What is “Progressive” Christianity?

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There are many different groups that claim the name of Christianity in the world today. Indeed, there are many people who claim to be Christians. In this post, I intend to examine what it means to be a Christian, and to hold Progressive Christianity up to the light to see whether their claim is true.

So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
— Acts 11:25-26

To begin then, let’s look at the scripture verses above. “In Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” This implies that Christians are disciples. Whose disciples? The very name implies that they are Christ’s disciples.

dictionary.com defines the word disciple this way.

noun

  1. Religion.
    one of the 12 personal followers of Christ.
    one of the 70 followers sent forth by Christ. Luke 10:1.
    any other professed follower of Christ in His lifetime.
  2. any follower of Christ.
  3. (initial capital letter) a member of the Disciples of Christ.
  4. a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower:
    a disciple of Freud.

verb (used with object), discipled, discipling.

  1. Archaic. to convert into a disciple.
  2. Obsolete. to teach; train.

It’s the fourth definition that I want to apply here. When Acts tells us that Christians are disciples, it means that they are followers or adherents of the doctrines of Christ. This is important to remember, but it’s incomplete at best.

To be a disciple of Christ isn’t an easy thing. Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) He also said…

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
— Luke 14:26-33

… So being a Christian is costly. It’s not just “easy believism”. It costs the Christian everything. And yet, the gain is unimaginable.

Being a Christian is not only difficult, it means that we adhere to the teachings of Christ. Paul (For those who have read my posts in the past and don’t believe that Paul taught the same things as Jesus, I refer you to 2 Peter 3:15-17. If Peter, one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus believed and taught that Paul’s writings were scripture, then I see no legitimate reason to deny it.) wrote…

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
— Galatians 1:8-10

And what was the gospel that Paul preached?

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
— 1 Cor 15:1-8

And so, let’s examine Progressive Christianity. In particular I want to examine “The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity”. Remembering Galatians 1:8-10, I want to see if the gospel according to Progressive Christianity is the gospel of Christ or not. The remainder of this post will examine each of the 8 points, with the following example as our guide.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
— Acts 17:11

First of all, let’s look at the name of this organization (They do have a website, which I won’t link to here. You can search for them on the internet and find it.). They call themselves “Progressive Christianity”. This implies two things: That they are progressive; And that they are Christians. We’ve already looked at what it means to be a Christian, although we’ve only given it a cursory look. Now let’s look at what it means to be progressive. Finally, we’ll look at the 8 points and then I’ll draw my conclusion.

So, let us start with the word progressive. Again, let’s look at dictionary.com.

adjective

  1. favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, especially in political matters:
    a progressive mayor.
  2. making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.:
    a progressive community.
  3. characterized by such progress, or by continuous improvement.
  4. (initial capital letter) of or relating to any of the Progressive parties in politics.
  5. going forward or onward; passing successively from one member of a series to the next; proceeding step by step.
  6. noting or pertaining to a form of taxation in which the rate increases with certain increases in taxable income.
  7. of or relating to progressive education :
    progressive schools.

noun

  1. a person who is progressive or who favors progress or reform, especially in political matters.
  2. (initial capital letter) a member of a Progressive party.
  3. Grammar.
    1. the progressive aspect.
    2. a verb form or construction in the progressive, as are thinking in They are thinking about it.

Thus, the name “Progressive Christianity” implies progress away from or toward something. The very name raises red flags in my mind, but let’s let them speak for themselves, and compare what they have to say to the light of scripture.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

The “Oneness and Unity of all life”? Where is that found in scripture? More to the point, where did Jesus or the Apostles teach about the “Oneness and Unity of all life”? Does this statement bear any resemblance to the Gospel that Paul preached?

Was Jesus’ purpose on earth to lead us to an “awareness and experience of the Sacred”? Or did he come to “seek and to save the lost”? (Luke 19:10). Did he not come so that “they might have life and have it abundantly”? (John 10:10) Didn’t Paul say “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”? (Romans 1:16-17).

By “following the path and teachings of Jesus”, we aren’t led to some mystical “awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life”. Instead we are led to the gospel and to salvation from our sin. Let’s look at Progressive Christianity’s second point.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

“[T]he teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways…”? “[W]e can draw from diverse sources of wisdom…”? Really?

The 2003 version of the 8 points is a bit different. That version says…

  1. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us;

Truth is truth. It’s not relative. There isn’t one truth for you and another truth for me. If that were the case then logic and reasoning could never be applied in a trustworthy manner. This post-modern notion of one truth for you and another for me is a lie from Hell. We’ll come back to this when we discuss Progressive Christianity’s point 5.

Being a Christian isn’t but one of many ways. It’s the only way. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Those words “No one comes to the Father except through me.” make it very clear that there is no other way. Remember well that we earlier said that to be a Christian is to be a disciple of Christ, and to adhere to his teachings. Jesus clearly taught that there was no other way than to follow him. By this second point Progressive Christianity reveals that their teachings are not truly Christian at all. They are most emphatically not following the teaching of Christ if they believe that there are other ways to the Father.

