Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. The discerning person is the one who draws a clear contrast between truth and error. Discernment is black-and-white thinking—the conscious refusal to color every issue in shades of gray. No one can be truly discerning without developing skill in separating divine truth from error.
Does Scripture tell us how to be discerning? It certainly does. Paul sums up the process in 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22: “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” There, in three straightforward commands, he spells out the requirements of a discerning mind. ~ John MacArthur
Do not be fooled by professing Christians who prefer either “progressive Christian” or “social justice Christian” to evangelical. It matters not what trendy terms people use to describe themselves, a progressive by any other name is still a liberal. So it should not come as a surprise to learn that some PC’s are avowed Marxists. Marxism is the theory of economics and politics of atheists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that holds that “actions and human institutions are economically determined, that the class struggle is the basic agency of historical change, and that capitalism will ultimately be superseded by communism.” Clearly, this theory is unbiblical.
The Center for Progressive Christianity’s homepage makes it abundantly clear how PC’s view themselves:
By calling ourselves progressive, we mean we are Christians who recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.
That, brethren, is moral relativism. Again, unbiblical.
So here’s the bottom line: Progressive is simply a euphemism for socialism.
Authority of Scripture
PC’s do not hold to a high view of Scripture. They out right reject the notion that all Scripture is God breathed — inspired, inerrant, infallible. PC’s will tell you that in their view a large part of the scriptures do not present a true understanding of God’s mind and heart, and much of the Bible is not inspired by the Spirit of God.
PC’s hold to a non-traditional view of the Bible. Because they question tradition, they’re willing to re-write Scripture to ensure that God’s written Word is cutting-edge and meets their politically correct criteria.
Besides an emphasis on caring for the poor through social justice, PC’s are environmentally conscious and believe followers of Jesus are commanded to be the guardians of the Earth.
We Are One
Many PC’s believe in the “Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life.”
Who Are These People?
From “Liberals created the culture of evil and death.” Progressive Christians are:
…ubiquitous, aggressive liberals many of whom are renowned pastors, authors, conference speakers, missionaries, televangelists, radio hosts, and CEOs of Christian organizations. As of late, even some of our most beloved evangelical leaders appear to be morphing into theological liberals. The extent of the movement to liberal ideology varies with each individual, but in certain cases they have gone completely off the rails. False doctrine abounds in books, Bible studies and Bibles authored by notable Christians and promoted by so-called Christian publishers and book sellers. We have been duly warned about this sort of thing happening:
Social Justice theology, Social Justice Gospel
According to Jeff Maples of Pulpit & Pen:
The social gospel advances ideas such as racial justice, open borders, and left-wing political ideology that has a facade of Christlikeness, but under the surface, merely replaces the gospel with social activism.
Moreover, Social justice is not a missing piece of the gospel that has been recently discovered by progressive elitists in evangelical leadership positions. It’s a mass effort to appease large numbers of people who view biblical Christianity negatively by appealing to their sense of self-entitlement. Progressive entitlement ideology is rampant in liberal circles. It’s all about what society can do for me, and how society, instead of me, can take the blame and responsibility for my wrongdoings.
The religious left demands the redistribution (transfer) of wealth under the guise of social justice. Beware when you hear terms such as “social reform” and “social justice” because those terms are doublespeak for socialism.
