Jeremy Sarber On Life & Scripture

Insights on God, salvation, and ourselves.

Liberal theology promotes a gross perversion of love

On the one hand, I shouldn’t be surprised to hear a professing Christian condone sins such as abortion or homosexuality in the name of “love thy neighbor.”

In liberal Christian teaching, which is not Christian at all, man’s reason is stressed and is treated as the final authority. … Whether a person is saved from his sin and its penalty in hell is no longer the issue; the main thing is how man treats his fellow man. Love” of our fellow man becomes the defining issue. … The most important thing for man to do is to love” his neighbor. What is the loving thing to do in any situation is not what the Bible says is good but what the liberal theologians decide is good. (“What is liberal Christian theology?)

On the one hand, I shouldn’t be surprised to hear a professing Christian condone sins such as abortion or homosexuality in the name of love thy neighbor.” This kind of liberal theology emerged two hundred years ago. The prophet Isaiah warned of it 2,800 years ago when he wrote:

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20, 21)

On the other hand, they are professing Christians. They claim to believe Jesus is their Lord and Master. They read the same Bible as the rest of us, yet reject its authority as God’s Word and redefine its terms. Wise in their own eyes, they call evil good and good evil while asserting their allegiance to the only One qualified to determine good and evil (Isa 5:21, 20). Admittedly, I am stunned by each personal encounter with liberal theology.

I’m prone to ask, Why do you identify as Christian? Why do you belong to a church? What is the foundation and substance of your religion? Why do you praise God with your songs and sermons but pervert his commandments, if not blatantly disregard them? What’s the point? If you’ve turned to Christ for salvation, you must know he saves us from sin and its consequences. Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Ro 6:1, 2). Even if you follow Christ merely because he seems like a good guy with wise teachings, why don’t you trust and obey those teachings?”

They say, God is love,” and they’re right (1Jn 4:8). He is love. Therefore, he alone defines love. Telling a would-be mother that it’s okay to kill her unborn child is not love. One suppresses the truth by assuming relationships contrary to nature—God calls them shameless acts of dishonorable passions—are expressions of love (Ro 1:26, 27).

Am I unloving when I teach my children to respect and treat people as they want to be treated? Have I committed immoral discrimination when I’ve disciplined them for theft, dishonesty, or some other violation of commandments five through ten? Of course not, because this is love.

God defines love. As his people, the most loving thing we can do is tell others the truth about sin and encourage repentance. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments (1Jn 5:3).