Liberal Theology

by Mike Ratliff

6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6–7 Legacy Standard Bible)

In 1980 I moved from the Washington, D.C. area to a suburb of Oklahoma City to take a new job. I was 29 years old and thought I was a Christian because of my on again, off again religiosity. I was single and a political liberal. I was also very close to being a libertine. Sometime during that year I remember reading in The Daily Oklahoman newspaper about a Southern Baptist pastor in Oklahoma City who was one of the leaders in a movement in the Southern Baptist Convention to bring in a more moderate stance on theology and Biblical inerrancy. His name was Gene Garrison. He was at that time the pastor of First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City.

I was not a Christian then, but for some reason I followed the news about the struggle in the SBC between the forces of liberalism and conservatism during the convention that year. When the convention was over, the coverage in the paper was very sympathetic towards Garrison and his liberal colleagues because they had been censured by the convention and literally blackballed from holding any committee leadership positions in the convention. Over the next several years Garrison and other liberals continued to try to gain control of the convention, but eventually gave up.

I was saved in 1986 and for the next 36 or so years was a member of conservative SBC churches in the OKC, Tulsa, and Kansas City areas. Christian Liberals were seen as confused, worldly people who would eventually overwhelm all of the Christian denominations. In the mean-time, we just had to make sure that we did not succumb to it. The struggles seemed far away and not something to be concerned about as long as we stood firm.

Things have changed. It seems that Satan has changed his tactics. Instead of attacking churches with obviously liberal theology that is easy to see as the product of “higher criticism” and apostate Christian wannabes, the new push is to meld the same Liberal Theological package with the Social Gospel and Secular Humanism. Then have it sold by the likes of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

The line of demarcation between genuine Christianity and Liberal Christianity is actually very easy to see and understand. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father, but by Him. The exclusivity of genuine Christianity is not only the line of demarcation, but it also the point of contention between liberals and genuine Christians. From this exclusivity flows the doctrines that define our faith. These doctrines tell us that God is Sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and immutable. They tell us that He gave us His Word which is perfect and inerrant. They tell us that all who believe God, trusting in the work of Christ dying on the cross for our sins that we shall have eternal life. They tell us that all whom believes and trusts God are saved by grace through faith. They are regenerated into new creations unto good works and are given the Holy Spirit. They tell us that we are commanded to evangelize the world, making disciples until our Lord returns.

However, Liberal theology’s contention starts at this line of demarcation. Liberals proudly tell us that they are free thinkers and open minded. There used to be a web page called “Mainstream Baptists.” It isn’t online anymore. However, the following is a quote directly from their “About us” page:

“We are not narrow-minded, dogmatic, legalistic or anti-intellectual. We believe that all truth is God’s truth and we are open to discovering truth by scientific inquiry, philosophic reasoning, and human experience.

We humbly recognize that ultimate Truth is beyond human conceptualization (Isaiah 55:8), that Truth is ultimately personal (John 14:6), and that we must depend upon the guidance of God’s Spirit to discern truth (John 16:13).”

The implication is that if one is not a liberal Christian then he or she is narrow-minded, dogmatic, legalistic and anti-intellectual. Is it narrow-minded and dogmatic to believe what the Bible teaches? If you listen to men like Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter talk about Christianity then you know that they are liberal and do not believe Christians can know the truth from the Word of God. This is essentially what this statement from Mainstream Baptists was saying. They claim that God did not stop revealing the truth to Man after Revelation. They refuse to see the Bible as the ultimate truth. They elevate scientific inquiry, philosophic reasoning, and human experience above the Bible. They believe that Christians must respect all other religions because faith is personal. In other words, my truth is my truth, but not necessarily anyone else’s truth.

What did Jesus say again?

6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6–7 Legacy Standard Bible)

Yes, this statement by our Lord stands in face of all liberal thought that seeks to define any other way to God except through Him.

