Over the past year or so I've become increasingly aware of just how much my faith, Christianity, is under fire. It's not that Christianity was not being attacked and scrutinized before that but, and I regret to say, I lived in my Christian bubble and most of the dialogue out there did not affect me in any way more than a tragedy in another country does; there was a feeling of grief of course, but it was not very personal to my life.
But no longer.
I'm ashamed it's taken so much for me to really open my eyes to the real state of things but, thankfully they're open now and I'm engaged. Counterfeits of Christianity are impacting my friends, family, people I love, and guys that I mentor, and I must speak up. There is a brand of Christianity I've heard coming up over the past 5-10 years called "Progressive Christianity," and it is absolutely what the Bible calls a "false doctrine" (Galatians 1:6-9). I can only describe this faith as an emotionalized knockoff of Christianity crossed with current culture values. And some of the worst things about this? Most culture makes little to know distinction between real Christianity, that true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this progressive imitation.
Now you might be wondering something like "isn't this guy a musician? why is he writing stuff like this?" Well, you're probably right that this outside of the content on which I usually focus, but I am a believer in the real Jesus first, a son and brother second, an ordained minister, mentor and friend third, and finally, a worship leader and musician.
For those readers like me who are just catching up to what's going on, here are a few doctrinal markers of this Progressive Christian gospel. Really, I feel I have only just begun my journey of understanding it even though I've read and listened to dozens of hours of content on this subject. That said, I feel I can already share with you some common themes I see amongst Progressive Christians:
A heightened value of emotions - often I will hear progressive christians relying more strongly on their feelings about a topic than the objective truth of the Bible. (See Jeremiah 17:9)
A strong focus on doctrinal questions - many progressive christians ask amazing questions about God and the Bible that truly deserve good answers, but they often don't venture far enough to find those answers. I've heard a lot of "So why does the Bible contradict itself?" "How could a loving God send people to hell?" and more. Rather than searching for real answers, I've observed Progressive Christians abandoning real Christianity because of the question. (See James 1:2-8)
A connection with and approval of modern values over biblical ones - as has always been, the way of the world does not agree with what the Bible has to say on a great number of issues. In Progressive Christians, I've seen a strong pattern of choosing the world's values instead of Biblical values. (See Romans 12:1-2)
In light of these things I've observed, I share this scripture with you... a scripture where the apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy to teach the true Gospel he's learned.
Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions...
1 Timothy 6:3-4
I know that I've used a lot of strong words here, and I do not use them lightly. Those who know me personally know that I am a generally very upbeat and positive person who cares deeply for people and genuinely wants to help others in whatever ways I can. And that part of me, the pastor in me, the person who cares deeply and wants to help, that is the part of me that writes this post. My heart breaks for those who have been led away from the real message of Jesus to a false Gospel. I understand the questions, the emotions that tell you one thing when the Bible says another, and the pull toward agreeing with our modern culture. Really, I do. But there is a Truth that supersedes everything we think, feel and are, and that truth is Jesus - the Jesus of the Bible.
I must emphasize how important it is that we as Christians make sure we have the real thing. It is no longer enough to take our pastors at their word, to believe all the books we read, to take the internet as the truth. We MUST dig into the Bible for ourselves to find the truth.
Now, I'm not one for very long blog posts so allow me to turn my previous sentence into a challenge for you, dear reader. Do you want the truth or do you want a lie? You must go to The Word of God (the Bible) to find the truth. Dig in to your faith and find the real thing for yourself. I believe you will find that The God of the Bible is more loving, more holy, and more amazing than you ever thought before.
This blog post could go so much further to offer solutions to questions, address specific Progressive Christian values or more, but I've decided to offer more insight by writing more posts. Stay tuned in the future.
I must take the time to thank Alisa Childers for being a guide for me as I've traveled these roads of understanding just how much my faith is under fire. Alisa, we've never met but I hope we do one day. God has used you (and others) in my life to provide a foundation of how to stick up for His truth to those around me with a spirit of humility. Here's a link to Alisa's podcast if you would like to research this topic a little deeper: https://open.spotify.com/show/5uSv9YOi9xLrM5PahmQl7d?si=a282f48f23ae47b7