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Is Progressive Christianity A Pathway To God?

 
Posted by Elaine June 04, 2020 at 12:00 AM AEST

Is the Bible is the infallible Word of God or is it too old and irrelevant for today?

Following are five signs to look for when wondering whether your Church might possibly be heading towards progressive Christianity:

There is a lowered view of the Bible

One of the main differences between progressive and historic Christianity is its view of the Bible. Historically, Christians have viewed the Bible as the Word of God and authoritative for our lives. Progressive Christianity generally abandons these terms, emphasizing personal belief over Biblical mandate.

​"The Bible is a human book…"
“I disagree with the Apostle Paul on that issue…”
“The Bible condones immorality, so we are obligated to reject what it says in certain places…”

“The Bible “contains” the word of God…"

Feelings are emphasized over facts

In Progressive churches, personal experiences, feelings, and opinions tend to be valued above objective truth. As the Bible ceases to be viewed as God’s definitive word, what a person feels to be true becomes the ultimate authority for faith and practice.

“That Bible verse doesn’t resonate with me….”
“I thought homosexuality was a sin until I met and befriended some gay people….”
“I just can’t believe Jesus would send good people to hell….”

Essential Christian doctrines are open for re-interpretation

Progressive author John Pavlovitz wrote, “There are no sacred cows [in Progressive Christianity]….Tradition, dogma, and doctrine are all fair game, because all pass through the hands of flawed humanity." Progressive Christians are often open to re-defining and re-interpreting the Bible on hot-button moral issues like homosexuality and abortion, and also cardinal doctrines such as the virgin conception and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. The only sacred cow is “no sacred cows.”

“The resurrection of Jesus doesn’t have to be factual to speak truth…”
“The church’s historic position on sexuality is archaic and needs to be updated within a modern framework…”
“The idea of a literal hell is offensive to non-Christians and needs to be re-interpreted…”

Historic terms are re-defined

There are some Progressive Christians who say they affirm doctrines like biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and authority, but they have to do linguistic gymnastics to make those words mean what they want them to mean. I remember asking a Pastor, “Do you believe the Bible is divinely inspired?” He answered confidently, “Yes, of course!” However, I mistakenly assumed that when using the word “inspired,” we both meant the same thing. He clarified months later what he meant—that the Bible is inspired in the same way and on the same level as many other Christian books, songs, and sermons. This, of course, is not how Christians have historically understood the doctrine of divine inspiration.

Including the Word “Love”
Another word that tends to get a Progressive make-over is the word “love.” When plucked out of its biblical context, it becomes a catch-all term for everything non-confrontative, pleasant, and affirming.

“God wouldn’t punish sinners—He is love…”
“Sure, the Bible is authoritative—but we’ve misunderstood it for the first 2,000 years of church history…”
“It’s not our job to talk to anyone about sin—it’s our job to just love them…”

The heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice.

There is no doubt that the Bible commands us to take care of the unfortunate and defend those who are oppressed. This is a very real and profoundly important part of what it means to live out our Christian faith. However, the core message of Christianity—the gospel—is that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and resurrected, and thereby reconciled us to God. This is the message that will truly bring freedom to the oppressed.

Many Progressive Christians today find the concept of God willing His Son to die on the cross to be embarrassing or even appalling. Sometimes referred to as “cosmic child abuse,” the idea of blood atonement is de-emphasized or denied altogether, with social justice and good works enthroned in its place.

Sin doesn’t separate us from God—we are made in His image and He called us good…
God didn’t actually require a sacrifice for our sins—the first Christians picked up on the pagan practice of animal sacrifice and told the Jesus story in similar terms…
We don’t really need to preach the gospel—we just need to show love by bringing justice to the oppressed and provision to the needy…

Conclusion:

Identifying the signs is not always obvious—sometimes they are subtle and mixed with a lot of truth. Progressive Christianity can be persuasive and enticing but carried out to its logical end, it is an assault on the foundational framework of Christianity, leaving it disarmed of its saving power.

We shouldn’t be surprised to find some of these ideas infiltrating our churches. Jesus warned us, “Watch out for false prophets” who “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15). So if you spot any of these 5 danger signs in your place of worship, it might be time to pray about finding fellowship in a more biblically faithful church community.

Not all churches, thankfully but too many are heading down this path in their quest to ‘love and include everyone’. From 5 Signs Your Church Might Be Heading toward Progressive Christianity By Alisa Childers

If someone’s opinions alter the Bible, God has been left behind. The Bible today is as relevant as it was when it began. We will never be considered ‘wise’ enough to change that. God says no one should add or take away from what’s been written.

I’ve not in my considerable years on earth have I ever found the Word of God to be wanting in anything, in fact, it’s always been completely relevant.

My life is a testament to the reality of His truth as I’ve hung on, sometimes for life itself, to His words and struggled through.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8

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To say we should not take His Word as gospel is very dangerous, the thin edge of a wedge that leads to destruction. It has the potential to completely undermine what God wants, giving Satan a foothold into our life.

“We’re more enlightened in this century?”
If our belief begins to conflict with the Bible we must ask, “Who is doing the enlightening?”

There are many verses in the Bible about Judgement Day, when we’re going to be divided up as sheep and goats. God warns us that some will say, “I did this or that in your name” and He will say “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

Our wisdom will always be foolish in the sight of God.

We must come to Him as a little child, not as a ‘wise one’ that needs to contend with God.

And when thinking of us coming as a child, God says the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. He also says the gospel is ‘foolish’ to those who don’t believe.

