U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Claire McCaskill, is being criticized by a handful of liberal clergy for remarks he made on a radio show concerning liberalism.
Akin, known for his commitment to Jesus Christ and as a conservative leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, was asked about NBC’s intentional deletion of the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance prior to that network’s telecast of the U.S. Open golf tournament.
Akin asserted that NBC’s decision “was done systematically, it was done intentionally, and is tremendously corrosive in terms of all of the values and everything that’s made America unique and such a special nation.” He continued by saying, “I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God. And so they’ve had a long history of not being at all favorable toward many of things that have been such a blessing to our country.” There is “a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.”
Of course it did not take long for the liberal media to call their like-minded clergy, most of whom are not Christians, for their predictable reaction. One cleric labeled Akin’s view ”outrageous” and “not befitting a member of Congress.” Notice how liberals do not just disagree, they call for retribution against anyone who expresses a view contrary to theirs. So much for tolerance.
But the question begs: Does liberalism have a hatred toward God?
Liberalism arose, ironically, as an effort to “save” Christianity. W. Robert Godfrey, president of Westminster Theological Seminary in California, noted in his essay, “Liberalism: Attractions and Dangers,” published in the May 1997 issue of “The Outlook,” that liberals believe the “intellectual challenge of the Enlightenment had made the defense of traditional Christianity impossible” and that if Christianity were to be preserved, “the faith had to be accommodated to modern standards of thought.” Modern science so spooked the Christian Church that the Church abdicated its long-held authority to government (man).
While liberalism took a variety of forms, certain common characteristics emerged, Godfrey explained. Liberals argued that the ultimate authority in theology must be man. Also, they insisted that the Bible was a record of human religious reflection and, while valuable, is not authoritative. Raising man above God makes Christianity intellectually respectable, or so they thought. This view allowed them to mix science and the latest philosophical fads so they do not seem anti-intellectual. (They) “could avoid the horror of being old-fashioned,” Godfrey said.
Liberalism could then become a unifying catalyst for humanity. “As any exclusive claims for Christianity faded, various denominations and various religions could all be appreciated and affirmed as contributing to the advance of the truth,” Godfrey said. “Liberals could exemplify the modern virtue of tolerance.”
Finally, liberalism is forward-looking, thus the related term “progressive.” Liberalism encourages optimism and that the future holds only advancement for mankind. This would explain human infatuation with immortality, cloning and even creatures that would be part human, part machine. Borrowing from the relativistic Greek Sophists, “man, not God, is the measure of all things.”
These characteristics have proven alluring as they have destructive. It is what Southern Baptist Ethicist Ronald Nash referred to as a “sophisticated sophistry.”
Liberalism in its postmodern form is a lie. It holds that truth is relative and its elevation of man (man and government are interchangeable terms) puts itself at odds with a transcendent God. This is not new stuff. Princeton University theologian J. Gresham Machen, in his powerhouse classic, “Christianity & Liberalism,” warns that liberalism is a different religion entirely. Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany, a Spainish Catholic priest, published a book in 1886 titled, “Liberalism Is A Sin.” It was republished in 1899 and widely distributed among Catholics.
So, does liberalism hate God? Its rebellion against the authority of the Bible leaves it in the position of calling God a liar. It is merely “a record of human religious reflection” or it is literally the words of God. Liberalism finds salvation, insofar as it speaks of it, in man. Christianity finds salvation in an act of God. Liberalism is prideful, relying too heavily on man’s intellect rather than walking by faith with the merciful Creator and Sustainer.
It should be noted that Akin was only referring to liberalism as a movement and was not targeting any individual. He is widely regarded as a Christian gentleman and his explanation following the criticism was an example of his character:
“People, who know me and my family, know that we take our faith and beliefs very seriously. As Christians, we would never question the sincerity of anyone’s personal relationship with God. My statement during my radio interview was directed at the political movement, liberalism, not at any specific individual. If my statement gave a different impression, I offer my apologies.”
Akin makes the distinction between “political liberalism” as opposed to “theological liberalism as you would expect a politician to do. However, from a theological perspective, there is no difference. They are in bed together.
You would think his gracious response would be the end of it, but no. It received an uncharitable reaction by the liberal clergy who dismissed it. They demanded a meeting at Akin’s office and yet another apology. Of course the media followed them every step of the way and giving the impression a flash mob was organizing. When they arrived they were met graciously. Only three people showed up at Akin’s office, a retired pastor and two other people, raising serious questions as to just how widespread the supposed outrage really was.
They presented a letter to Akin’s staff, a portion of which stated: “Accusing others of being inspired by hatred of God while you vote to deprive the weakest and most vulnerable of medicine and basic sustenance is the antithesis of moral leadership.” Akin never accused anyone of anything. For them to accuse Akin of denying people medicine and food is, well, outrageous. Liberals ought to talk to Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California. Warren will tell them, as someone who knows from having the experience of dealing with governments – many corrupt and oppressive – around the world to help the needy, that there is nothing the government can do better than the Church to help people in need. He made that clear in a fascinating press conference recently at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. Government will never save anybody from going to Hell.
Machen reminds us one of the difficulties in dealing with liberalism is it uses the language of Christianity. Consider the reaction by one clergyman concerning Akin’s comments:
“Many liberals believe in a God who is just and kind, merciful, compassionate, loving and good, a God who has created human beings with the intellect and capacity to govern ourselves in societies of freedom and peace.”
Looks pretty good. Notice, however, nothing is said about Jesus. Nothing is said about sin. Nothing is said about God being holy and a God of judgement. Why? Because man would be subsidiary.
He went on to say, “We affirm the rights of each human being to understand God in his or her own way, and we decry the arrogance that leads others to attempt to legislate faith.”
Akin did not say a word about denying anybody their rights. There is nothing arrogant about a man acknowledging the authority of Scripture, the need for a savior for his sin problem, the divinity and humanity of Christ and the sovereignty of God. Akin said nothing about legislating faith. So is he disqualified for having a high view of Scripture, placing his faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, and humbling himself before a sovereign, holy God?
Of course he’s not. Akin is what we need in Washington. He is a man of substance and character. He is a devoted father and husband who loves his country and wants what is best for it. God’s best for it.
Something that should not get lost in this is Akin’s assessment of NBC. It is correct. The personification of the network can be seen in the star of one of its hit shows, Alec Baldwin of “30 Rock.” Baldwin, a major supporter of the liberal People for the American Way and PETA, the violent animal rights group, recently referred to Minnesota Congresswoman, presidential hopeful and unashamed evangelical Christian Michelle Bachman as having “thuggish connections” while being “inarticulate” and ”full of sh–.” Of course Baldwin, the commercial face of the Capitol One Card (one of the biggest supporters of the homosexual movement in the nation), once said pro-life Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde and his family ought to be stoned to death.
It should not go unnoticed that NBC is considering a new show, “The Playboy Club,” described as a provocative new series about “a visionary who created an empire and an icon who changed American culture.” The show portrays Hugh Hefner who has objectified women and girls, normalized porn addictions, destroyed families and distributed hardcore pornography.
Of course NBC’s cablemate, MSNBC, is the liberal loudmouth of cable television.
I am glad Akin said what he said. The eternal destination of people, who are being misled, is at stake. It has provided an opportunity to shed light on a movement – while initially well-meaning – that has descended into the dark recesses of heresy. As Machen advised, “Light may seem at times to be an impertinent intruder, but it is always beneficial in the end.”
BY DON HINKLE / editor