I’m continuing my series on the “dangers” of Progressive churches. The Fundagelical website crosswalk.com has created a list of five warning signs that your church might be getting progressive. I’ve covered the first two signs here and here, and today we look at the third sign. To quote Crosswalk,
Essential Christian doctrines are open for re-interpretation.
Progressive author John Pavlovitz wrote, “There are no sacred cows [in Progressive Christianity]….Tradition, dogma, and doctrine are all fair game, because all pass through the hands of flawed humanity.” Progressive Christians are often open to re-defining and re-interpreting the Bible on hot-button moral issues like homosexuality and abortion, and also cardinal doctrines such as the virgin conception and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. The only sacred cow is “no sacred cows.”
The key word here is “essential.” In Fundagelical speak it means one of the “Fundamentals.” In 1910-1915 a series of twelve volumes were published outline “Fundamental doctrines.” These doctrines were:
• The inerrancy of the Bible
• The literal nature of the biblical accounts.
• The virgin birth of Christ
• The bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ
• The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross
Fundamentalists teach that you cannot be a Christian without affirming these five fundamentals of the faith. The only problem with these five fundamentals is that not all of them were believed by the early church. The Bible wasn’t considered inerrant until the Fundamentalist insisted it was. They set up their own denominations and their own Bible colleges to teach their particular brand of doctrine. Merging with like-minded conservative Christians who opposed “liberal theology” and “modernism” they created a false history claiming that their beliefs were traditional and what Christians had always believed.
Is the inerrancy of the Bible truly essential? Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose you have a person who is fully devoted to Jesus and has proclaimed his as Lord and savior. This person fully trusts Jesus and is dependent on the Holy Spirit to become more Christ-like. When this person dies, will he be denounced and sent to hell because he doesn’t believe in the inerrancy of the Bible? I think not.
Progressive understand that the essential doctrine is trusting in Jesus. Progressive trust Jesus with their eternal destiny. Progressives trust Jesus as good, fair, and just, that they believe even if they make theological mistakes that Jesus will still save them.
Fundagelicals trust their doctrine. They live in fear of “losing their faith.” “Losing your faith” is Fundagelical speak for questioning any of the doctrines you have been taught.
Where in the Bible does it say I must condemn the LGBTQ+ community to be saved? Where does it say in the Bible I must be anti-abortion to be saved? When Paul and Silas were asked the question “What must I do to be saved?” they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 16:30-31) Notice they didn’t say believe in the five fundamentals. They didn’t say pass a theology exam. They didn’t say affirm a certain set of theological propositions.
Progressives aren’t reinterpreting “essential” doctrines. The only essential doctrine is believing in Jesus. Progressives are reinterpreting Fundagelical doctrines that are questionable and at times harmful.
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.