"Liberalism" and the Word of God
Most of us know what the terms "liberal" and "conservative" mean without needing definitions. Most are also well aware of the difference in the meaning of a "high view of inspiration" and a "low view of inspiration".
However, as the young college student begins his "higher" education and is for the first time exposed in his religion classes to the views of the modern liberal theologian, great confusion and dismay can result. Unfortunately these teachers often present the Bible from a "scholarly" secular humanist perspective and tend to demean the sacredness of the Bible as the inspired word of God. The "evidence" that these liberal theologians are so eager to present to the students is too often presented in such a way as to deliberately undermine the reverence and holy awe with which we are to approach the scriptures. These young students for the first time hear with their own ears the subtle sophistries of the liberal theologians grinding out eloquent denigrations of the so called "superstitions" of the "fundamentalists". Often there is a denial of the miraculous nature of not only of the origin of the scriptures, but also the miraculous nature of the events recorded in the sacred history.
Higher criticism spends much time trying to "demythologize" the Bible and allows for a non-literal approach to the Genesis account of creation, the fall of Adam, the flood of Noah, and the saving acts of God in redemption history. Much time is spent trying to find the "historical" Jesus, freed from the so-called "superstitions" of the apostles and the first century Christians who supposedly invented most of the Gospel accounts to fit their mystical notions of the mystic Jesus. The vicarious atonement is denied. The resurrection, the virgin birth, the miracles, and the ascension and second coming of Jesus are all labeled as "myth". Much is made of the similarities of the pagan religions to Christianity and Judaism and the assumption is made that the Judeo-Christian faith has its origins in pagan mythology with its appeasement of "angry" gods.
Religion to these false teachers becomes a mere "existential encounter with God" and the Bible a mere record of these experiences by ancient mystics. To understand their "experience" is the goal of hermeneutics. Of course to these false teachers these "experiences" are no more "inspired" than those of the witch doctor who takes a psychedelic potion. Truth becomes relative to the eye of the beholder. "Truth" becomes ones "experience with God", therefore all experiences are valid and none more "truthful" than another.
Relativism is the watchword of the liberal modernist theologian. Since truth is relative, the idea of Ecumenism becomes, not just a hope, but an actual moral imperative. We can all join hands in our diversity and celebrate the fact that all roads supposedly lead to God!! In fact since we all experience God differently, we can all unite to declare to the human race that the ultimate goal of religion is to come to the self-realization that the "God in all of us" is the ultimate "Truth". The next and final step is to believe that "We are all Gods". Thus, the alpha and omega of the pantheism apostasy is complete and Satan can triumphantly harvest the entire world into his kingdom with the Edenic lie that "ye are Gods". All this edifice of lies begins with the one lie—that the Word of God is not to be trusted as historically true and reliable. Satan's lie once again deceives the modern "Eve", the fallen Church—"Has God truly said...?" that is to say, "Is God's word really true?"
Regarding textual criticism, far too much is made of the doubts that secular critics cast upon the meaning of the texts as Christians have come to accept them. Many claim that Ezra actually did all the assembly of the Old Testament documents and edited them so as to delete all the "questionable" material so that the Old Testament took on a very neat continuum of Jewish history. Thus the old testament is a "mere" Jewish history edited to put Judaism in the best light possible as the "chosen" religion of God.
These methods are not the approach that the Lord Jesus Christ took to the Old Testament, and neither did the priests and prophets of the Old Testament. The apostles approached the scriptures as a sacred, God breathed, and yes, almost divinely written document, if not the words, certainly the thoughts which these words express in the most obvious meaning of the words used. This is why they took such pains to copy the manuscripts with such incredible accuracy. The actual variant texts are quite few because of the view that they took towards the sacredness of the Word of God.
Matthew 21:42 42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures:
Matthew 22:29 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.
Mark 14:48-50 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 "I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled." 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled.
Luke 24:27, 32 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself...... 32 And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"
Luke 24:44-47 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
John 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, .... and these are they which testify of Me.
Acts 17:2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Acts 17:11 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
2 Peter 3:16-18 speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
So this leaves one with a choice of which mind set should the present-day Christian adopt as he approaches the word of God— the "liberal" mind set or the "conservative" mind set? What has the liberal view of theology and inspiration of the Scriptures done for modern Christianity and what is liberalism's legacy to the Christian church? Just take a look at those denominations which have been ravished by the "modernist" theologians as they filled the pulpits of the once faithful Protestant denominations. Shall we evangelical Christians stand by and allow the secularization of the Christian faith take place?
No, this will not happen so long as there are those who are willing to stand up for the absolute reliability of the historicity and divinely miraculous nature of the gift of the Holy Bible as the infallible word of God.