Question: "What is Progressive Christianity, and is it biblical?"
Answer: Progressive Christianity is a recent movement in Protestantism which focuses strongly on social justice and environmentalism and often includes a revisionist (or non-traditional) view of the Scriptures. Since the movement entails a number of different beliefs and views on various topics, it is difficult to label the whole movement decisively as “biblical” or “unbiblical.” Each claim and belief of any movement should be filtered through the Word of God and whatever does not line up with Scripture should be rejected.
The Bible is clearly replete with instructions to “visit orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27, NASB) and to protect the environment which God has entrusted to us (Genesis 1:28). Insofar as Progressive Christianity is a movement which seeks to emphasize and honor these principles, it certainly lines up with Scripture. However, there are some aspects of Progressive Christianity which contradict a biblical worldview. In general, members of this movement do not ascribe to the biblical doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture, and again in general, do not believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. Progressive Christianity also tends to emphasize what is known as “collective salvation” over the biblical concept of personal salvation. The Bible is clear that God redeems those individuals who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior from their sins and rescues them from an eternity of being separated from Him in torment. Collective salvation, by contrast, emphasizes the restoration of whole cultures and societies to what progressive Christians believe is the correct socioeconomic structure, namely, Marxism. Marxism, in turn, is a theory of economics and politics developed by an atheist (Karl Marx) from unbiblical assumptions.
In this sense, then, the views of many progressive Christians do not fit with biblical principles. In the end, however, discretion must be used in evaluating a particular claim or belief in terms of Scripture; the whole spectrum of beliefs identified by the term “Progressive Christianity” is too broad to permit an unequivocal conclusion as to whether or not it can be labeled unbiblical. As with all uncertain issues, the Christian would do well to compare each claim of those in the Progressive Christianity movement with Scripture, asking God for the wisdom to discern truth from error. He has promised wisdom to all who seek it (James 1:5).
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