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Ask the Pastor 160

What is liberation theology?

Liberation theology became prominent in the decade of the 60’s along with the civil rights movement in the U.S. It is a movement that concentrates primarily on the Roman Catholic population of Latin America, as it was Roman Catholic theologians who started the movement. It was argued that the Latin America population was the most oppressed and impoverished of all people in the world. It was picked up by some Protestant theologians on behalf of blacks in the U.S. and South Africa. This theology argues that Christianity ought to be involved in political and social reform and be actively involved in the physical welfare of people as well as their spiritual welfare. “It sought to apply religious faith by aiding the poor and oppressed through involvement in political and civic affairs. It stressed both heightened awareness of the “sinful” socioeconomic structures that caused social inequities and active participation in changing those structures.” It is argued that not only should the gospel set one free from the bondage of sin but also from the bondage of economic and social oppression. We note that the same language is used here as is used in communist rhetoric. But what is more alarming is that just as communism is achieved through violence, so also is liberation theology as one liberator said, that he sets the oppressor free by killing him. I once had the opportunity to discuss this very subject with a Roman priest and he told me that the protestant gospel actually made more people prosperous than did liberation theology. Men who became born again, stopped drinking up their pay checks and had more money for their family. They became better employees and thereby got the promotions which enriched their life style and soon they became the more prosperous and well to do within their community. Unfortunately, liberation theology becomes nothing more than theistic communism. Our Lord stated that the truth will set us free (John 8:32) and upon our believing faith in Christ, we are no longer bound by sin (see Romans 6) and this freedom in Christ allows us to live a better and more prosperous life (John 10:10).

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