I’m sure there were liberal theologians throughout the history of the church. After the Age of Enlightenment with the achievements of man and his place in the universe we became arrogant and a little more bold in our thinking. Men began to boldly declare atheistic views which were usually left to corners of society. We advanced in technology, inventing things and improving existing things to make life easier. We thought we were on our way to a better society and man was going to be the driving force without God.
Then the church adopted this thinking to doctrine and theology. They incorporated man-centered ideas into their teachings by taking away things attributed to God and assigning them to men. This became more prominent in the 19th century and really took hold in the early part of the 20th century. Since it has been accepted as part of the mainstream church and the conservative doctrinal arm has been fighting off this scourge after ignoring the problem in hopes it would go away. But it didn’t, it sunk its tentacles into the church and we are still trying to fight off this infection.
The main teaching is that God will not punish man for their sins. Either all would be saved in the end or God does not have the authority to punish sins. They attacked all the essential doctrines surrounding the gospel. The liberal teachers had made headway after gaining the beachhead of doctrine.
Today, the teaching has morphed into something different, something worse and a lot more destructive. Like a virus that mutates, liberal doctrine has mutated into Word of Faith, Prosperity and Emergent teachings. It seems the assumption made by the teachers like Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Hillsong, Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn and others is that what the liberal theologians of the early 20th century is true because they allude to it. Now that God is a God of love and not one of wrath then all that He is ours for the taking. We can loot heaven so we can live like pirate kings on earth.
This is so dangerous because we all want everything, every comfort, every gadget with no worry about money or anything that would make us look poor. This appeals to the base lust and covetous notions within us all, even those who are saved by the blood of Christ. We want it all without paying the cost, and are willing to give money to the panderers of the theology of tickling ears.
The liberal theology was dangerous before but has now morphed into something far more cancerous and deadly to the church body.