Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: RELIGIOUS & POLITICAL LIBERALISM: Where Did It Come From & Where Is It Going?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

RELIGIOUS & POLITICAL LIBERALISM: Where Did It Come From & Where Is It Going?

“18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him” (I John 2:18-29).

I John 2:18-29 defines the religious and philosophical beliefs of both theological and political liberalism. God’s evaluation of this pseudo-faith is that it is “antichrist.” I John 2:20 tells us true believers have (present tense) “an unction from the Holy Spirit.” The word “unction” is translated from the Greek word chrisma (khris'-mah), meaning a smearing or anointing with oil. The idea is that true believers have the Holy Spirit to supernaturally lead them in discerning between what is true and what is false (v20b-v21). Jesus Christ is truth. Anything that contradicts the truth that is Christ is “antichrist.”

The Greek word arneomai (ar-neh'-om-ahee), translated “denieth” in I John 2:22 and 23, means to contradict, reject or abnegate. Therefore, to give up or renounce any truth that Christ taught (and is) is to reject the Person that Christ is. One cannot “confess” Christ and at the same time deny Who and What He is. To contradict, reject or abnegate any teaching (doctrine) of Jesus Christ as less then absolute is to reject the Sovereignty of Who Jesus is (God).

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

The world is willing to accept the historical Jesus. This is the Jesus of liberal theology. In this case, they are willing to accept that Jesus was a great leader and that His teachings are of great social merit. However, when Jesus is not accepted as the Christ of God (God incarnate), all of His teachings are simply on equal ground with other great religious leaders of the past. In fact, according to liberal theology, in order to discover what truth is, we must gather all the teachings of all religions and bring them together (Ecumenicism/Syncretism). This was the foundation of the German Theological Idealism developed by Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677; denies the immortality of the soul; strongly rejects the notion of a providential God and claims that the Law was neither literally given by God nor any longer binding on Jews), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804; the possibility of human knowledge presupposes the active participation of the human mind), Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860; all but unique in intellectual history for being both an atheist and sympathetic to Christianity. Like Kant, he was greatly influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism), and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831; an astute student of Kant’s philosophies, he established the Hegelian Dialectic – widely used today in the advancement of socialism). Each of these men took theology farther and farther away from the revelation of Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ and down the “broad way” to destruction in human rationalism and a spiritual endemic in the integration of human philosophies into theology.

Hegel’s philosophies (liberal theology) were the foundation for modern Statism (the theory, or its practice, that economic and political power should be controlled by a central government leaving regional government and the individual with relatively little say in political matters) and Totalitarianism (relating to or operating a centralized government system in which a single party without opposition rules over political, economic, social, and cultural life). Karl Marx was greatly influenced by the writings of Hegel.

There are many modern names for what God calls “antichrist,” such as Marxism, Socialism, Darwinism, Liberalism, Eastern Mysticism, and etc. They all have one thing in common. They all reject the Christ of the Bible by rejecting the absolutes of His Word. They all come under one main heading; Antichristism. Many other “isms” of Antichristism are listed in the Humanist Manifesto II:

“Many kinds of humanism exist in the contemporary world. The varieties and emphases of naturalistic humanism include “scientific,” “ethical,” “democratic,” “religious,” and “Marxist” humanism. Free thought, atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, deism, rationalism, ethical culture, and liberal religion all claim to be heir to the humanist tradition. Humanism traces its roots from ancient China, classical Greece and Rome, through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, to the scientific revolution of the modern world. But views that merely reject theism are not equivalent to humanism. They lack commitment to the positive belief in the possibilities of human progress and to the values central to it. Many within religious groups, believing in the future of humanism, now claim humanist credentials. Humanism is an ethical process through which we all can move, above and beyond the divisive particulars, heroic personalities, dogmatic creeds, and ritual customs of past religions or their mere negation.”

Christian Conservatives are constantly being told that they should keep their religious beliefs out of politics. In other words, the only acceptable approach to political decisions must be a non-theistic approach. From that perspective, man must determine his own values, laws and governing principles of life totally apart from the absolute edicts of a Divine Sovereign (God). Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, in their 1973 preface to the Humanist Manifesto II said:

“As we approach the twenty-first century, however, an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed. Faith, commensurate with advancing knowledge, is also necessary. In the choice between despair and hope, humanists respond in this Humanist Manifesto II with a positive declaration for times of uncertainty.
As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to live and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.”

