Social Gospel

Part 4: What is the power of liberal theology?

Jim Allen

Part 1: Why do Christian liberals loath Christian Conservatives?
Part 2: Does Social Gospel reflect our deepest held values?
Part 3: Did Jesus come to be a world-changer?

The idea of the social gospel has a nice ring to it. It has a long history going all the way back to the mid-nineteen century. The social gospel is appealing. It carries a biblical theme for helping those in need. It shows genuine concern and care for the plight of the poor and oppressed. The issue many have with the social gospel is that it cuddles some but not all of what Jesus said, and herein its divide from the true Gospel. How did the church devolve to such a deep divide in theology? "Well, what happened is the liberals took the social justice issues — racism, injustice, poverty, things like that — and the conservatives...took the personal issues of morality — family, homosexuality, personal morality, and salvation." [1]

Though each theology may have been refined with the best if intensions, both the liberals and conservatives changed the Gospel into other gospels, departing from the true God (Jude 1:3-5). The irony about the social gospel is that it contains enough truth to make it appealing but not enough truth to redeem the soul, and herein its error. "...Jesus cared about both the body and society. He cared about the spirit. He wanted people saved, but He also wanted us to act different in society. And, honestly, I would love to see a new reformation that brings those two back together that says, 'Jesus cares about the poor, the sick, the lame, the hurting' — He clearly did — the orphans, the widows, without watering down the fact." [2]

"The most popular apostasy in Christendom today is the teaching that God has revealed Himself in many different ways to diverse cultures and that, therefore, all religions worship the same god, but just use different names. From this viewpoint, the Allah of Islam is the same as the Yahweh of Judaism and both are the same as the Krishna of Hinduism. The natural conclusion that is drawn from this apostate idea is that there are many different paths to God, Jesus being only one of them." [3] But, Jesus steadfastly rebuked this viewpoint when he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6)."

The power of liberal theology is its unfettered ability to tolerate diversity and accept all cultures, behaviors, and religions under one banner of faith.

We see the power of liberal theology unfolding right before us. Pope Francis said, "Let us all unite...for peace." [4] "Let us all" means all and includes all. This global call for union, social fairness and world peace is powerful. Liberals will use the social gospel as the controlling component to achieve social justice, ensuring distribution of wealth, justice and opportunity for all. Religious leaders around the world are softening up to the idea and are joining hands to acclaim unity under one banner of faith for global world peace.

Aside from the clamor for world peace is the dark side of liberal theology. Liberals will not tolerate those who embrace the whole truth apart from what they deem to be truth. Liberals reject the blood atonement described in the New Covenant. Most liberals (and a growing number of conservatives) look at this doctrine as slaughterhouse religion (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22). Liberals, and an increasing number of conservatives, want no part of it! The social gospel has no room for this foundational cornerstone in Christianity. As a result, the social gospel can be nothing more than another watered-down gospel capable of producing nothing more than vain faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)

Evidence for the growing trend of replacing the true Gospel with the social gospel is the soon to be released new miniseries about the Bible. Mark Burnett is producing a sequel to his immensely popular miniseries 'The Bible'. "The follow-up, tentatively titled 'AD — After the Bible,' begins in the days after Jesus' betrayal and death, when social injustice, Roman military oppression and religious unrest fueled a perfect storm in the Holy Land..." [5]

Will Burnett's second miniseries embrace the social gospel as did the first and become another marketing film in the hands of liberals? Will it too gloss over human depravity as nothing more than a bad cold that will go away with the medicine of good works and a purpose driven life? Will it still portray Jesus as a world changer and not the sacrificial Lamb essential for salvation? Will it portray humanity as inherently good but victims of brutal oppression from the elite rich, uneducated bigoted, and religious intolerant?

All of the answers are yes! While the answers to these questions are important, let's never forget conservatives have claimed their own monopoly on the Gospel to the point of apostasy. The fallen theology of both liberals and conservatives are man-centered, both having departed from biblical truth and the living God (Job 21:14; Romans 1:22). Both lack the power to teach truth (2 Peter 2:1), both are unable to practice discernment (1 John 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:14), and both can never convert the soul (Acts 20:27).

In closing, Part 5 brings into play the reality of the social gospel as a powerful movement to capture many unaware.

Next: Part 5: Is the "Spirit of Unity" Biblical?

1., 2.
3. One World Religion...Dr. David R Reagan...Lamb Lion Ministries
4. Minneapolis Star Tribune...December 26, 2013

Image credit: lolay, detail, mosaic floor, Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, Tabgha, Israel; Some rights reserved

The Social Gospel; The Series

Part 1: Why do Christian liberals loath Christian Conservatives?
Part 2: Does Social Gospel reflect our deepest held values?
Part 3: Did Jesus come to be a world-changer?
Part 4: What is the power of liberal theology?
Part 5: Is the "Spirit of Unity" Biblical?
Part 6: The End Time Gathering of Souls
Part 7: Too Bad for the Pretenders

TagsBiblical-Salvation  |  False-Teaching  |  Reviews-Critiques

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Published 1-6-14