In addition to the consecration of a homosexual bishop, what else have liberal churchmen done for us lately?
This issue matters because it has to do with the clergy's role in bringing God's people to Christ. If the shepherds fail to do their duty, the sheep may be delivered to the wolves.
God spoke through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge -- thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hos. 4:6). And through Jeremiah 28:15, “The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.”
This is the sin of the liberal clergy. They destroy the people's knowledge of God's Word and make them trust in a lie.
Liberal theology (when it's not dumbed down to the point where “theology” becomes too grand a word for it) rests on four toxic fallacies.
Disdain for Scripture Orthodox Christians see the Bible as God's Word, literally. Liberals have a name for this attitude. They call it “Bibliolatry.”
As Episcopal Bishop John Spong puts it in his 1998 book Why Christianity Must Change or Die , “But let it be clearly stated, the Gospels are not in any literal sense holy, they are not accurate, and they are not to be confused with reality.” Spong decries “these so-called laws of God” and says “the excessive claims made for the Holy Scripture in general, which involve the assertion that the Bible is somehow ‘the inerrant word of God,' are today indefensible .”1
The errant bishop has plenty of company. Thomas D'Alessio, media relations director for the United Methodist Church's Wisconsin Conference, said in an interview recently, “Scripture is many voices, many schools of thought. That's the first thing I learned in seminary. I find no single unifying voice in Scripture.”2
Certainly not the voice of God.
“The Bible does not give us a clear, lucid teaching that we can apply straightforwardly to our own lives,” speaks another liberal voice, Karen Armstrong. It is “impossible to find a clear theology in its pages,” she writes, and there is “no moral consensus” in Scripture: “Even God's behavior occasionally leaves something to be desired.”3
There's no escaping liberals. A best-selling A&E video, part of the popular “Biography” series, is “Jesus: His Life.” Those who innocently turn to this video because they want to know Jesus better will pick up a lot of chaff along with the wheat. Featured prominently among the “authorities” discussing the life of Jesus is John Dominic Crossan, who informs viewers that the gospel accounts of Christ's trial are pure propaganda. Christ never appeared before the Sanhedrin, Crossan says, and certainly never before Pontius Pilate (thus making not only Scripture, but also the Apostles' Creed, a lie). Crossan is identified simply as a professor at DePaul University. The producers of the video either did not know, or else sought to conceal, that Crossan is a leading member of the Jesus Seminar, a group which also denies Christ's resurrectio, and His divinity. The unsuspecting viewer doesn't realize that his thirst for Christ is being ministered to with a drink laced with poison.
The Inclusion Fallacy
The trouble with liberal Christians trying to be “inclusive,” said Dr. Joseph Stowell, president of the Moody Bible Institute, is that they wind up excluding Jesus.4
In the wake of September 11, Dr. Stowell attended the annual Chicago Leadership Prayer Breakfast. “For the first time (in 14 years), I didn't hear the name of Jesus once,” he said.
The main speaker, a prominent New York City clergyman, whom Dr. Stowell didn't wish to identify by name, told the gathering, “God speaks through everybody, not just through our own tradition (Christianity) -- What we must do now in America is give up these traditions that divide us and find ourselves unified under the umbrella of God. It's time for us to give up our traditions so that we can be one.”
“He was asking me to give up Jesus,” Dr. Stowell said. “God is in, but Jesus is out.”
How can Jesus be “out”? In John 14:6, Jesus Himself tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
But as Spong-Bob Squarepants and his liberal cohorts would reply, that's only Scripture, and Scripture isn't true.
The thought that Jesus Christ might be the one and only way to the Father gives liberals fits. If Jesus is the only way, then all who don't believe in Him are going the wrong way, and that's not “inclusive.”
Karen Armstrong lards her books with references to Hindu scriptures and ancient pagan mythology. For her there's no difference between the Odyssey and the Bible--it's all “myth and fiction.”5
Once you've debunked the Bible, you can no longer find a relevant distinction between believers and nonbelievers. And that means letting everybody in, but throwing Jesus out. He's the only one who doesn't fit.
In Love With the Process
Having disposed of Scripture as the authority, liberals substitute their own political machinations for God's Word. Mr. D'Alessio calls it “realpolitik.”
In his scheme of things, what the church teaches its people is decided by “lobbying behind the scenes, applying the parliamentary rules of order better than the other side, and getting the most votes.”
If God doesn't speak to us, we only wind up talking to ourselves. We churn up absurdities, such as the Presbyterian Church U. S. A.'s current proposal to repeal fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness as qualifications for ordination to the ministry. Are they planning to ordain Bill Clinton, or Madonna? Or are they just another herd of clueless liberals milling around without divine guidance? If they get the votes, serial adulterers and town sluts won't be disqualified from ordination.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei
A newly ordained Dutch Reformed pastor (name withheld) recently said to me, “Our understanding of Scripture is informed by modern advances in culture, psychology, and the social sciences.” So informed, she felt perfectly free to jettison chunks of the Bible, such as Romans 1 and Leviticus 20, that she didn't like. “Those passages aren't relevant anymore,” she said. “They were written for another time, another culture. They don't apply to our own.”
“This is what happens when you let cultural imperatives trump Scripture,” Dr. Stowell said. “Anything goes, as long as it is popular.”
This would explain why we see the Chicago Theological Seminary (United Church of Christ) offering scholarships to “self-identified gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered students who have exceptional promise for ministry” (the Gilberto Castañeda Scholarship, see the seminary's website, ctschicago.edu). They don't recognize scriptural authority, they can't “exclude” anyone, anything that gets enough votes becomes the equivalent of Holy Writ, and the voice of the popular culture is the voice of God.
Heaven help us.
“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens -- we cannot stand before thee because of this” (Ezra 9:6, 15).
To those of us who love God and try to obey His commandments, it's painful to look into the face of such ingratitude. We hardly know how to react to liberals, whether to be angry or to just go off to some private place and have a belly laugh.
But it's no laughing matter, not when we think of the thousands who have been deceived by these false teachings.
We have a commission from Christ to preach the authentic gospel, and no one needs to hear it more than the congregations of the liberal churches. If we mount a major rescue mission, a serious missionary effort, who knows how many might be saved?
Part of any such mission must include a systematic exposure of liberal lies and fallacies. People need to know they are being lied to, that the gospel they are getting from their pastors is not the authentic gospel of the Bible.
The preaching of “another gospel” to unsuspecting congregations has been a problem for the body of Christ since St. Paul encountered it among the Galatians (Gal. 1:6-12). Like Paul, we must not let it go unanswered.
1 . John Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die : A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile (New York, 1998), 108, 158.
2 . Thomas D'Alessio, interview by the author, 14 November 2003 .
3 . Karen Armstrong, In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis (New York, 1996), 61, 8.
4 . Joseph Stowell, interview by the author, 18 November 2003 .
5. Armstrong, 20.
- Lee Duigon
Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.
Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.