Arms wide open and eyes wide shut
Anyone who has been the least bit interested in the presidential race has been subjected to numerous political headlines, political analysis, political polling and political posturing (ad nauseam) over the importance candidates have placed on capturing the “evangelical Christian” vote; particularly as we saw in Iowa. I’m not going to discuss the personal faith of any candidate–whether they’re sincere in their beliefs (I have no reason to doubt) or even raise the possibility that their statements of faith could be simply a tool to garner more votes.
Here’s my question and it’s not for the candidates. Watching and listening to all the religious rhetoric has led me to wonder: Since when are Christians not supposed to be evangelical? In my naivety, I’ve just always assumed that those who called themselves Christian believed that we were given the Great Commission by Jesus Christ to go into the world to make disciples and to be light in a dark world. I believed that all those who called themselves Christian held certain fundamental truths to be nonnegotiable, irrespective of some theological differences held by various denominations.
I forgot how we are repeatedly warned that deceiving doctrines and whispering lies would be the new norm in our churches and from behind our pulpits. Blatant heresy and blasphemy is not only being whispered from the pulpits, it’s being blared from mega horns while being embraced by ignorant sheeple sitting piously in the pews every Sunday-with arms wide open and eyes wide shut. If you are a professing Christian, you must be aware that there’s a scary whirlwind swirling around you of new thought, new practice, new doctrine and new terminology that is more than capable of knocking the moors right out of your foundation of faith. This is the first of a series of articles that will examine false teaching and how it has infiltrated the churches and, in some cases, the minds of believers.
Case in point is the theology of “progressive Christianity”. An article, “State of the Union: Progressive Christianity”, was recently published where the author provided a background and a history of the progressive Christian movement and extolled the growing numbers of converts within their ranks.
Here are a few excerpts that may interest you (all emphasis mine):
1.“…The Christian clergy who embraced Wellhausen’s work began to understand that the Bible should not be read as a book of definitive facts and eternally-valid moral prescriptions, but rather as a mythic and poetic record of humanity’s spiritual and social evolution. Pastors who embraced the emergence of science, and the emerging field of biblical textual criticism, preached that Christianity had to evolve and change in light of new knowledge. Many of these pastors also had a strong concern for social justice as a central concern for Christian faith. They preached in the churches of the mainstream, mainline Protestant establishment in Britain, Germany, America, and elsewhere….”
2.So let’s get started at the beginning: just what is progressive Christianity? More to the point, who are progressive Christians?
I’ve been pondering this question for about two decades now, and have been coming up with “tag lines” by way of answers. Here’s my list:
Progressive Christians keep the faith and drop the dogma.
For us, God is Love, not a Guy in the Sky.
Since God and Nature are one, science is a way to learn about God.
We do Christianity without pelvic issues.
Faith is about deeds, not creeds.
We take the Bible seriously because we don’t have to take it literally.
Spiritual questions are more important to us than religious answers.
The morality of what happens in the war-room and the board-room matters more to us than what happens in the bedroom.
Other religions can be as good for others as our religion is good for us.
Our church parking lot is for cars, not brains.
God is bigger than our ideas about God.
God evolves, and so does our religion.
3. “…Christians who weren’t fundamentalists languished, feeling misunderstood by the wider culture. And then along came John Shelby Spong. In 1991, he wrote a book called “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism”. He was an Episcopal bishop in the US who went on the airwaves and said it in no uncertain terms: Jesus did not physically rise from the dead. This gospel story is vitally important as a myth that expresses the transformational power of love. The miracle stories in the Bible are not to be taken literally or factually…”
4. “…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;
2. 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;
3. 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;
4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
6. Strive for peace and justice among all people;
7. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth.
8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.
Do not be fooled. There is nothing “Christian” about these beliefs. They deny the work of the Cross, they deny the resurrection, they deny the “faith of our fathers”, and they deny the moral absolutes of the Holy Word. They have replaced the gospel of Jesus Christ with a false gospel of social justice with love, unity, tolerance, and peace as the cornerstones of their doctrine which, by the way, can only be obtained by the work of the Holy Spirit within the hearts of believers.
I could quote scripture about the unchanging character of God–the God who is the same “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” and who is certainly not a God that evolves as society evolves. I could use scripture to defend the belief that the only true way into a relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. I could use countless verses to verify the authority of the Holy Word that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (oops! I did it anyway!). However, it would be a waste of my time.
In their own reason and intellect, progressives have deconstructed the primary tenets of Christian faith. Why? What is so abhorrent about the Christian faith held dear by so many that would cause man in his own pride and intellect to position himself as more all-knowing than God himself? Easy. That stumbling block whose name is Jesus.
More than ever we need to know what we believe and why we believe it. I truly think that “the wheat is being separated from the chaff”. Hear me on this. True Christians, those who believe that our purpose on earth is to bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ, are not going to have their faith destroyed by the world. No, it’s going to come from within. We must learn to rightly discern the words of man. How? By comparing their words to the truth of God’s Word.
© 2015 Lydia Goodman – All Rights Reserve