Where Do Progressives Want to Take the Church? (1)

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
puzzlepiece.jpgThe state of the church is a matter of serious concern as brethren wander from the truth in increasing numbers. If we will stem the flow, we must determine the intentions of those leading them away.
Benjamin Disraeli said, “In a progressive country change is constant; change is inevitable.”/1 If we consider that the “country” under attack is Biblical truth and God’s church, we can see how destructive progressivism can be.
Determining the presuppositions of progressives in the religious world as a whole can produce greater insight into the mindset of progressives in the Lord’s church.
In order for progressives to convert the majority of minds, it will require an intellectual sleight of hand that they are adept at performing. Incrementally, people have accepted progressive doctrines without realizing they have done so.
The progressive movement is decimating certain segments of the Lord’s church. Having largely conceded the older generations, they remain content to own the future through heavy recruitment in youth and young adult circles, which are more often open to novelty and resistance to traditional ideas and methods.
We must be aware that while progressivism sounds more conciliatory than liberalism, they are from the same root.

“Regarding the relation of liberal and progressive, many religious thinkers employ these terms interchangeably. This usage has historical weight, because for many years liberalism was the progressive tradition in theology. The idea of a progressive Christianity was first imagined and developed by theological liberals. However, I believe that ‘progressive’ should be treated as a wider category than ‘liberal’ and that the fundamental divide in Christian theology is between various forms of conservative orthodoxy and progressivism.”/2

Conservatism and liberalism are not compatible. The presuppositions of progressivism are so different from conservatism that they are beyond consensus. J. Gresham Machen concludes that, “despite the traditional use of Christian phraseology modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions.”/3
The denominational group, the Center for Progressive Christianity offers the following main points to describe their beliefs./4 They hold to the belief that we should “…embrace the search not certainty,” in our approach to Scripture.
First, “they are repelled by exclusivist beliefs. They reject the concept that only their branch of their religion has the entire monopoly on truth.”
Second, they “value the search for truth, even though it can never be fully possessed. They view it as more important and challenging than the acceptance of those fixed beliefs found in the past by others and imbedded in church creeds.”
Third, they are “chaos tolerant: They can handle a degree of disorder, uncertainty, and ambiguity in life and want to be partners in the exciting search for tentative but satisfying answers to the most pressing problems of existence.”
Fourth, they “believe in the Ethic of Reciprocity: that how we treat other people is more important than the specifics of what we believe about God, humanity and the rest of the universe.”
Fifth, they “have the ability to absorb rapid change in their beliefs, as they integrate findings from social and physical sciences.”
The Center for Progressive Christianity offers the following story to explain their mindset.

It involves a Sunday school teacher and a class of 9 or 10 year olds. Even at that age, some were skeptical of the inerrancy of the Bible. They felt that many events recorded in the Bible never happened. Rather than try to convince the children otherwise, the teacher suggested that they read Charlotte’s Web instead. It is an enduring story of a bashful pig named Wilbur who befriended a spider named Charlotte. The class enjoyed the book. After some great discussions, the teacher interjected the thought that pigs and spiders cannot talk. The kids protested: “Well, it’s a story.” The teacher asked whether the story was true. They decided that it was sort of true. And in a way, it was true. So the teacher suggested: All right, well let’s look at the Bible in the same way./5

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1/ http://tinyurl.com/8gbmsj

2/ Gary Dorrien, Cross Currents; Winter2006, Vol. 55 Issue 4, p456-481, 26p.

3/ J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1923), 6.

4/ http://www.religioustolerance.org/prog_chr.htm

5/ Ibid.

10 Replies to “Where Do Progressives Want to Take the Church? (1)”

  1. Well done brother. What may seem enlightenment is actually darkness. How sad.
    It is good to be reminded that we are to take heed to what is being taught and to our own understanding of doctrine.
    Luke 11:35
    35 Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

  2. Thanks, Steven. We submit, God leads. Human pride just cannot abide by that, can it. Sad that so many miss the true treasure God has given us!

