This One Glaring Problem In The Church Is Helping Spread Liberal (Social) Theology

Posted on September 26, 2014 in Theology by

chelsen-vicariLet’s just be frank for a minute: biblical illiteracy is one of the most pressing problems in the church today. Far too many Christians don’t know what they believe, cannot begin to defend their beliefs using Scripture, and aren’t even sure where to find support for their beliefs in the Bible.

I can remember arguing with a teacher over the biblically justifiable reasons for divorce. He had one view but I knew it was wrong and pointed it out. He told me to come prepared to defend myself the next day. The next day I went into class prepared with Scripture to show several justifiable reasons for divorce (death, desertion, unfaithfulness) and he admitted he was wrong.

It became clear to me that often we take our views for granted and assume we know they are biblical and that we can defend them. Such an assumption leads not just to embarrassment when we are proven wrong, but to false positions that are in fact unbiblical.

You can see the problem clearly when you begin asking the average Christian about his or her views. Suddenly their eyes start shifting, sweat begins dripping off their forehead, and their throat gets really dry (Is it hot in here is often asked). These are the tell-tale signs of a Christian that has not studied “to show yourself approved unto God” as the Apostle Paul told us to do. And obviously these Christians have ignored Peter’s advice to “be ready always to give an answer.”

It’s no wonder then that we have churches being infiltrated with patently unbiblical, mostly liberal, doctrines. Increasingly churches are supporting homosexual behavior and same-sex “marriage.” These tend to be churches from desperate liberal denominations seeking to attract younger members. But such beliefs are finding their way into conservative churches as well.

What effect is this trend having on Christians, especially young Christians? Author Chelsen Vicari sums it up it a recent interview with The Blaze:

“It’s no secret that young evangelicals are departing from authentic Christianity. If they are not abandoning their Christian faith altogether, then young evangelicals are overwhelmingly buying into a ‘cafeteria-style’ version of Christianity that downplays morality, life and liberty while endorsing homosexuality, feminism, and big government all in the name of social justice.”

Vicari’s new book “Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith” centers on how liberal theology harms faith in the absence of biblical literacy.

When Christians don’t know what they believe, or how to defend their beliefs, it is easy for someone to distort the truth of Scripture with one that sounds religious, or biblical, but is actually false. This results in liberal theology replacing the traditional, transcendent truth of Scripture which causes young evangelicals to support ideas that are opposed to Scripture.

So driven by narrative and inclusion is our society that churches are turning to these social factors to attract younger people to their churches. Faced with aging congregations and the possibility of extinction these churches are willing to water down or even ignore biblical truth in favor of greater numbers. Vicari comments on this as well:

“Progressive churches are well-intentioned in their attempts to affirm everyone, but to do this many omit Christ’s teachings on sins, immorality, and hell and fail to follow all of the Great Commission in which Jesus instructed his followers to, ‘teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.’”

I’ve previously discussed how denominations that move toward adopting liberal theology in hopes of growing tend to decline. They think that by embracing liberal theology young millennials will be attracted to their congregations. But the reality is far less productive. By the time these churches realize their numbers aren’t increasing but continue to decline it’s too late. Young millennials and evangelicals that embrace liberal theology aren’t committed to any church or church life in the way many traditional and conservatives are. Many of them, it has been shown, actually reject the church establishment.

So, for all their inclusiveness and embracing of hip, trendy liberal theology, these churches still have a dead, dying church. Except now everyone knows it.

I remain resolute in my belief that biblical literacy is sorely lacking and greatly needed in our churches. The ability for Christians to clearly communicate their religious convictions and then support them using Scripture is a necessity not just needed in the cultural climate of today, but commanded by Scripture (See 1 Pet. 3:15).

Equipping our congregations with the theological tools they need to defend their religious convictions and share the truth of Scripture is not just a key to winning culture wars; it’s a key to winning people with the Gospel. Church leaders need to be asking themselves how they are equipping their congregations to defend their beliefs. Are we intentionally teaching doctrine? Do we have robust discipleship within our church? If churches are not taking intentional steps to equip Christians with necessary tools to study the Bible and defend their convictions we can expect current trends to continue.

Do we really need more churches supporting homosexuality, same-sex “marriage,” and abortion? Do we need more fluffy feel-good preaching that is absent sin, repentance, grace, and sanctification? The answer seems obvious.

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