Another Pastor asked
ANOTHER PASTOR>> Wow! How can you be both ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal?
ME>> You have just vindicated my entire life for Christ. Thank you!
American Christians, soaked in American culture, have adopted a simplistic two-party worldview. Just like American politics teeters between the labels of Democrat and Republican, so American Christians teeter between the labels of Liberal and Conservative. Labels can be useful. However, in this case the labels are neither sufficiently defined nor granular enough to encompass all the issues. The net result is the polarization of our nation and the polarization of the American church. In fact the current polarization could be compared to the division between the legalistic Jews and licentious gentiles of Jesus' day. The Jews could be compared with the conservative Republicans and conservative Christians of our day and the gentiles with the liberal Democrats and liberal Christians. This is a curious repetition of history.
The problem with conservativism is that it is not conservative enough, at least according to Jesus' standards. "Conservatives" find self-righteous pride in pointing out what is wrong and what is right. Meanwhile they do not live up to their own standards and especially not Jesus' standards. They (and we) sin daily! Read Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and you will see that his standard of right and wrong blows all of our hypocrisy out of the water and into plain view. Not one human being on the planet has met his standard of righteousness, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" Matthew 5:48 (WEB). Jesus was ultra-conservative, with perfect righteousness.
Likewise the problem with liberalism is that it is not liberal enough according to Jesus' standards either. "Liberals" pride themselves on standing up for the minority and being the voice of all people. However, put their (and our) philosophy to the test and you will see that their altruism falls short with arbitrary lines in the sand. Read the gospels and you will see that Jesus' standard of inclusivity for the love he gave (not merely offered) is for every human being that ever lived for all time, from Cain to Abel and Hitler to Mother Theresa. Not one human being on the planet has matched his passionate love for even his enemies with the words, "Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing" Luke 23:34 (WEB). Jesus was ultra-liberal with grace and forgiveness, given to ALL mankind.
So with God's help I hope to praise the righteousness of Christ that exposes the utter sinfulness of all mankind, as well as praise the grace of Christ which brings salvation for all mankind. My words are nothing. Look to Jesus and you will see his righteousness and grace in perfect measure at his cross for you and all mankind!
As an aside, the message that the atonement has effectively paid for the sins of all mankind is not a "liberal" view, but in fact the Biblical view of the atonement. Contrary to Calvinism, Christ is glorified for his incarnation as the new federal head of ALL mankind, Romans 5:18. Contrary to Arminianism, Christ is glorified for his grace in the salvation of all mankind without any human condition, Romans 5:18. To say otherwise is to offend either the glory of his incarnation or his grace. To say otherwise is to divide the very body of Christ or to redefine faith to be a work rather than simply trust. To say otherwise is to leave the high ground of Christ, falling to the "left" or "right" with simplistic "liberal" or "conservative" thinking and debate.