It is vitally important to understand theology and compare different views to establish a Christ-centered foundation. In today’s culture there are many views of God and this has affected the morale and effectiveness of the church. It is important to look at contemporary theological viewpoints, and compare and contrast with biblical truth.
The liberal view of salvation is based on feelings and not upon doctrinal affirmations. Liberals believe that man’s reason is far above the authority of Scripture. They reject the miraculous and supernatural happenings in Scripture because of their belief in man’s reason and science. Sin is viewed not as rebellion to God but as man trying to live by themselves away from others. Their view of the Bible is that it is an ordinary book and not inspired at all.
In comparison to this liberal view of salvation, Millard Erickson views the human condition as separation from God by sin. Salvation is only found through a relationship with Christ and faith is the means of accepting that salvation. Salvation is a change of the heart from being corrupt and stained with sin, to a new transformed life. Erickson’s view of Scripture is that it is inspired by God and is truthful in all ways.
This is contrary to liberal theology in that salvation is based on a feeling that is experienced through a profound self-consciousness. The views of Erickson and liberal theology are completely opposite. Schleiermacher went as far as to believe that no authority in scripture, church, or creeds takes priority over the experience of believers. This is a faulty and man-centered theology that is contrary to God’s Word.
I believe the liberal view of Scripture is the most damaging aspect of the modern culture. Liberals view truth upon experience and not on God’s revelation. Experience is an essential part of salvation, but God’s free gift to men of salvation is constant whether people believe it or not. Salvation is of God and not of man. The next focus will be on the liberal view of Jesus Christ.
Schleiermacher denied the deity of Jesus and thought of Him as a good man and wise teacher. All of the miracles were denied because they were not consistent with present human reason and science. Schleiermacher used insights and methods from the social sciences to understand Christian theology.
Jesus came to earth for the purpose of giving His life for the sin of mankind. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are in life and yet prevailed without sin. I believe that Jesus was the sinless son of God that came to deliver man from their sin and make them righteous by His death on the cross. If Jesus was just a man and not God in the flesh, then mankind is doomed to eternal death. The only payment for our sin against God is a perfect sacrifice as shown in the Old Testament times through temple sacrifice. Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God that was an offering for our sin. Jesus as the sinless son of God is the only hope that mankind has in the realm of eternity.
The Bible is how an almighty God revealed himself to us. Scripture is without error and completely God-breathed. I believe that God’s word is completely true and is the revelation of God to man.
The next character that is to be discussed is Reinhold Niebuhr and his beliefs on theology. He believed mainly in the social injustices of the day and the cause of man. He believed sin was more of a social issue than a spiritual one. He rejected the doctrine of original sin and redefined sin. Niebuhr’s view on creation was that it was a myth and just a picture of what humanity looked like.
This view takes away from the truth of the scripture and takes away the creation story as historical and makes it mythical. The scripture is true in all its way and is an inspired book from God that includes historical truth. The creation account in Genesis is the most prominent role in creating and establishing a biblical theology. I believe that God alone created the universe out of nothing (ex-nihilo) and fashioned all of God’s creativity in every detail so that He could receive all glory.
Liberation theology is a view that relates to the movement of feminists and third world theologies. The liberation view of scripture is that the Bible identifies with the oppressed people. This group focuses on portions of the Bible that show God helping people that are in bondage. Scripture is relevant to all people at all times without prejudice upon any class of people. His Word applies to the sickly, the poor, the rich, and the powerful.
It is important to note that liberation theology is running rampant in our culture today. The idea of liberation is freedom from problems and hardships in life instead of spiritual freedom and repentance of sin. I believe that we must meet the immediate physical needs of individuals in order to build a bridge to reach them with the gospel. Ministry should not stop once the physical needs are met, but there are spiritual needs that can only be met by a relationship with Jesus.
I believe that your theology dictates the way you live your life and how you view a person. It is important to note that anytime a man tries to distort God’s Scripture with man-centered theology, it fails. The modern movement of picking and choosing passages in scripture and labeling them as true or false, is in direct rebellion from God. If theology is not the actual study of God and becomes the study of what men accept about God, then it is contrary to God’s will and heart. It says in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
I believe that believers must study and know the correct theology that lines up with the scripture and heart of God. It is important in today’s culture to be able to discuss with people theology in a way that brings glory to God.