Critical Race Theory
CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. (Source)
The following falls under the CRT’s big umbrella (for a complete explanation click on Source link):
Intersectionality – a term used to describe how different forms of discrimination can interact and overlap with each other. In recent years, it has become a feminist buzzword. As a concept, intersectionality deals with the cumulative societal effects of systemic discrimination on people who belong to more than one disadvantaged group. For example, a woman is oppressed by the anti-women crowd; a black woman faces anti-woman and anti-black bias; a black lesbian woman faces anti-woman, anti-black, and anti-gay discrimination, etc. The point of intersectionality is that the victim of only one type of discrimination may have a hard time identifying with those who face multiple types of oppression. (Source)
Cultural Marxism – cultural Marxism is a revolutionary leftist idea that traditional culture is the source of oppression in the modern world. Cultural Marxism is often linked to an insistence upon political correctness, multiculturalism, and perpetual attacks on the foundations of culture: the nuclear family, marriage, patriotism, traditional morality, law and order, etc. Cultural Marxists are assumed to be committed to establishing economic Marxism, in which case their cultural attacks are a necessary preparation for their ultimate goal. (Source)
Black liberation theology – refers to a theological perspective which originated among African American seminarians and scholars, and in some black churches in the United States and later in other parts of the world. It contextualizes Christianity in an attempt to help those of African descent overcome oppression. It especially focuses on the injustices committed against African Americans and black South Africans during American segregation and apartheid, respectively. (Source)
Deconstructionism – a term tied very closely to postmodernism, deconstructionism is a challenge to the attempt to establish any ultimate or secure meaning in a text. Basing itself in language analysis, it seeks to “deconstruct” the ideological biases (gender, racial, economic, political, cultural) and traditional assumptions that infect all histories, as well as philosophical and religious “truths.” (Source)
Social Justice – a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. (Source) (See how Jeff Maples’ defines progressive/social justice Christianit under the heading “Social Justice theology, Social Justice Gospel” above)
Rauschenbuschism – the Social Gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist pastor of a congregation. “His work “Christianity and the Social Crisis” may be “the finest distillation of social gospel thought.” Rauschenbusch railed against what he regarded as the selfishness of capitalism and promoted a form of Christian socialism that supported the creation of labour unions and cooperative economics.” (Source)
From “Doublespeak: the language of deception, part 5”:
Progressive Christians brought us the emergence/emergent/emerging Church movement (EC). “The words Emergence and Emergent are often used synonymously,” says Carl Teichrib. “There is a difference: Emergence refers to the larger context of global change. Emergent is the new Christian reaction to this world shift. … there are various degrees attached to this church movement, making it difficult (and dangerous) to use a single brush stroke when dealing with this issue. This does not negate ‘contending for the faith,’ it does mean, however, that we must be careful when attaching labels.”
I have no problem labeling the EC apostate. I’m not alone. Listen to how Pastor Ken Silva describes EC:
“The term Emergence Christianity, which adherents such as Phyllis Tickle see as the new reformation, itself incorporates more than just a nod to emergence theory of evolutionary science; and many in the EC believe that, right now, mankind is evolving upward into a higher state of consciousness.
“For such as these, their practice of neo-Gnostic Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism is where they think that they’ll actually be receiving this “transformation” from God; that’s why, in their minds, meditation in an altered state of consciousness known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer is so important.”
To some EC leaders, words mean pretty much whatever they want them to mean. They are in fact master wordsmiths. (Source)
According to Wikipedia:
Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to “love one another” (John 15:17) within the teachings of Jesus Christ. This leads to a focus on promoting values such as compassion, justice, mercy, tolerance, often through political activism. Though prominent, the movement is by no means the only significant movement of progressive thought among Christians.
“Emerging ‘progressive Christianity’ is changing the way evangelical/Protestant missions is being conducted,” observes Roger Oakland. “The idea is that you can go for Jesus, but you don’t have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. This concept spills over into some missionary societies too, where they teach people from other religions they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation. They don’t have to embrace the term Christian.” (Source)
According to Gary Gilley, “The social gospel became the hallmark of the liberal church…because the liberals had emptied their message and ministry of biblical truth and were left with no other ‘good news’ than solving physical problems. Sadly, evangelicals today are increasingly adopting the missional, social gospel of liberalism.” (Source)
What Progressives Say About Themselves
From Patheos: “Who Are the Progressive Christians? 25 Faith Facts”:
Progressive Christians represent a more contemporary, diverse expression of Mainline Protestantism, and include a broad spectrum of interpretations of scripture, salvation, the person of Jesus, and the role of Christianity in the world.
- Progressive Christianity can trace its roots to the early 20th century, a period of theological tension and social change in the U.S.
- Modernists attempted to reconcile historical Christianity with new scientific findings and philosophy. They were also influenced by “higher criticism”—a way of looking at scripture that challenged its claim to be the word of God—that began in Germany and spread to the U.S.
- What emerged was an approach to Christianity that placed less emphasis on theological doctrine and dogma and more focus on the humanistic attributes of Christianity.
- These Modernist ideas were accepted by many Protestant denominations, but not all. Fundamentalism was a reaction to the growing acceptance of Modernist ideas.
