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The Dangers of So Called “Progressive” Christianity

July 19, 2020

“The term progressive Christian represents a broad collection, ranging from moderates who claim belief in an ‘authoritative’ Bible yet dismiss passages they deem as stumbling blocks, to liberals who barely believe in God [1A].”

The term “Progressive” Christianity has been adopted by a variant of Christianity which seeks acceptance from the culture while rejecting Biblical views on marriage and sexuality.

The Distortion of God’s Word

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another...” (Gal. 5: 17).

The distortion of God’s Word is the basis for all sin.  Since the Garden, human beings have rationalized sinful behavior.

Many factors (not all fully understood, and not all sinful) may influence the way we perceive our gender.  These are thought to range from hormone levels in the womb to child abuse [2].  Our perceptions can, however, be deceptive. 

The Bible is clear.  God intended marriage as the union of a man and a woman (Gen. 2: 24).  This definition is considered disrespectful of those who view gender as fluid and self-determined.  For that reason, it is not acceptable to the culture.

Compromise No Longer an Option

“[A]s tempting as it is for otherwise Biblically faithful Christians to seek ‘middle ground’ with the prevailing culture’s moral positions – most notably on sexual ethics – such a notion is incongruent with a faithful reading of Scripture… [1B]”

Unfortunately, compromise with the prevailing culture is no longer possible.  Christians are seen as backward, intolerant, biased, and hateful for proclaiming Biblical truth.  Conscience be damned.

The Label of “Extremism”

“At the CNN Town Hall where [Mayor Pete] Buttigieg described [VP Mike] Pence’s beliefs as a ‘kind of social extremism’ focused on ‘sexuality and rectitude,’ he also served notice to faithful evangelicals about the choice the political and social left has forced upon them:  either affirm the new sexuality embodied in the LGBTQ movement, or affirm the full authority of Scripture and be anathema to the postmodern culture…[1C]”

This is not simply political rhetoric.  The label of “extremism” is being applied to all those who adhere to Biblical views on marriage and sexuality.  Bible-believing Christians may actually come to be viewed as subversive by the state, in the same category as radical Islamists.

The Appeal of “Mystery”

“The common thread among progressive Christians is not politics…but a postmodern theology that shuns certainty and celebrates mystery for its own sake.  A belief statement at progressivechristianity.org, for example, speaks of finding ‘grace in the search for understanding,’ and adds ‘[we] believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes…. [1D]’ “

Objective truth (on which Christianity rests) is being abandoned.

A Different Gospel

“[T]he progressive version of Christianity essentially becomes a different gospel.  Many young people are attracted to its social justice emphasis because they see real prejudices and biases…[However, there is] no middle ground between affirming and denying the bodily resurrection of Christ.  There’s also no middle ground between defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman and saying it can be something else…[1E]”

“Progressive” Christianity is, in effect, a new religion which readily maligns the old and those who continue to believe in it.

Challenge to the Faithful

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves…unholy… despisers of good…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!(2 Tim. 3: 1-5).

The challenge for those remaining faithful to the Word is not only to resist this trend, but to continue loving those who attack and belittle them.

[1A-1E]  Decision Magazine (published by Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc.), June 2019 Edition, “The Lie of ‘Progressive Christianity’ “.

[2]  See, for instance, “Homosexuality May Start in the Womb” at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/12/homosexuality-may-start-womb and “Does Maltreatment in Childhood Affect Sexual Orientation in Adulthood?” at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535560/.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

16 Comments
  1. Your blog is so topical and relevant at the moment, imho. Though considering myself as one who likes to keep up with what’s happening in the world and in the church and in theology today, I think much of ‘progressive Christianity’ is skating on very thin ice. I see these trends all around me. I long for the insights of the (sadly maligned in certain circles) Dr. Francis Schaeffer to be given prominence today. So also those of our beloved bro. Ravi, who was promoted to fuller glory recently. Came across these statement by Schaeffer yesterday; ‘Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years.’ ‘We should note this curious mark of our own age; the only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute.’ Makes one think… thanks for your article above, Anna!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Erroll. These are deeply troubling times. But our perspective as Christians is (or should be) eternal. Though I often write about what troubles me about the times, I try to keep that in mind.

  2. I agree that these are challenging times. We live in a world where sin is being labeled as “lifestyle”. And for Christians to really remain true to God’s Word, we should continue to resist the trend imposed by the society by speaking up but at the same time pray for those who intentionally muddle the Word in order to hide their “lifestyle”. Thanks for sharing this, Anna.

  3. It is a challenge to maintain and defend one’s beliefs; especially in today’s environment.

    The Left is hell bent on taking away our religious freedoms. How many mayors and governors have allowed these violent protests (riots) to go on; meanwhile they say it is unhealthy for people to gather in church,

    Great post

  4. Allan Halton permalink

    Anna, what has happened in our generation regarding sexuality has indeed become a crisis for Christians who hold to what the Bible teaches. We are told that our Bible is out of touch and should be mothballed or at least changed to come into conformity with more enlightened times. Those who refuse to do that are told that they are, as you said, “backward, intolerant, biased, and hateful.” Quite something, isn’t it, that the followers of the God of love are now called “haters.”

    The presentation by Ravi Zacharias is excellent. I also much appreciate your conclusion: “The challenge for those remaining faithful to the Word is not only to resist this trend, but to continue loving those who attack and belittle them.” I have taken up that challenge, Anna. While standing true to my faith, I seek to show genuine love to all others on an individual basis, regardless of what “lifestyle” they are in. This does not mean compromise; compromise is not love. Someone very dear to me is involved in this “lifestyle” as it is called. I continue to be very forbearing and loving, but I love that one too much to compromise the clear statement of Scripture. “And such WERE some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). In spite of the general drift of our society in a very strong current going the opposite direction, there are many testimonies (some can be found on Youtube) of people who have proven these words to be true. Let us continue to stand by them.

  5. Great post, Anna. I am missing Ravi. Life for those defending biblical Christianity is going to get more difficult. It’s time to surround ourselves with those who believe the Bible and distance ourselves from those who don’t. You are one of the people I am sticking with!

  6. Here, I felt sorry for Tim Farron (former leader of the Lib Dems) who was pressed into a corner to answer with just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if he thought homosexuality is a sin. I wish he’d seen how Ravi answered the question! We really need God’s Spirit to educate ourselves with the Word of God, to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

  7. I just watched a pastor who when faced with a potential protest outside of his church for his Biblical view of marriage, bought donuts, coffee, and umbrellas ready to embrace them in the love of Jesus despite their hatred of him… such an inspiration. By the way , the protest was rained out.

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