Tag Archives: Norman Geisler

Why I am not a theologically liberal person


By Spencer D Gear PhD

This article was published in On Line Opinion, 20 September 2021, Why I am not a theologically liberal person.

I have deliberately avoided using the sentence: “Why I am not a theologically liberal Christian” as I consider liberals have repudiated any sense of Christianity. John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar and a supporter of postmodern deconstruction stated: “In discussing the crucifixion, I argued that the story of Jesus’ burial by his friends was totally unhistorical. If he was buried at all, he was buried not by his friends but by his enemies. And not in a tomb hewed out of stone, but in a shallow grave that would have made his body easy prey for scavenging animals.”

What a disgusting way to speak of the death of the Saviour for the sins of the world. It is totally disrespectful and uncouth.

This is an example of theological liberalism in action. Crossan has added to the text, defining Jesus’ resurrection as “an apparition” (i.e. a ghost or phantom).

Jesus’ resurrection

When I was living in Bundaberg, Rev. David Kidd was the Uniting Church minister who wrote at Easter time 1999 in The Bugle, Bundaberg, Qld, Australia, a local freebie newspaper that was titled, “The Resurrection of Jesus.”  In it, he stated: ‘The resurrection of Jesus. It’s impossible.  Even our brain dies after a few minutes of death.  It’s just not possible’.

This is a characteristic example of what a person’s theological liberalism does to the Bible, by denying the supernatural and imposing a naturalistic, individualistic interpretation on the text. It is called eisegesis – imposing one’s own meaning on the text instead of allowing the text to speak for itself and for meaning to be obtained from the words of the text.

He did not get that view from the Bible. It was out of the mind and theological liberalism of David Kidd.

I would break the rules of grammar and syntax

For me to follow the examples above, I would discard the rules of grammar and syntax I use everyday for the reading of the Brisbane Courier-Mail. I would not go to the Bible for a literal understanding of its content.

Grammar is “the set of rules that explain how words are used in a language” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary 2021. “grammar.”) Syntax is “the way in which linguistic elements (such as words) are put together to form constituents (such as phrases or clauses)” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary 2021. “syntax”).

I would be ashamed of the Bible’s literal content.

To be a theological liberal, I would be ashamed of the literal interpretation of the Bible. I would be classified as a “fundamentalist” who would be scoffed at. I’m not afraid of the term “fundamentalist” but when it is used in a pejorative way, it comes loaded with the author’s presuppositions against Bible-believing Christians and the Gospel they share.

I would be accepting heresies.

Heresy - WikipediaIn NT Greek, the term from which we get ‘heresy’ is hairesis. Bauer, Arndt & Gingrich’s Greek Lexicon (1957:23) states that hairesis means ‘sect, party, school’. It was used of the Sadduccees in Acts 5:17; of the Pharisees in Acts 15:5, of the Christians in Acts 24:5. It is used of a heretical sect or those with destructive opinions in 2 Peter 2:1 (‘destructive heresies’ ESV).

The research article on hairesis by Schlier (in Kittel, vol. 1) states that its ‘usage in Acts corresponds exactly to that of Josephus and the earlier Rabbis’ but the development of the Christian sense of heresy does not parallel this Rabbinic use.

When the NT ekklesia (church) came into being, there was no place for hairesis. They were opposed to each other. This author states that ‘the greater seriousness consists in the fact that hairesis affect the foundation of the church in doctrine (2 Pt. 2:1), and that they do so in such a fundamental way as to give rise to a new society alongside the ekklesia (Schlier).

Surely that is what we see in the Uniting Church today in Australia (UCA) with its support of theological liberalism’s unbiblical doctrines and most recently endorsing homosexual marriages conducted by its clergy in its churches?

From the NT, heresy also is used to mean what Paul called strange doctrines, different doctrine, doctrines of demons, every wind of doctrine, etc. (1 Tim 1:3; 4:1; 6:3; Eph 4:14), as contrasted with sound doctrine, our doctrine, the doctrine conforming to godliness, the doctrine of God, etc. (1 Timothy 4:6; 6:1,3; 2 Tim 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1, 10).

Therefore, the UCA, in supporting same-sex marriage and the anti-supernaturalism of theological liberalism promotes heresy. This heretical poison will destroy the potential of any church or denomination for growth. According to the Christian Research Association, the UCA lost 31% of its attendance from 1996-2006.

Heresy kills denominations. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, heresy is the “belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.” A second definition is: “Opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted” (Oxford English Dictionary 2021. “heresy.”)

Sucked in by a secular agenda.

The major secular agenda today is the acceptance of homosexuality in society and in the church. This is not God’s view but that of a non-Christian perspective.

Dr. Norman Geisler in his chapter on ‘Liberalism on the Bible’ demonstrated how the rise of modern anti-supernatural liberalism had its roots as far back as Thomas Hobbes and Benedict Spinoza in the 17th century. He lays bare how liberalism’s view of Scripture includes:

  • An anti-supernatural basis of the liberal view of Scripture;
  • Cultural accommodation is necessary;
  • Negative criticism of Scripture;
  • The Bible is not the Word of God;
  • The Bible is fallible and errant;
  • The origin of Scripture is not by divine inspiration;
  • Sola Scriptura (the Bible is the only written and infallible authority for faith) is rejected.
  • The Bible contains contradictions, including scientific errors;
  • There is immorality in the Old Testament;
  • Human reason is prominent in interpreting the Bible;
  • There is a strong emphasis on human experience.