The “faith” of Secular Humanism is not a faith in the God of the Bible. It is a misdirected faith. It is faith in human philosophies of men and women that promote and propagate those philosophies. The “faith” of theological and political liberalism is faith in man and his abilities to correct social injustices through the means of social planning and social revolution. The “faith” spoken of by these people is faith in the ability to modify behavior through the means of their own priesthood of non-theistic Psychologists and Social Workers.
Theological liberalism still talks the language of Christianity, but in reality is steeped in various degrees of unbelief. They have rejected the idea that all social problems are the result of sin. Therefore, they reject God’s solution to these varying social problems through repentance of sin, regeneration (re-birth), and the process of sanctification through being discipled in the absolute truths of God’s Word. They also reject any person that promotes that solution. In fact, the person promoting that solution (the only solution that will work) is labeled an extremists and relegated into obscurity by ridicule.

“Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices. Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the “ghost in the machine” and the “separable soul.” Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. As far as we know, the total personality is a function of the biological organism transacting in a social and cultural context. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way that our lives have influenced others in our culture” (Humanist Manifesto II).

Theological and political liberals have their own Saviors. They reject the Christ of the Bible and replace Him with their own. Their Savior is their own philosophies embodied in the titles of Reason, Science and Advanced Technologies.

“The next century can be and should be the humanistic century. Dramatic scientific, technological, and ever-accelerating social and political changes crowd our awareness. We have virtually conquered the planet, explored the moon, overcome the natural limits of travel and communication; we stand at the dawn of a new age, ready to move farther into space and perhaps inhabit other planets. Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development, unlock vast new powers, and provide humankind with unparalleled opportunity for achieving an abundant and meaningful life.”

There is a whole generation of people living at the beginning of the 21st Century who have no historical connection to such things as Marxism, Marxist Reconstructionism, Fabian Socialism, Federalism, New Dealism, Democracy and/or Religious and Secular Humanism. Each of these things is simply a differing degree of the first; Marxism (better known as Communism or Socialism).

The Reformation returned theology to the Scriptures (Sola Scriptura). Sola Scriptura is the teaching and belief that there is only one special revelation from God that man possesses today, the written Scriptures or the 66 books of the Holy Bible, and that consequently these Scriptures are materially sufficient and are by their very nature, being inspired by God, the ultimate and final authority for life and its practices.

However, within the next 200 years after the Reformation, the vast majority of theologians would once again move dramatically away from Sola Scriptura introducing many pagan ideas of God into theology. This is the historical backdrop of Liberal Theology and Ecumenicism as we know it today. In doing so, this Liberal Theology became Antichristism.

Liberal theology has progressively moved theology away from Sola Scriptura to the broad integration of human philosophies. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was greatly influenced by the writings of Buddha and metaphysics (mind over matter) was introduced into Christian theology. In fact, it seems as if under German Idealism, the human mind became its own God. The five basic tenets of Buddhism became serious influences upon German Idealism; mainly through Kant into modern liberal theology.

1. Momentariness: Nothing exists for any real length of time.
2. Relative Existence or No Self Nature: Nothing has an essence, nature, or character by itself.
3. No-Atman: There is no Self (atman) in Buddhism, either as an essence or as a substance.
4. No-God: There is no Brahman or any other such ultimate enduring substance or nature to reality. Nirvana thus cannot be characterized as realizing either Self (Self Actualization), Brahman, or God.
5. Dependent Origination: Everything has a cause.

It is difficult for most people to understand that the sociological acceptance and promotion of such things as abortion, homosexuality, racism, sexual promiscuity (Free Love), materialism and modern atheistic Psychology actually find their origins in liberal theology. The universities of the 15th and 16th Centuries required students to read the Greek Classics. A classical education required a student to read and study such philosophies as those of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato; all founded in Rationalism, Relativism and Mythology.

This influence of ancient Greek philosophies introduced Rationalism and Relativism into Christian Theology and gave birth to Higher Criticism. Higher criticism sought to apply the same principles of science and historical method applied to secular works to the Bible. Everything the Bible said, even the authorship of the various books, came into question. Everything needed to be proven or substantiated by historical records or empirical evidences through archeology or other acceptable scientific methods. The Bible was no longer a book accepted by faith (autopisticism). Before the Bible could be accepted as true, that particular portion had to be proven to be true (in this position, the Bible is only worthy of faith, it still must be proven true; i.e., axiopisticism).

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