As I researched this piece I kept running into a great deal of liberal religious sounding verbiage pertaining to the Bible and faith. On one hand they do affirm that the Bible is God’s word, but that it cannot be understood or explained by people. They say it is just paper and ink, and it is, but it can become manifest in the heart of believers as the living Word, Jesus Christ. On one hand they praise the Bible, but then they refuse to listen to anyone try to teach them from it. They gladly accept “higher criticism” that stretches their faith though. Higher criticism does not stretch my faith. I see the “higher critics” as unbelievers who are tools of the enemy bent of destroying our faith. Therefore, I do not listen to them.

Religious liberty is a very important topic for Christian Liberals. Here is another quote from the Mainstream Baptists “About us” page about that:

“Religious Liberty is the nursing mother of all liberty. Without it all other forms of liberty must soon wither and die. The Baptists grasped this conception of liberty in its full-orbed glory, from the very beginning. Their contention has been, is now, and must ever be, that it is the God-given and indefeasible right of every human being, to worship God or not, according to the dictates of his conscience; and, as long as he does not infringe on the rights of others, he is to be held accountable to God alone, for all his religious beliefs and practices.”

That sounds very American doesn’t it? However, what happens is that they claim that our teaching on the exclusivity of the Gospel and genuine Christianity is a polemic to Religious liberty. Back when that site was up and I copied those quotes I saw that on that same page was a cross, a star of David, a Muslim sword and crescent, and other non-Christian symbols in it. What were they saying with this statement and that graphic? Aren’t they saying that the very words of Christ from John 14:6 are not true?

We must not force Christianity down anyone’s throat, but we had better make sure that we are preaching the truth as God commands, not some liberal version of it that basically says, “I’m ok, you’re ok!” In other words, they do not preach the real gospel, but preach the social gospel about ethics, the environment, racial issues, aids, gay rights, ecumenicalism, religious freedom, environmentalism, and social activism. They will never teach about the cross and Hell.

In the last chapter of this age the world will be dominated by one religious system. The only people who will be excluded from it will be those who hold to Jesus words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Liberal theology has been transformed into a sellable package that will fool a large number of people and entice nominal Christians to abandon their preconceived “faith” and move over to one that is “open-minded.” There are no “doctrines” in this form of Christianity. There are no requirements of repentance, but there are for social activism and liberal causes.

The liberals use their “human reason” to attack the faith of genuine Christians the same way atheists do. Over the years I have had some very interesting encounters with emergents, liberals, atheists, neo-pagans, and apostates. The first three use the same tactics. It is all about reason and not about faith. The Liberal version of Christianity is all about people and their fulfillment. Genuine Christianity is all about God and His people becoming conformed to His will for His glory.

Soli Deo Gloria

2 thoughts on “Liberal Theology

  1. Pingback: Monthly Reader – March 2022 – Rainbow Trout

  2. The first rider (1st seal in Revelation) is the beginning of the other seals that bring war, famine, pestilence, death, persecution of the Saints, and natural terrors.

    The degradation of the illogical follows a logical pattern of deterioration.

    What do I mean?

    Does not spiritual war, which started with the rebellion of Satan, lead to physical war? Does not the disruption of war lead to the same for society? Does not this upheaval cause destruction of food production and distribution? Does not hunger cause disease and death? Without the Holy Spirit flourishing in a person’s heart, does not suffering cause the lashing out at others… especially on those that have a voice of conscience, reason, and civility? Why? They’re the enemy of the first rider because they’re the loved, cherished, and protected of the last rider.

    Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    Do we understand this more, today, than a few years ago?

    Compromise in the pulpit… faith in God destroyed by tolerating idolatry… has led to the proliferation of murder of babies and children, homosexuality, gender destruction, and dismantling of marriage… which has led to fearing disease and men more than God… which has led to the destruction of civility of governments and people… which is leading to the domination of tyranny and slavery… which is leading to famine, poverty, and hunger from the collapse of society.

    This same pattern was repeated with ancient Israel after entering into the Promised Land. It started with them worshipping the foreign gods found there. Their enemies influenced by Satan… their gods… deliberately employed this tactic to crumple them—they caused Israel to get their eyes off of the God of Israel… that opened the door to their destruction.


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