They are allowing for a different gospel, which is no gospel at all. We don’t really need to continue on with the other six points. This one alone tells us that no Christian should follow the teaching of Progressive Christianity, for they are false teachings.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
— 1 Tim 4:1-2,6-8

Paul was talking about false teachers who come into the church forbidding marriage and requiring abstinence from certain foods here, but I believe his words to Timothy still apply. The notion of the “Oneness and Unity of all life”, or that we can draw from other sources of wisdom than the word of God seem to me to be irreverent, silly myths that we should have nothing to do with.

Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, let’s soldier on. Here’s their third point.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
    • Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
    • Believers and agnostics,
    • Women and men,
    • Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
    • Those of all classes and abilities;

I have no problem with the third or the last points on this sub-list. Paul addresses these items in Galatians.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
— Galatians 3:27-29

Clearly both women and men, and people of all classes and abilities are included here. But what about the rest of this?

The first item on the list, and the second item on the list are essentially the same. A Conventional Christian is (or should be) a believer. Questioning skeptics and agnostics amount to the same thing. In any case, in most Christian assemblies today you will probably find both believers and unbelievers. It’s not in my power, nor in any other man’s power to say who is and who isn’t a believer. Only God knows what’s in the heart of a man. Still, we can tell something by examining the fruit of each others lives. But not all fruit grows at the same rate.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
— Matt 13:24-30

This parable teaches us that there will be some in our assemblies who are truly believers and others who look like believers as the church is growing, yet who are not. We can’t say who is who until the harvest comes, and then it will be clear. The parable also tells us the fate of the unbelievers. So yes, our community will consist of both believers and unbelievers.

We can also see that when Paul is discussing the church and the gifts of the Spirit such as tongues and prophecy he makes a distinction between the church and unbelievers.

If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
— 1 Cor 14:23-25

Clearly the church does not consist of unbelievers, otherwise why would Paul say “the whole church comes together… and outsiders or unbelievers enter”? Nevertheless, if unbelievers do come into our assembly we want them to be convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, to be called to account, and to repent and turn to Jesus.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
— Jude 1:20-23

Yet this is still not the end of the matter. We are not to allow unbelievers to teach in the church. We are not to have anything to do with their unbelief. Instead we are to teach them, and so lead them to Christ.

And what of the fifth item on this sub-list (Can you believe it, we’re still only on their third point of eight?)? “Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,”?

Well, it seems to me that no unrepentant, sexually immoral person belongs in the church. And this isn’t merely restricted to homosexuals or trans-gendered people.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
— 1 Cor 5:9-13

We are not to associate, or even eat with anyone who calls themselves a Christian and who is guilty of sexual immorality or greed or idolatry, or being a reviler, a drunkard, or a swindler. We are not to associate with such a “brother” at all. Clearly, if Progressive Christianity seeks community with such people they are again disobeying the gospel.

Now this isn’t to say that such people, that is homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, swindlers, drunkards, idolaters, and the like cannot be saved. Clearly they can be saved. But people who do and continue to do these things won’t see the kingdom of God. They must repent and turn to Jesus for salvation.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
— 1 Cor 6:9-11

Note that Paul says here “such were some of you.” This clearly implies that these people, these believers, had repented of their sin, and that they were saved by grace through faith in Jesus. The church is to preach the truth to all people, including the sexually immoral. Who knows whom God will save? Hasn’t he said “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:15).

We cannot forget that we are all sinners, and that we are all deserving of the fires of Hell. But Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. We cannot say that God will not save someone trapped in the most heinous of sins. Even so, we are not to associate with a sinner that claims the name of Jesus and is unrepentant about their sin.

Onward we go to Progressive Christianity’s fourth point.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

It’s hard to find much wrong with this statement. After all Jesus did say “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

But is this indeed the fullest expression of what we believe? It’s but one of three great commandments. The first being to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and soul and mind, and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matt 22:37-40). John tells us how we can know if we love God.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
— 1 John 2:3-11

Our fullest expression of what we believe is our obedience to God. If we say we love God, if we say we are his disciples (We did come to the conclusion that that is what it means to say we are a Christian after all.), then we must keep his commandments. If we don’t we’re liars.

As for loving our brothers, it’s more than just words. Indeed, it is our behavior that expresses our love for one another.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
— James 2:14-17

The parable of the two sons has something to say about giving lip service to faith and practicing it.

“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
— Matt 21:28-33

Indeed, what we do, whether we obey the Lord or not is the expression of what we believe. In fact, it seems that the notion of belief cannot be separated from obedience to the Lord. (John 3:36) So, they get this one right, our behavior, our obedience or disobedience to the Lord really does express what we believe.

They also get it wrong. It is not what we do that can save us. Our behavior, our obedience, can only please God if it’s a result of genuine saving faith. As the writer of Hebrews says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Heb: 11:6) This brings us to Progressive Christianity’s fifth point.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;

Grace is God’s gift to the sinner. It’s entirely unmerited. There is the common grace that allows us all to live, to breathe, to find food, water and clothing. And then there’s the saving grace of God that grants us new life and freedom from sin. This grace can only be received through faith.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
— Romans 3:21-26

We who believe are justified by his grace as a gift, to be received by faith. This grace if God’s gift. It’s not found in searching and questioning, it’s found by faith in the gospel.
Recall the 2003 version of point 2 above.

