My last post dealt with the “dangers” of progressive churches. Fundagelicals don’t like Progressives because their questions undermine Fundagelical’s absolute authority and that is seen as a threat to their power. How do you spot a Progressive church and avoid getting sucked into it? Well according to the website the second danger sign is “Feelings are emphasized over facts.” The webpage says,
In Progressive churches, personal experiences, feelings, and opinions tend to be valued above objective truth. As the Bible ceases to be viewed as God’s definitive word, what a person feels to be true becomes the ultimate authority for faith and practice.
Comments you might hear:
- That Bible verse doesn’t resonate with me…
- I thought homosexuality was a sin until I met and befriended some gay people…
- I just can’t believe Jesus would send good people to hell…
This statement, of course, isn’t true. Fundagelicals love to claim “Objective fact.” when what they really mean is “How we interpret the Bible.” There has always been theological disagreement, and there always will be. Fundagelicals claim their interpretations as facts and Progressives claim their interpretations as . . . interpretations. Progressives are just honest about it.
Does that mean we can’t know the truth? No, it means that we can through careful study, proper context, and good interpretive methodology find with reasonable certainty what truth the scriptures are trying to teach us.
When a Progressive says, “That part of the Bible doesn’t resonate with me” what it means is I want to study this more, I want to engage this verse and dig deep to make sure this “truth” is reasonable. Fundagelicals do not want people questioning their teaching and enforce it with the fear of excommunication and the labels of backslider, heretic, or apostate.
When a Progressive says, “I thought homosexuality was a sin until I met and befriended some gay people” what that means is that instead of demonizing and marginalizing gay people, which is against the teachings of Jesus, Progressives see the Holy Spirit at work in their lives of LGBTQ Christians and gone back to examine scripture. There are now so many books debunking the Fundagelical condemnation of homosexuality that to continue to condemn the LGBTQ community is, at worst, to willfully refuse to remove false teaching from the church and at best, to chose to live in ignorance.
When a Progressive says “I just can’t believe Jesus would send people to hell” it means that they have examined the life and character of Jesus and are finding the doctrine of hell to be inconsistent with what he taught and lived. It also means that they have studied the development of the doctrine of hell and found it to be a later addition to Christian doctrine and not in the teachings of the Old Testament, Jesus, or the New Testament. Progressives have found that the development of the doctrine of hell simply doesn’t have a firm Biblical basis.
These statements aren’t based on feelings; they are based on careful examination of the Bible, doctrine, context, history, tradition and a host of other factors. The scholarship on the side of the Progressive church far outweighs the Fundagelical’s false appeal to their so-called “objective truth.” Objective truth for them isn’t objective; it is simple blind adherence to a set of propositional statements that they were told can’t be questioned, or else they will lose their faith.
Is it any wonder that Mark Noll, in his book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, say that the scandal is that they don’t have a mind?
Disagreeing with Fundagelical doctrine isn’t a whim or feeling; it is a reformation. It is an attempt to find the truth rather than simply claiming to have it.
Thanks for reading, don’t forget to like the post and subscribe if you haven’t already. You can watch my vlog at Rev’s Reels on YouTube. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Join me and a bunch of other former Fundagelicals at Open Door Ministries in Westminster at the Westminster Mall.