Living in a postmodern society where objective truth does not exist and moral relativism rules the day, there are those on the left who have sought to apply this secular worldview to the spiritual realm of Christianity in hopes of reversing the public perception that all liberals are militant atheists.
In hopes of reversing this trend, many “progressive” Christians, including a columnist from this publication, have invoked passages from Scripture to support their policy decisions and demonstrate that leftism and faith can indeed be reconciled.
With tolerance, self-acceptance and personal fulfillment as their core tenets, progressive Christians, naturally, hollow out the orthodox beliefs of the ancient faith in favor of a revisionist interpretation of biblical history where Jesus Christ was nothing more than a moralistic rabbi, spurring on humanity to enact new standards of love and kindness. All this, that we might be able to live out our truth with full acceptance.
This man-centered theology, forwarded by progressives, replaces the good news of Christ — that man can be made right with God through repentance and faith — with the news that man is inherently good, has no need for repentance, and his chief end on this planet is personal fulfillment. To do this, they enact a biblical interpretation that isolates the verses they like from their context to promote a political cause that suits their interests.
A prime example of this is the use of civil laws found in the book of Leviticus, such as Leviticus 19:33-34, as a way to dictate immigration policy.
Progressives use this passage without distinguishing between the word “stranger,” which is used in the original Hebrew (ger), and the word “foreigner,” which is found in some modern translations.
The importance lies in the fact that “strangers” were individuals who had obtained legal status to reside in areas that were not their own. This is not the same for foreigners. So it stands to reason that these passages do not provide any basis for immigration policy, other than a command to be kind to others — which has always been the Christian message.
Another passage that has been misunderstood is that of Matthew 5:38-40, during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
This passage has been used numerous times to deem any form of retaliation, defense or deliverance of justice by an individual or nation as immoral in and of itself. In no way can this case be made.
Christ, being Himself God, was not reversing the law given in Exodus 21:23-25 but rather explaining that Christians should not use their legal rights to exact justice upon their transgressor, just as God had not exacted justice on them for their transgressions.
Christians are called to overlook minor offenses, a slap on the cheek, for the sake of winning over their offenders and bringing them to repentance and faith in God. To employ this point against all forms of military intervention is to read one’s own opinion into the text and subsequently misunderstand the text.
Finally, progressives have been known, as of recent, for promoting the idea that Jesus Himself was a socialist who was against excessive wealth. Passages such as Matthew 19:24 and Luke 18:22 are invoked to demonstrate this, but the only problem is that Christ never saw wealth as inherently sinful. What He considered sinful was placing the love of money over love of God, thus breaking the first commandment that man should not have any other god but Him.
What Christians must understand when reading Scripture is that the moral law of God is not the gospel; it is simply a mirror that shows our sinfulness and inability to keep God’s commands.
But in doing so, the law also points us to someone who is able: Christ. We can have Christ’s perfect, law-keeping righteousness when we repent of our sins and turn to faith in Him, giving us peace with God.
If all your Christianity does is strive for moral betterment, you don’t have Christianity, you have moral deism — and that can’t save anyone.