A Christian Understanding of Liberation Theology
By Dr. James Ricks
was vaulted to news prominence when presidential candidate,
Barack Obama's Pastor,
Dr. Jeremiah Wright,
decried that it was the basis for his controversial theology. The concepts
developed in the fifties and sixties were a combination of Christianity and
Marxist Communism. It was
developed by intellectual, humanist
priests in Central America to address income poverty. Many intellectuals
still believed in Communism at that time, for the redress of the poor, and still
do. At its inception, Liberation Theology combined the most important and
emotion-packed elements of Latin American culture, nationalism, opposition to
the United States, and revolution.
It is a form of
Christian Socialism and had a lot influence in
Latin America. In the
1980s its adherents were harshly admonished by
Pope John II. Some
believe that Liberation Theology met its demise as a result of the failure of
El Salvador in the late
1980s. Before its decline in
Central America the
concepts found a home among some black American theologians.
Pastor Wright stated on Fox News
that his theology was primarily based on the work of
James Cone. James
Cone grew up in the South after desegregation was first ordered. He noted bias
among white Christians. Eventually Cone developed a
“black theology” of liberation which he thought would foster freedom from
oppression, racism, and poverty. Cone argued that the white church and white
theologians had all failed in their duties to uphold biblical principles of
helping the poor and marginalized of society.
His “Black Liberation Theology” was promoted as primarily opposing racism but ALSO includes facets of Marxism as well, such as Anti-Americanism, and Socialism from an Afro-Centric point of view. Although Cone’s most obvious target was racism, his message was actually much broader. He criticized middle-class black churches as well as whites. His own version of class warfare is included in the Marxist Theology. These Marxist, anti-American sentiments are buttressed by an over emphasis on the negatives of American history without noting the many positive accomplishments. This OVERLY negative emphasis of the American experience is the gateway to increased bitterness.
WHY DID TOTAL SOCIALISM (COMMUNISM) FAIL TO HELP THE POOR
Communism can be classified as complete socialism which is Marxism. The
government runs the entire economy in a Communist system. Communism has been a
colossal economic failure because it ignores basic human nature. Over a billion
people suffered in poverty before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Once private
ownership and profits were outlawed most incentives to industriousness were
killed. In practical applications Communism has left people demonstrably poorer
and more destitute everywhere it is instituted. This includes Europe, Asia and
Latin America. Compare communist
East Germany’s poverty to
West Germany’s prosperity,
and starvation conditions in
North Korea while prosperity in
South Korea. However,
some intellectuals find the principles in theoretical Marxism so seductive that
all the pragmatic evidence is ignored. They simply believe in the underlying
principles so strongly, that they feel it MUST work, regardless of real-world
failures. Intellectuals are attracted to unrealistic
utopian theories and believe
social engineering. Their well-intended plans often create unintended
consequences. They want to inject the philosophy into theology as well.
Communism cannot help the poor because it harms any economy it attempts to run
by government bureaucrats. Workers have no incentive toward industriousness.
Private ownership is forbidden. The absolute power of the dictator corrupts the
system. Absolute power corrupts absolutely! The leaders of a Communist
government not only have a political dictatorship but also control all the
economic power in the name of the people. They have total power.
Book of Communism, details how these leaders have murdered over 100
million of their own people.
Marxism entails a
faulty view of wealth
Liberation Theology's greatest threat to Christianity is its tendency to allow
the gospel of Christ to be swallowed up by Marxism.
Romans 13:1-2 clearly states that
Christians should not engage in violent revolutions against the government. The
government at the time that the book of Romans was written was the pagan and
imperial Roman Empire. In the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy God clearly
instructs his people to voluntarily leave food in the fields for the
poor. They are told to give to the needy voluntarily. See
Lev 25:35-37. See also
Deut 15:7-11. The law also had
Jubilee years which came every fifty years, and years of release when all
property would revert back to the original family regardless of debts. All
debts were released at this time. These laws would fight long term poverty
trends. God condemns rich people who oppress the poor by not paying them fair
wages. See James 5:1-6.
God relied on changing the hearts of people by requiring voluntary giving. The giving to the needy was not handled by a vast central government. The giving was voluntary. The giving to the needy and widows was an act of worship. God would reward them. It was not government redistribution of income. God owns everything and is the ultimate source of all blessings. God wishes to change the hearts of men. Liberation Theology is dangerous because advocating violence to obtain social justice could result in a bloodbath. Millions of innocent people could be killed by uncontrolled violence. Secondly, the acceptance of Liberation Theology will almost certainly hurt Christianity. History shows that Marxism, happy for ecclesiastical support before a revolution, turns against religion afterwards because it is based on atheistic concepts.
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