Its Marxist orientation offers a false salvation to the masses while forsaking any personal relationship to God.

The “theology of liberation” is not just a passing fad like the “death of God.” Originating in the Third World, it is a serious attempt to take a new look at traditional Western theology and to cast off traditions and hang-ups that have been associated with middle-class churches in the capitalistic West.

There are, of course, many differences of opinion among liberation theologians, some of whom are Roman Catholic, and others Protestant. Some hold a high view of Scripture, others a low one. Some minister inside the church, others repudiate it. It is difficult, therefore, to generalize about them; but this risk must be assumed if one is to attempt a simple exposition of their consensus, or concentric thought.

What follows is a list of simplified statements which in general, but not in toto, reflect the character of liberation theology and an evangelical reaction to it.

1. Most theologies start to “do theology” on the basis of some philosophical assumptions about knowledge, revelation, the existence of God, or one’s Christian experience. The theology of liberation insists that all theologizing must start with a commitment to liberation of the oppressed—a starting point of praxis not of theory.

2. If the struggle for liberation is the starting point, it is important to understand its history, the antecedents and implications of that struggle. History thus becomes God’s way of talking to us in contemporary situations, and the historians, sociologists, and economists become our prophets.

3. It is impossible to theologize out of context. The theologian always imposes his own context on his analyses and on the expression of ...

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