Friday, February 26, 2010

Food for thought on Liberalism from John Gerstner

Ran across this gem from John Gerstner's "Primitive Theology" (being excerpted and serialized by Ligonier Ministries) today at lunch. Thought it was excellent and timely when considered next to Brian McLaren's new book. I do indeed wish that Brian would just go ahead and admit that he's not a Christian as the Unitarian in this quote does.

Liberalism and Christianity are not to be confused. They are in direct opposition to one another. Everything that Christianity maintains, such as the fall of man, the sin of man, and the necessity of redemption by grace and justification by faith, is repudiated by liberalism, making it, therefore, another religion altogether. It is indeed salvation by good views rather than by good news (the gospel). One of these religions is based on a high view of man’s own character; the other is based on a confidence that man is a sinner who can be saved only by grace. These are two diametrically opposed ways of salvation.

We are grateful when liberals acknowledge this and do not pretend to be Christians. Some years ago I was giving a course on the cults at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Representatives of the different sects presented their viewpoints to my class. When I had the liberal pastor of the First Unitarian Church, the Rev. Mr. Cahill, present his views, he began in a very refreshing manner. He said bluntly at the outset of his lecture, after thanking me for the opportunity to address this class: “Dr. Gerstner is a Christian. I am not a Christian. Christianity is a religion of redemption, and your professor believes in it and is entitled to the name Christian. I don’t believe in the supernatural events of divine salvation through Jesus Christ, which I admit is the definition of Christianity. I am, frankly, not a Christian. I am a liberal, and I have a religion which is quite different from your professor’s, as he understands and I also understand.”

Most liberals do not admit they follow another religion. On the contrary, they claim to be authentic Christians. One can see why orthodox Christians are profoundly distressed by this. When somebody who denies Christ is the way of salvation passes himself off as a Christian, that is a dreadfully dangerous business. We must warn people constantly that liberalism is another gospel that is not a gospel at all. While a liberal propagates this religion as the truth, he owes it to everybody not to claim to be Christian and to admit that his views are diametrically opposed to the Christian position.

As always, interested in your thoughts.