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Progressive Christianity?

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who

will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince,

rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will

come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to

their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up

for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the

truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things,

endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”

(2 Timothy 1-5, NKJV).

As I wandered around the podcast sphere, I came across a discussion on “progressive Christianity.” There is even a website that lists five core values. Here are the first two:

1. Believe that following the way and teachings of Jesus can lead to experiencing sacredness, wholeness, and unity of all life, even as we recognize that the Spirit moves in

beneficial ways in many faith traditions.

2. Seek community that is inclusive of all people, honoring differences in theological perspective, age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, class, or ability.

I recognize that I am naive and swim in a very small pond, but reading things like this tells me we have a day’s work ahead of us. Wander around their website, and you will soon find no commitment to the Scriptures being inspired or inerrant. One would immediately deduce that from the two statements above.

It seems to me that this is where the real battle is. Has God spoken or not? If the Scriptures are the Word of the Lord, then the first core value is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus that they want to follow—for Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father except through Me.”

If the Scriptures are the Word of the Lord, then the second core value is also antithetical to

the teachings of Jesus they want to follow. For community is built on obedience to Jesus, is

found in His church, and those in His church are to be holy. Alternative sexual orientations

are not holy according to these Scriptures.

Should not these ideas be met with the preaching of THE Word?

But we must also remember that we are not to wrestle with flesh and blood. The people

behind this website are not our adversaries. Rather, we understand them to be under the

influence of our true adversaries in Ephesians 6. They are “taken captive to do His will”

(2 Timothy 2:26). By loving and faithful proclamation, perhaps some might be pulled

out of the fire (Jude 23).

Christianity is progressive in one sense: that we are to be more and more conformed to

the image of Christ. The Bible’s word for this is sanctification, and it is a lifelong pursuit. So,

I am to progress towards Christ’s perfection. But the standard, the Word, the truth of God,

was “once for all delivered to the saints”(Jude 3).

It does not change. It is perfect in its brilliance and wisdom, so what it says to one, it says to all—to a Jew in the first century and a Ph.D. in 2024.

Today, we gather to worship our God according to the Word, which is a good thing for us and the world. But we need more than worship; we need a deep knowledge of His Word and a commitment to be faithful to it. We need the whole armor of God. In this way, we, and our brothers and sisters and families, will be able to stand.

—John Ostic

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