Posted in

Why Liberal Christians Don’t Follow the Prophets

Liberal Christians often stress the prophets’ call to social justice, but are silent or even opposed to other aspects of their message.  Why?

  • Biblical authority.  Liberal Christians regularly deny, limit or radically reinterpret the biblical authority upon which the prophets based their message.  Zechariah 7:7 asks, “Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets?”  The prophets’ call to social justice is part and parcel of their submitting to the Word of God that they had received.  Also, all the prophets claim that what they say is the Word of the Lord.  We are called to submit ourselves to that word in its entirety.  Often Liberal Christians are committed to their vision of social justice and merely seek out support for it from the prophets.  Indeed, insofar as theological liberalism shares the Enlightenment program of rejecting biblical authority even its agreement with the prophets’ advocacy of social justice is still a rejection of their message as God’s authoritative Word.     
  • God’s judgment. Zephaniah 1:14-18 warns of the coming day of the Lord.  It will be “a day of wrath” (v. 15).  “Because men have sinned against the Lord, their blood shall be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung” (v. 17).  The biblical belief in a God of wrath who executes judgment is abhorrent to Liberal Christianity which wishes only to speak of his love and forgiveness.  At the same time Liberal Christians are suspicious of an emphasis on the end times because they believe that it militates against present action for social justice.  Yet, it is very likely that it was precisely Zephaniah’s strongly eschatological message of judgment that was an important factor in the revival of Judah in the days of King Josiah.  In fairness to my Liberal brothers it must be admitted that younger evangelicals increasingly struggle with these biblical themes.  To both groups I say, “You would do well to pay attention to the prophetic word as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (II Peter 1:19).   
  • Unmentioned sins. It is doubtful that you will hear non-Christian religions condemned from Liberal pulpits even though Habakkuk 2:19 pronounces a woe over idol worshippers.  Nor will the declaration “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16) find its way into many Liberal sermons.

What to do, Liberals?

  • An uncompromising commitment to biblical authority.  Confess with the Lord Jesus Christ that the Old Testament is God’s Word to which we must submit as did he.
  • An unflinching adherence to the uniqueness of the biblical faith.  The biblical gospel is not one among many religious options.  According to the apostles, “There is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12).  The vision of social justice in the prophets is also the best hope for the renewal of society.  Do not put your confidence in secular programs of social reform that exclude or severely limit the role of biblical faith.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *