What is Progressive Christianity?

What is Progressive Christianity? By MICHAEL BROWN for Stream

I was recently asked to debate whether “progressive Christianity” (henceforth PC) was “another religion” (meaning, a religion other than Christianity) based on critical statements I had previously made about this so-called “progressive” version of the faith. The problem was that the professor who invited me to debate him defined PC differently than I did. In fact, he denied that my definition of PC was valid.

In short, I claimed that the “progressive Christians” (henceforth, PCs) I had interacted with affirmed the validity of same-sex “marriage,” supported a woman’s “right” to abortion, and denied that salvation was found exclusively through Jesus.

As for the professor, while not clarifying his views on same-sex “marriage” and abortion, he made clear that PCs did not deny that salvation came exclusively through Jesus.

Which one of us is right?

It depends on which PCs you talk to and how you define PC. Some are more orthodox than others. But those with whom I have interacted have been less orthodox in their beliefs, leading to my strong critiques.

In the end, I declined the debate — as much as I love to debate — because it was simply a matter of definitions. It would be like debating whether I am tall (I’m almost 6’ 3”). Compared to most people, yes; compared to your average NBA player, no. The question, then, comes down to how one defines “tall.”

How Do We Define “Progressive Christianity”? The View of Those Antagonistic to PC

In the same way here, the question came down to how we define PC.

For clarity, then, allow me to reference some definitions of PC that support my understanding of the term.

It’s easy, of course, to find negative, heterodox descriptions of PC on websites critical of PC.

Some examples would be the White Horse Inn, which notes that, “Progressive Christianity is a movement that is infiltrating and influencing the Evangelical church. Some of the most high-profile Christian leaders are a part of it. This movement seeks to re-interpret the Bible, re-assess historic doctrines, and re-define core tenets of the faith. While claiming the title ‘Christian,’ and boasting a high view of the Bible, it is sweeping up many unsuspecting Christians into a false view of who God is and how he saves people.”

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