Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Monday, May 05, 2008

    Skeptical of "Progressive Christianity"

    In the mold of Tolle and Oprah, a new term has begun to emerge from the liberal churches, "Progressive Christianity", which obviously not Christianity but yet another form of humanism dressed up with Christian terminology.

    Christianity without Christ: No creeds, no miracles, no Resurrection: Minister preaches faith without the symbolism

    Consider...

    • "a Bible ... is just a book among other books."

    • "the cross ... has no special meaning"

    • "The central story of Christianity will fade away...The story about Jesus as the symbol of everything that Christianity is will fade away."

    • Jesus was a "Middle Eastern peasant with a few charismatic gifts and a great posthumous marketing team."

    • "The Bible is used in her services, but it gets rewritten to be more contemporary and speak to more people. Even the Lord's Prayer -- also known as the Our Father -- does not make the cut because it creates an image of a God who intervenes in human existence. And then there is the "Father" part that is not inclusive language and carries with it the notion of an overbearing tyrant who condemns people to hell."

    • "It's been evolving for a long time but we're afraid to acknowledge that so this is merely the next iteration of what Christianity needs to be."

    Like every other form of pluralism, Progressive Christianity seeks to make man the ultimate authority of spiritual matters by denying that God has revealed Himself and His will.

    2 comments:

    swordbearer said...

    Great Post. A few comments.

    1. This shouldn't surprise us on one level as it's not unusual for unbelievers to seek to create their own own gods and own religions. It's also not surprising for an unbeliever to oppose orthodoxy and the church. Though it also at first seems irrational and unbelievable, it's not unusual to find those who want nothing to do with Christ or Christianity to want to claim the name... so as to "steal, kill and destroy".

    2. All the emphasis lately on "labels" is interesting (and getting old). (It no different than in the sixties when all the rebellious wanted to show their rebellion by dressing like hippies to be different from everyone else, then at their gatherings they looked around to find that they all looked the same as all those around them! So it is with those who oppose labels, they will ultimately be found to have condemned the labels of others, only to replace them with their own, but different, labels).

    Usually those who attack names or labels seek to bring in a new agenda by masking their own rather than critiquing and setting forth clear argument delineating specifics of what's wrong with the old and justifying in full what they seek to replace it with. It's like ad hominem arguments on names, position, or organizations, rather than people.

    While it's true that emphases change and this is true anytime you have new generations, new leaders, new voices, etc., that doesn't mean that the foundations of truth change. Additional, one must be careful that even if some in opposing labels may make some good points that need to be examined, that that doesn't mean everything they suggest is true. (Note - by referring to those who oppose labels making some good points, I'm not referring to the lady in this article, who is clearly mistaken in all she says)

    At the same time, it's usually a sign of immaturity and arrogance to simply across the board disregard the past as irrelevant and wrong and to think what one is offering or claiming in its place is going to be the "be all" and "end all". It seems "opposing labels" is simply the latest "method" of exercising this practice.

    3. While the lady in the article seems to suggest you can do away with the essentials of Christianity and be fine, trends lately reveal the opposite. For several years there are those who have tried to "dumb down" or "de-church" the church (in trying to please the culture, reach seekers, etc.) and yet now after going down that route, many are explaining it has left them "empty", and are therefore returning to the very things they opposed, but now with great appreciation and hunger for them. For example, see Young, Restless, Reformed (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/september/42.32.html)

    jazzycat said...

    Liberals are some benefit to society, but sadly many of them are predisposed to wanting to leave Sanitytown and go to Kooksville!