Another Gospel: A Response to Progressive Christianity

I rarely consume a book as quickly as I did this one Most often, I am reading three or four books at once.  But, this one – perhaps because of the current state of North American church culture – was difficult to put down.  My copy (as with any book I read) is now annotated in pen and yellow highlighter from cover to cover.

Every Christian – especially those in their teens through their 30’s – should pick up a copy.

The author, Alisa Childers, clearly articulates the ethos of “progressive Christianity” as a systematic “deconstruction of 2000 years of historical Christianity” i.e. a clandestine questioning – and denial – of Jesus as God, the reliability of the Bible, the Cross & Resurrection, and more.

A “progressive Christian” doesn’t just come out and deny these fundamentals of the Christian faith.  Satan is too smart for that.  Instead, they pose questions to which most believers don’t know the answers, planting seeds of doubt.  It’s a process. The methods are not overt, but covert.  Clever.  Subtle.  No different from Satan’s methods in Eden. Childers describes it as a love for questions, but not answers.  A love for doubt, but not absolute truth.  Bottom line: “progressive Christianity” strips the Christian faith of the biblical Christ – without many people even realizing it as they’re slowly and systematically sucked into a gospel in the image of man, which is “another gospel”, which is no gospel at all.  (cf. Galatians 1:6-9)

Childers does an outstanding job of helping the reader know that this “progressive” attack on the Christian faith is nothing new.  In fact, Paul addressed it in his letters.

Like an attorney with a jury, Satan (our diabolical prosecutor) doesn’t have to discount the truth altogether.  He merely needs to plant seeds of doubt and hope that the jury doesn’t see the need to research his half-truth claims or misdirections. Doubt is what Satan accomplished with Adam & Eve.  And we all know how that turned out.

It would be impossible to post here all I would like, so permit me to simply post here for you some closing remarks by the author:

Famous atheist Christopher Hitchens was once interviewed for Portland Monthly about his opposition to religion, and more specifically, Christianity. The minister questioning him noted that the Christianity he opposed in one of his bestselling books was of the “fundamentalist” variety, while she identified herself as a “liberal Christian.”

After explaining that she didn’t take the stories in Scripture literally and rejected the atonement (that Christ took upon himself God’s wrath for our sins), she asked Hitchens if he saw a difference between fundamentalist faith and more liberal (perhaps we could say “progressive”) religion. His answer was surprising: “I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”

I agree with Hitchens. If I became convinced that Christianity was not true, I would not become a progressive Christian. If I became persuaded that the resurrection of Jesus never happened, or that he was simply a good teacher or wise man to imitate, I would not adopt the progressive Christian view of the gospel, the Cross, or the Bible. I would simply walk away from the faith. Because progressive Christianity offers me nothing of value. It gives no hope for the afterlife and no joy in this one. It offers a hundred denials with nothing concrete to affirm…

[By accepting the tenets of progressive Christianity, I stood to lose] the consuming fire who spoke creation into existence and yet identifies himself as Father. I stood to lose Jesus, the Messiah predicted by the Old Testament prophets and trumpeted after four hundred years of divine silence as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1: 29). I stood to lose my Savior. The assurance that my sins had been paid for— that I had been bought with a price. That he died in my place. I stood to lose the beauty of the gospel. I stood to lose the confidence that everything wrong in this wretched world will one day be made right. I stood to lose the hope of no more tears, no more crying, no more pain. I stood to lose the mysterious stability of God’s written Word. The lamp to my feet. The light to my path.

We don’t get to completely redefine who God is and how he works in the world and call it Christian. We don’t get to make the rules and do what is right in our own eyes and yet claim to be followers of Jesus. Our only option is to do it his way or not at all. He is love. His name is truth. His gospel is bloody. His way is beautiful. For God so loved the world. I want to join my voice with the saints who’ve gone before me. I want to unite with Peter and Paul, Athanasius, Ignatius, and Augustine. I want to worship with Aquinas, Spurgeon, and Tozer.” [end quote]

It’s not wrong to doubt our faith.  Even John the Baptist once doubted if Jesus was who he said he was.  Doubt is a parasite of faith.  What’s wrong is to swallow whole a person’s questioning of the tenets of the Christian faith without investing the time and effort to investigate the challenge set before you.  It’s this “investigation” that has led many ardent atheists (like Lee Strobel, who writes the Forward) to profess their faith in the biblical Christ, rather than feed their doubt.

Childers makes it clear that “progressive Christianity” is nothing more than atheism disguised by Christian-ish terms and manipulation of biblical truth.  Or, as Jesus put it – a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Think deeply.  Think biblically, Nick