Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Liberation Theology

Another distinctive trait of a theological system is Liberation Theology. Leave it to the Catholic church to try and boost their theology to make it better. Our study comes from the booklet Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House.

Liberation Theology

Theology-Theology is not seen as a system of dogmas but rather as a way to initiate social change. This view has been called the “liberation of theology” (H. Segundo). This theology out of Vatican II and the liberal theologians’ attempts to wrestle with social, political, and economic inequities in the face of a Christianity no longer based on a biblical world view. Much of the setting for liberation theology has been Latin America, and this theology has become an answer to the political oppression of the poor. The proponents often have different views; there is really no “unified” liberation theology. Rather, it is a number of closely related “alternatives” springing from common roots.. Rather than a classical theology concerned with such theological matters as the nature of God, man, or the future, liberation theology is concerned with this world and how change may occur through political action. In Latin America, especially, Roman Catholic theologians have sought to combine Christianity and Marxism.

God-God is active, always taking sides with the poor and oppressed and against the oppressors, so that he does not work equally for all. Liberation theologians emphasize immanence to the neglect of transcendence. He is mutable.

Christ-Jesus is seen as a messiah of political involvement. He is God entering the struggle for justice on the side of the poor and the oppressed. However, he was not a savor in the traditional meaning of the word. Instead, liberation theologians support a “moral influence” view of the atonement. There is no thought of a satisfaction of God’s wrath against man.

Holy Spirit-Pneumatology is virtually absent in liberation theology. It seems hard to find a role for the work of the Holy Spirit in the man-centered political systems.

Revelation-The Bible in not a book of eternal truths and rules, but a book of specific (but often unreliable accounts of) history. However, many texts are used to support of this theology, especially the account of the Exodus. Liberation theologians use the “new” hermeneutics in order to defend their view. Because their theology is built on Marxist analysis and seen as a useful way of creating “proper” actions (see Salvation), they primarily emphasize ethics that achieve the ends of movement.

-Salvation is viewed as social change in society where justice for the poor and oppressed is established. “The Catholic who is not a revolutionary is living in mortal sin” (C. Torres). Any method to that end is acceptable, even volence and revolution. The view tends toward universalism, and evangelism becomes merely an effort to create awareness to prepare people for political action.

Church-The church is perceived as a means to change society: “The pastoral activity of the church does not flow as a conclusion from theological premises…(it) tries to be part of the process through which the world is transformed “ (G. Guttierrez). Political neutrality is not an option for the church.

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