In FocusMagazine

Liberalism

Sounddoctrine_RMunn_insertIn politics, education, and social sciences there is an ever–present tension between conservative and liberal viewpoints. Religion is no exception. Liberalism is a readiness to welcome new ideas and a desire to loosen the restraints of inflexible tradition.

For example, after centuries of dominant Christian authority, writers and thinkers in the 19th century began to apply the new discoveries of science and in literary assessment to the Bible.

This was a time of notable scientific and industrial advancement. Optimism abounded. Increasing confidence in human achievement resulted in an anti–supernatural worldview.

Liberal theologians advocate the Bible more as a record of religious thought and experience and less as a divine revelation. Myth and legend are accentuated as religious language, diminishing the legitimacy of the creation story, the virgin birth, and miracles.

The humanity of Jesus is emphasized over His divinity. And any salvation narrative was presented as God perfecting immature humans rather than as God redeeming fallen ones. Such thinking leads to a reduction in the idea of sin, and, naturally, to a diminished need for a savior.

However, the horrors of WW1 punctured western optimism. And around the same time, both orthodox conservatives and secular humanists increasingly challenged Christian liberalism.

Today, evangelicals can embrace attempts to harmonize Christian thinking with new learning. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive, rather, they are both present in a savior who said, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’

by Colonel Richard Munn

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