Friday, March 28, 2008

Not The Problem You Think

Rusell Moore at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has an excellent post about the problems with Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Rather than Wright's inane political statements (which have garnered the lion's share of the attention), Moore focuses on the bigger problem: Wright's liberation theology.

As Moore describes,
Liberation theology is seeker sensitive. The first waves of this movement, in Latin America, were designed to make Christianity appealing to the people by addressing their felt needs, the desire for armed revolution and Marxist economics. Liberation theology only works if one can connect with real or perceived oppression and then make the Scripture illustrative of how to navigate out of that situation. The Kingdom of God is a means to a social, economic, or political end.
It's a real problem, and it's overtaking more churches than just Obama's.
Just take a look at the best-selling authors in evangelical Christian bookstores. Listen for a minute or two at the parade of preachers on Christian television and radio. What are they promising? Your best life now. What are they preaching about? How to be authentic. How to make good career choices. How Hillary Clinton fits in Bible prophecy.

How many times have we all heard from pulpits the Bible used in exactly the way that Jeremiah Wright uses it, except perhaps in reverse? Jeremiah Wright uses the Scripture as a background to get to what he thinks is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation from American oppression. Others use the Scripture as a background to get to what they think is the real issue, psychological or economic or political liberation through the American Dream. Either way, Jesus is a footnote to get to what the preacher deems really important, be it national health care or support for Israel. Either way, apart from the Gospel, the end result is hell for the hearer, regardless of whether God damns or blesses America.
Jeremiah Wright's liberation theology strikes us because it sounds so offensive to our American ears. But the idolotry from many evangelical pulpits ought to sound just as offensive to our Christian ears.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

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