Liberal or Conservative?
Was Jesus considered a conservative or a liberal? Today, we look at him as conservative, for that is how many in the evangelical church want to think of him and that for which he stood. But in his day, he was likely seen as liberal, even radical in the minds of the religious leadership. Conservative and liberal are adjectives that found meaning in the centuries following the life of Christ and really have no bearing on him at all. According to Oxford Dictionaries, a conservative is one who holds to traditional attitudes and values and is cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion. That doesn't sound like Jesus. It says that a liberal is one who is open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values. The Jesus of the Gospels sounds very liberal. My point is that to use the terms conservative or liberal when it comes to Christianity is to do a disservice to what being a follower of Christ really is. Yes, Jesus was liberal in the eyes of a religion that no longer looked much like its God intended function. Jesus wasn't really changing anything that hadn't been part of God's orginal plan for Israel. He was in fact fulfillilng that plan and to fulfill that plan he had to critique the empty religion of his time, although in many ways he still followed much of that faith, living according to the God's law. So much of what Jesus did could be seen as a liberal agenda. He touched the poor, the infirmed, and the outcast. He raised the value of women. He declared freedom for the prisoner and the oppressed. He pointed out the disparity between the religious and the sinner, the rich and the poor. Christians today should abandon both terms. We are not conservative or liberal. We do not only stand for the tradtional life affirming values of marriage and child bearing, but we also support the empathy of meeting the needs of the outcast and the poor. I am conservative in my position regarding the interpretation of scripture, my orthodoxy in theology, and my understanding of biblical morality, but I won't be labelled a conservative just to meet someone else's idea of what it means to be a Christian in our present political and social climate.