  1. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us;

This relativism fits in nicely with the dismissal of absolutes (in the 2003 version, point 6 referred to “absolute certainty”). I submit to you though that what they are really saying is that they reject the authority of scripture, and the reject the words of Christ. When he said “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) he was stating an absolute truth.

Further, if we truly believe Jesus words that No one comes to the Father except through him, we cannot believe that there is one truth for Christians and another for non Christians. Jesus made an absolute, authoritative, propositional truth claim.

What we believe matters. More importantly, it matters that we believe the truth. If I believe that I can fly under my own power it had better be true when I jump out a window or there’s going to be another dead body on the street no matter how hard I believe it.

It is important to search for understanding. But we are to trust in the Lord and not lean upon our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14) Clearly we must have faith before we can have understanding.

As for valuing questioning more than absolutes, here’s what James has to say.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
— James 1:5-8

Certainly we are to ask God for wisdom. But we must believe that he is, and that he will give wisdom. We must ask in faith, not questioning him but trusting in him.

Onward to point 6 of Progressive Christianity’s 8 points.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Strive for peace and justice among all people;

This is a noble sounding goal, and seems worthy to strive for. It’s also more than abundantly clear that it’s unachievable. We are told as Christians to expect wars and rumors of wars and many horrible things.

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
— Matt 24:3-14

There won’t be “peace and justice among all people” until the end comes. This isn’t something that we can bring about, only the Lord can do that. We are instructed by Paul to, if possible, live peaceably with all, but that’s just a tiny portion of the message Paul was giving. Taken in context he wasn’t saying “Strive for peace and justice among all people”. Rather he was telling believers how to live a life of grace.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
— Romans 12:3-21

That message isn’t about striving for peace and justice among all people, but rather it’s about thinking more highly of others. It’s about selflessness. It’s about building up the body of Christ. It’s about forgiving your enemies even as Christ forgave us while we were his enemies.

The church isn’t called to be “social justice warriors”. It is instead called to be holy to God and to live lives of humility and grace.

Moving on to number 7 of Progressive Christianity’s 8 points.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;

I’ve got news for you. This earth is going to be destroyed. Indeed, all of creation will be destroyed. It will be replaced.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
— Revelation 21:1-8

John saw that the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. They were gone and a new heaven and a new earth replaced them. Mankind simply cannot restore the integrity of our earth. It exists today under a curse because of mankind’s sin. Just a bit over 6,000 years ago when Adam and Eve rebelled against God he pronounced a curse upon the earth for their sake. (Genesis 3:17-19) We simply can’t fix that. Only God can and his solution is to create a new heaven and a new earth. His solution is to make all things new, and that includes those who believe in and obey the gospel.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that protecting our environment isn’t a worthy goal. We are called to be good stewards of God’s gifts, and that includes our home. I live in Utah, and sometimes the air in the Salt Lake valley is foul and unhealthy when an inversion layer comes in. It’s bad for people’s health and it can stay that way for a long time. The tap water in the city I live in is horrendous. It tastes bad and at times it even smells bad. Who wouldn’t be in favor of cleaning up the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we walk on. But it’s not a tenet of Christianity that we must try to restore the earth and God’s creation. It’s far more important to spread the gospel of Christ so that sinners can find salvation.

And so, at last we come to the eighth and final point of Progressive Christianity.

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

  1. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

This too is a noble sounding goal. After all, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to love one another even as he has loved us.

The Christian is called to obedience to the gospel and to keep the Lords commandments. They eight points of Progressive Christianity are high-sounding ideals, and yet it’s clear that Progressive Christianity does not hold the word of God to be authoritative, and in fact doesn’t teach that Jesus’ words are true. Progressive Christianity teaches a false gospel, a damnable form of universalism.

I urge you, if you are a believer in this eight point creed to repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your only means to salvation from sin and unto eternal life and become a true disciple of Christ. Immerse yourself in his word, get to know him and exercise true religion.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
— James 1:22-27

2 comments

  1. Pardon me, please, for commenting before I scan your post carefully (I merely skimmed a “first look” survey to raise a few questions in my own mind). I will read it carefully this evening (have a roof to fix in a bit here).

    Offhand, the short answer to “What is ‘Progressive Christianity’?” is a short, “It isn’t. Christianity, that is. It makes a pass at incorporating some elements of Christianity but falls short and tends to lead people astray, rather than to Christ. It is a sham and a trap for the unwary and naive.”

    But that’s just my offhand response, based on years of exposure to “progressive Christians” (including a couple of cousins who “pastor” groups professing to be “progressive Christians”).

    I look forward to reading your analysis/answers carefully.

  2. Well, on closer reading, my opinion stands: Progressive Xianity isn’t. Not only isn’t it Xianity, it isn’t really progressive, either, but regurgitates a few age-old heresies. But then, Solomon (as unconsciously (?) restated by Santayana) had a few things to say about dogs returning to previous regurgitations, etc. . . .

    Sending a link to various family members, some of whom are working the “mission fields” of Idaho. 😉

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