Thursday, 24 May 2007

Liberalism, Christ and Liberty

Is 'Liberalism' a new phenomenon, or can we find similar tensions in the Bible? That was the question that faced me when preparing talks for the Church Society Conference with the title Christianity and Liberalism: are they two different religions?

It seemed to me that where Liberalism departs from orthodox Christianity is finally over the person and work of Christ.

In other words, the problem with Liberalism is not merely scepticism about whether certain events described in the Bible actually happened. Someone may deny Jonah was swallowed by a fish (for example, by asserting that Jonah is a parable, based on the life of the prophet mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25). Yet that doesn't automatically make them a 'Liberal'.

The real problems arise when Liberalism denies key truths about Christ - his person and his work - and consequently reshapes Christianity into something else.

And where better to look for a clear account of the person and work of Christ and the impact on the way we should live, than the letter to the Colossians? Furthermore, Colossians also has lessons for us about how we should enjoy the liberty Christ brings us from the law. Here, then, are my three conference talks:

Liberalism and the Person of Christ, Colossians 1:1-20

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Liberalism and the Work of Christ, Colossians 1:21-2:15

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Liberty, Law and Christ

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