We like what "feels good" based on our experiences in life. Rather, the Bible says we should conform ourselves and we don't. We should lose our life to gain it and we don't. It's a human problem, not a Bible problem, nor a God problem.
As touching what I am hearing more and more,"Jesus said not to judge others. In fact, His only command was to love everyone. After all, Jesus dined with prostitutes, etc. I am simply stating what they are And while it IS true that Jesus dined with sinners, there is not a single instance in which He said, "It doesn't matter what you do. I love you and you will live with me in Heaven no matter how you live, because I love you. Hey Alisa, Your blog here is very good.
The Danger of President Pence | The New Yorker
The characteristics that you list are the same ones found in early 20th century theological liberalism, sometimes called modernism. The genesis of that movement, which reeked havoc among Protestant churches and denominations, was the work of German scholars and Charles Darwin. One of the things that I learned about progressive Christianity after doing some research is that they believe in the progressive revelation of the Bible as do I , but they do not hold to a closed canon of scripture. In other words, they believe that God is still revealing things to the church after the completion of the canon of the New Testament.
This is one way they can hold positions that are completely opposed to the clear reading of scripture; they simply declare that it is a new revelation for the church since God continues to progressively reveal His truth. There are lots of problems with that way of thinking, but it was helpful to me to understand that part of their theology and methodology.
Thanks for writing. Blessings to you. I have seen some of the commenters make the point that I thought of while reading this, but still-- my two cents, for what they are worth. You include in what you may hear at a progressive church this "quote"--"Sure, the Bible is authoritative—but we've misunderstood it for the first 2, years of church history In other places in this, for instance, there is an insistence on the doctrine of the "substitutionary atonement" as essential to "true" Christian belief, but almost without fail in my experience of evangelical Christianity, this takes the form of the "penal" theory, and is taught as "what the Bible plainly says" though it did not begin to plainly say this until the Middle Ages and more properly in Calvinism.
How are those End Times going to play out again?
Orthodox Christianity, Culture and Religion, Making the Journey of Faith
Since the "Biblical" teaching most popular among evangelicals wasn't discovered in the Bible until the s in England, we must have gotten it wrong for almost years. Or how about something really basic-- what are the books in the Old Testament? Somehow, for years or so, the vast majority of Christians got this wrong, on the evangelical account. There is much that might be said about this topic, and much that can be said about the others that you raise in your "warning" against progressivism in Christianity, and the ways in which you find it wanting.
I'm not going to go all the way down that rabbit hole. I will just say that for each of your five points where progressive Christianity misses the mark, evangelicalism has its own particular version of that fault. At root, evangelicals should be very circumspect about raising the criticism that some view or other has left "historical Christianity" since particularly the American versions of evangelicalcism are hothouses of theological innovation but incapable of recognizing that what they believe is most decidedly not what has always been believed everywhere by everyone. It may be okay that American evangelicalcism fails the historic test of catholicity, but when they attack others for doing so-- well when you point the finger at someone, there are four pointing back at you.
Hi Ed, thanks for offering your thoughts here. It seems progressives are doing something qualitatively different even than evangelicals though.
With that said, the point of my post is that there are certain things at the heart of Christianity, in which Christians have put their hope in from the beginning—certain things that have defined Christianity for 2, years. To name a few: the death of Jesus for our sins, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the deity of Jesus. I am a student of church history, and despite the different denominations and labels, the church at large has always affirmed these things. Sure there were always heretics—but they were identified as such. Of course, some try to argue within the framework of the Bible, as I stated in the article, but many more have abandoned inspiration and authority—which has never been an accepted method of doing theology in all of church history.
The Nicene creed is a good example of these core doctrines that progressives are currently questioning and abandoning. Can you not see the difference between this—and quibbling over whether or not the millennium is a literal thousand years? I grew up in a fundamentalist church, and when I went through my high school and college years the church could not answer the questions I had. So I rejected it.