- Through the remainder of the 20th century and early 21st century, what would become known as Progressive Christianity would be further shaped by social upheaval, religious criticism, and the struggle for racial, gender, and sexual orientation equality.
- Today, Progressive Christianity is a dynamic movement within the Christian faith that is marked by a willingness to question tradition, a tolerance of diversity, and an emphasis on social justice and environmental advocacy.
- Recently, Progressive Christianity has served as a spiritual home for believers who have become jaded by more evangelical or fundamentalist strains of Christianity, or those who are looking for a belief system within Christianity that allows for more fluid, individual views.
From Progressive Christianity: The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity:
By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
- Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
- Strive for peace and justice among all people;
- Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;
- Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.
If you feel inspired, learn more about progressive Christianity here!
Leaders (In no particular order)
- Rick Warren
- Marcus J. Borg
- Gregory Boyd
- Tony Campolo
- Shane Claiborne
- John Dominic Crossan
- Diana Butler Bass
- Rob Bell
- Hillary Clinton
- Bart Ehrman
- Peter Enns
- Rachel Held Evans
- Brandon Hatmaker
- Jen Hatmaker
- Bill Hybels
- Lynn Hybels
- Tony Jones
- Timothy Keller
- Ann Lamott
- Brian McLaren
- Carol Howard Merritt
- Jonathan Merritt
- Russell Moore
- Beth Moore
- Barack Obama
- Elaine Pagles
- Fred Plumer
- John Shelby Spong
- Warren Throckmorton
- Carrie Underwood
- Matthew Vines
- Jim Wallis
- Mark Dever
- Albert Mohler
- Matt Chandler
- Thom Rainer
- Ed Stetzer
- Thabiti Anyabwile
- Sam Alberry
Note: While some of the above are misguided, others (like Jim Wallis) are out right Marxists.
- Jesus Seminar
- Patheos–Progressive Christian
- Red Letter Christians
- The Christian Left
- The Progressive Christian Alliance
- Think Christian
What Is The True Gospel Of Jesus Christ?
The true Gospel of Christ has NOTHING to do with social justice as progressives would have us believe. According to Ligonier Ministries:
The heart of the Gospel is that our holy, loving Creator, confronted with human hostility and rebellion, has chosen in his own freedom and faithfulness to become our holy, loving Redeemer and Restorer. The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14): it is through his one and only Son that God’s one and only plan of salvation is implemented. So Peter announced: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). And Christ himself taught: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Discover what the true Gospel is by going here.
The Statement On Social Justice & The Gospel, September 2018
In view of questionable sociological, psychological, and political theories presently permeating our culture and making inroads into Christ’s church, we wish to clarify certain key Christian doctrines and ethical principles prescribed in God’s Word. Clarity on these issues will fortify believers and churches to withstand an onslaught of dangerous and false teachings that threaten the gospel, misrepresent Scripture, and lead people away from the grace of God in Jesus Christ. … More
John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, James White, Tom Buck, Anthony Mathenia, Michael O’Fallon, Tom Ascol, Darrell Harrison, Craig Mitchell, Justin Peters, Jeremy Vuolo and Josh Buice.
Articles by Amy Spreeman
Articles by Marsha West
Social Justice Is An Attack On the Sufficiency of Scripture by Josh Buice New!
Slouching to Ancient Rome (Follow up to Revoice: Sliding Into Heresy) by Peter Jones – New!
Revoice: Sliding Into Heresy by Peter Jones – New!
Heil to the Coming Progressive Utopia by Peter Jones
The Immorality of Liberals by Selwyn Duke
The Left vs. Reality – Lee Duigon
Todd Friel of Wretched Radio
Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity Bringing together the voices of top [progressive] Bible scholars and church leaders—including Diana Butler Bass, John Dominic Crossan, Amy-Jill Levine, Brian McLaren, Helen Prejean, and John Shelby Spong—pastors David Felten and Jeff Procter-Murphy present a lively and stimulating tour of what it means to be a “progressive” Christian.
What the Bible says
- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. — Mat 23:27
- Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, — 1 Tim 4:1
- All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. — 2 Tim 3:16-17
- You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. — James 4:4