Mainline Decline, Liberation Theology & the Gospel

There is more to the Christian salvation than achieving liberation from classism and colonial tyranny in this fallen world.

Rev. Samuel said that God commanded the devotion of ancient Israelites as “the Divine Agent of their liberation,” having freed them “economic and political exploitation” in Egypt. Christians should thus feel empowered to live their “best life today” by drawing on God’s salvific work.

 

Liberation theology gained momentum last century as a liberal alternative to growing Evangelicalism, but without much widespread success. Its themes rooted in neo-Marxist identity politics failed to resonate beyond liberal elites, and liberation theology reached the apex of its limited popularity half a century ago.

Despite its marginal popular appeal, some Mainline Protestant clergy still push liberation theology today. Look no further than the ultra-progressive and perennially shrinking United Church of Christ (UCC). Rev. Kenneth L. Samuel – identified as “Pastor of Victory” at the World Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia – authored a devotion entitled “Lord of Liberation” on behalf of the UCC on October 8.

“Liberation Theology is a lens through which God is understood and related to as the Divine Being who sets us free from the sins of every kind of oppression,” Rev. Samuel wrote. “This understanding of God is especially vital to persons who have historically and systemically experienced bondage… even bondage that has been sanctioned by the church.”

Rev. Samuel said that God commanded the devotion of ancient Israelites as “the Divine Agent of their liberation,” having freed them “economic and political exploitation” in Egypt. Christians should thus feel empowered to live their “best life today” by drawing on God’s salvific work.

Blurring the lines between liberation theology and the prosperity gospel, Rev. Samuel went on to reference feel-good comments by Oprah Winfrey about achieving joy and freedom. Wrapping up his post, Rev. Samuel quoted Jesus Christ:  “Whoever the Son sets free, is free indeed.”

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