According to recent survey, nearly a third of self-described evangelicals do not believe that Jesus Christ is truly God. Arianism, as it turns out, is a heresy that plagues multiple generations of the Church, not just the one of the fourth century.
Well, over and over the Church has, in various times and ways, ruled that some beliefs are not acceptable alternatives within Christianity. Adherents are, in fact, outsiders to the faith. For example, nearly 100 years ago, in a book entitled Christianity and Liberalism, Presbyterian scholar J. Gresham Machen argued, in an extensive scholarly treatment, that liberal Christianity was not a version of the one, true faith handed down once and for all to the saints. Liberalism was, he argued, a completely different religion from Christianity.
The Liberal Christianity of Machen’s day focused on a social-reform agenda, fueled by feelings and informed by secular thought, barely draped in religious language. The God it preached was not sovereign over creation and providential over the affairs of men; did not really come in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who did not really perform miracles or physically rise from the dead. The Bible was not really the fundamental and decisive revelation of God, nor the final authoritative source for morality, but must be understood according to our evolving scientific knowledge and political agendas.
Today, there is also an effort to update Christianity, to adapt and re-form it according to the spirit of the age. From church pulpits to the Christian blogosphere, from once-reliable Christian publishing houses to the campuses of Christian colleges that are Christian in name only, from beautiful and historic churches decorated with gay pride flags and pastored by ordained ministers who “bless” abortion clinics to the “exvangelicals” who become self-styled spokespersons for “what Jesus would really say and do,” there is, in our day too, a Christianity that is no Christianity at all.
Devoid of the truth claims and moral teachings of historic Christianity, what is today called “progressive Christianity” is not another side of the same coin. It is a different religion founded on a different worldview.
Machen’s crucial insights were presented in a largely academic book written for a largely academic audience. Since the progressive Christianity of our day is far more populist than the liberalism of his, I am pleased that a new book, theologically robust and very accessible, is now available to address the ideas deceiving so many Christians. The book is titled Another Gospel: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity.
Alisa Childers grew up in the church and eventually became a member of the very successful Christian pop group “Zoe Girl.” Despite that pedigree, as she told my colleague Shane Morris on his Upstream podcast, she was completely unprepared when she learned her pastor was a skeptic, and confronted her with questions and counterclaims about the reliability of Scripture, the morality of the atonement, whether God answers prayer, or cares about our sexual choices, or even exists.
Flailing in doubt, Childers went to work to find answers, studying Scripture, church history, great apologists for the Christian faith (past and present), and critiques of the claims of progressivism. In the process, she found that her beliefs had rock-solid foundations, and answers to the toughest questions.
A “progressive Christianity” that denies the divinity of Christ, treats His incarnation and resurrection from the dead as myths, and reimagines human nature away from God’s created design and according to sexual libertinism isn’t just another take on the faith. It’s another gospel entirely.
Childers’ book Another Gospel is an incredibly valuable resource. Every week it seems, I talk with pastors, youth pastors, parents, and grandparents watching the next generation buy into a false gospel and questioning the historic truth claims of Christianity. Using the framework of Childers’ story, Another Gospel provides a thorough, rigorous, and entirely readable take-down of progressive Christianity, and a reliable introduction to the non-negotiables of the Christian faith.
Originally posted at breakpoint.org
From BreakPoint. Reprinted with the permission of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. "BreakPoint®" and "The Colson Center for Christian Worldview®" are registered trademarks of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
John Stonestreet is the President of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and co-host with Eric Metaxas of Breakpoint, the Christian worldview radio program founded by the late Chuck Colson. He is co-author of A Practical Guide to Culture, A Student's Guide to Culture and Restoring All Things.