Why Famous People Leaving Evangelical Churches is a Good Thing #exvangelical

I’m going to give you the answer right off the bat and then if you want to read more about Progressive apostates you can. The reason it’s a good thing is that when you have popular musicians and popular authors and even popular pastors who have decided they do not believe the gospel as taught in the Bible, but are still part of a Christian community who rightfully assumes they believe the gospel, they are a DANGER to all the people who follow them. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. So it’s great when they suddenly proclaim what they really believe, or don’t believe. Get OUT. Go do your thing. Come back when you discover that the world and spiritualism has nothing better to offer than the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We will welcome you back like the prodigal son.

https://anchor.fm/blueskiesandgreenpastures/episodes/Exvangelical-apostates-and-Progressive-Christianity-e11ng15 PODCAST LINK

Why am I writing about this? Because this is becoming a common occurrence. These are people who never really knew Jesus. They were part of the culture of the church. They do not have saving faith. They sang songs and wrote books about a God of their own making. Maybe they started in the business when they were very young, following in a parent’s footsteps. They need to find their own faith in God. Or maybe they are people who do know Jesus but they are in serious rebellion against God. They have fallen in with the wrong crowd, the popular culture who says that the Bible needs to be updated to make it more relevant. Progressive Christianity has led many people astray from the truth.

Bible
Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Doubts are normal and searching the scriptures for answers is a good thing. But a person of influence coming out and publicly declaring that they do not believe the Bible has consequences. I’m sure they didn’t make the decision lightly. Which means they have wrestled with their beliefs and found them wanting. It’s time for them to get out and wrestle more where they do not have wide influence over Christians. Sadly, they will take some people with them. But it’s better to get them out of the church. That is what the Bible teaches! In the Old Testament, rebels were literally killed. Now we leave that to God to handle on the judgment day.

DC TALK band members old photo
Christian Rock band DC Talk back in the day

Let’s talk about Progressive Christianity.

Recently I stumbled across a podcast about the topic of Progressive Christianity, which I will abbreviate as PC. Even though I have always assumed that anything with progressive in the name would be bad, something made me check it out. I was correct, it was bad. The podcast was the rants of an angry, ex-Evangelical whose goal in life is to tell the world how terrible ‘Evangelical’ church is and to broadcast his new and improved version of Christianity.

Based on a a few minutes of listening, I quickly saw that this was an apostate view and that it was a ‘different gospel’. No matter what the story behind his anger at Evangelical church members, whether it is simple pride or unforgiveness of someone who wronged him, rejecting the truth is not the answer. I was very saddened to see many podcasts on this topic. I had to learn more.

One person who seems to be an expert on the subject is Alisa Childers. After being in the Christian music industry and thinking she was a strong Christian, she encountered someone who had different beliefs that made her go through a period of doubt in her faith. This doubt led her to find out what she really believed and in the process she discovered the false gospel of Progressive Christianity. Later she wrote a book about it. I browsed her site and then kept searching to see what else was out there.

I would sum up the PC church as a spiritually-minded community that joined up with the political left. A common thread among them is that they feel that traditional church is oppressive and not inclusive enough. They are the opposite of the ‘religious right’. Some members come from the LGBT community. Some are people who felt unwelcome in other churches. Others are racial minorities. Others are simply people searching for God who got caught up in what they think is Christianity. The movement has attracted a lot of women and young people who are into the social justice movement, as well as old hippies. I’m sure some of these pastors truly believe they have found a ‘better way’. There is nothing new under the sun.

In his book Saving Jesus From the Church, Meyers argues that Jesus is not a saviour but a teacher; Christianity should not teach original sin, but original blessing; and the core message of Jesus is ultimately one of social justice and compassion.

He paints a picture of Christianity that the “spiritual but not religious” millennials I’ve interviewed would thoroughly embrace.

https://theconversation.com/being-a-progressive-christian-shouldnt-be-an-oxymoron-96617

People want this type of anti-religion spiritual life that lets them make up their own beliefs, allows them to hold on to resentments against the ‘church’, and helps them feel good about their social justice lifestyle, rather than feeling grateful and humble for being redeemed from hell. In fact, since most of them seem to be rejecting the doctrine of sin, judgment, hell, and other orthodox beliefs, they do not even see Jesus as a savior. He is more like a wise teacher to them, even though some of these churches still retain the terminology used by orthodox Christianity. They believe that they are ‘following’ Jesus, even though they could just as easily be following Buddha or Krishna or a pagan ‘goddess’.

