I know I commented on this the other day and want to say that while Pastor Wright was way off and it is obvious that his politics and history had greatly tainted his theology, we all must be careful of this same flaw. For many of us, this hermeneutic failure is something all of us struggle with. I do not think I was as clear as I wanted to be previously so here is something I wrote about liberation theology earlier this year.
In light of a Latin American missiological history, we must point out that the Catholic Church and Protestant missionaries did not pay enough attention and give enough concern to the needs and context of the culture they were trying to reach. Many European Christians brought with them a gospel that was removed from political, and economical worries, and only honed in on the individual aspect of salvation. Because of the lack of connection between the Church and the need of everyday people, such events as Vatican II took place and gave rise and credibility to movements such as liberation theology. Liberation theology was in many ways a reaction to the blindness and ineffectiveness of the church in Latin America to address and respond to the needs of many. Many of these liberation theologians kept looking at the massive amounts of suffering and pain of the people in their midst and became exasperated with the lack of action on the part of the Church. In a continent that was experiencing so much suffering, oppression and corruption, the church as for too long, sinfully silent.
It is quite easy to empathize with the concerns of liberation theologians, in their concerns about the lackadaisical response on the part of the church. For most liberation theologians their actions showed that their theology was more than just empty rhetoric, as a pillar of the liberation movement was to see theologians immerse themselves amongst the poor and experience their plight as a way of life and doing theology. But we must be clear in seeing that liberation theologians have so desperately wanted to see change for those who are suffering they are willing to embrace ideas and mentalities that have little regard for the totality of scripture. This is one of the chief concerns that Samuel Escobar voices about liberation theology, along with their faulty ideological starting point. “In the case of missiology linked to liberation theologies, a distinctive note is that they presupposed the Marxist utopia.”
Black Liberation theology commits many of these same errors, by ignoring the totality of scripture and its narrative in favor of a specific cause or plight. Anyway, thanks for posting this matt.
First, “Many of these liberation theologians kept looking at the massive amounts of suffering and pain of the people in their midst and became exasperated with the lack of action on the part of the Church.”
This is still happening today, because people instinctively abdicate their own mandate to Love Thy Neighbor and simply figure that the larger body, whether religious or political, will do it for them. The “church” only acts when the people in the church act. The church is only a living body of Christ insomuch as its people LIVE. Strip away any theology at all, and the liberation theologioan is someone that wants to see their neighbor loved. Fine, do that. Being anti-scriptural or overly critical indicates and expectation that an institution will do the loving for the people. Institutions cannot love. People can love. Presupposing a Marxist utopia merely reinforces my claim, that these theologians hoped for a cure-all institute, and became upset when neither the church nor the government could solve those problems.
Second: Ryan, does this affect your view at all of Obama as a candidate? Which is more desirable, a candidate that has 20 years of grounding and tacit agreement with the extreme fringe of Christianity, even to the point of being called to “reject God’s love if God is not for the destruction of the White Race” OR a candidate that has nominal orthodox beliefs, or even no evidence of beliefs at all?