THE POISON OF PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY by Dave Jenkins for Servants of Grace
Progressive Christianity is a movement that is outside historic Protestant theology. The movement grounds itself in a theology “from below”—namely a theology that focuses on how, according to progressive Christians, the Bible and one’s personal feelings come alongside each other. In direct contrast to this theology from below, the theology “from above” is the belief that God’s Word is reliable, trustworthy, for every area and every phase of life, and binding on all of life.
Progressive Christianity often focuses on social justice, environmentalism, women being pastors, etc. As a whole, Progressive Christianity casts aside inerrancy, believing that the Bible is riddled with error. They also emphasize “collective salvation” over personal biblical conversion. Collective salvation emphasizes the salvation of whole cultures, including socioeconomic structures.
At the end of the day, how Christians view the Bible matters. In recent years, we have seen the rise of unbiblical teachings (even demonic practices), such as the Enneagram and yoga in Christian circles. These ideas made headway first in progressive “Christian” circles because they don’t exercise any biblical discernment, and instead are constantly questioning whether the Bible is true and reliable. When you question and/or cast doubt on the authority of God’s Word, it is no wonder that such a movement that focuses mainly on things outside of biblical orthodoxy and then tries to call itself “Christian” is able to flourish.
In his classic book, Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen once remarked that Christianity is a revealed religion. By emphasizing a theology from above, Machen pointed out that any religion that denies or dismisses the Bible is another religion entirely. Machen’s insight is salient since progressive “Christianity” is not biblical Christianity. It does not have an orthodox view of the Bible and salvation as a whole. Therefore, it is right and proper to say that it is not biblical Christianity.