Sunday, August 28, 2005
More Astute Obervations From "Bible Believing Liberals"
Bill Hybels and John Shelby Spong.
I know this article, "Bible Believing Liberals", by Todd Wilken, has made the rounds, but for the past two weeks we have delved through it in depth at our church. The quote about the bible believing liberals that I put in the side bar of this blog is brilliant enough, but at the end of this article from Issues, Etc., one will see the following, and I dare say equally profound, paragraphs (most of the bold emphasis that follows is mine).
(As regards the "God is love", Willow Creek/Bill Hybels gospel):
"'God satisfies. He does something for us and in us that we can’t do for ourselves. God meets inner needs. He quiets restlessness and turmoil. He ministers to longings. He soothes wounds. He calms fears. He satisfies our souls.' (Bill Hybels, Seven Wonders of the Spiritual World, Dallas: Word, 1988, p. 137).
All of this is true, of course, but it’s not the whole truth. What’s missing? In this gospel, we are presented as unsatisfied, unable, needy, restless, longing, wounded and fearful, but not sinful. This is a gospel without sin.
A gospel without sin satisfies sinners, but doesn’t save them. A gospel without sin requires a God Who is merely good, not gracious and forgiving. A gospel without sin requires a Jesus who is merely sympathetic, not our substitute at the Cross. A gospel without sin is a gospel wherein Christ crucified is unnecessary. John Shelby Spong realizes this; he has done away with the Cross. Maybe this is why Bible-believing liberals are doing away with it too. The 'God loves you' gospel is a gospel that any liberal could love.
By contrast, here is what St. Paul says,
'God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.' (Colossians 1:19-22)
One thing is for sure; Paul was no liberal, Bible-believing or otherwise..."
In regards to those who want "The Church" to remain culturally relevant, Wilken goes on:
"We’ve heard liberals say it for years: 'The Church must change or die. The culture calls the shots. We must re-read the Bible to fit the culture. When it comes to doctrine, don't sweat the details. Our differences don't matter anyway. After all, doctrine divides; it's the mission that really unites us. And when it comes to that mission, we’re justified in using whatever means we deem necessary. Remember, people just need to know that God loves them.' Now we’re hearing Bible-believing Christians saying the very same things.
The old-line liberals considered the Gospel irrational; Bible-believing liberals consider it irrelevant. The old-line liberals criticized the Gospel; Bible-believing liberals are trying to give it a makeover. The old-line liberals tried to deconstruct the Gospel; Bible-believing liberals are trying to reinvent it. Old-line liberals did their best to discredit the Gospel; Bible-believing liberals are doing their best to shift the focus away from the Cross.
Do Bible-believing liberals realize how liberal they really are? No. Are they well intentioned? Certainly! But the some of the old-line liberals were well intentioned too. St. Bernard of Clairvaux said, 'Hell is full of good intentions.'
When the Church follows the advice of liberals—Bible-believing or otherwise— the Gospel message suffers. When liberals —Bible-believing or otherwise— have their say and have their way, the Cross ends up obscured. When the Cross is obscured sinners go unsaved. This alone is reason enough to turn a deaf ear to the advice of these well-intentioned liberals —Bible-believing or otherwise.
Change or Die?
Bible-believing liberals say, 'The Church must change or die.' But they cannot tell you what the Church will be preaching 5, 10 or 20 years in the future. No one really knows, it all depends on how things change. In fact, Bible-believing liberals cannot even say that the Church will be preaching in at all in the future; maybe it will be doing poetry slams, kabuki theater or walking the labyrinth. No one really knows, it all depends on how things change. Do you really want to entrust your children and grandchildren to this kind of a Church?"...
Whoa, that hits a parent right in the gut. Or it should. Unfortunately, I am afraid for a good part of what calls itself "the church" in America, it gives no pause.
"Bible believing liberals say, 'The Church must change or die.' But change can’t insure the survival of the Church. The survival of the Church depends entirely on the One Who lived and died and lives again forever, the One Who does not change —'Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever.' (Hebrews 13:8)."