Tag Archives: Liberal Christianity

Opposites

One of my irritations with the “Christian” Left and their theology is that it pretends to be slightly different from orthodox Christianity while it is usually 180 degrees away on the essentials of the faith and any current hot topics.  Please note that by “Leftist theology” I don’t mean the theology of political liberals.  I am referring to people who call themselves Christians but deny the essentials of the historic faith (i.e., the kinds of things countless martyrs died for — Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity, the authority of scripture, etc.).  If you want to debate the disputable matters, go right ahead.  I’m flexible on those.  But words mean things, and far too many people use the term Christian in error.

For example, claiming that Jesus is one of many paths to God isn’t a little different than saying He is the only way, it is the opposite.  There is either one way or there is not one way.  The Bible has over 100 passages teaching directly or indirectly that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  If you don’t agree that it is your prerogative, but please don’t claim to be a Christian.

Claiming that Jesus isn’t God isn’t a little different than saying He is God, it is the opposite.  He is either God or He is not God.

Claiming that the original writings of the Bible were not inspired by God isn’t just a little different than saying they were inspired by God, it is the opposite.  The Bible is God’s Word or it is not God’s Word.  It makes roughly 3,000 claims to speak for God, so if liberal theologians think those are all false then why do they bother with the Book at all?  Their claim is that the authors of the Bible were blasphemous pathological liars because they falsely claimed to speak for God countless times.

Claiming that miracles never happen (Virgin birth, loaves & fishes, healings, the physical resurrection, etc.) isn’t just a little different than saying they did happen, it is the opposite.

Claiming that marriage can be for two men or two women isn’t a little different than saying it is between a man and a woman, it is the opposite.  It is claiming that marriage is not just between a man and a woman and that “marriage” is now whatever we want to define it to be.  The Bible couldn’t be more clear about God’s ideal for marriage and sexuality.

Claiming that Jesus approves of killing children up their first breath isn’t a little different than saying, “Don’t murder,” it is the opposite.

The “Christian” Left claims the opposite of what historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity does regarding the essentials of the faith.   They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but it is disingenuous and misleading for them to call themselves Christians while espousing those beliefs.

They have invented their own religion, which is their right.  It would just be less confusing if they would give it a new name.  And it would be more intellectually honest to stop taking money from people who do believe in the essentials that those denominations were founded upon.

They appear to worship a fictional Gandhi-Christ.  The most accurate description would be that of a Hindu sect (nothing personal, Hindus!).

Run, don’t walk, from the wolves of the “Christian” Left.

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Opposites

contradiction.jpg

One of my irritations with the “Christian” Left and their theology is that it pretends to be slightly different from orthodox Christianity while it is usually 180 degrees away on the essentials of the faith and any current hot topics.  Please note that by “Leftist theology” I don’t mean the theology of political liberals.  I am referring to people who call themselves Christians but deny the essentials of the historic faith (i.e., the kinds of things countless martyrs died for — Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity, the authority of scripture, etc.) and are indistinguishable from the world on sexual ethics.  If you want to debate the disputable matters, go right ahead.  I’m flexible on those.  But words mean things, and far too many people use the term Christian in error.

For example, claiming that Jesus is one of many paths to God isn’t a little different than saying He is the only way, it is the opposite.  There is either one way or there is not one way.  The Bible has over 100 passages teaching directly or indirectly that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  If you don’t agree that it is your prerogative, but please don’t claim to be a Christian.

Claiming that Jesus isn’t God isn’t a little different than saying He is God, it is the opposite.  He is either God or He is not God.

Claiming that the original writings of the Bible were not inspired by God isn’t just a little different than saying they were inspired by God, it is the opposite.  The Bible is God’s Word or it is not God’s Word.  It makes roughly 3,000 claims to speak for God, so if liberal theologians think those are all false then why do they bother with the Book at all?  Their claim is that the authors of the Bible were blasphemous pathological liars because they falsely claimed to speak for God countless times. Here’s an example:

evans

Claiming that miracles never happen (Virgin birth, loaves & fishes, healings, the physical resurrection, etc.) isn’t just a little different than saying they did happen, it is the opposite.