The following is from a Progressive ‘sermon’ entitled Why Jesus is My Savior. He states clearly a few lines above this quote that he does NOT MEAN ‘savior’ in an orthodox way. Using words from the Bible with a different definition is a common tactic of cults and conmen.

This idea that Jesus is a savior because he rescues us from the wrath of God remains a common view of what it means to say that Jesus is our Savior within much of Christianity. But what a distorted view of God – and, yes, I’m saying that Paul had a distorted view of God (at least in Romans 5). The idea that God, in all of God’s holiness, wants to punish sinners and that Jesus needs to step in to rescue us by paying the price for our sins with his own death is repugnant to me.

https://www.nilesdiscoverychurch.org/apps/Sermon.php?SermonID=61

Progressive churches use the following 8 points to describe their beliefs on their website.

Progressive Christianity has about as much in common with Orthodox (traditional) Christian views as ‘Fruit Snacks’ made from corn syrup and red dye have in common with real fruit.

As you can see, they believe in the “TEACHINGS OF JESUS”. This could mean anything because of how they redefine words and reinterpret scripture, and since they have rejected large portions of scripture, even Jesus’ words, as being outdated or racist. They have even created their own version of the scriptures eliminating what they deem to be non-inclusive language. Their acceptance of the validity of other religions goes completely against what God says about having no other gods besides Him!

They teach heretical mysticism to their children as well. https://progressivechristianity.org/childrens-curriculum/. The following quote is from a description of the children’s curriculum.

Go within and find their own inner guidance and wisdom
* Stay focused and calm when needed and to discover and harness divine energy

The key difference between actual Christianity and this false religion is that they reject the Bible as the infallible and inerrant and living Word of God.

Why are these churches so popular with some people? It’s true that some churches have not served their members’ spiritual and physical needs as well as they could. People know they need God. They go looking for a place where they ‘feel comfortable’ or maybe someone invites them. Their websites draw seekers in with emotive and alternative-sounding marketing gimmicks that make them appear more modern and inclusive and community minded than old-fashioned churches. All are welcome here! No doctrine, no accountability, no judgment from God for your sins. Only an expectation that you will work for the good of the ‘community’. Yes, the Bible teaches that we should love others and help the helpless. But this work is a result of being born again.

Unlike Christianity which teaches that salvation is freely given by grace, they have a very works oriented message which creates the impression that doing good deeds gets you in good with God. No one can earn their way into heaven. But they are also very good at creating a close-knit and active community, which is something many people are searching for. Many of them more closely resemble a community center than a house of worship.

While it is true that some traditional churches have not always felt like a welcoming environment to some people who don’t ‘fit in’ with the majority, the truth must not be compromised. God’s justice applies to every person and sin will be judged.

Childers understands this. As she writes, “When progressive Christianity first entered the scene, its proponents raised some valid critiques of evangelical culture that the church needed to reexamine and reevaluate” (8). It would be wrong for us to hear these critiques and dismiss them as the angst-ridden complaints of heretics. These are legitimate issues the church needs to reckon with.

But that doesn’t mean the solutions from progressive Christians lead to any better results than the culture they’re reacting against. Rather than reforming their churches to adopt healthy practices more in line with Jesus, they’ve embraced Christian history’s oldest heresies—like Gnosticism and Marcionism—and called them new and revolutionary. In seeking to reform the faith, they’ve redefined it. In seeking to improve it, they’ve left it behind.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/another-gospel-progressive-christianity-alisa-childers/

Working for social justice is a basic tenet of their religion, along with being inclusive and providing support to the local community . Another word they like to use for this is ‘missional’. One website said the following: Forget what you think you know about church! Another says their beliefs are based on the following core values, but doesn’t mention what those actual beliefs are : Compassion, Inclusion, Liberation, Hope and Faith in Jesus. Another says “Jesus was the ultimate liberal, who resisted the status quo of oppression and showed us the way to the abundant life God intends for all people.”

