The Difference Between










Liberalism (Modernism)

True Christianity

"they have REJECTED

the Word of the LORD


what WISDOM is in them?"

(Jeremiah 8:9; Proverbs 1:7)

They have RECEIVED the Bible

not as the word of men but as it is in truth,

the Word of God

(1 Thess. 2:13; John 17:17)


they possess the WISDOM OF GOD

(1 Cor. 2:13-14; Eph. 1:17; Prov. 1:7)

*The Bible CONTAINS the Word of God. We can subjectively pick and choose what parts of the Bible are true.

The Bible IS the Word of God. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16 and compare 2 Peter 1:20-21)

*Jesus Christ was a GOOD MAN, probably the BEST MAN that has ever lived.

Jesus Christ is the GOD-MAN, the CREATOR, the blessed Son of Man, the eternal Son of God (John 1:1,2,3,14,etc.).

*The birth of Jesus Christ was NATURAL (see Isaiah 7:14 in the Revised Standard Version)

The birth of Jesus Christ was SUPERNATURAL (Matthew 1:20-23 and Luke 1:37).

*Jesus Christ died as our EXAMPLE

Jesus Christ died as our SUBSTITUTE (Isaiah 53:6 and 2 Corinthians 5:21).

God is the FATHER OF ALL MEN (the universal Fatherhood of God)

GOD'S CHILDREN are only those who have put their faith in Christ (John 1:12). Many people have the devil as their father (John 8:44).

All men are BROTHERS (the universal brotherhood of man)

Not everyone belongs to the same family. There are TWO FAMILIES (1 John 3:10).

*Man is the product of EVOLUTION

Man was CREATED directly by God (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7 and Matthew 19:4).

*Man is the unfortunate VICTIM of heredity and environment, but through self-culture and self effort, he can save himself.

Man is a SINNER, fallen from original innocency, and unless he receives the Lord Jesus Christ, he is eternally lost (John 3:16-21; Rom. 3:23-24).

*Man is justified by WORKS in following Christ's example. The result: natural development from WITHIN

Man is justified by FAITH in the atoning blood of Christ. The result: supernatural regeneration from ABOVE (John 3:3; Rom. 5:1,9; Tit. 3:4-6).

There are MANY ROADS that lead to Heaven

Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).


ONLY A FEW WILL FINALLY BE SAVED (Matthew 7:13-14), although God's salvation is freely offered to all (Rev. 22:17).

*Those sections marked with an asterisk (*) are taken from or adapted from the excellent tract by Franklin G. Huling entitled Fundamentalism vs. Modernism--What is the Difference?

Liberalism (Modernism)

True Christianity

Concerning HELL: A loving God would never condemn anyone to hell.

Those who reject Jesus Christ are condemned already (John 3:18). HELL is very real.

The LOVE OF GOD is over-emphasized and the judgment and wrath of God is rarely mentioned.

The judgment and wrath of God is carefully taught (Rom. 1:18,32; 2:3,5,16; etc.) and the love of God is presented in full view of Calvary's cross (Rom. 5:8; John 3:16; etc.).

NO WARNING is given about false doctrine, false teachers, etc.

Warning is a key part of a faithful ministry (Acts 20:28-31).

The liberals recognize and tolerate "MANY FAITHS" and "many faith expressions"

Bible believers recognize that there is only ONE TRUE FAITH (Jude 3 and Eph. 4:5,13).

ECUMENICAL--they seek the compromising UNION of all churches and all faiths

SEPARATIST--they separate from those churches and individuals who deny the "doctrine of Christ" (2 John 9-11; Rom. 16:17-18; etc.).

SOCIAL GOSPEL and social action


missionary zeal

Seek to meet man's PHYSICAL NEEDS (food, clothing, medicine, etc.).

Seek to meet man's SPIRITUAL NEEDS (salvation from sin) first and foremost

Concerning the RESURRECTION: "the influence and example of Jesus lives on"

The Lord Jesus ROSE AGAIN BODILY from the grave and is exalted at the right hand of God (1 Corinthians 15; Eph. 1:20-23)

There is an avoidance of and a disregard for PROPHETIC TEACHING especially concerning the second coming of Christ

The prophetic statements of Scripture are accepted at face value and the Bible has much to say about the blessed hope that Jesus is coming again (John 14:3; Titus 2:13)

Key Message: "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR" "Do unto others" "Obey the Golden Rule" etc. (MAN-CENTERED)

Key Message: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31; and see 1 Cor. 2:2 and 1 Cor. 15:1-4)


Emphasis: The emphasis is placed on the Gospels--the earthly life and ministry of Christ (Jesus as a FELLOW HUMAN).

Emphasis: The emphasis is placed on the crucified, risen, exalted, heavenly Lord who is coming again! (Jesus as GOD WITH US and GOD FOR US!)

Note: In Acts through Revelation there are 183 verses on the death of Christ; 97 on the resurrection; 162 on the heavenly life and ministry of Christ; 203 on the second coming and only 8 verses on the earthly life and ministry of Christ (Acts 20:35; Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:13; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:7 and 2 Peter 1:15-18)!


SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF LIBERAL CHURCHES: The people meet for worship on Sunday morning only. Most liberal churches do not have an evening service or a mid-week prayer meeting service. The people rarely carry Bibles to church and Bibles are not usually found in the pews. The "clergy" always pray and the people in the pew are never called upon to pray. The "minister" (often called "minister" rather than "pastor") will never preach verse by verse through a book of the Bible. The sermons are usually based, not so much on a Bible text (although verses will be referred to during the course of the sermon) but on some event that was recently in the news, some political happening, something that was seen on television, etc. An invitation for salvation will never be given from the pulpit. The terms "saved" and "unsaved" are rarely used. NOTE: This chart describes those liberals in the "Protestant" tradition. However, some of these liberal characteristics may be found and noticed among certain Catholics as well.




Theological Liberalism Self-Defined


“Perhaps the most revealing critique of old liberalism was authored, not by a Fundamentalist, but by H. Richard Niebuhr. In his book, The Kingdom of God in America, he observed that in liberalism, ‘A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross,’ (p. 193). To these characteristics could be added that liberals knew God through a Bible without authority—a defect that Niebuhr also shared.”


---Kevin Bauder

"In the Nick of Time"

January 15, 2010




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