Claiming that marriage can be for two men or two women isn’t a little different than saying it is between a man and a woman, it is the opposite.  It is claiming that marriage is not just between a man and a woman and that “marriage” is now whatever we want to define it to be.  The Bible couldn’t be more clear about God’s ideal for marriage and sexuality.

Claiming that Jesus approves of killing children up their first breath isn’t a little different than saying, “Don’t murder,” it is the opposite.

The “Christian” Left claims the opposite of what historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity does regarding the essentials of the faith.   They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but it is disingenuous and misleading for them to call themselves Christians while espousing those beliefs.

They have invented their own religion, which is their right.  It would just be less confusing if they would give it a new name.  And it would be more intellectually honest to stop taking money from people who do believe in the essentials that those denominations were founded upon.

They appear to worship a fictional Gandhi-Christ.  The most accurate description would be that of a Hindu sect (nothing personal, Hindus!).

Run, don’t walk, from the wolves of the “Christian” Left.

Leopard Theology

Leopard on tree stump
Image via Wikipedia

Many Christians teach Leopard Theology, because they believe that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.   They don’t call it that, but that is exactly what their theology is founded upon.  And, like the leopard, they camouflage themselves.  They take on church leadership roles even though they teach the opposite of the Bible.

Saying the Bible isn’t fully inspired by God may seem like a humble premise, but it actually makes several strong and unfounded claims.

It implies that God couldn’t or wouldn’t deliver His word to us in a reliable way, and that despite God’s alleged failings flawed humans are able to discern which parts were inspired and which parts were not.  Are we to believe that humans are to correct for God’s errors?

Why is this a serious problem?  It is hard enough to follow the teachings of the Bible without having “Christians” choose what “really” came from God.  Worse yet, they ignore some parts of scripture so they can teach that the opposite is not only acceptable but desirable.  Some may do it accidentally or out of laziness but others are just blatant false teachers.  They have made up their own god and their own religion.

If someone claims the Bible is only partly inspired, ask a few questions:

  • How did they come to this conclusion?
  • Do they think their favorite verses are inspired?  If so,  how do they know?  How about John 3:16?  How about “love your neighbor?”  Whenever “Judge not, lest ye be judged” is quoted, I never hear the liberal theologians question whether Jesus really said that.
  • If the Bible is only partly inspired, how can they be sure that their preferred verses aren’t the ones that are uninspired and the ones they don’t like are the “real” verses?
  • Why is it that God couldn’t inspire the original writings of forty writers, but He can inspire billions of people to properly determine which parts are right and which aren’t?
  • If He couldn’t get Paul, Luke, Matthew, John, etc.  to record his word accurately, how can He get you to do it?
  • Why should I trust your “inspiration” over those who penned the Bible, or over my “inspiration?”

Then there is Advanced Leopard Theology.  It is just like basic Leopard Theology, except God is also changing spots and adding or removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.   They use phrases such as “God is still speaking,” but they don’t mean He still speaks through his Word (that would be a true statement).  They think He is still revealing new truths to the church and changing doctrines taught in the Bible.  They may also say things like, “The Holy Spirit is moving in a new direction.”  Indeed.

Here’s an example: A Methodist pastor named Laurie Hays Coffman did a pro-gay theology piece that made the argument that she wants to “unfurl our corporate sails to catch today’s winds as the Spirit blows afresh.”  She said she was challenged by the vision God gave to Peter in Acts 10-11 where God makes it clear that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, too, and that the Israelites’ ceremonial dietary laws are no longer in force.  Her reasoning is that in the same way that God overturned those laws that He is now overturning the prohibitions against homosexual behavior.  If that looks like a non sequitur to you then you are correct.  The problem is her poor Biblical analysis.  There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

  1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or someone like Ms. Coffman.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
  2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times and the incident is mentioned twice.
  3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these Advanced Leopard Theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this allegedly new revelation.
  4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion, which also included a supernatural intervention.
  5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
  6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles.
  7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny the authority of his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  I’m skeptical.
  8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent?
  9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

But the orthodox can fall prey to this in a more subtle way by claiming full inspiration but conveniently ignoring passages we don’t like.  Consider this passage on church leadership, where some exaggerate “not given to drunkenness” to mean no alcohol whatsoever but ignore the “must manage his own family well . . .” part.