  3. For me, wisdom lies neither in the type of approach that the The Center for Progressive Christianity advocates, nor in a closed, fear-based mindset that literally believes everything as it is written in the Bible.
    Rather, I hold fast to my faith in the Creator God and in the fact that He has a Kingdom plan that I can be part of if I accept his redemption plan (Jesus’ death and resurrection) AND if I continue to live a life worthy of that – bearing fruit.
    As for the rest – my theology, views on science, ethical debates, etc, I realise that we know very, very little and am open to new ideas, theories and experiences all the time.
    That means that it is not possible for me to develop a set of rules that will apply to all people in all circumstances. Every new thought, idea and experience will have to be prayerfully evaluated in the light of what the Holy Spirit and Scripture has shown us of our Creator God.

  4. Esmari, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment on my article. This series is written for people just like you who are falling for the lies that progressives are teaching. Your comments are a perfect example of how people are being fooled.
    Satan rejoices when Scripture is ignored.

  5. The Holy Spirit through the pen of Jude has something to say on this subject.
    “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3
    Thank you brother for all your hard work in this effort. We are grateful. Glory be to God.

  6. Great article; should be required reading for all elders and deacons. I intend to forward to ours.
    “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3: 19-21 NASB

  7. Thank you, Bill. We see what the progressive movement is doing in the religious world and it gives us a better idea of what we face in the Lord’s church. There is more to come.

  8. Esmari said “For me, wisdom lies neither in the type of approach that the The Center for Progressive Christianity advocates, nor in a closed, fear-based mindset that literally believes everything as it is written in the Bible”
    My friend Esmari, do you realize you have just said that wisdom is not in the utterances of God and that to abide in His word and pattern is to be fearful and closed?
    Since I surrendered to Christ and His Word, I have never been so free and seriously have no fear of anything in this world. It is so sad to hear someone say they are of Christ, yet reject His very attitude to follow only what we are taught, like He did for the Father and we are taught by the Holy Spirit to do.
    I just do not see why this is so hard for people and why they have to accept part of the Word and feel compelled to twist it to their own destruction. I wonder why they just don’t come out and say they do not like God or what He has to say. Make no mistakes about it. God is Holy and will not be moved by any well meaning heart that just despises His very Words and pattern and fears not when shown they are in the wrong.
    Those that care not for Truth yet mix some Truth into their teaching for image and feel good sake, are the most dangerous group to raise up in the world since the 3rd century false teachers that lead to all the confusion and denominations we have today.
    Oh they seem all open and loving but actually if you hold to the fact that Truth is knowable, they become harsh and hateful, persecuting, looking down upon, divisive, while all along trying to play “poor me” “I am being treated badly because of a difference of opinion”. It is not opinion when you actively teach wrong and then when corrected turn on the one that loved you enough to point out what God thinks of their doctrine.
    The big problem is that they believe all doctrinal stances are “traditions” and are open for everyone to understand in their own way.
    No we are not judging here but only pointing out the fruit. God has already judged and all we have to do is follow it, respect it and love Him for loving us enough to not leave us in the dark and teach us the Truth that has set us FREE! If we go by the Word only, then all the opinion is gone and we will then be united as Jesus prayed we would be, “through their Word”, meaning the Word of the Holy Spirit given through the Apostles in John 17:22-23. Only then will we be united.
    There are no other ways my friend, Esmari and all of you out there that lean this way. There is only one way to lean, the Lord’s Way for He is the Truth and the Life…No one goes to the Father except through Him. The Word is so important because He IS the Word and we love Him. Revelation 19:13 – John 1:1.
    Matthew 7:21
    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
    John 14:21
    He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
    John 12:49-50
    49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
    John 14:10
    Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
    Philippians 3:16-18
    16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,[a] let us be of the same mind.
    17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
    2 Peter 3:15-17
    15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

  9. Excellent article and very thought provoking. My comments also would like to go to brother Steven Rasberry’s comments.
    Sounds like you have become a preacher. Did you? Can you remember who I am? Please contact me at don.wood.777@gmail.com Your comments were very well received.
    All hail to Jesus name!
    Don Wood

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