Sunday, August 06, 2017

Moving the Goal Posts on Christian Liberty

Where do Christians have liberty?  They have liberty on non-scriptural issues.  Where the Bible is silent, believers have the liberty to do what they want, but with certain guidelines.  Believers don't have liberty to disobey scripture (Romans 6:1).  If it is scriptural, they must do it, whatever scripture says to believe and do. They don't have liberty not to do it.  If it is unscriptural they must not do it and they don't have liberty to do it.  However, if it is non-scriptural, they have liberty within some parameters to do whatever they want.

In the New Testament, even if a practice is non-scriptural, it still must be limited or regulated to varying degrees by certain principles laid out in 1 Corinthians 6-11.  A believer might have liberty to practice something non-scriptural, but it also might not be advantageous or the best practice.  He should regulate his practice by that principle, prioritizing the best practice above a merely permitted one. Liberty is for glorifying God, not for gratifying self, even if it is lawful.  Believers don't have liberty to cause a weaker brother to stumble, even in a practice where they have liberty.

Evangelicals and fundamentalists among other professing Christians today have moved the goal posts on Christian liberty.  Here's how they do it.  Instead of having liberty only on non-scriptural issues, they say there is liberty in at least two other ways.  In saying so, they have expanded the meaning of Christian liberty in unscriptural ways.  They are taking liberty with liberties in ways they don't have liberty to do so.

First, many professing Christians now say they have liberty where the Bible isn't clear. More and more belief and practice has been shifted into the unclear category.  If a person doesn't want to do what the Bible says to do or wants to do what it doesn't say to do, he needs only to say that the teaching isn't clear.  If someone deems some scriptural teaching to be unclear, it becomes a liberty issue.  More is unclear in Christianity than ever and there is an ever growing list of liberties.

Second, many professing Christians now say they have liberty in areas that are unimportant or non-essential.  They are free not to believe or practice whatever teachings are unimportant or non-essential.  They can do what they want in those areas.  Only essentials or important teachings are necessary or required.  Everything else is a liberty.

Today, if a Christian judges another professing believer in an area that he deems unclear or unimportant, the one judging is the one in trouble.  Now very often a Christian does not have liberty to judge someone else in an area or issue of liberty, which happens to be where scripture is either unclear or unimportant or not essential.  That considered by many now to be unclear or not essential in the Bible is now also treated by many like it is non-scriptural.  They have moved the goalposts on Christian liberty.

New Christian liberties are really faithless disobedience to scripture.  These are means by which professing believer either use grace as an occasion to the flesh or they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.


Kent Brandenburg said...


Ken Lengel said...


I have heard independent Baptists also declare that since a certain belief or practice is not "literally" seen or defined in the Scriptures, that it is non-essential and open to liberty. This is nothing but a straw argument. If someone said the Bible doesn't say I couldn't go to the movie theater, it would be just as legitimate to argue back that it doesn't say that you could either. That is where we need to return to principles in the Scriptures to determine if such a practice is valid of our time, money, or effort.

Also, one thing I see lacking from pastors is an explanation of the change/unspoken declaration of allowing things now that were once considered improper or sinful. I have heard so many lame excuses like "I am a pastor, not the Holy Spirit", when addressing whether or not they should chastise a volunteer teacher who practices and promotes behaviors that now fall under an ever growing list of liberties.