Monday, March 01, 2010

Neo-Liberalism: Sneaking Their Way In

Thanks to Christian Research Network for the heads up on this article. I have observed what Johnson describes firsthand myself. I believe the prevailing mentality of "truth is in everything" or "all truth is God's truth" is why there is an adaption of kinds of error and false teachers, and why professing "solid" Christians will not separate themselves completely from them.

Exercpts from The Neo-Liberal Stealth Offensive By Phil Johnson:

The gospel's most dangerous earthly adversaries are not raving atheists who stand outside the door shouting threats and insults. They are church leaders who cultivate a gentle, friendly, pious demeanor but hack away at the foundations of faith under the guise of keeping in step with a changing world.

No Christian should imagine that heresy is always conspicuous or that every purveyor of theological mischief will lay out his agenda in plain and honest terms. The enemy prefers to sow tares secretly, for obvious reasons. Thus Scripture expressly warns us to be on guard against false teachers who creep into the church unnoticed (Jude 4), wolves who sneak into the flock wearing sheep's clothing (Matt 7:15), and servants of Satan who disguise themselves as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

Theological liberalism is particularly dependent on the stealth offensive. A spiritually healthy church is generally not susceptible to the arrogant skepticism that underlies a liberal's rejection of biblical authority. Liberalism must therefore take root covertly and gain strength and influence gradually. The success or failure of the whole liberal agenda hinges on a patient public-relations cam­paign.That is precisely how neo-liberals have managed to get a foothold in the contemporary evangelical movement.

They want the world's admiration at all costs.

....But one of the common characteristics of liberalism is an obsession with gaining the world's approval and admiration no matter the cost.We witnessed the germination of this attitude in the evangelical movement at least four decades ago, especially among contemporary church leaders who let neighborhood surveys and opinion polls determine the style and agenda of the church.

When churches give in to that craving for worldly approval, they inevitably subjugate the gospel to a more popular message. At first, they won't necessarily deny (or even challenge) core gospel truths such as the historical facts outlined in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. But they will abbreviate, modify, or add to the message. The embellishments usually echo whatever happens to be politically correct at the moment—climate change, world hunger, the AIDS crisis, or whatever. Those things will be stressed and talked about repeatedly while the historic facts of Christ's death and resurrection, the great themes of gospel doctrine, and the actual text of Scripture itself will be largely ignored or treated as something to be taken for granted.

Their "faith" comes with an air of intellectual superiority.

Liberals treat faith itself as an academic matter. Their whole system is essentially a wholesale rejection of simple, childlike belief. Their worldview foments an air of academic arrogance, setting human reason in the place of highest authority, treating the Bible with haughty condescension, and showing utter contempt for the kind of faith Christ blessed.

Consequently, liberals are and always have been obsessed with academic respectability. They want the world's esteem as scholars and intellectuals—no matter what they have to compromise to get it. They sometimes defend that motive by arguing that the secular academy's acceptance is essential to the Christian testimony.

They despise doctrinal and biblical precision.

This may sound like an oxymoron, but while treating faith as an academic matter, liberals prefer an almost anti-intellectual, agnostic approach to dealing with the specific truth-claims of Scripture. They like their doctrine hazy and indistinct.

One maneuver neo-liberals have perfected in these postmodern times is an artful dodge when they dislike a particular doctrine but cannot afford to make a plain and open denial. Instead, they will claim, "Scripture is simply too unclear on that point. We can't really be sure. The point is disputed by top scholars, and who are we to speak with too much certainty?"

Thus without denying (or affirming) anything in particular, and without even technically dismissing the matter under discussion as an unimportant point, the ruse effectively sets the truth aside. The skeptic's goal is thus accomplished without incurring any of the odium of skepticism.

Heavy doses of that flavor of postmodern, neo-liberal evasion have conditioned multitudes of church members to regard carefulness and precision in handling doctrine as both unimportant and potentially divisive. These days the person who shows evidence of doctrinal scruples is much more likely to be held in suspicion or disdain among evangelicals than the neo-liberals who have deliberately made the study of biblical doctrine seem so cloudy, confusing, and contentious.

