April 28, 2008
Obama’s Religion “Liberation Theology”?
By Roger Wm. Hughes
Obama’s religious mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, declared that the attack on him was an attack on the Black Church in America. Wright then went on to say that the Black Church in America was about “Liberation Theology.”
What is Liberation Theology? It is a movement that worships and proclaims a “let-my-people-go" Jesus. It follows the Bible’s Old Testament stories of God liberating His people from oppressors and teaches that Jesus’ purpose is the same.
This denies hard, Bible truth: Jesus Christ did not come to set the Jewish people free from Roman oppression. He did not preach “Let my people go.” Here is what Christ said to His disciples: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36)
Nor did Christ come to be the liberator of the poor. Here is what Jesus Christ said regarding the poor: “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always,” (Matthew 26:11)
Wright’s Liberation Theology is proclaimed to be about reconciliation and, no doubt, reparations as well. This is a theology that is bound to historical events as opposed to the promise of eternity. It is the taking of the Sermon on the Mount and making it a legal document. In truth, Christ’s Sermon on the Mount teaches that His admonitions are not possible until his second coming. Contrary to Christ, “Liberation Theology” would have us bring back the law.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now, Pope Benedict) has delineated the fallacy of this false prophesy as being nothing more than class conflict. It is the making of Christianity into a conflict, which must be atoned through socialism. It is anti-Christian. Socialism, after all, is the beginning of worldly tyranny.
Ratzinger wrote the following preliminary note on Liberation Theology:
III. Central concepts of liberation theology
So we have arrived at the basic concepts of the new interpretation of the Christian reality. Since the individual concepts occur in different contexts, I will simply discuss them one after another, without any systematization. Let us begin with the new meaning of faith, hope and love. Concerning faith, one South American theologian says, for instance, that Jesus' experience of God is radically historical. "His faith is transformed into fidelity." Thus faith is fundamentally replaced by "fidelity to history". Here we see that fusion between God and history which makes it possible to keep the Chalcedonian formula for Jesus, albeit with a totally changed meaning: it is clear that the classical tests for orthodoxy are of no avail in analyzing this theology. It is asserted "that Jesus is God, but it is immediately added that the true and only God is he who reveals himself historically and as a stumbling block in Jesus, and in the poor who prolong his presence. Only the person who holds together these two affirmations is orthodox."
Hope is interpreted as "confidence in the future" and as working for the future and thus is subordinated once more to the history of class conflict.
Love consists in the "option for the poor"; i.e., it coincides with opting for the class struggle. In opposition to "false universalism"'; the liberation theologians emphasize very strongly the partiality and partisan nature of the Christian option; in their view, taking sides is the fundamental presupposition for a correct hermeneutics of the biblical testimony. Here, I think, one can see very clearly that amalgam of a basic truth of Christianity and an un-Christian fundamental option which makes the whole thing so seductive: The Sermon on the Mount is indeed God taking sides with the poor. But to interpret the "poor" in the sense of the marxist dialectic of history, and "taking sides with them" in the sense of the class struggle, is a wanton attempt to portray as identical things that are contrary.
The fundamental concept of the preaching of Jesus is the "Kingdom of God". This concept is also at the center of the liberation theologies, but read against the background of marxist hermeneutics. According to one of these theologians, the Kingdom must not be understood in a spiritualist or universalist manner, not in the sense of an abstract eschatological eventuality. It must be understood in partisan terms and with a view to praxis. The meaning of the Kingdom can only be defined by reference to the praxis of Jesus, not theoretically: it means working at the historical reality that surrounds us in order to transform it into the Kingdom.
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