What is Progressive Christianity? Is it Biblical?
Progressive Christianity is a growing religious movement that professes to be “Christian” while seeking to present itself as a modern day alternative to Biblical Christianity, but without affirming the entire Bible as inerrant or authoritative for Christian living.
Progressive Christians perceive Biblical Christianity as being fundamentalist, unloving, uncompromising and too intolerant to the ever-changing secular culture and moral values of the modern day world.
So Progressive Christianity attempts to present a “progressive” or more liberal theological view of Christianity by conforming to the world’s moral standards and value systems.
For example, Progressive Christians oppose Biblical Christianity’s intolerance to homosexuality, abortion, or the Biblical assertion that Jesus Christ is exclusively the only way for salvation.
So while professing to be “Christian”, Progressive Christianity presents distorted theological views which do not oppose or offend the world’s value systems. Instead Progressive Christians seek to merge, embrace and conform to the moral and unbiblical standards of the world.
Some of the beliefs and practices of the Progressive Christian movement are as follows:
- Progressive Christians do not believe that the Bible is the inerrant, authoritative or infallible word of God. Instead they believe the Bible to be a human inspired resource with errors like other religious literature. On this basis Progressive Christians believe the Bible’s teachings can be questioned, criticized, opposed or ignored.
- They do not believe in Biblical or doctrinal absolutes, but instead they believe that truth can be relative.
- They believe that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience spiritual redemption or salvation. Therefore Progressive Christians embrace other religions or spiritual views as being different roads that lead to salvation or to the same God.
- Progressive Christians view Jesus Christ as simply a good moral Teacher who’s teachings can be questioned and criticized.
- Their definition of salvation includes the pursuit for moralistic wholeness that is primarily based on the world’s standards and values.
- Their definition of love includes the acceptance of various unbiblical or immoral lifestyles so as not to offend people.
- Progressive Christians seek community that is inclusive of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Therefore they support the LGBTQ lifestyle as morally and spiritually acceptable. For example in the Progressive Christian movement, a pastor can be gay, or a pastor can officiate same-sex marriages.
- They embrace a mixture of ideologies and spiritual views from New Age movement, humanism, pantheism, evolution and many others as alternative sources for theological truth.
- Progressive Christianity also focuses on political correctness, social justice, climate change and moralism.
4 Dangers of Progressive Christianity
1. Progressive Christianity Challenges & Questions the Work and Deity of Jesus Christ
The movement does not respect the teachings of Christ as being authoritative and final. Progressive Christianity does not also respect the uniqueness of the work and Person of Christ as the God-man sent to save humanity from sin. Instead Jesus Christ is minimized to being a good moral Teacher who is one of many ways to God or Heaven.
Such a low view of Christ is an insult to Person of Christ and the finished work that He did on the cross by dying for the sins of mankind. The Bible reveals that Jesus is God who became flesh and that He came to give us eternal life and set us free from the consequences of sin (Romans 6:23; John 1:12; John 1:14; John 3:16).
1 Timothy 2:5 says: For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
2. Progressive Christianity Proclaims Another Jesus and a Different Gospel
This movement is a counterfeit version of true Biblical Christianity because it distorts the true character and nature of Jesus Christ. It also denies the Gospel of Christ as being the only means that presents salvation for humanity.
2 Corinthians 11:4 says: For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
Hebrews 13:8 says: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Progressive Christianity presents a different Jesus than the Jesus Christ described in the Bible. The movement also presents a false gospel and denies several essentials of Biblical Christian faith.
3. Progressive Christianity Minimizes Sin & Creates False Converts
This movement’s promotion of various sinful lifestyles as being morally acceptable is a deception and it is spiritually dangerous.
In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
James 1:22 says that we must “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
The Bible is clear that people who unrepentantly and rebelliously live a sinful lifestyle will not inherit the kingdom of God. For example, it would be a dangerous deception for a person to believe that they can enjoy living an LGBTQ lifestyle and still profess to be “Christian” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:26-27)
Therefore without Jesus Christ and without the Bible as the solid spiritual foundation, a Progressive Christian can be likened to a man who built his house on sand rather than on rock.
