If you’ve been following any of the news about the Democratic candidates running for President in 2020, then you’ve probably heard the term “progressive Christianity”, especially by the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg.
I’ve been a Christian since 1986 but I must confess I had never heard of “progressive Christianity”. Once I heard Mayor Pete and others using this term ever more frequently, I felt it was important to learn more. Especially since Mayor Pete seems to come off so pious quoting verses from the Bible, and never misses a chance to rebuke those who don’t believe as he does.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind anyone quoting verses from the Bible. It’s just when they leave other important verses out of their conversation that I’m driven to question their sincerity and real intent.
Below are “The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity” taken from their website (www.progressivechristianity.org). You will see three versions. The current version, the 2003 version, and the original version. Only the current version is found on their website. I found the 2003 version and the original by doing a lot of digging.
The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity
By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who:
- Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life – Current Version
Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus – 2003 Version
Proclaim Jesus Christ as our Gate to the realm of God – Original Version
- Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey – Current Version
Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us – 2003 Version
Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the gateway to God’s realm – Original Version
- Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
- Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
- Believers and agnostics,
- Women and men,
- Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
- Those of all classes and abilities – Current Version
Understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’ name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God’s feast for all peoples – 2003 Version
Understand our sharing of bread and wine in Jesus’s name to be a representation of God’s feast for all peoples – Original Version
- Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe – Current Version
Invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to):
- believers and agnostics,
- conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
- women and men,
- those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
- those of all races and cultures,
- those of all classes and abilities,
- those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope,
- without imposing on them the necessity of becoming like us – 2003 Version
Invite all sorts and conditions of people to join in our worship and in our common life as full partners, including (but not limited to): believers and agnostics, conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, homosexuals and heterosexuals, females and males, the despairing and the hopeful, those of all races and cultures, and those of all classes and abilities, without imposing on them the necessity of becoming like us – Original Version
- Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes – Current Version
Know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is the fullest expression of what we believe – 2003 Version
Think that the way we treat one another and other people is more important than the way we express our beliefs – Original Version
- Strive for peace and justice among all people – Current Version
Find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions than in the answers – 2003 Version
Find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions than in the answers – Original Version
- Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth – Current Version
Form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God’s creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers – 2003 Version
See ourselves as a spiritual community in which we discover the resources required for our work in the world: striving for justice and peace among all people; bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers – Original Version
- Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love – Current Version
Who recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege – 2003 Version
Recognize that our faith entails costly discipleship, renunciation of privilege, and conscientious resistance to evil–as has always been the tradition of the church – Original Version
Notice with each new version there is a “progressive” watering down of the older versions.
Although I can agree with some of what these versions are teaching, from a strict biblical perspective as I understand and interpret the Bible, these versions do not represent the Christian faith I profess to follow.
As far as I’m concerned, “progressive Christianity” is just another fancy term for “smorgasbord Christianity”. Pick the verses you like from the Bible and subscribe to believing and preaching them, and just discard the verses you don’t believe or like.
This may work for Mayor Pete and those who follow his “progressive Christianity”, but it doesn’t work for the Creator of the universe, the One who wrote THE original version through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Finally, I would caution Mayor Pete, and all “progressive Christians” to be careful how they preach and teach their version of Scripture.
In the book of Revelation, Chapter 22, verses 18-19, God says, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
To God be the glory. AMEN!
See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!