1 Timothy 3:2-4 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

Another example is correctly teaching about the sin of homosexual behavior while neglecting to give proper emphasis to Biblical admonitions against divorce, adultery and fornication.  We need to teach all of scripture with balance.  Grandstanding on sins that aren’t temptations to us and soft-pedaling those that are is not an attractive or Christian thing to do.

There are plenty of reasons and resources to defend the accuracy and integrity of all of the original scriptures.  We don’t need to get sloppy and just follow the parts we like.  And we truly miss out when we cast doubts on every passage and question if it is really the word of God.

Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t mess with God’s Word.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.

Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Revelation 22:18-19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Finally, what does Jesus say about those who don’t believe the Bible is inspired?

He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’  Luke 16:31

Also see Men wrote the Bible so it must have mistakes and How many translations did your Bible go through?

The original Bible texts turned out exactly as God and the writers desired

The arguments about biblical inerrancy, infallibility and inspiration can get very detailed, so I like to summarize the basic Christian — and biblical — claim as I did in the title.

Many Christians (the confused kind) and “Christians” (the fake kind) think the Bible is partly inspired — that is, that some of what God wanted ended up there but at least some of it was man-made and contrary to what God wanted.  Consider the claims that Paul was a misogynistic “homophobe,” for example, and that he was wrong about women and homosexual behavior.

But think about who is making the bigger claim.  It may appear that those claiming complete inspiration for the Bible have a greater burden.  But when you carefully consider the theologically Liberal claims, it becomes clear that their view is much more difficult to support.  They need to show which of the 31,173 verses are inspired and which are not.  That requires a verse-by-verse case for what does and does not belong.  That is a wildly bold claim, much more so than mine.

And it is no small matter when it comes to theology.  After all, if Paul was so wrong about basic human sexuality, how can you be sure he got the saved-by-grace part right?

Obviously, the original texts contained what the writers wanted to write, but those who don’t think they all turned out as God desired have to demonstrate how they know what God “really” wanted and where.  But they have no standard but their worldly views.  They make themselves god in trying to adapt what He said to fit their belief system.  Bad idea.

Those who don’t believe the title display some form of Dalmatian Theology, where they claim that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, or Advanced Dalmatian Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

Again, the original texts of the Bible turned out exactly as God and the writers desired.  Now go read and enjoy the timeless truths God gave to you in his word!

P.S. The claim is for the original writings and not the translations.  The translation process was very robust and defensible, but not inerrant.  Also note that the case for Christianity does not rest on the inerrancy of scripture.  Even if the Gospels had minor errors from the witnesses (they don’t, but work with me here), it wouldn’t mean Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.  The evidence strongly points to that truth.  We can defend inerrancy, but I don’t think we have to do that before sharing the Gospel.

What Jesus didn’t say?

I’ve been hearing the “Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexual behavior, so it must be OK” argument a lot lately — and as usual, it is from people who should know better.  It is used to rationalize abortion to the child’s first breath as well.

Here’s an overview, though I encourage you to read it all.  Feel free to copy or link all you like.

  • Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy
  • Jesus is God, so He inspired all scripture — not just the “red letters” (the direct quotes of Jesus in the New Testament)
  • He supported the Old Testament to the last letter
  • The “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were
  • He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.)
  • He was a devout Jew and upholder of the law, so the burden is on the pro-gay theology side: Where is that verse when Jesus condones homosexuality?
  • He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.)
  • Abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews
  • He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah

For self-proclaimed Christians to (mis)quote the red letters and to commit the logical fallacy of arguing from silence is negligent and foolish.  They are distorting the Bible and hurting the church and its witness.