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus says: “Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
4. Progressive Christianity Seeks The Love of the World & Not The Love of Christ
This movement loves the world and it also seeks the approval and love from the world.
The problem is that the world is at enmity with both Jesus Christ and all of His true followers.
In John 15:18-19 Jesus said: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
The Progressive Christian theology of conforming to the moral and secular standards of the world is a reflection that the movement seeks acceptance and love from the world above teaching and living according to Biblical truth.
1 John 2:15-17 says: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
What Does The Bible Say About Progressive Christianity Beliefs?
The Bible opposes many of the core beliefs or tenets of Progressive Christianity.
Romans 12:2 says that as Christians we should “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
James 4:4 warns us that “friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Therefore the concept of Progressive Christianity’s attempt to merge itself with worldly secular values is unbiblical and does not align with true Christianity.
For example, while the world and Progressive Christians may have accepted LGBTQ as a morally acceptable lifestyle, the Bible (which is God’s word) does not change about these issues.
Homosexuality is one of the sins that is listed as preventing a person who unrepentantly commits them from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Jesus Christ’s view of LGBTQ issues are all written in Matthew 19:4-6 where Jesus describes marriage, gender and sexuality as being between two kinds of genders, which is male and female or husband and wife.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
The Bible was inspired by God and all true Christians should accept it as inerrant and infallible. The Bible and its principles are relevant to our modern day era. God’s word points us to Jesus Christ alone as the answer to sin. So God’s moral laws do not change and Christ alone remains the only way for salvation from sin and the only means by which we have a relationship with God.
In John 14:6 Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Acts 4:12 says: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Therefore Jesus Christ alone is the only exclusive means by which humanity can be saved.
Jesus Himself said that the gate to eternal life is narrow and few enter it, but the way to destruction is wide and many will pass through it (Matthew 7:13-14).
In John 14:15 Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
Therefore the evidence that we love Jesus is by our obedience to His word. It is not when we question or criticize His word with the motive to disobey Him.
Furthermore, loving people does not mean that you have to tolerate their sinful lifestyle. It is possible to love people but without accepting their sin. For example, a parent can love his child but not accept or tolerate the child’s bad behavior.
In the same way God is love but yet He does not tolerate sin. He loves us but He does not love our sins. Instead He provided a way to escape sin and its eternal consequences by sending His only begotten Son to pay for our sins on the cross (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
The Bible encourages Christians to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
However, not everyone will accept the truth. In fact there are many people who are offended by the truth. Absolute truth is found in God’s word. Truth has also been personified in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6; John 1:1-2).
Therefore when Progressive Christians oppose Jesus or the teachings of Christ, then they automatically oppose the truth.
Christ Himself was crucified because He spoke the truth that people did not want to hear. Jesus was pinned to the cross by people who did not want to hear the truth.
The early Christians were persecuted because they shared the Gospel and Christ being the exclusive way for human salvation. Today Christians all over the world are being persecuted for standing by the unchanging Biblical principles and values which are found in the Bible.
However, if we love people and care for their salvation, then we will speak the truth in love, even if the truth will cause conflict or persecution (Matthew 5:10; 1 Peter 4:12-14).
Unfortunately Progressive Christians do not grasp these important facts. It is better to be accepted by Jesus Christ for standing by His word than to be accepted by the world whose value systems will ultimately lead to eternal destruction (Matthew 10:32-33).
Progressive Christianity has no solid authoritative foundation as it rejects the Gospel and the authority of the Bible.
Progressive Christianity appeals to those who no longer desire sound Biblical teaching. It appeals to those who want to love their sins and still profess to be Christian. It appeals to those who love the world and the values of this world instead of the Bible.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 says: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 says: Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
Therefore Progressive Christianity is a deceptive distortion. It is part of a great deception which undermines the Bible and also the character and nature of God.