Liberation Theology and Socialism

In March 2011, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, under whose pastoral ministry Barack Obama worshiped for more than twenty years, acknowledged that liberation theology and socialism are interchangeable concepts, and he conceded that liberation theology could also be equated with Marxism. Rev. Wright said that his ministry in Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ during those twenty years had a distinctly political edge because he was convinced that it was the church’s prime mission to advocate for the dispossessed, the impoverished, and those who are shut out of the corridors of power.

During the presidential campaign of 2008, Barack Obama began to distance himself, at least publicly, from Rev. Wright’s ministry and openly anti-American rhetoric. The brief spotlight on Rev. Wright, however, did expose the true nature of the merger of a leftist political agenda and a perverse religious philosophy, an amalgamation that appears now in many public policies of the federal government.

Liberation theology emerged as a distinct movement in Latin America in the late 1960s. In some respects, it marked an application of the modernistic theology that impelled the World Council of Churches to become involved in various “anti-imperialist” crusades in Asia and Africa as well as in Central and South America. In 1992, the Jesuit Peter Burns wrote an essay titled The Problem of Socialism in Liberation Theology. He observed, “But there is a strong case to be made that a left-wing political posture, though somewhat indeterminate, has been a marked feature of liberation theology. In particular, many liberation theologians have at various times and in various ways made explicit a preference for socialism over capitalism.”

The foundation of liberation theology is the use of certain Biblical statements as a call to redress the economic inequities of the world through political revolution — even using violence if required to achieve the objective. Some defenders of that objective complain that liberation theology is fading as a philosophy, but the pursuit of redistributionist economic policies in the United States is an indication that the theology has found a home in Washington D. C..

Historically, Fundamentalists have opposed this philosophy as an attack on the doctrines of Scripture, which mandate personal responsibility as essential to one’s own welfare. Paul warned the Thessalonians that if anyone refused to work to provide for his own needs, he should not eat (II Thess. 3:10). While rejecting class warfare rhetoric and false guarantees of egalitarian economic outcomes, Fundamentalists call for the compassionate treatment of those who are unable to provide for themselves.  In fact, Bible-believing people have a well-documented track record of generosity with their time and money in the assistance of those who are in genuine need.

Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches, at its 71st Annual Convention, October 23-25, 2012, in the Cedar View Independent Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, resolves to maintain Fundamentalism’s historic adherence to the Word of God by rejecting perverted religious and political pleas to create a society that is marked by false egalitarian claims to fairness, chronic governmental dependency, collectivism,  forced redistribution of wealth, class warfare, political upheaval, and the unintended consequences of elitist expertise that contradicts the plain teachings of our Lord.  While we acknowledge our calling to assist the helpless in any way possible, we also recognize that God alone is the author of all blessings and that in Him alone must every person find the supply of every need.

Picture: By James Watkins (Flickr: Kansas Summer Wheat and Storm Panorama) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Liberation Theology and Socialism
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Author: American Council of Christian Churches

Since 1941 the ACCC has sought to PROVIDE information, encouragement, and assistance to Bible-believing churches, fellowships and individuals; to PRESERVE our Christian heritage through exposure of, opposition to, and separation from doctrinal impurity and compromise in current religious trends and movements; to PROTECT churches from religious and political restrictions, subtle or obvious, that would hinder their ministries for God; to PROMOTE obedience to the inerrant Word of God.