Conservative or Liberal?

Conservative or Liberal?

by Ty Gibson  |  April 27, 2015

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

Apparently, God sees in us an inclination to veer off course to the right or to the left. In fact, one of the words for sin in the Bible is “iniquity,” avon in the Hebrew, which means to be bent or inclined. It is a general characteristic of human beings to polarize into conservative and liberal camps, politically and socially. The fact that the church also experiences this same polarizing segregation to the right and to the left should clue us into the fact that we tend to bring our imbalanced personalities into religion with us.

Ellen White insightfully observed this fact:

“There is in human nature a tendency to run to extremes and from one extreme to another entirely opposite. Many are fanatics. They are consumed by a fiery zeal which is mistaken for religion, but character is the true test of discipleship. Have they the meekness of Christ? Have they His humility and sweet benevolence? Is the soul-temple emptied of pride, arrogance, selfishness, and censoriousness? If not, they know not what manner of spirit they are of. They do not realize that true Christianity consists in bearing much fruit to the glory of God” (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 305-306).

To be a conservative or a liberal is nothing of which to be proud. It’s a manifestation of our bent, unbalanced, sinful human nature.

Liberals tend to be proud of their liberalism, and conservatives tend to be proud of their conservatism. But the truth is, both are manifestations of the sin problem. Our extreme leanings to the right and to the left are two forms of the same mental illness.

Both conservatives and liberals in the church should find it deeply troubling that conservatives and liberals, Pharisees and Sadducees, united to crucify Christ.

To be a conservative or a liberal is nothing of which to be proud. It’s a manifestation of our bent, unbalanced, sinful human nature.

It doesn’t matter how different conservatives and liberals appear to be on the surface, because they tend to have one defining characteristic in common: they hate each other, or at least they dislike, discredit, disavow, and politically dismember one another. On both sides there is pride of opinion, arrogance of attitude and, most glaringly, a spirit of censor against the other side. So the differences are only skin-deep, while at heart they are moved by one and the same spirit—the spirit of self-serving enmity that crucified Jesus.

Bottom line: there is no virtue in being a conservative, and there is no virtue in being a liberal. The only virtue at all is in Christ, and our only real safety is to live His love toward those with whom we find ourselves at odds, especially toward those with whom we find ourselves at odds.

Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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