There is one religion that confuses me more than any of the others. It’s not Islam, Mormonism or even Scientology. All of those are wrong and, to varying degrees, weird but they are no match for liberal Christianity.
Liberal Christianity is the belief in, well, nothing really. There are liberal Christians who deny the virgin birth, doubt the resurrection of Christ and only believe about 30% of what the Bible says. And, for whatever reason, they still call themselves Christians. For centuries, everyone else has been calling them something else. Non-Christians. Maybe even pagans.
This is why it’s so confusing. If you only believe part of what Jesus says, how do you decide which part? The Internet? If Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin and if his bones are still somewhere in the Middle East, why should we care today about what some crazy man who claimed to be God had to say? And finally, if Jesus is still in the grave and we can only trust a third of what we read about him in the Bible, why bother with church? If this life is all that there is to this life, shouldn’t we be spending our Sunday’s recovering from a weekend of partying instead of sitting in a pew? Come to think of it, that might be the norm for some.
When we only believe some of what Jesus said, he is reduced to the ace card up our sleeve that we only pull out when we need to prove a point. And who needs a Lord when you have one of those?
Many people my age who grew up in conservative churches were essentially taught that the twelve disciples were all Republicans who wore American flag lapel pins on their robes. Eventually, we grew up and realized that none of that was true. But some, in leaving the false teachings of the Republican churches of their childhood, simply embraced a more liberalized version of the same error. So now, their Jesus spent his days drinking free trade coffee and fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage.
The churches they grew up in fought hard against abortion. But today, many liberal Christians pray blessings over Planned Parenthood facilities. Others remain silent on the issue, choosing to love instead. Everyone appreciates love but there are a few million babies who would really appreciate love with some action. Sadly, this doesn’t fit into liberal Christian theology. They only embrace social justice issues previously approved by the American left. That’s good luck for Columbian coffee farmers. Not so much for the unborn.
The burdens of the GOP Jesus and the socially liberal Jesus, while different in appearance, still weigh us down all the same. Such is the danger of reading our culture, our politics and our desire to be liked into the Biblical text. Folks on both sides as well as those in the squishy middle would be much better off allowing the Bible to shape them instead of the other way around.
It has been said that the Holy Roman Empire was not holy, Roman or an empire. I think that the same could apply to liberal Christianity. A liberal, at least in the classical sense of the term, is one who values individual freedom and a limited role for government. A Christian is one who believes that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the perfect God Man as presented to us in the Bible.
It is clear that the words liberal and Christian probably aren’t the best descriptors for those who claim to love Jesus and yet deny most of what the Bible says about him.