G. Gresham Machen wrote a book called Christianity and Liberalism back in the 1920′s in which he pointed out that the Liberalism of that day used Christian terminology, but had drastically changed or hidden the meanings of those words in order to dupe churches into believing that the liberals were really okay guys. Nowadays, the New Liberals have decided that we should just forget trying to sound like the church at all and just go ahead and chuck the terminology. This allows them to continue undermining historic, Biblical terminology and supplant it with their own terminology, which is decidedly more simplistic (dumbed down) so as to allow poor, helpless, downtrodden seekers to be able to hold up their heads in proud unbelief, while these new agents of the Holy Spirit ration out salvation to suit their own purposes and build up their own empires.
All you have to do to see this in action is to read this article and then give a good look at the lives, ministries, and teachings of those who are mentioned. Ironically, we have here Mark Driscoll who is finding fault with other preachers because, “If you use too much theologized language you will lose lost people.” This from a guy who threatened to run people over with a bus. The preacher who cusses in his sermons seems to think that using crude language will attract people, but using theological, biblical terms like justification, sanctification, and propitiation will drive them away.
But what seems to be missed by people like Driscoll, is that one of the jobs of a true preacher is to be a teacher of God’s Word. If the text that you’re preaching from has a difficult word, then you explain it. Someone needs to tell Driscoll that it is surely better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
And then we have this gem from Andy Stanley – “We need to give non-church people the permission to not believe and not obey.” Can you possibly imagine George Whitefield getting up in front of a hostile, produce-throwing crowd of “seekers” telling them that today is NOT the day of salvation and they would be better off waiting until later to repent? Or Paul patting King Agrippa on the head and telling him it’s a good thing to be almost persuaded?
Yet, that where the New Liberalism has gotten us. It is the theology of Festus. It was Festus, who in Acts 26 complained that Paul was crazy for his preaching of the Gospel – Much learning has made you mad! Paul must have used some theological terms in his address (like repentance) and Festus knew that this was obviously not culturally relevant. It must have caused him to cuss as much as Mark Driscoll when he realized that Paul was using such theological terms.
But Festus must have been pleased when King Agrippa professed that he had almost been persuaded. Paul had no right to demand that Agrippa believe right then. Not enough time had passed. And Paul had not even given him permission to NOT believe. Why, it’s almost as if Paul expected Agrippa to hear a theology-laden sermon and then repent and believe on the spot! How will Paul ever build a mega-church with that sort of thinking?!?!
The Old Liberalism denied the Word of God. It seems that the New Liberalism denies the work of the Holy Spirit, as well. Using Scriptural language will NEVER be a barrier to someone being called by the Holy Spirit. And that same Word does not give unbelievers permission to continue in their unbelief, but demands men everywhere to repent.