Am I a liberal or am I a conservative? That’s good question. I’m sure that many who read this blog have determined in their mind that I am one or the other. I’ve even claimed, at one time, to be in one camp. However, I have developed some problems with these labels recently.
When I was growing up, it was so easy. Liberals = bad, Conservatives = good. I was loud and proud of my conservative heritage. However, as I grew up and began to serve I met a lot of folks who, initially at least, I wasn’t sure of when it came to theological persuasion. As I grew with them, I learned that they believed what I did about God’s word, social problems, and many others things, and yet I found out that many of them were being called liberals. I wondered how I could spend time, along with my family, with men who were some of the greatest of our conservative leaders, and be considered “one of us” and yet my friends, with identical beliefs, could be considered liberals. Then I began to meet and get to know those who are decidedly conservative. In my interaction with them I found many to be abrasive, arrogant, and often legalistic. This wasn’t the conservatism that I knew.
As I have developed it has occured to me that we like labels. They make it easy for us to decide who we will endorse, and who we won’t. The problem with labels, I’ve found, is that no one really knows what they mean. See, growing up I thought it was easy. Conservative meant an innerantist, but then I met innerantists who were called liberals. Then I met conservatives who explained to me that there were a variety of new (to me) stipulations that I needed in order to be conservative. I heard everything from, “You’ve got to use the KJV” to “You can’t let your kids go to public school” to “You’ve got to wear a suit and tie to church.” All of this has left me confused, and at times frustrated.
So, with that in mind, I’ve decided I’m not a liberal or a conservative….I’m biblical. I know some of my conservative companions will decided that I’m a liberal now because of that, and you know what, that’s ok. If you feel the need to do so, I guess you’ll have to ease your conscience that way. As for me, I’m going to be happy to simply read and study scripture, be convinced in my mind of its truths, and adhere to those truths and partner with those who do the same thing. I believe that will be good enough for me, I hope it’s good enough for you. I’m going to work hard to remain faithful to God’s teaching about the gospel, social situations (abortion, homosexuality, racism, etc.) church polity, and so on.
I’ve had it with the namby-pamby theology of those who fail to follow God’s word. Just as equally, I’ve had it with the arrogant “correctness” and legalistic interpretations of too many conservatives. So, please, hear me today make this stand. I will no longer judge myself or my companions and/or partners by the liberal/conservative label. From today forward my questions will be in reference to biblical positions, and that alone.
Here’s hoping that this doesn’t get me crucified.