Go here for full article.

The beginning paragraph reminds of what others have said:

"The case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith." - Spurgeon in The Downgrade Contraversy

Robert Morey:


The main problem is that many religious leaders today say one thing and teach another. If you ask Gregory Boyd or the other “Open View of God” heretics if they believe in the “omniscience” of God, they will say, “Yes.” Dumb Christians are satisfied at this point and go their merry way deceived and hoodwinked. But if you force them to define the term “omniscience,” they end up denying that God knows all things! They claim that God does not and cannot know the future.

Just because someone says, “I believe in sola scriptura,” does not mean he really believes in it. If he elsewhere says that the Bible is not the final authority in faith and practice, he has denied in substance what he supposedly affirmed as a slogan. Heretics have always done this. What they affirm with the right hand is what they deny with the left hand. It does not matter what doctrine is at stake.

In the early 1980s, those who denied the inerrancy of Scripture did not begin by openly denying it. They redefined it until the term “inerrancy” meant errors!

Those who deny the bodily resurrection of Christ often pretend to believe in it by tricky words and double talk. Believe me; I have heard some slick theologians in my day!

Apostasy in Scripture is of two kinds: doctrinal and moral.

A heretic can be a good person who is very moral. Yet, he can also be an anti-Christ. The monk Pelagius was according to all a good man, morally speaking. Thus when I point out some teacher as a heretic, evanjellyfish usually respond, “But he is sooo nice! He is a good man. How dare you attack him!”

They assume that heretics are always mean and vile. A nice heretic who says that right phrases and theological clich├ęs cannot be a heretic in their mind.

The problem with heretics who are “nice” is that we tend to let them get away with the most outrageous teaching because they seem to be so nice.

End quote.

"If I can kind of give you a perspective on all of this, I'm sure Satan knew we Christian evangelicals would not buy the theology of liberalism so he sold us the hermeneutics. What do you mean by that? Satan knew we wouldn't buy their theology so he sold us their principles of interpretation so sooner or later we would arrive at their theology...a kind of Christianity where doctrine and conviction are scorned. You go into the typical town, find the pulpit where the man of God clearly and deeply and profoundly and faithfully articulates doctrine and I'll show you a small group of faithful folk. You find the church where they're hooping and hollering, dive and dancing and jumping and I'll show you a major crowd, in most cases. God's Word will never pass away but sadly it has been bypassed to allow for the new evangelical relativism. Preachers are comedians, story tellers and counselors but not powerful theological heralds and proclaimers of divine truth.

In fact, this is so serious it's gotten to the place where even at the basic issue of the gospel there's no conviction."

~ John MacArthur, "A Call For Discernment Part 1"


David Emme said...

Will have to get a copy of that book and not sure how much you know or reached into all the various teachings of emerging/emergent church or if you know the foundations as I have been doing quite a bit studying and researching(really need to get my blog going on this)as I have been put in a position where I actually have the time and resources on this.

This is not a joke or a red herring to get yougoing elsewhere but this is what Got me going hard-20 yrs now been claiming fundamentalism and when seeing many say fundamentalism was built on modernism, rationalism, and foundationalism-well just go find an Independent Fundamental Baptist and tell him these things and make sure you hyave some big brothers with you for I do not think it would matter if you are a woman or not or perhaps just ask this is what i have heard from others and I do not think you will have to worry then.

If you want to know everything emergent-go study modernism and liberal Christian social gospel. Yah, no kidding-so much for dumping liberalism and fundamentalis,m to be emergent when it is the same exact thing as modernism.

I do not know everything but do know quite a bit so please if you have a question about anything emergent. Here is something I picked up on tonight-sacred spaces-ever read anything about sacred spaces from emergent? Me, have to look into that and do some comparisons but while researching tonight do you know who else teaches sacred spaces? Wicca. As I said I have to do some comparisons before sticking the objective absolute truth in the emerging turkey but will be fun

Denise said...

Thanks David. Its true, Emergents are really just adhereing to an earlier version of what they claim they don't want. Case in point: Roman Catholicism and its Eastern Mystic Desert Fathers junk.