by Jay Atkinson

The dictionary definition of liberal is to be free, open minded, open-hearted, tolerant and generous. The Bible teaching is the same, with freedom and liberty. To be illiberal is to be the opposite of these things. Freedom is the essence of liberty, Christian freedom has always been criticized by legalists in the church.

We are in the midst of the great apostasy. The enemy has twisted the spiritual fruit of liberality to lead the people of God into captivity and unto a luke-warm gospel of materialism, prosperity and self-righteousness. The scriptures tell us that in the last days, the liberal minded will be exalted and the illiberal minded will be shown as fools. Isaiah 32:5.

Coming from the progressive left restores some of the more forgotten issues disregarded by extreme conservatives. We need to all be on the same side - Jesus, and not be divided over conservative and liberal. Extremes from the right have led to a natural aversion to progress and liberality, judgment is pronounced on personal sins while social sins are ignored. Too many illiberals treat social programs as their enemy in order to conserve gain. The God of justice in the last days will take us out of that.

The enemy has taken the word liberal and given it a sinister and evil connotation and frequently used as an insult. The word is taboo in polite bourgeois society, as though a liberal, while not an out-and-out communist is inclined to be subversive if the opportunity presented itself. Then the word liberal was confused with licentiousness. Open-mindedness and spirituality towards the scriptures began to confused with being lax by those who would submit to the letter rather than the spirit and the gospel preached to the poor was virtually forgotten.

The liberal wing in this country is losing ground because of the lack of spiritual direction, that is why so many are distancing themselves from it. There will be a mass rejection of Republican conservatives but electing Democrats won't make much difference. It seems that there are two sets of people that have a vested interest in war, the neoliberals and the neoconservatives. Not much difference there. The progressive voice has always been way down there in terms of popularity but moving up fast in terms of social democracy and justice. I can see this as the fourth wave of the Holy Spirit when it hits the church. Restoration in the church is the order of the day. Liberalism may return to the course it was on in the good old days when liberality meant something noble. The knowledge of God is given to the remnant out of Babylon who reveals the true faith of our fathers to the whole world, fulfilling the proverb: "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that waters shall be watered also himself."

Isaiah spoke of these last days and condemned the fools that speak against liberality when a:

King shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl (a fool, a miser) said to be bountiful. For the vile person will speak villainy and his heart will work iniquity to practice hypocrisy and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. The instruments also of the churl are evil, he devises wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaks right. But the liberal devises liberal things and by liberal things shall he stand. Isaiah 32:1-8.

Truth can be elusive in coming or it can come in an instant. The church has been hesitant to speak the whole truth, there is a fear of speaking out. Illiberal Christians have become so inundated with right wing politics that to come out in favor of apostolic truths is considered an assault against the fundamental truths of the church. Liberals are considered reactionary, sinful infidels and unpatriotic. Illiberal Christians have sought the approval of the church rather than the approval of God even when these truths and proper definitions are known. Many are afraid to speak out against social injustice simply because these are the last days and many of us will be killed. On the other hand, the Christian church for the most part supports the conservative governments that have brought it, so delusion is involved as well as personal responsibility.

God knows us very well and whether our hearts are liberal or illiberal. We are all guilty and need to repent but bottom line is that true liberal action involves distribution "unto every man according as he had need" and conservatives have deemed that evil. Loving each other beyond our own involves much more. Misplaced dominionism has swayed Christians and must be understood and overcome for the veil of delusion to be lifted. The conservative church seems too comfortable in their bourgeoise mediocrity and the system that protects it while true liberalism challenges it. I would like to take the "ism" out of liberal as an ideology and put liberal back where it belongs and that is in the heart. Either we show liberality to others or we don't, the seal of God is there or the mark of the beast is there.

There was no liberalism in the middle ages because the Roman Church exercised the universal coercive power. The liberals of the more recent past understood the scriptures as records of God's progressive revelation, culminating in Jesus and carried on by His spirit throughout history. Progressive thought was opposed by the extreme fundamentalists of the 20th century. Once the spirit is quenched, selfish values are conserved and liberal values suffer. We must stand with Paul who praises those who supply the wants of those in need and "glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ and for your liberal distribution unto them and unto all men." Yes, says Paul, all men, not just the saints or those in your own church or your own family.

