Think for a moment. Have you ever encountered someone who is what people call a Yes man? This person is, simply put, a people pleaser. He or she is not interested in anything else other than affirming you—or anybody else for that matter. They only make you feel good about yourself and never criticize or point out your flaws. He or she would never say one bad thing about you because he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. In short, this person only relates to you on the basis of “love.”
What good is it for a person to only relate to others on the basis of love? We know, we know—love is extremely important, as it should be. When love is absent, things turn ugly. But don’t we need truth in our lives? Isn’t truth important? If somebody only affirms and never criticizes you, then the elephant in the room must be pointed out: is that even love?
This prevailing attitude is part and parcel with the culture we live in today. Only affirmation, no denunciation; only words of acceptance, never rejection. Truthfully, it’s a culture full of weaklings. I don’t mean that in an insulting manner, but simply as a matter of reality. It’s no wonder society has a hard time with criticism, given how our culture only wants to point out the good in others and never challenge in any way. It’s a foreign concept.
We see this attitude in liberal Protestantism.
In J. Gresham Machen’s classic work Christianity and Liberalism he writes the following: “ . . . the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology. This modern non-redemptive religion is called ‘modernism’ or ‘liberalism.’”
What Machen penned in 1923 remains prophetically true today: liberal Protestantism is an entirely different religion from Christianity. It’s not difficult to see, though may be difficult to hear for some. You may have a harder time finding what those churches believe based on their statements of faith, but if you attend their services and hear their sermons, you’ll quickly find out they’re not orthodox.
What makes liberal Protestant churches not orthodox? Isn’t it okay to be a little liberal in areas and still be a Christian? It depends on what we mean. Let me give you three areas that reveal these churches not to be orthodox: abortion, LGBTQ-related issues, and the Bible itself.
The majority of liberal Protestant churches embrace the pro-abortion view. They have bought into the satanic lies of the emerging culture that coins euphemisms such as “reproductive rights,” “the right to choose,” and “clump of cells.” It’s barbaric, and these churches are going along with it. They celebrate it, champion it, and advocate for the murder of children in mother’s wombs.
Make no mistake: a church that firmly embraces that abortion is morally okay is not morally upright in the eyes of God. That view is incompatible with the Christian worldview. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Some may be put off or offended by that. That’s okay. Scripture is simply too clear to beat around the bush on the slaughter of little ones made in His image.
Liberal Protestant churches are also very welcoming to the LGBTQ community. To be frank, you can say the same thing for conservative churches. We open the doors of the church to all people—no matter the ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc. But with liberal churches, they don’t simply open the doors, but approve of them. They believe that homosexuality is not a sin and that God deems them “holy,” as one popular progressive author said. Not only is homosexuality okay now, it’s also “holy.” This is anti-Christian and goes directly against God’s good design.
In an attempt to appeal to all people, liberal churches are embracing every person just as they are and proclaiming, “You don’t need to change!” This is untrue, of course. People don’t simply need to change but need to be born again ( John 3:3). They need a new heart. Any church that denies or ignores that isn’t a true church.
Undergirding the erroneous views on abortion and other cultural issues is a profane disdain for sacred Scripture. Liberal Protestant churches reject the Bible as truth. They may pushback against that but their record speaks for itself. Why do they reject the teachings of the Bible? Because they reject God. They may believe in God (some churches don’t necessarily believe in God anymore!), but they don’t believe God. Their attempt to gain the approval of outsiders will eventually be seen as futile on the last Day when God shows them His disapproval.
They do not take Scripture seriously. Fruitless attempts are made to disprove or push away the Bible’s clear commands as it relates to gender, sexuality, the image of God in the unborn, etc. Their problem is not conservative Christianity. Their problem is with God Himself, who wrote the Bible. Their refusal to bow the knee to God is evident through their worldly attempts at love.
This blog was an excerpt from my book Gospel Smugness: Displaying Christlike Character in Evangelism.
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