—–

cross3.jpgLifeSite News reported that Dr. Bob Edgar, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches, said “Jesus never said one word about homosexuality, never said one word about civil marriage or abortion.” He said this to CBS News at a gathering of liberal Christian leaders in Washington.

Sadly, this is a common sound bite from people who should know better. Their reasoning goes like this:

  • Whatever Jesus did not specifically condemn in the Bible is morally permissible or unimportant.
  • In the Bible, Jesus did not specifically condemn abortion or homosexual behavior.
  • Therefore, abortion and homosexual behavior are morally permissible or unimportant.

There are many problems with this reasoning.

1. As you may have noticed, their logic goes off track in the first bullet.  Direct quotes of Jesus also didn’t specifically mention gay-bashing, slavery, drunk driving, child sacrifice, and many other sins, but they are still sins.  They are arguing from silence, and that is a logical fallacy.

Some insist that since Jesus didn’t specifically condemn oxymoronic “same sex marriages” that they must be permissible.  Jesus also never talked about square circles, partly because they don’t exist either.

2. Jesus is God (and anyone such as Edgar should know that), so He authored all the moral laws in the Bible – including the crystal-clear ones against homosexual behavior and murder. And He created the institution of marriage and desribed what parents should do, of which 100% of the verses refer to the ideal as a one man/one woman union.

3. Many of the “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus) referred to the “black letters” (the rest of the Bible).  Jesus noted in Matthew 5:17-19 that He supported all the law.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

4. He may not have specifically mentioned abortion and homosexual behavior because they weren’t hot topics for his primarily Jewish audience.  Homosexuals were a tiny minority then just as they are now (less than 3% of the U.S. population) and the Jews had strict laws against such behavior.  Regarding abortion, Jews actually saw children as a blessing and not a curse, so they had no desire to destroy them.  I am not aware of any Jewish movements at the time advancing these behaviors as not being sinful.  Under no circumstances were these issues dividing the followers as they are today.

Having said that, Jesus was not silent on oxymoronic “same sex marriage.” He clearly stated what marriage was in Mark 10:6-9 and elsewhere, to the exclusion of other scenarios:

But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

He describes exactly what the plan was, and doesn’t even hint at other possibilities. He didn’t say you couldn’t marry animals either, but I don’t see anyone saying bestiality must be acceptable because He didn’t specifically prohibit it.  So there was no silence.

Regarding abortion, He reiterated that we shouldn’t murder and noted that the real meaning of the command was deeper than the physical act.

Think about this: It took almost 2,000 years and a several decades long perverted sexual revolution that repeatedly denies and mocks the Biblical worldview of human sexuality plus a massive, well funded pro-gay public relations campaign to convince some liberals that oxymoronic “same sex marriages” should have government recognition and that abortion should be legal.  Yet liberal theologians think that it is something Jesus should have addressed in more detail back then?  Even the pagan Hippocratic oath had prohibitions against abortions until just recently.

Most people would concede that U.S.-style slavery was a moral evil, but since it is now illegal you won’t hear about it as a campaign issue in the presidential election.  But does that mean it isn’t important?  Does that mean the candidates wouldn’t address it if large parts of the population were seeking to legalize it?  Of course not.

Simply put, they were non-issues for the Jews.

5. If these liberal theologians are so keen on the direct quotes of Jesus and assume that they trump the rest of the Bible, why don’t they take them all as seriously as they do their pet verses or arguments from silence?

Jesus claimed to be the only way to salvation, but they not only ignore that but they teach the opposite.  He claimed to be God, but they tend to ignore that.  He spoke with a physically resurrected body but they often deny that.  He said his primary purpose was to save lost sinners and He taught about Hell a lot.  When was the last time you heard them preach on that truth?  And so on.

