Often, conservatives emphasize truth (morals) and liberals emphasize grace (compassion). Conservatives want to conserve what’s right; liberals want to liberate from what’s wrong.
Liberals’ commitment to fighting racism in the sixties was commendable. But sometimes liberals fight against true standards, like the beliefs that abortion, fornication, adultery, and homosexual behavior are wrong. They embrace tolerance as a grace substitute. Liberal Christians often end up being liberals first, Christians second.
Conservatives want to restore lost values. They want to go back to the days when prayer was allowed in schools. But they forget that the same schools that allowed prayer didn’t allow black children! By trying to conserve so many things—even things that were clearly wrong—conservative Christians have sometimes been conservatives first, Christians second.
Why should we have to choose between conservatism’s emphasis on truth and liberalism’s emphasis on grace? Why can’t we oppose injustice to minorities and to the unborn? Why can’t we oppose greedy ruination of the environment and anti-industry New Age environmentalism? Why can’t we affirm the biblical right to ownership of property and emphasize God’s call to voluntarily share wealth with the needy? Why can’t we uphold God’s condemnation of sexual immorality, including homosexual practices, and reach out in love and compassion to those trapped in destructive lifestyles and dying from AIDS?
We cannot do these things if we are first and foremost either liberals or conservatives. We can do these things only if we are first and foremost followers of Christ, who is full of grace and truth.
--Randy Alcorn, “The Grace and Truth Paradox,” Multnomah Publishers, 2003, pp. 79-81