There is a movement in the church to forge a new, “progressive Christianity.” One of the primary tenants of this movement is that all religions and faiths are true for their adherents. In other words, progressive Christians reject the core Christian doctrine that Jesus is the only means of salvation. Although they generally eschew doctrine and “dogma,” they are adherents to the doctrine of relativism.
[Note: As I read through to edit this, I noticed that the initials for “progressive Christian” are P.C. And P.C., or “politically correct” they are indeed. This post, on the other hand, is not P.C.]
I have read and studied the Bible, and I frankly do not understand how this group can consider itself Christian. They ignore most of what Christ said about Himself and the means of salvation. Christ was very clear about the fact that trusting in Him was the only way to truly have a relationship with God. Although much of the writings of the apostles confirms this, one need not read past the Gospels and the words of Christ Jesus himself to see this truth.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:1-9.
There is only one gate, and that gate is Jesus Christ. Those who try to find salvation through their own works and their own efforts are trying to “climb in by some other way.” Those who call themselves pastors in the progressive Christian church have not entered by the One True Gate and are so are not true shepherd’s of Christ’s sheep. They are strangers. Those who belong to Christ will never listen to them.
Also, by claiming that all faiths are equally valid paths to God, the progressive Christians fail to follow Jesus’ great commission given to His disciples:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.
He didn’t say to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit “unless they have found some other path to me.” There is no provision for allowing alternate paths because to do so leaves people traveling down the broad road to destruction. All other paths are based on each person saving themselves or one the collective salvation of a group because one belongs to the group that has earned salvation for its members.
The progressive Christian movement also focuses on what they call love, because Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God and the second was to love your neighbor as yourself. It is true that the best-known quote of Jesus talks about how much God loves the world and that He did not send Jesus to condemn the world. But it doesn’t stop there. To truly understand John 3:16, one must continue reading the rest of what Jesus said:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:16-21.
Jesus is the light and when we come into His presence and believe in Him, He exposes the depravity of our human heart and the power of God alone to make us righteous. But many do not want to admit that their heart is truly depraved. They prefer to cling to their pride and point to their own good deeds of social justice and loving their neighbor in the way they see fit.
This doesn’t seem like real love to me. A love that allows someone to continue down the broad road to destruction is not true love. A safe love that doesn’t rock the boat or stand upon the hard truths about the human condition and our need for a savior is no love at all. We show that we love our neighbor when we are willing to put our lives on the line for them. That’s what Jesus was willing to do, what He did, for us. And that’s how we know what love is.
I know what Jesus said, and if I am going to follow Him (which I definitely am!) then I am not comfortable ignoring what He said. Why, if there were other ways that God was going to call people to Himself, would Jesus say, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me”? John 14:6. What kind of God would say “This is the only way” but not really mean it? I cannot understand claiming to be a follower of Christ but not believing or trusting what He has said.
I know that there are friends of mine who will read this and completely disagree with me, so may even get mad at me. Others won’t bother to even read this far. So be it. I also know I have other friends who will be encouraged, strengthened, and emboldened by what I have written and by the words of our Savior. Along with the great reformer Martin Luther, I respectfully but boldly state:
“Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”