Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Conservatism VS Liberalism

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
It is interesting to me that the term, "conservative," is not found in the Bible while the term liberal is. In 2nd Corinthians 9:12-13 the Apostle Paul commended the Corinthians for their "liberal distribution." Let me quote those passages, "For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men..." it is equally interesting that the Apostle was speaking of the blessedness of giving in the context of the scripture. (See 2nd Corinthians 9:1-15) In the Old Testament Proverbs 11:25 says, "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." There are two other places on the Old Testament that the word liberal is used. In neither case is it used in a derogatory manner. (See Isaiah 32:5-8)

As I write these words I am made to wonder how many preachers have used 2nd Corinthians 9:6-7 to encourage giving by the Saints of God, all the while considering themselves to be staunchly conservative. For that matter how many time have I done so. Before I retired from my secular job I remember sitting in my supervisor's office having a discussion about various things. She was a staunch liberal in her political views. I asked her if she knew the difference between a political liberal and a religious liberal? She said she didn't, so I proceeded to explain the difference. I told her that when a religious liberal saw a need they reached into their pocket to meet the need. When a political liberal saw a need, they reached into someone else's pocket to meet the need. She thought that was funny. I think it is true.

Conservatism and liberalism are political terms. I was brought up in a Rooseveltian democratic home. My mother and my stepfather had (probably) never voted for, what they considered to be, a fat cat Republican. (Although my mother at the last of her life, did vote for President George H. W. Bush) As a young person, I never heard anything good about Republican candidates or incumbents. My folks sang the praises of the Democrat party. When I became a Christian at age 23 I found my true conservatism coming to the fore. I could not stomach what the democrats stood for. I still can't. (BTW, I am neither a Republican or a Democrat but a political independent)  However, I hope I am a religious liberal. When I see a need, let me reach into my own resources and try to meet the need.

So, in my view, while the term conservative and liberal may be an accurate description in a political sense, there is nothing wrong with liberality in a religious sense. (1st Corinthians 16:3 and 2nd Corinthians 8:2)  My prayer to the Lord Jesus is that your and my bones may be made fat. There is nothing wrong with the term "liberal."

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