I came back to Christ through the Methodist church, which affirmed the basic Christian theological creeds, but also left room to agree to disagree on other matters. It was open to different points of view, and it was more open minded with a message of living out your faith. I bring this up because literalist views of the Bible - as one example - can be a stumbling block to many who desire and hunger for the truth that can only be found in Christ.
I praise God for the ministry of those fundamentalist churches, but that kind of church is not for me, and I would not be comfortable there. The way I choose to live out my Christian walk is through a mainline, centerfield faith tradition. And if we insist on some kind of theological litmus test for becoming a "real" Christian, we will turn many people who are hungry for truth away. Thanks for sharing your story, Mark—I get where you're coming from. Anything at all? Hi Alisa, yes, of course, Personally I think that to be a Christian there has to be an affirmation of foundational beliefs centered around the Apostle's Creed, but with some room for interpretation, Just as important, I think we have to live out our faith: how we live our faith matters just as much as what we believe.
I'm not comfortable definitively defining who's "in"and who is "out" For me, being a Christian means affirming and claiming the vows that I took when I rededicated my life and joined my church as an adult. Namely, It means rejecting this world, repenting of your sin, and confessing Jesus as Lord and savior and putting your whole trust in his grace as a gift, not something you earn, It means believing in a triune God and in Christ's death and resurrection as the way that we can repair the relationship to God.
And it means believing the Bible contains the truth that is sufficient for our salvation.. But you can't be a Christian without the Bible. Thank you for this interesting blog! Alicia, I understand and appreciate your article. I agree that the teachings you have listed above are shocking and insidious to say the least, thankfully I have never come across them in a church, but I believe you that they are being taught. I think a missing piece of the puzzle of why people might be attracted to such progressive ideas are the equally extreme and unbiblical teachings of some fundamental churches.
I spent 7 years in an IFB church, and while solid on doctrine, there were so many teachings and tacked on "standards" that I remained confused and conflicted for most of my time there. A few things I heard directly from the pulpit or strongly insinuated through teaching: " America went downhill as soon as women got the right to vote.
This is because women are too emotional to make such a decision. Men are the logical ones and should be in charge of all politics. If a woman is attacked, she should fight to the death rather than let herself be raped you see, her "purity" is more important than her survival If one of your family members dies unsaved it's probably your fault they are in hell. God must not have heard your prayers for them because if your sin. If you aren't in church " every time the doors are open" 4 days a week then you are in sin and God will not answer your prayers.
The church isn’t even biblical, is it?
If you are not convicted about something preached about, then you might want to check your salvation, because if you were really saved, God would convict you about everything the man of God says. Those are just a few. I realize that the Bible talks about gender roles and modestly, but these the way these things were emphasized more than other Biblical principles, and with very harsh and shaming language, is not edifying.
And these are not isolated comments, they were taught weekly. Sadly, this is not just one church either. I learned about the Bible and salvation there, but It wasn't until I finally left that I realized that I had been trusting in my compliance of the churches many standards rather than in the grace of God. I now go to a nondenominational church that is devoid of such ridiculous and repressive teachings. Sure, I don't love that the music is not traditional hymns, and I thought it might be too "progressive " for me at first, but i have never heard any of the teachings you described.
I will take it any day over an IFB church. I Just thought I would offer my thoughts to the conversation as I think it is important to point out that negative experiences with the far far right can catapult people to the far far left. Looking back on how confused and hurt I was when I finally left, I can see how someone could end up in a church that teaches the things you listed.
I have encountered resistance from people when trying to talk about my experience with IFB churches, but I think it needs to be acknowledged and talked about rather than be shoved under the rug by Christians who would rather not talk about it. However, I have also come across many people who have similar experiences with IFB churches to mine; some much worse. It's not an attack on people in IFB churches, but rather a call for discourse about an issue that is spirituality derailing people. Hi Kaitie. First of all, thank you SO much for your comment. This is an important perspective that is not unsignificant.