Progressive Christianity: A New Path or Repackaged Pantheism?

Posted: September 3, 2013 in Apologetics, Guest Blog Posts
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Originally posted on February 28, 2013

By: @piercingthedark and @nytfury

What is Progressive Christianity? According to one of their sites, it is “an open, intelligent and collaborate approach to the Christian tradition and the life and teachings of Jesus that create pathways into an authentic and relevant religious experience.” This sounds absolutely wonderful…until you look further into the doctrine of this repackaged religion of “God is all and all is God” aka New Age Pantheism.

Progressive Christianity also attempts to incorporate all religions to create these “pathways into an authentic and relevant religious experience.” This reduces Christianity from being the one and only Way (John 14:6, Acts 24:14) to becoming one of MANY pathways. The “Christianity” part focuses on Jesus’ examples of living. It views Jesus as a wise, kind man who teaches us to love each other. The deceptive part is in seeing Jesus as merely a guide, not God. The big lie is that you can become your own god. This lie is as old as Adam and Eve. Satan said to Eve, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

Progressive Christianity strips Christ of all deity, embracing His human aspects, but not His holiness. Christianity is then no longer superior to any other belief, therefore making one big happy family of people loving others and moving them away from what they view as “divisive” doctrine. This view is panoramic in scope and a breath-taking attack on the main-line Christian faith.

The following are eight main points of Progressive Christianity, along with brief rebuttals:

1. “Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life.”

This statement is about doing “good works”. It completely rejects Jesus’ requirement of total commitment to Him, and Him only. (Romans12:1-2, Luke 9:22-24) This statement also contradicts Christianity because the “Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life” is nothing more than a Pantheistic idea, and it ultimately excludes God.

2. “Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey.”

In Christianity, Jesus is the ONLY way. (John 14:6, 1Timothy 2:5-6, 1John 2:23, 1john5:20, Acts4:12)

3. “Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to: Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, believers and agnostics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, those of all classes and abilities.”

People with differing beliefs and behaviors have always sought acceptance in their community. Although Christians are commanded to love their neighbor as themselves, they are not commanded to condone the actions of their neighbors. Being inclusive does not absolve the sin and the fallen nature of people. The common phrase, “love the person, hate the sin” is a simple yet accurate saying. Jesus loves everyone unconditionally, but He hates their sin – the actions that go against God. In scripture, Jesus didn’t exclude the woman caught in adultery, He simply said “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:3-11)

4. “Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.”

Matthew 22:36-38 says: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Also see Mark 12:30-31: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Without a true belief and love for God, love is undefinable. We are merely reacting to our chemical and electrical impulses and cannot express a TRUE love for others.

5. “Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes.”

This statement reduces the value of absolutes. Yet it is an absolute statement in itself. Questioning has value only when combined with a moral framework of what is right or wrong. Progressive Christianity only provides valueless understanding. Arthur Leff, a law professor, points this out:

“…there is today no way of ‘proving’ that napalming babies is bad except by asserting it (in a louder and louder voice), or by defining it as so, early in one’s game, and then later slipping it through, in a whisper, as a conclusion… absent an ultimate authority figure (i.e. God) handing down moral laws from on-high there is no reason for any person to prefer one set of behavior identified as moral” to another.’

Leff terms this “the Grand Sez Who?”

‘…it looks as if we are all we have. Given what we know about ourselves, and each other, this is an extraordinarily unappetizing prospect; looking around the world, it appears that if all men are brothers, the ruling model is Cain and Abel. Neither reason, nor love, nor even terror, seems to have worked to make us “good,” and worse than that, there is no reason why anything should. Only if ethics were something unspeakable by us could law be unnatural, and therefore unchallengeable.

As things stand now, everything is up for grabs. Nevertheless: Napalming babies is bad. Starving the poor is wicked. Buying and selling each other is depraved. Those who stood up and died resisting Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, and Pol Pot —and General Custer too— have earned salvation. Those who acquiesced deserve to be damned. There is in the world such a thing as evil. [All together now:] Sez who? God help us.'”

6. “Strive for peace and justice among all people.”
7. “Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth.”
8. “Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.”

These last three statements further display why absolute truths are vital. Who says I have to adhere to social justice? Where is the standard for the balance between protecting people versus protecting the earth? Who determines how I love or show compassion to others? Progressive Christianity cannot offer anything but opinions. Again “Sez who!”