6. Those who use these arguments from silence don’t apply them to the rest of their pet topics.  Jesus said nothing about universal health care, for example.  Jesus advocated caring for the poor, but he never brought government into it (apparently Jesus’ alleged silence only counts when it comes to abortion and homosexuality.  Jesus also never said not to stone gays.  Of course, those who know the Bible realize that was a law just for the Israelites, but if you want to use the argument from silence rationale, you’d have to support that for this culture.

7. He was a devout Jew and upholder of the law, so the burden is on the pro-gay theology side: Where is that verse when Jesus condones homosexuality?

So to summarize: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews, He was a devout Jew who upheld the Law so the pro-gay theology people have the burden to show where he condones homosexual behavior and He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah.  Oh, and Jesus never said anything about the “sin” of criticizing homosexual behavior, so it must be OK!

For leaders like this to (mis)quote the red letters and to commit the logical fallacy of arguing from silence is negligent and foolish.  They are distorting the Bible and hurting the church and its witness.

Free jpg to use as you like!

silence

Cults and false religions are more like true Christianity than theological liberalism is

Make no mistake: I view Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons as cults and think that their followers are not saved.  And religions like Islam are false.  But think about how much closer they are to authentic Christianity than theologically liberal “Christians.”

Islam believes that Jesus was born of a virgin.  They say the word of God can’t be corrupted.  Mormons and JW’s will speak very highly of the accuracy and inspiration of the Bible.  They believe that Jesus performed miracles.  All those groups tend to be pro-life and pro-real marriage.  Mormons will tell you that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  And on and on.

Most theologically liberal “Christians” believe none of those things.  They are so far removed from the truth of Christianity that they make cults and false religions look downright orthodox. 

Again, those who die in the belief systems of cults and non-Christian religions will go to Hell.  I am just pointing out how theologically liberal “Christianity” is even farther removed from the truth than they are.  What makes it especially evil is that it pretends to be the real thing.

Run, don’t walk, from theologically liberal “Christians.”

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Also see Opposites.

For the Bible tells me so . . .

For the Bible tells me so is a pro-gay theology movie shown in liberal churches and elsewhere.  I watched the trailers and saw many typically bad arguments, starting with comparisons of their opponents to Hitler.  How subtle and tolerant of them.  Ironically, while this movie is part of the movement that knows that if you tell a lie often enough that many people will believe it they have the nerve to level that claim at Christians.

Despite the title, it doesn’t appear to attempt any serious analysis of what the Bible says about human sexuality.  We get a lot of quotes like this:

For a long time the Bible has been misused to support prejudice, apartheid, segregation, slavery, the 2nd class citizenship of women.  Now it is being misused to condemn gay people.  It’s an old trick.  Fundamentalist Christians have been using it throughout the ages and now they are doing it again.

Sure.  Of course, one could have made the opposite claim that the Bible was properly used to reject prejudice, apartheid, segregation, slavery, and the second class treatment of women.  This is a transparent ad hominem argument (attacking the person, not the message).  Since we appear to agree that the Bible, properly interpreted, is accurate, then why not just do that?  Oh yeah, because they lose the argument every time then.

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

More quotes:

There’s nothing wrong with a 5th grade understanding of God as long as you’re in the 5th grade.

Fear does terrible things to a society.

I’m really getting a feel for what this movie is about: Fact-free personal attacks and emotional appeals that prove nothing.

Moses teaches in Leviticus that it is an abomination to eat shrimp.

The funny thing was that in a film allegedly appealing to what the Bible really says, the only mention in the trailers about the Bible was the item about shrimp.  It is a reference to the shellfish argument, which is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to read the passages in context.  I address the many errors of that argument in Favorite dish of liberal theologians & skeptics: Shellfish.

When any liberal theologian uses an argument like that I consider it to be a concession speech, because you can’t use it without revealing your ignorance of the Bible and/or your deceptiveness.  They really tip their hands when they insist that there is something wrong with the Bible.  If they are really Christians they should hold the same view of the Old Testament that Jesus did.