Baker: Too many churches infected with the "Curse of liberalism’
By Bob Baysinger
January 20, 2004
BELTON – Beware of liberalism!
This is the message that has been echoing from the pulpit at First Baptist Church, Belton, in recent weeks where David Baker has served as pastor the last 21 years.
Baker recently completed a six-week series of messages on “The Curse of Liberalism."
According to the Oklahoma-born preacher, liberalism is more than a political label or a theological camp. He defines liberalism in Missouri Baptist church life as “a cancer that destroys the ability of people to believe things that are important."
Baker said liberalism has made its way into many Missouri Baptist churches – even many which consider themselves conservative.
For a person to say they believe the Bible is true is not enough, Baker said.
“You have to live as if the Bible is true. Your decisions in your life have to be made on the view that Scripture really is the Word of God," Baker told his church.
“Some have decided the Bible is true but it cannot be interpreted consistently, so they don’t have any rules of interpretation. This way you can say I believe the Bible is true but I can live any way I want to live. If I want to be homosexual, I can be homosexual. If I want to be involved in drugs, I can be involved in drugs. The Bible is true, but if I want to drink alcohol, I can drink alcohol. If I want to be unfaithful to my marriage, I can be unfaithful.
“God will forgive me and we can put it all back together. The Bible is true, but I don’t think it has to affect my life," Baker said. “If this is your worldview, you are a liberal and you don’t believe the Bible is true."
He told the Belton congregation that liberalism is “the tendency … to develop a worldview apart from Scripture."
“Every single person has a philosophy of life," Baker said. “All have a context in life that is used for decision making. That context is made up of a belief system. Our belief system dictates how we live and how we function.
“Everyone has a worldview and that way of looking at the world dictates how you respond. When we study Scripture, the Bible indicates that our worldview is to be biblical. That worldview is to dictate the decisions that we make … how we are going to live our lives, how we are going to put our homes together, the kind of work we are going to do, how we act at work, the way we deal with culture."
Historically in our culture, Baker said, we have believed that the Bible is true.
“When we say we believe the Bible is true, we are saying we believe the words of the Bible are true. We’re not just saying we believe the Bible contains truth … that it is just one of many holy books in the world that contains truth, that all of the great religions have some claim on truth," Baker said.
“That’s not what we’re saying at all. We are saying the Bible is the Word of God and that the very words of Scripture are inspired by God."
Baker, pastor of one of the most conservative churches in the MBC, warned his people that no one is immune from the curse of liberalism. Using 1 John 4: 1-6 as the Bible text for one of his messages, Baker described liberalism as a “damnable heresy."
“These heresies hurt people, cause agony of soul and travail of the heart," Baker said. “They create within people significant problems that are not easily resolved and they are wholly inadequate to help us be what we need to be before a holy God.
“And yet we are so easily caught up in these philosophies," he added. “And that is why I say liberalism is a curse. It is a curse because it so easily affects us and so easily impacts us. We are so easily deceived.
“It is important for us that we develop our thinking so that we will know false teaching when we hear it and identify it so that we would not take that teaching into our lives. This great war that we are involved in will not go away – not in our lifetime and probably not until Jesus returns. It is going to be an ongoing challenge to us and maybe a war that we do not win."
Baker contends that a person cannot be both a theological conservative and a social and/or political liberal.
“These are incompatible," he said. “If you hold to the truth of Scripture, it is going to dictate your politics, your views of social issues, your view of the environment, your view of feminism and male patriarch."
Why is Baker convinced that liberalism has already entered some Bible-believing churches?
“This is evidenced by the accepted sexual immorality this is practiced by members of churches," Baker said. “It is revealed through the pagan worship in the life of a church. Many of our churches are involved in contemporary worship are involved in pagan worship and don’t want anybody to say anything to them about it.
“When I say anything they cry ‘worship wars, worship wars, worship wars.’ We really need to examine whether our worship is acceptable to God.
“Lack of Biblical giving is another sign of liberalism," Baker said. “Most believe money belongs to us and not to God, but the Bible says it is God’s. Attack on preaching and preachers are a sign of liberalism in the life of a church. And alcoholic drug use among Christians is another sign. Our church would be the largest church in the state right now if I would modify my position on alcohol."
Baker said liberals hate the discipline that says the Bible is our standard of truth and we’re going to judge everything by what the Bible says.
“They love the idea of the church being a psychotherapist," Baker said. “Just come, they say, and we will straighten out your thinking. But if you come here (to First Baptist, Belton), I’m going to tell you that you are all screwed up because you are sinful.
“I’m going to tell you that your own selfishness rules your love and the only way to overcome it is by the power of Jesus Christ."