In politics, the original liberals were persons who advocated social reform through a lessening of state power to liberate the population from controls. These are not the liberals of today, those are now called libertarians and oppose governmental action toward the poor. Libertarians are not liberal, in government, the liberals and libertarians are on opposite poles. Where a liberal democrat is often accused of being big government, libertarians would be happiest with no government at all. When a liberal in government wants to do the most for the people, the libertarian doesn't want anything from the government, abolish taxes, leave us alone. Society and government should be concerned with elevating people in need, not leaving them alone but if a liberal wants tax dollars spent on the poor, libertarians would rather let them take care of themselves or die, no social programs or social security at all.

Neither is it in the liberalization that the World Trade Organization and the IMF is promoting for the world economy. That is the freedom of the open market to exploit, the laissez faire of a false democracy and intended only to dominate the working class. True liberals believe in an orderly gradual transformation, a spiritual liberation of mankind from the last vestiges of un-freedom yet preserving enough of state power to insure general orderliness and tolerance and in providing for the poor.

Liberal economics refers to the willingness to intervene in the free operation of the market if a question of justice demands it. The liberal maintains that the costs of an uncontrolled market-place of false liberalization are most often borne by those in society who are least capable of bearing them: the poor, the elderly, the infirm. Economic efficiency at any cost is unacceptable. True liberals see a need for greater government involvement through economic planning. Conversely, those opposed favor de-regulation which has been the major cause of inflation, economic discrimination and exploitation, low wages to keep their own wages higher and have swelled the national debt to outrageous proportions. Liberal reform, problems of the poor, the minorities, education, compassionate and tolerant government power, civil rights, human rights and economic democracy are the issues stressed by the liberals. The western liberal tradition of justice holds that certain basic rights must be distributed equally, and that they must be constant with the dignity of human personality.

By rejecting liberal actions and the social gospel, conservative Christians went the way of mammon and anti-social behavior. The Pharisees were condemned for the same attitude. Dying for us in selfless love makes Jesus the greatest liberal in history in that He gave a sinless life to redeem mankind. The carnal, self-serving mind will not understand Christian freedom and will enforce legalistic rules designed to suppress the truth that sets others free. The ideal of the religious personality shown through liberality is unsuited for the thinking of the average person who has chosen self-interest over compassion. Judgment begins at the house of God and liberality is the plumb-line.

In this generation, liberalism has now bound itself to the ideal of personality in a world gone mad with right-wing oppression. As long as the majority of its people remain selfish and ignorant, liberality will be opposed by those lacking in wisdom and godly knowledge purely for selfish economic gain.

Thoreau: "With wisdom we shall learn liberality.
Eugene McCarthy: "There are pure liberals, self styled liberals, avowed liberals and pseudo-liberals."
Chomsky: "Liberalism has always been seen as the main anti-authoritarian creed in the Western tradition."
Montesquieu "The goal of righteous political order is to insure the moderation of power by the balance of powers by the equilibrium of people."

Most liberals do not want an authoritarian political theory that holds out a particular life for the individual and are generally opposed to any form of society that tries to impose such an ideal. The intellectual tradition is liberal because of the intrinsic open-mindedness of the movement. The liberal insists that answers must be given by each person for themselves and that it's the utmost insult to attempt to decide that question socially for individuals. Liberalism requires a mind given toward equality, and that equality is the essence not only of economic but also of political and basic human rights.

Jesus died on the cross to give us these freedoms and only with true liberal thinking can we reject the legalistic oppression that has enslaved those under the delusion. Christian liberation is the sweet aroma of the gospel and those opposed have brought the church into a strange smell of oppression. The false democracy and economic liberalization that we have today is only suited for the rich and powerful in society and against any fair showing of liberality or rights for the poor.
[50, 75, 95, 132, 151, 155, 191, 231, 252, 264, 280, 300, Isaiah 32, Proverbs 11]

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