What is Liberation Theology

Here’s an article from the New York Times on the topic of Liberation Theology. It’s not the clearest article ever and has some sizable flaws. I think its failure to treat seriously the theological critique of liberation theology means it is of little help to people trying to figure it out. Jonah Goldberg, as entertaining as he might sometimes be, is neither a Christian nor a theologian – and that’s the only specific person or criticism the author engaged. To merely say that liberation theology is care for the poor or oppressed is a rather truncated view of the system (in any of its variants). Engaging at least one serious theological critique of the movement (say Anthony Bradley’s) would have made this a much better story.

I just recently re-read Cone’s God of the Oppressed and read for the first time The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Both are worth reading and I found the latter moving at times. But not orthodox Christianity, I’m afraid, if historical standards have any role in such a determination. This article seemed less interested in a balanced understanding of the debate than in protecting it from attack (and especially the political attacks on Obama which could follow).  So, I’m disappointed.

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