Monday, April 27, 2009

Liberal Christianity and True Faith

In the combox JJ criticized me for stating that liberal Christians are not real Christians.

Insofar as they do not have an authentic faith, I believe this is so.

By faith, I mean the belief in Divine Revelation (through Scripture and Scripture)-- but not on its own merits. It's good to believe that what happened in the Gospels truly did happen because of its historical veracity.

Faith is believing Divine Revelation because God said so, and God cannot lie nor be deceived.

It has to do with accepting what is revealed on God's authority.

You can believe elements of the Divine Revelation without God's authority. It's fine to believe that Jesus lived and was executed and that his followers built up community of

But that's not faith.

Some Liberal Christians believe some elements of the Faith on God's authority. But generally speaking, their sense of faith is weak.

When you believe God on his authority, you are making a statement about who God is, and what he does.

Liberals and conservatives tend to largely disagree on that point, and that's why they have two completely different visions of what Christianity is about.

JJ implied that my opinion was not compatible with Christianity and that Jesus would not approve.

Quite the opposite. Christianity has always made faith a requirement.

John 6:29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

John 11:40 Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

John 12:44 Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.

I can go on. But you get the idea.

But the idea is that in order to benefit from the person of Jesus, you must believe in him.

If you do not believe as above, then you do not get the benefits.

Faith is not an option in Christianity. It's a requirement.

And Liberal Christians very often do not believe. They are constantly skeptical of the claims of Christ. They pick and choose and project their liberalism onto Scripture, instead of taking Scripture at face value.

The Epistle of Jude relates that even in his day, there were people in the Church who promoted a message similar to those of Liberals:

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord[c] delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

Liberal Christians are the ones who use their watered-down Christian beliefs as a license for immorality. They say: don't worry, God understands. God is a nice God. He is forgiving. He doesn't really mean the nasty things he says in the Bible. Jesus was never like that.

Jesus did make requirements of us. And those who do not live up to those requirements are not real Christians. This is not some "fundamentalist fantasy", this is what Scripture truly says.