[Wow, long title for a post; the post won't be too long, I promise.]
The following is from Peter Lillback's interview on the Glenn Beck Show about Christianity and "social justice."
BECK: OK. Give me the origins of social justice.
LILLBACK: Well, let’s start in the context of Westminster Seminary. The man who started the school where I’m the president, J. Gresham Machen, wrote a book that revolutionized the 20th century. It was called “Christianity and Liberalism.”
And basically what he said is, is that liberals claim to be Christians, they use all kind of Christian vocabulary, but they give them different meanings. And that Christianity and liberalism are two different religions.
And that is the core of what you deal with now, really, a century after Dr. Machen started Westminster Seminary. The words are Christian, but they have been redefined. . . .
There are two ironies here: One is Lillback is speaking to a Mormon and this is exactly what conservative evangelicals have long accused Mormons of doing. Simply substitute "Mormonism" for "liberalism."
It was called “Christianity and [Mormonism].”
And basically what he said is, is that [Mormons] claim to be Christians, they use all kind of Christian vocabulary, but they give them different meanings. And that Christianity and [Mormonism] are two different religions.
And that is the core of what you deal with now, really,...The words are Christian, but they have been redefined.
The second irony is that Lillback himself, as a "Christian Americanist" has attempted to incorporate "liberalism" into HIS faith. That is, the American Founding was "liberal" in a small l sense. Classical liberalism. We are all -- even Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell -- as Francis Fukuyama pointed out, liberal democrats to some extent. (Unless of course, you are a communist, fascist, anarchist, and I was going to say genuine theocrat like the followers of RJ Rushdoony; but even they, except Gary North, attempt to appropriate the American Founding.) That just means that you believe in voting among citizens to validate elections, elect representatives, etc. And that you believe in *some* concept of individual and minority group rights, antecedent to majority rule.
"Liberal democracy" as such is compatible with most forms of modern day lefty liberalism, righty conservatism and libertarianism. And, for a variety of reasons, all sides would love to claim their politics and personal preferences as the "owners" of the heritage of the American Founding and its classical liberalism. If "we" "own" the heritage of American Founding, the logic goes, then society should adopt our policy prescriptions.
Therefore, as conservative orthodox Christians, Peter Lillback, David Barton and others attempt to claim the American Founding and reconcile its liberalism with their personal theology.
So Peter Lillback for instance, would want to claim as many of the ideas as possible in the patriotic sermons of the American Founding (even though many of the most notable ministers weren't even "Christians" as Lillback understands the term, but unitarians, and otherwise believed in all sorts of things Lillback would regard as "heresy"). But Lillback would not want to touch the loyalist sermons.
As I pointed out previously, America's patriotic preachers were LIBERATION theologists, of the classical liberal variety. The idea that "rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God" or that God sides with the oppressed is no more or less "biblical" than the social justice teachings against which Lillback and Beck rail. And the patriotic sermons used the same method as the social justice sermons of "extracting" words and teachings from the Bible and giving them new meaning.