Over the past several years, I have come under criticism for using the word ‘liberal’ or ‘liberalism’ in sermons or in my writings. I have been accused of willfully offending people; triggering people, and even attempting to build a social club by excluding liberals from our Church1. However, I apologize for not doing this earlier, but now I feel an urgent need to share the reason behind my actions. This tidbit is not designed to define liberalism but to unveil my calling to raise my voice against it. I’m fully aware that many don’t understand the term ‘liberal’, so I will use some following tidbit(s) to fully explain it.
To make a long story short, God called me to preach the gospel while I was in California following my graduation from Georgetown University in 1978. One of the things that came with my calling was an intense desire to read. First, my ‘fire to read’ landed on reading the Bible, and then on other things related to the Bible. For example, God used eschatology, the study of ‘End Times’, to grow and retain my interest in reading. Second, because I worked in full-time ministry playing basketball for Athletes in Action(AIA), a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, I often had large chunks of time in a day for reading and studying the Bible, and books on prophecy. I also read from secular magazines and newspapers such as ‘Time’, ‘Newsweek’, ‘US News and World Report’, the LA Times, the Chicago Suntimes and Tribune etc. As prophecy teachers taught me, I needed to match what was happening in the culture with the Bible’s instruction of Eschatology. It was certainly a fascinating journey, and…it was during this time that I learned a great deal about applying the Bible to my personal life, and philosophy!!!
This experience lasted through my three years at AIA (1979-81), and continued up through around 1990ish. However, soon thereafter, I began to notice something wrong with the writer’s opinions, but I could not identify it. Several years later, in the mid to late 1990’s, the Holy Spirit led me to an internet news publication called WorldNetDaily, along with a few others. The writers were Christians who wrote from a Biblical worldview. Although it took me another three or four years, God began to show me exactly what I did not understand from reading those secular news writers! And what was it that? In short, liberalism. Liberalism is anti-Bible, and therefore anti-Christ! Once I understood this was God’s view of liberalism, the Lord spoke directly to me: “I want you to raise up your voice against liberalism!” But why?
God showed me:
1.liberalism rejects the Bible, and by default God’s view of the world
2.liberalism redefines sin:
i.as not evil. In other words, liberalism rejects what God calls sin.
ii.as normal. Liberalism seeks to normalize sin
iii.by marketing sin as good
3.Because liberalism rejects the Bible, it rejects the Great Commission. Therefore, the more liberal Christians become, the more they neglect, and even reject doing the Great Commission
4.Because liberalism redefines sin, it ends with a rejection of Christ. Liberalism is ‘THE’ reason more and more youth are rejecting Christ, and leaving the church!
Although from Britain, William Booth(1829-1913), the founder of the Salvation Army, accurately prophesied of liberalism’s catastrophic impact on the Judaeo/Christian American culture:
“The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration, politics without God; and heaven without hell.”
However, to my embarrassment and everlasting shame, after the Lord spoke so clearly to me, I rejected His instruction!! I reasoned that I did not want to become controversial for fear of being rejected by both Christians and non-Christians alike! In other words, I said, “NO!” because of a fear of rejection!
However, in spite of this sin, the Lord Jesus was faithful to me for an additional 12 years continually encouraging me through my rebellion to take a stand! It was not until around 2012 or so, that like Jonah, I reluctantly gave in! Since that time, He gave me the Biblical evidence for His calling to raise my voice against the philosophy of liberalism:
“Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob
their sins2” -Is58:1 NAS
“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in
your striving against sin”
These verses teach at least two things:
1.they reveal the reason God called me to cry out against sin
2.they reveal the truth that every Christian is called to cry out against sin, especially preachers.
In conclusion, if you re-examine the present American culture in light of what I shared in this tidbit, you will find most pastors (and Christians) are silent in the face of liberals boldly attacking Christ!! In other words, liberals are doing exactly what God called the church to do---but exactly the opposite!
Reformer Martin Luther unashamedly declared,
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest expression every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ however boldly I may be professing Christ. Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.”
1.I most certainly do not want to ‘exclude liberals’ or any other person from our church, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and need the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 119:130 declares, The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
2.The entire Old Testament is filled with prophets crying out against the sins of kings, nations, the people.
"Preach the Gospel at all times. Where necessary, use words." St Fransis of Assisi
The law of God has too often been disregarded in our contemporary culture, even among Christians. The following is to help elucidate the role of the law in our lives. These 6 purposes are taken from Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s great work, ‘Israelology’.
1.Reveal the holiness of God, and to reveal the standard of righteousness which God demanded for a proper relationship with Him (Lev19:1-2,37; Lev11:44; 1Pet1:15-16). The law is holy, righteous, and good (Rom7:12)
2.The second purpose of the law was to provide the rule of conduct for the Old Testament saints (Lev11:44-45; Lev19:2; Lev20:7-8,26). For the Old Testament believer, the law was the center of his spiritual life and his delight (Ps119:77,97, 103-104,159).
3.The next purpose was to keep the Jews a distinct people (Lev 11:44-45; Deut 7:6- Deut14:1-2). This was the specific reason for many of the laws. The Jews were to be distinct from all other people in a variety of ways, as in the worship habits (Lev1,7,16,23), eating habits(Lev11:1-47), sexual habits (Lev12), clothing habits (Lev19:19), and even the way they cut their beards (Lev19:27). Other passages for this point include Exodus 19:5-8; Exodus 31:13.
4.The fourth purpose of the Mosaic Law was to reveal sin. Three passages in the book of Romans point this out. The first is Romans 3:19-20, where Paul emphasized that there is no justification through the law; by means of the law, no Jewish person will be justified. What is the law if not a way of justification, or a way of salvation? The law was there to provide the knowledge of sin; to reveal exactly what sin is.
The second passage is Romans 5:20: the law was given so that trespasses might be made very clear. How does one know he has sinned? He knows because the law spelled out in detail what was permitted and what was not. The law with its 613 commandments revealed sin.
The third passage is Romans 7:7. Paul again emphasized the fact that the law was given so that sin might be made known. Paul became aware of his sinful state by looking into the law and knowing that on the basis of the law, he fell short
5.The fifth purpose was to increase sin (Rom4:15, Rom 5:20) or to make sin undeniable in our lives. The picture Paul gives is that the law came in to cause more sin, to actually make one sin more. How does this work? Paul explained in Romans 7:7-13; and 1Corinthians 15:56. Basically, what Paul taught is that the sin nature needs a base of operation. Furthermore, the sin nature uses the law as a base of operation. This is so very necessary because the human propensity is to justify ourselves, to mitigate our own sin!
6.The sixth purpose was to drive one to faith, according to Romans 8:1-4 and Galatians 3:24-25. This final purpose of the law was to bring one to saving faith, faith in the Messiah.
As you can see, the law is still important, we need it…especially considering the culture in which we now live has no understanding of sin—the fourth purpose of the law above.
I do not know how much of the Lord you have in your life, but you have as much as you want in your life. -James O Davis