The Moving Word

Writer, Preacher, Bookworm, Student of the Word

Implications of Liberalism, Part Three

liberal-conservative1

Part One

Part Two

The Progressive Agenda

The progressive agenda will require a focused plan of attack. In order for progressives to convert the majority of minds, they will have to alter the presuppositions of Americans so they will begin viewing the world as progressives do. It will require an intellectual sleight of hand in order to lure people to accept these ideas.

The cultural effort to accomplish this goal has been ongoing for decades through universities and the mass media. The groundwork to change the philosophical makeup of the nation has been very successful as it worked behind the scenes. Incrementally, people have accepted progressive doctrines without even realizing they have done so.

Christians have also fallen for these plots in more ways than they realize (Ephesians 6:10).

John Shelby Spong outlines an agenda of victory for progressivism. It involves altering the language and meaning of terms within Christianity, the abolition of sin as an antiquated notion, stripping the divinity from God and Jesus and the miraculous from Scripture, and eradicating any boundary to salvation and happiness. In short, demolish and reorient all that characterizes Christianity until it is safe, harmless and, ultimately, worthless.

“My sense is that history has come to a point where only one thing will save this venerable faith tradition at this critical time in Christian history, and that is a new Reformation far more radical than Christianity has ever before known and that this Reformation must deal with the very substance of that faith. This Reformation will recognize that the pre-modern concepts in which Christianity has traditionally been carried will never again speak to the post-modern world we now inhabit. This Reformation will be about the very life and death of Christianity. Because it goes to the heart of how Christianity is to be understood, it will dwarf in intensity the Reformation of the 16th century. It will not be concerned about authority, ecclesiastical polity, valid ordinations and valid sacraments. It will be rather a Reformation that will examine the very nature of the Christian faith itself. It will ask whether or not this ancient religious system can be refocused and re-articulated so as to continue living in this increasingly non-religious world.” [1]

Spong clearly outlines the tenets of war. They seek nothing less than the dismantling of the foundations of Christianity.

One group within the progressive movement has the following tenets. [2]

  • First, “Christians must have an openness to other faiths.”
  • Second, “Christians must care for the earth and its ecosystem.”
  • Third, “Christians must value artistic expression in all its forms.”
  • Fourth, “Christians must welcome and include all persons.”
  • Fifth, “Christians must oppose the co-mingling of Church and State.”
  • Sixth, “Christians must seek peace and end systemic poverty.”
  • Seventh, “Christian must promote the values of rest and recreation, prayer and reflection.”
  • Eighth, “Christians must embrace both faith and science.”

We quickly notice the fact that man decides how Christians should be, not Christ. The supposition that we can dictate truth and Christ will tag along is ignorance.

“And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Luke 4:8).

We serve God, not a social reform agenda.

The Center for Progressive Christianity has the following eight tenets. [3]

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
  • 5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
  • 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.

Jesus is not “an” approach. He is the only one (John 14:6).

They stress the slogan, “…embrace the search not certainty”

Consider their words:

“Rather than treating Jesus as the unreachable perfect God that is so hard to relate to for most people, we can think of Jesus as the enlightened teacher who asks only to be followed.” [4]

“Today with our awareness of black holes, post quantum physics, multiple dimensions and multiple and expanding universes, it is impossible to believe that any one religion could have the whole picture or the correct understanding of God, let alone have an exclusive path to that God. To suggest anything else would be at best, arrogant.” [5]

Indeed, in a pluralistic sense they are exactly right. However, pluralism is not God’s plan and it should not be ours, either (Ephesians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 1:10).

They cite Isaiah 25:6, “And in this mountain The LORD of hosts will make for all people.” They conclude, “Note that in this vision of the banquet all the nations, tribes, and clans of the earth are God’s guests. No one is to be excluded.” [6]

Yet, Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

While Christ is not willing that any should perish, he demands that we take up His cross daily (2 Peter 3:9; Mark 8:34-38).

Note this alarming quote:

“According to the gospels, Jesus rarely gave a straight answer to a straight question. Instead he responded with another question or told a puzzling story. Jesus would not provide absolute answers because answers, by providing false confidence and security, become barriers to an awareness of God. Answers become substitutes for God. The task Jesus bequeathed to the church was providing a context in which those who would follow him can find the courage to pursue their questions.” [7]

Here is a perfect example of how liberals and conservatives read the same book and come to very different conclusions. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). He also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

Progressivism exhibits a disdain for boundaries and a passion for unrestrained freedom of thought and action. Authority will not be a concern of progressivism.

A fundamental principle of Liberalism is the proposition:

“It is contrary to the natural, innate, and inalienable right and liberty and dignity of man, to subject himself to an authority, the root, rule, measure, and sanction of which is not in himself.’ This principle implies the denial of all true authority; for authority necessarily presupposes a power outside and above man to bind him morally.” [8]

Conclusion

An observer of progressives in the church will see remnants of these beliefs in varying degrees. A perusal of their writings will yield a wealth of examples that touch on them to some extent. Understanding why they believe as they do is essential if we will combat their spread among the saints. We cannot debate that which we do not understand. And since progressivism attacks Biblical authority, these battles are of eternal importance.

Citations

[1] http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/32Ang/Epis/Spong12Thes.htm

[2] http://www.religioustolerance.org/prog_chr2.htm

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://progressivechristianity.org/the-8-points/

[5]  http://www.tcpc.org/about/point1_study.cfm  [Defunct website accessed in September 2007].

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/defnlibr.htm

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3 thoughts on “Implications of Liberalism, Part Three

  1. Pingback: Implications of Liberalism, Part Four | The Moving Word

  2. Pingback: Implications of Liberalism, Part Five | The Moving Word

  3. Pingback: Series on Liberalism | The Moving Word

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