Liberalism or Conservatism: Which is more Biblical?

The answer to the title question is readily available; that is, if one gives credibility to Biblical teachings.

Firstly let’s define both the political philosophies of liberalism and conservatism according to Webster.

Liberalism is a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race…Liberalism subscribes to the premise that government should be the instrument to implement social justice. One will quickly note the similarities of liberalism and progressivism.

Conservatism, on the other hand, is a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability…the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change. Contrary to liberalism, conservatism favors less government intervention in society and individual’s affairs. Therefore, while progressivism is identified with liberalism, the Tea Party espouses the conservative political philosophy.

Now then, armed with definitions, let’s see which political philosophy is closer to Biblical principles.

We’ll initially address the liberal premise relative to the ‘essential goodness of the human race.’

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”
Psalm 51:5

King David asserts in the above that all mankind, since Adam, is not born innately or essentially good but rather all mankind is born with a predisposition to sin.

Next, the liberal premise of progress implies change. In fact our current president campaigned on the promise to deliver ‘change we can believe in.’ The Bible is very clear, however, that the basic rules of conduct given by God do not require change to keep pace with societal trends. The benchmark by which all mankind is evaluated was revealed millennia ago and is immutable. The problem arises when man attempts to update God’s instructions to fit the contemporary norm.

Such an attempt to update or reinterpret Biblical teachings brings disaster. Over and over again in the scriptures mankind is encouraged to return to the basics. The Hebrew for return is shuv and can be interpreted as repent, turn, and/or go back. Shuv can further be defined as a movement back to the point of departure, i.e. a reversal in direction.

“It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”
Jeremiah 36:3

“Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to You…”
Malachi 3:7

Both of the above passages teach that to stray from God’s ordinances will ultimately bring adversity and in both passages God invites man to return to the basics, i.e. the original ordinances of God in order to receive His blessings.

Perhaps the best known scripture passage containing the premise of turning back to God is:

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:13-14

This passage vividly reaffirms that God controls the rain. Therefore, a drought is not a random occurrence, i.e. such adversity is in the hands of a sovereign God. Such adversity serves as ‘wake-up calls.’ In this light an adversity can be considered to be an ‘olive branch’ extended by a pleading God to get man’s attention.

When there is no rain and the locusts devour the land there is famine. Famine and pestilence are not limited to the Old Testament.

For example, the result of the four horsemen of the future apocalypse described in the final book of the Bible can be summarized thusly:

“…and power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death (pestilence)…”
Revelation 6:8

It appears that mankind in total will not ‘return’ or ‘go back to the point of departure’ but will continue to ‘progress’ towards contemporary norms which, according to the Bible, leads to destruction.

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