Are we now to make this ‘foolishness’ more acceptable to the lost or does God want His gospel so we come as a child, trusting what He wants? If we decide in our wisdom to make God’s Word more acceptable to the lost to ‘win’ them, where, in discarding God’s decrees, do we stop?

God says nothing is to be altered, do you understand how dangerous this line of thinking is?

The way the church has modernised itself, particularly in worship is a good think that brings glory to God. Many point the finger at these new forms of worship, however, these changes in no way put into question what God says. Watering down the gospel to make people freer to do what they feel like without judgement isn’t God’s desire and will never be.

Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed
Be in the world but not of it
We are to stand out, to be different, not to conform, to be

Based on Jesus’ teaching on the Mountain. The Saviour revolutionized the Mosaic law in a simple conversation that he had with his disciples on a mountainside.
Matthew 5:17-48 really hits home on the point where Jesus starts off that He didn’t come to change the law but to fulfill the law.

He then at v21 through to vs 48 says, you have heard Moses say<….> "but I say <….>
In this powerful Chapter Jesus not only changed the Moasic or Aaronaic law but we get to the end of Matthew 7 and the crowds saw Jesus and said…‘who is this man that speaks with such authority’.
Now I’m not saying that we can simply do the same thing. But if you think about the reverence of the law that was scribed from Moses and held in Holy and high regard for centuries. Then in one simple conversation, the Massiah comes along and changes the law with the words – “Moses said”…“But I say”… He changed the law, He changed the Word and spoke with authority.
It is this example, that has me pondering on the relevance of a Holy word that was written millennia ago. Please understand I am all in with the authority and purity of the Word. My pondering, however, comes from the same approach of Eugene H Peterson. He took the bible (that wasn’t to be added or changed) – and in fact, he added and changed. Not out of irreverence but to help shape the narrative of the 66 books to be more understanding in an evolving culture.

I find it difficult when we get caught into a debate that argues ‘segments’ of verses without taking into account the holistic nature of the verse/chapter/ argument. I understand there are many red-blooded Pentecostals passionate about not changing the Word or finding it difficult when ‘emerging patterns’ are discussed. I do, however, laugh, that the Bible we read today whether it be NIV, NLT, NKJ, NL, MSG – are all interpretations of Greek/Hebrew/Arabic – which if we were to see the original verse, we would be surprised at how much the West has already changed its content.

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I’m not interested in arguing segments of the Bible. I wonder why you don’t accept what the Bible says. I suspect that your comments may be based on other people’s views of what they understand as truth and in head knowledge. That will never be a basis for truth. In trusting God’s Word and taking the Bible literally has never made me question anything over the lifetime of studying and experiencing God. Accepting God’s word as it is will never harm you. Knowing what the Bible says and listening to the Holy Spirit are the only ways to be right. We don’t need any other helps. God says so other helps will never be a substitute! Our understanding will never work either. God says not to be wise in our own understanding because He knew we’d be talking like this. You speak of ‘80s as opposed to now, but the Bible has been around for so much longer than that. Imagine if each generation decided God didn’t mean that now, how much it would get distorted. The Bible, all of it, is relevant to here and now and until the end of the age. If someone writes something that is helpful to someone that’s great, however, if it changes anything in scripture to mean something else it’s error and always will be. If you don’t agree we’ll have to agree to disagree. Your life is for you to live as is mine and that’s all that matters when we stand before Him one day. :)
God pulled us out of the pit so we could go out and rescue others.

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Why would someone who claims to be a Christian embrace something the Bible clearly condemns? Here are three underlying reasons:

1. A willingness to twist the Word of God
Progressive Christianity faces a dilemma in that it claims to uphold Scripture while approving of things the Bible calls sin. Some have claimed that the Bible writers had no understanding of the concept of sexual orientation, so their condemnation of homosexuality refers only to exploitation, sexual excess or abuse and not to committed, same-sex relationships. But as R. Albert Mohler has pointed out, that approach “leads to a haunting question: What else does the Bible not know about what it means to be human? If the Bible cannot be trusted to reveal the truth about us in every respect, how can we trust it to reveal our salvation?”

2. A misunderstanding of the love of God
Progressive Christianity believes that love requires affirmation of a person’s sexual orientation, even if it is in blatant contradiction to God’s Word. The United Church of Christ, for example, decries the bullying or oppression of people in the LGBT community, and rightly so. But it conflates love and affirmation, stating that it “boldly affirms, celebrates and embraces the gifts for ministry of lesbian, gay and bisexual persons.”

God’s love does not negate His holiness or His just judgment: “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14, NKJV).

3. A disregard for the holiness of God
Progressive Christians emphasize tolerance and acceptance, but they tend to reject the Bible’s teaching about sin and judgment. They ignore the fact that God is absolutely holy, that He requires people to be holy (see 1 Peter 1:15-16) and that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). In the end, they think, God will simply accept everyone, so there is no need to live by His commands or turn away from what He forbids. From Decision Magazine

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The key is reading the Bible so you understand the whole picture of His plan for us. When we just have segments that suit our theology we can be misled into believing our faith and commitment are supposed to fit into our understanding and to go with our ‘beliefs’. But God never does that. It’s all about Him and His righteousness in us. When we start to cast aside some verses in favour of others we have walked away from the truth and walking away will not get us to heaven, according to God’s Word:

We must persevere
To finish the race
To take up our cross
To reach the lost

If we decide our way is more…