Some weeks ago we said that orthodoxy can be deadly (CHRISTIANITY TODAY, April 23 issue), for an unlovely thing appears when it becomes an end in itself rather than a means to an end.

But a theological liberalism which rejects the complete reliability and authority of the holy Scriptures is also a deadly thing.

Nothing has robbed the Church of her witness so much as a low view of inspiration. Nothing has detracted so much from current preaching as this shift from an authority higher than man. Nothing has caused more needy souls to leave their pews on Sunday with a sense of emptiness and frustration as much as the substitution of man’s opinions for divine affirmations.

Theological liberalism is deadly because:

The basis of authority shifts from divine revelation to human reason. Even where the Bible is said to “contain” the word of God, the discovery of what is asserted to be authentic depends on scholarship, deduction and human receptiveness. One man finds one part “inspired,” while another finds that another portion “speaks.” The concept of total inspiration, irrespective of man’s reaction, is rejected.

The inevitable corollary of this attitude to the Bible is a loss of conviction. A sense of authority, urgency and vital importance is thereby lost. Although the individual concerned may be unaware of it, those who come under such a ministry know that something is lacking.

With such liberalism inevitably comes a shift in emphasis: symptoms are magnified while the underlying disease is ignored or minimized. The fact that Christ came to save sinners is lost in the emphasis that he came to make this world a better place in which to live. The biblically based doctrines of sin, judgment, the new birth, eternal punishment, and so forth, ...

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