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Liberal moral relativist theology misses the plain truth of the Bible

By Rachel Alexander
web posted January 13, 2003

A primary difference between liberals and conservatives theologically is the way they interpret the Bible. Liberals read the Bible symbolically or allegorically, as a collection of interesting stories to take whatever meaning out of that pleases them. This allows them to reject various portions of the Bible they disagree with. Liberals label their interpretation as a "critical" approach, which essentially allows most of their theology to consist of finding ways to criticize the Bible, rather than actually trying to determine what it says. Theological conservatives believe the Bible is God's inspired word to humanity, and therefore believe that the Bible must be studied seriously. Conservatives believe that God does not make errors.

Liberals primarily criticize conservatives' interpretation of the Bible by accusing them of interpreting it "literally." Of course, most conservatives who interpret the Bible "literally" are simply reading the plain meaning of the Bible, as opposed to attempting to distort it to fit their own personal shortcomings. Furthermore, they aren't always interpreting the Bible "literally." If they were, there would be a lot more stoning going on, and every conservative Christian would insist that the Creation happened in seven 24-hour days, instead of the genuine debate that goes on between conservative Christians over how old the earth is. The Bible cannot be read completely literally, it is like any literary work; it incorporates literary devices, such as parables. For example, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer who scattered seed on different types of soil, and how the seeds, like people, developed differently depending on their foundation and circumstances. Obviously, Jesus was not telling us we must literally scatter seed on different types of soil, but was using the story as a lesson from which we must learn a moral truth.

Liberals have come up with a litany of ways to dismiss the plain truths found in the Bible. Two of their favorite ways include trying to find contradictions and vagueness in the Bible, in order to discredit portions of it. Because of the syntax of language, as well as differences resulting from translation, anyone can find anything "wrong" in any literature. If you and I were both at a meeting, and I took copious notes, and you made sure my notes were precise, there would always be someone later who read my notes and could point out supposed contradictions or vagueness.

Liberals also search for parts of the Bible that address the culture of the time it was written in, in order to discredit the (entire) Bible as "outdated." For example, liberals insist that none of the Bible can be taken literally, because the Old Testament consists of extremely harsh laws that God once instructed his people to live by. Of course, with the coming of Jesus, who replaced the harshness of Old Testament laws with his kinder teachings, the Old Testament law was replaced. Yet instead of acknowledging this, and accepting the Old Testament without the harshness that Jesus removed from it, liberals would prefer to write off the entire Bible.

Liberals believe in "moral relativism," which means there is no clear right or wrong, just varying shades of gray. They then try to transfer this belief onto the Bible, focusing on the few verses they can find that can be twisted to support this interpretation. However, the Bible is full of clear moral judgments. A favorite verse liberals overemphasize is "Judge not lest ye be judged." (Matthew 7:1) Of course, this verse can be interpreted in many ways, and even more importantly, there are hundreds of verses in the Bible that could be considered contradictory to this one verse, if liberals would examine them in the way they do other portions of the Bible where they insist there are contradictions. There are many verses that admonish associating with sinners, and instead instruct Christians to rebuke them. In James 5:20, which is part of the New Testament, it states, "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." Proverbs 27:5 provides, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love." Proverbs 18:23 states, "He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue." You'll never hear these verses from liberal Christians.

The Bible even specifically warns Christians that if they do not warn others of their sinful ways, they are themselves doing wrong. Ezekiel 33:8 states, "When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."

Another plain-spoken verse in the Bible is the New Testament verse Romans 12:9, which instructs Christians to, "Hate what is evil." Unlike those liberal bumperstickers which claim that "Hate is not a family value," the Bible seems pretty clear here.

Maybe liberals need to read the book of Proverbs. Proverbs primarily consists of critical words regarding wrongful behavior and admonitions to live a pure life. It would be hard to make the case for Proverbs as an example that the Bible promotes moral relativism.

Considering it is written in several places throughout the Bible that fewer people are going to enter heaven than expected, wouldn't it be wiser to err on the side of interpreting the Bible's admonitions seriously, rather than treating them as amusing tales? Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, "You can enter God's kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it." If liberal Christians can find a way to intellectualize those verses out of their plain meaning, it would be interesting to hear how they did it. But would it be worth risking their souls?

Rachel Alexander is the editor of IntellectualConservative.com.

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