Some Mainline Thoughts on Progressive Christianity

I”m still not really in the camp with Progressive Christianity. Maybe I should just stick to the phrase “follower of the teachings of Jesus” Here are some comments that tend to push me in that direction. It is from a webinar on the subject from the Church of Christ version of Christianity.

1)  You sometimes hear progressive Christians say things like, “The Bible is not from God, but is only a human book expressing people’s experience of God.” Or you’ll hear, “This is what the apostle Paul says, but what did Jesus say?” The assumption behind both is that we get to judge which parts of the Bible are true and authoritative based upon our 21st century, Western sensibilities…

2) Progressivism challenges core doctrines of Christian orthodoxy. The Scriptures teach that Jesus was crucified to atone for our sins, but progressives tend to argue that Jesus’ death was merely a martyrdom. The Scriptures claim that Jesus is divine, but often progressives only emphasize the humanity of Jesus–unitarianism grew up with Western liberalism. The sinfulness of humanity is generally downplayed by progressives, who tend to think that all people are basically good and not really in need of salvation…

3) Progressivism is attractive to formerly biblical Christians because it offers a sort of “halfway house” that allows them to remain largely religious and socially responsible, but relieves them from the responsibility of holding to what they consider to be antiquated biblical teachings such as miracles, the authority of Scripture, sexual holiness or the sinfulness of humanity…

4) I do think that this is our time. We face a sort of “rendezvous with destiny” moment. If we fail in this moment, North American Christianity will soon be no different from that of Europe — irrelevant...

Source: The Christian Chronicle

I guess the topic of religion has, like the political sphere, become Left vs Right thing now which is predominately driven by fear. One version of Christianity sees another as a threat to their existence so they dig their trenches and demand that they are the owners of truth. Maybe it is just not worth the time and pain to hang on to the word “Christian” anymore. The right-wing Christian world has become very pretty similar to right-wing Republicans now. Both those worlds are very black and white now. There is simply no room for those of us to see fifty shades of grey.

I say I am a follower of the teachings of Jesus but don’t put my faith on the belief that the Bible is the only truth or that it is entirely true. In other words, my following Jesus has little or nothing to do with whether the Bible is from God or from man.

The religious right clings to the idea that if you want to claim Jesus then you have to also accept all the baggage that was piled on him by others after his ascension. I just don’t buy that logic in any way shape or form.

I am beginning to question whether I really want to try and dialog here anymore. It seems the divide between left and right is now also core part of the Christian domain. Is it really worth the effort? I will have to contemplate and pray on this some more I guess…

4 thoughts on “Some Mainline Thoughts on Progressive Christianity

  1. Don’t give up. We need voices that focus on the Christ of Christianity, not the Church, not the Book. How about telling us some instances where Jesus’ words have made specific impacts on your life?

    1. Thanks for the encouragement AZ. I have decided on a markedly different approach for future posts. I decided it should be all about learning and not lamenting. I will be ready to unveil it sometime next week. I am somewhat excited to be getting into this new series and learn new things.

    2. I do hope you continue! I’m intrigued with some of the ideas you presented here, even if I don’t agree with all of them. But even with that said, from the two posts I’ve read you have a wonderfully moderate voice of which I’d enjoy reading more. I’m a firm believer that truth is found in conversation: Even if you don’t convince the other party to think like you do (which sometimes isn’t even the point anyway), you learn more about your own beliefs by discussing them. I hope to discuss with you in the future.

    3. Thanks Annie for the encouraging thoughts. Yes, I have decided to keep going here but with a slightly different purpose in mind. More about that in next week’s post. I hope you like it and start up some interesting conversations about the selected topics.

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