a permanent method through which any human being could be delivered from eternal condemnation. This also made the road to salvation more direct, although not necessarily easier: One could simply be saved through faith in Christ alone. Without the cross, Christianity is without foundation and meaningless.
This is why truly dedicated Christians are known for quoting from the Word of God, the Bible, and trying to lead others to faith in Christ. Their salvation from hell is the primary motivation in everything they do. Their desire to see others saved from the same eternal condemnation is priority to them above anything else in their lives.
A liberal Christian, however, is an entirely different thing. They choose to define themselves by their beliefs and involvement in liberal movements above anything else. These liberal movements could be anything from abortion, to gay rights, to feminism, to racial advocacy, to affirmative action. Maybe they choose to become advocates for large entitlements and exemptions from the government. Liberal Christianity can manifest itself in so many different ways. However, one common aspect shared by all of these groups is that they are tied together by what they simply call the “love of Jesus.” This is a very nebulous term that is, in actuality, devoid of meaning.
Liberal Christians never talk about salvation. None of them talk at length about what Jesus did on the cross. Rather, they focus on something else. They seem to promote a type of lifestyle that is totally dependent on self. It is all about bettering one’s self, saving one’s self, relying on one’s own strength and action.
They will tell people that Jesus taught about accepting others, and for that reason, homosexuals must feel accepted and be allowed to celebrate their choice in lifestyle regardless of what the scripture says. They want to create a sort of utopia where everyone is fed and taken care of and nurtured. In the mind of a liberal, the best way to accomplish that dream is through the government.
The liberal Christians who embrace this concept simply miss the whole aim of Christianity. For them there is no accountability. There is no challenge for their ethos to line up with what the Bible outlines for mankind. If one wants to do it and likes the way it feels, then go ahead. There is a total embrace of everything in today’s society. Liberal Christianity is not centered on Christ at all, but, instead, it is centered on the world.
What ends up being offered is a buffet style Christianity, allowing people to take the portions of the Bible that make them feel good while ignoring everything else. When challenged on what they choose to believe, they tell the accuser that he is judgmental and misquote a verse in the Bible where Jesus told us to “judge not.”
In reality, the whole objective of that verse is not to inform the reader that it is wrong to judge, but, rather, to be painfully aware of the measuring stick that is being used. It is, after all, very common for individuals to hold others to standards that are rather impossible.
For sure, there are many who profess Christianity who require perfection from those around themselves and ignore their own problems. There are others who will spend the majority of their time quibbling over the inconsistencies of others instead of following the commands of God in obedience.
In short, all of the warnings we find in the Bible do not mean that the act of judgment is always a negative action. The reality is that we will all be judged in the end by God’s standards as put forth in His Word.
The life of a Christian liberal is not centered on Christ nor is it based on the Bible. This is proven by their defending the right to murder an unborn child or for the homosexual lifestyle to be glorified. For this reason, a new way is needed to attract supporters.
The easiest avenue to take is often a very poorly disguised New Age form of spirituality. It gives all the right connotations of being loving and having a spiritual type theme. They begin to use left-wing tactics to motivate their congregation and begin doing things that inflate a sense of self-worth and importance instead of the searching for and finding faith.
This New Age, feel-good type of faith, is not really faith at all. Rather, it takes the basic Christian structure of community and church and makes it into something more attractive to those who are secularists. All through the history of the progressive movement are individuals who use their position inside their faith to garner support of causes that are extra-Biblical.
It is not enough for anyone to profess to be a Christian or even a Muslim. To claim a faith is to actually hold to the core beliefs of that faith. Otherwise, God is being created in their image. He becomes a god who holds to what they want to be true.
In short, the answer to the original question is “no.” Christianity and liberalism cannot coexist. Once someone turns from faith in the scripture and from the laws of God, they have designed their own religion. This is America, and people are free to do that if they choose. But please do not call it Christianity. Christianity is the coming to a relationship with God through a faith in Jesus Christ in response to the sacrifice He endured. To call it anything else is quicksand.
Opinion by Rick Hope