While theological liberalism is broad in definition, it also can accommodate the postmodern, deconstruction, reader-response ideologies of the Jesus Seminar.

Theological liberals have a major difficulty with the supernatural, so the God who creates and intervenes in our world is taboo. You would not expect to find support for the Virgin Birth or the bodily resurrection of Jesus in theologically liberal churches.

Do you want to empty your churches?

I am not a theological liberal because I do not want to empty the church I attend. In Australia, these are some of the statistics:

Some Australian denominations are in rapid decline while others are growing. According to our calculations based on various surveys, between 1996 and 2006, the numbers attending on a typical Sunday in Australia declined in the following denominations:

-36% Presbyterians,

-31% Uniting Church,

-25% Lutheran,

-19% Catholic,

-12% Anglican, and

-1% Seventh-day Adventist.

“The Church of England is just one generation away from extinction‘, (said) the former Archbishop of Canterbury” (Lord George Carey).

When John Shelby Spong was Bishop of the Episcopalian Church, Newark NJ, the Episcopalian Church lost 40,000 people. “His works infamously speculated that the Virgin Mary was impregnated by a Roman soldier, that St. Paul was a self-hating homosexual, and that Jesus’ unresurrected body was torn asunder by wild dogs.”

That is a brief summary of why I am not a theological liberal.


Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 08 September 2021

God’s election and foreknowledge for salvation

Bible Open To Psalm 118

By Spencer D Gear PhD

How would you respond to these statements on a Christian forum? We were discussing John 12:32.

All that the Father gave Christ shall come to Christ; that is the all that Christ draws to Him.
The all Jesus draws don’t reject Christ, they come to Him, they Willingly come to Him.

I responded:[2]

The Bible bases election on His foreknowledge (Rom 8:28-30; 1 Pet 1:1-2). We need to differentiate between God’s foreknowledge and His randomly determining all things and the distinction between God’s efficient and permissive decrees.

Why did sin enter the world? James N Anderson wrote, “Why would God permit such a tragic event, such an act of flagrant rebellion, in full knowledge of its horrific consequences? A friend of mine quipped, “I can answer that one in three words: I don’t know!”[3]

Anderson reasoned further:

clip_image002“In His infinite wisdom and goodness, God chose the plan that would bring the greatest good.”

clip_image002[1]“ God allowed the fall.

clip_image002[2] “God has good reasons for everything he does, including what he allows.

clip_image002[3] “Therefore, God had good reasons for allowing the fall, whether or not we can discern them.[4]

God foresaw sin’s entering the world but he did not decree it. God knows how people will respond to the Gospel invitation but he does not deliberately determine that response.

Regarding election we must have regard to God’s justice. Let’s admit it. God is not under any obligation to save anyone even though Jesus has provided salvation that is sufficient for all.

God would not be partial if he did nothing to provide salvation for all. But how can He be other than playing favourites if he selects some from the multitude of people throughout history and does nothing for the remainder who are doomed.

However, that is not how the Bible sees it. The common grace of God has been extended to all people so that everyone has the ability restored to be “willing to do His will” (John 7:17). God’s grace has appeared to all people (Titus 2:11) bringing or offering them salvation. Sadly for many this grace is futile.

Understanding this biblical view of election has the logical and practical ramifications, leading to great missionary and evangelistic actions. If God arbitrarily chooses some and damns the rest, why should the Christian be bothered with preaching or witnessing? When we know salvation is available to everyone, it stimulates resounding evangelistic and missionary activity.

What is God’s plan for permitting evil?

This is the question asked by Dr Norman Geisler.[5]

clip_image004 “In His infinite wisdom and goodness, God chose the plan that would bring the greatest good.”

clip_image004[1]“God deemed that the plan resulting in the greatest good would be to permit evil in order to defeat it, without destroying free will in the process.”

clip_image004[2]“As He is the greatest possible Good, God willed the greatest possible good for free creatures.”

clip_image004[3]“Furthermore, God used the greatest possible means to attain the greatest possible good.”

God is all-good. How can the Best Being possible do less than what is best to do? It would seem that the perfect Being must perform perfect actions, for less than the best does not measure up to the standards of the Best.[6]

[1] Christianforums.net, Theology, “Is man not really capable of seeking God?” brightfame52#550. Available at: https://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/is-man-not-really-capable-of-seeking-god.85385/page-28#post-1611696, accessed 4 March 2021.

[2] Ibid., OzSpen #559.

[3] Anderson, “Why Did God Allow the Fall?” The Gospel Coalition, Available at: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-did-god-allow-the-fall//, accessed 5 September 2021.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Geisler, Systematic Theology: Sin, Salvation (vol 3). Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, p. 155.

[6] Ibid.


Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 05 September 2021.