An extreme example: Hitler did not consider Jews people, he considered them vermin. He blamed them for the problems of the world. He was learning and pursuing to build a superior race. What we consider to be his atrocities, without absolute truths or a moral standard, Hitler could say he was striving for “peace and justice”, “protecting and restoring the integrity of our earth”, and “committing to a path of life-long learning, compassion and selfless love.” This is not an isolated case. The Rape of Nanking, the terrors of Stalin, the ruthlessness of Mao, and more. Without absolutes, morality is malleable.

Think about this; can there be any real meaning in life? If there is no true right or wrong and we just live and then die, what we do in between is valueless.

If you examine Progressive Christianity closely, you will see that this movement has nothing to do with Christianity. It is not progressive or new for that matter. It is re-packaged New Age Pantheism. It is a false path which the Apostle Paul warns the Corinthian church to recognize and reject:

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15. Read chapter 11 for full context.)

Here is a brief statement on the values of Christianity based on society’s views, & how that differs from what the value really is . In the book ‘The Reason for God’ by Timothy Keller, a NYC pastor, he sums this up by saying: “Most people in our culture believe that, if there is a God, we can relate to Him and go to Heaven through leading a good life… Christianity teaches the very opposite. In the Christian understanding…God’s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Savior.”

Professing Christians who have put their hope and trust fully in Jesus need to recognize that Progressive Christianity is deceptive. It is a lie to use the term Christian and deny the claims of Jesus. As one pastor said, “Jesus is Lord of All or he is not lord at all.”

Those who are seeking truth and meaning, Progressive Christianity (Pantheism, Atheism, etc.) will not satisfy. It cannot demonstrate what truth and meaning are. Shelby Spong, although a bishop in the Anglican church, is in reality a secular humanist. He comments, “There is no external, objective, revealed standard written in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.” Again, without standards there can be no valid meaning to life. Yet he wants you to believe he is telling the truth!

If you are looking for a purpose in life, Jesus Christ has one for you. If you need to know right from wrong and find meaning in life, Jesus Christ offers that. If you are looking for an adventure beyond all adventures, Christianity is the way. When I became a Christian on Feb 22, 1980, I never realized what I got myself into. Even now I desire the old life of selfishness, but I remember the despair of not having any purpose and realize that Christ is the only answer for us all. I am forever changed.

Two quotes for you to think about:

“If you get on a train going in the wrong direction, it does you no good to run down the aisle in the opposite direction.” (attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer) Progressive Christianity is going away from God, not toward Him

“Jesus said, ‘I am the way’ and I believe He (Jesus) is telling the truth. Give Jesus a 90 day free trial.” (Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church).

In conclusion “Jesus said, ‘I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except by Me.'” (John 14:6). This sums up what Jesus, the Son of God, offers to all who love Him: A path, clear truth and a promise of living with Him eternally. Give Jesus a try.

I first heard about Progressive Christianity from a friend on twitter. Although he claimed to not believe all the points of the movement, he does claim to be a Christian, but progressive in his politics… To him I’ve said, and I say to you as well: look at society, what does it mainly consist of? People. Human beings. Life. Respecting that is pretty important as most would agree. Our country is one under God. If you take all the talking points of the progressive movement, and refer to the Bible and what Christians believe, it is obvious how “Progressive Christian” is an oxymoron, plain and simple.

Yet progressives overlook where their ideals contradict the Bible. One stark contrast between Christians and Progressives is their view on human life. This is what I base all other issues on. This is the crux of the whole thing. They promote social programs for later stages of life but are perfectly ok with the murder of people at the start of life (conception), even the murder of newborns. Regardless of their views on how we should provide for people in society, nothing justifies the killing of people at the start of their life.

There are stages to life, from conception to death. Christians value life in all stages, including the start. This in itself is perfectly clear to me on how a Christian can’t also be a Progressive. Every other issue is based on the abortion issue. If someone doesn’t value life from the very start, how can they possibly value life at any other stage? If they can make an exception to kill at the most vulnerable of stages, what will stop them from making an exception at other stages?

As you ponder all the other social and fiscal issues, think about who is affected by it all… people. Think about how the devaluing of human lives has led to many of the issues we face. Think about how deceptive it is for those who discard human life to claim to be a believer in the Giver of life. Think about it and soldier on!


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