Most importantly, what makes PC a false religion is that they have left out the essential, basic foundations by claiming the Bible is not the Word of God. In their view, the Bible was written by men who lived in a different time, is not to be taken literally, and much of it is no longer applicable. But, doesn’t Jesus say to help and love and bring justice? Yes, the Bible teaches that we should love others and actively help those who need help in whatever ways we are able. The problem is that they have made an entire religion out of worshipping the idol of social justice, instead of worshipping a holy and just God. They have eliminated the God of the Bible by devaluing the Word and replaced the Creator of the world with their own god. In some cases they have also began to worship the creation instead of the Creator.

This is a different gospel! The underlying message is that the Bible AS WRITTEN is not able to do the things that THEIR social justice doctrine can do. They want to change lives without telling people they need to be born again! Well , this guy claims he has a new definition of being born again. What a sad way of interpreting the glorious and supernatural new life and power that only Jesus can give us when we believe in him , ask forgiveness for our sins, and submit our lives to his authority.

Progressive Christianity is the same old legalistic, works-based religion that Jesus hates! But the works are called ‘social justice’ which appeals to pride.

Unfortunately the features of these churches that make them so attractive to some people are the ones that make them useless as far as reconciling people to God. The promises of unconditional acceptance, inclusion and justice appeal to those who don’t like moralistic American ‘Churchianity‘. Unfortunately eliminating the doctrines of sin and judgment also remove the understanding of why we need forgiveness and redemption. Not telling people about their need for repentance keeps people condemned to a life without true access to God and an eventual judgment that will send them to hell. Jesus himself told people to stop sinning. However, progressives reject the Bible’s definition of sin. The human tendency to overcorrect is clearly seen in the move from one faulty church to another when what is needed is a church based on the Bible.

Progressive Christianity was there to welcome the spiritually disenchanted when traditional church became more associated with traditional patriotism, conservative politics and the prosperity gospel than following Jesus. Some who left are returning to the faith of the Bible. According to Ian Harber who writes for The Gospel Coalition, he left the church when he could not find satisfying answers to questions he had about Christianity and cultural problems. But he discovered that the progressive church was just as judgmental and moralistic as his former church, but had it’s own standards of right and wrong, not God’s standards. Even though they claimed to be accepting, they do not accept those who disagree with them.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Progressive-Christianity.html offers this definition.

The Bible is replete with instructions to “visit orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27, NASB) and to protect the environment that God has entrusted to us (Genesis 1:28). Insofar as Progressive Christianity is a movement that seeks to emphasize and honor these principles, it certainly lines up with Scripture. However, there are some aspects of Progressive Christianity that 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 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.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Progressive-Christianity.html

I hope this has been helpful. Progressives are proud of their beliefs within their own circles but to the world they try to appear like they are ‘Christians’. This is a typical trick of the devil. Their own statements about what they believe and do not believe is enough evidence for me to see that they are not following the Jesus and God that is presented by the Word of God. I pray that they will repent and ask God to forgive them for spreading a false gospel. My hope is that anyone who has unknowingly gotten entangled in this briar patch will ask God to help them get free.

These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” e 16These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

Jude 1 NIV

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

6 comments

  1. C.S.Lewis noted “Jesus [. . .] told people that their sins were forgiven. [. . .] This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. [. . .] I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’

    “That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. .”

  2. Agree with everything you have written, but I have become a bit more cynical about all this. If what you really want is a career that is driven by attention (self-help, music, etc.) then it is easier to be the master of a small niche than dive into a large niche. Taylor Swift started in country music – where she was as wholesome and unfussy as the audience demanded – and then moved into pop where she became femmezilla and a political activist representing the opposite perspective of the people she started off trying to woo. All she ever wanted was the name recognition, but if she started in pop to begin with, she’d be competing with a million other totally vapid and anorexic young blondes. It’s really not difficult to see Christian music and publishing as the same way. Go all-in on something you never really believed in the first place, then milk it for all it’s worth when you have your moment of “enlightenment.” We’ve seen the same thing in conservative politics too, unfortunately, where people who were never really all that conservative to begin with get the $5 million book deal epiphany for switching teams. Folks need to get better at qualifying the things they allow to influence them and their families.

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