The Causes of Liberalism in the Church

In the 19th century, the emergence of Theological Liberalism in America can be traced in New England with the rise of Universalist and Unitarian apostasies. Liberalism was championed by well-known American individuals like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Bushnell, Washington Gladden, Henry Ward Beecher and more recently by Harry Emerson Fosdick (Hobard E. Freeman “Every Wind of Doctrine”).

In Biblical Christianity, they converted from liberalism to modernism. They started denying the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. They do not agree that the Scriptures is all true and declares emphatically that God commits an error than believing that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18, NASB). Paul speaks of the “God who does not lie” (Titus 1:2, NIV). He is a God who, even if we are faithless, “He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13, NKJV). God is the truth (see John 14:6), and so is His Word. Jesus said to the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17, NKJV). The psalmist exclaimed, “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Ps. 119:160, NKJV) (Norman Geisler, “the Inerrancy of the Bible). That is the reason why they fail because the Holy Scriptures is not the basis of their authority.

They deny hell and eternal punishment. They said; there are several major issues to the problem of Hell. The first is whether the existence of Hell is compatible with justice. The second is whether it is compatible with God’s mercy, especially as articulated in Christianity. A third issue, particular to Christianity, is whether Hell is actually populated, or if God will ultimately restore all immortal souls (universal reconciliation) in the World to Come.

Assuming the suffering of Hell is something God could have prevented. The discussion regarding the problem of evil may thus also be of interest for the problem of Hell. The problem of Hell can be viewed as the worst and most intractable instance of the problem of evil (Kvanvig, Jonathan L. (1994). The Problem of Hell). The real picture they are trying to show here is they cannot accept that they should be accountable to the pattern given to us by God, revealed by Jesus for us mankind to follow. Plain and simple – disobedience is the problem.

They substitute for the New Testament message of repentance and salvation from sin through faith in Christ a Humanistic Social Gospel of reformation and social improvement. The Humanistic Social Gospel is a progressive concept of ease and comfort. It boils down to the idea “what pleases me is great!” salvation no longer go with rules to be respected and obeyed but an aim that “all” can have in the later times. Tommy Douglas described “Social Gospel” by saying that “the Social Gospel was equally a secularizing force in its readiness to adopt such contemporary ideas as liberal progressivism, reform Darwinism, biblical criticism and philosophical idealism as vehicles for its message of social salvation. It developed, however, a distinctive spirituality elevating social involvement to a religious significance expressed in prayers, hymns, poems and novels of “social awakening.”

If the authority of the Bible is questioned and Salvation is achieved with ease and comfort – an organizational concept of “Everybody happy program” then we certainly have deviated from the original truth that Jesus showed to his followers. This is contrary to the words of Jesus! One has to remember, we will be judged by His word as Jesus said; “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day” John 12:48 (NIV). We will be in great danger if we go our way and not His way. John 15:3-5 says You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.…”(Berean Study Bible)

The hardheadedness of man – wanting to be free and do their own way is the cause of the disaster. There are more reasons to give but the root cause of departure from God’s teaching is the clamor for freedom, ease, and comfort. At the end, those who disobey are the losers in the call for the heavenly promise.

 

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