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Progressive Christianity

Progressive Christianity: Awake or Awoke?

By November 2, 2022No Comments

“Woke ideology” has crept into every facet of our culture and dripped its poison into our universities, large corporations, legacy media, and even our military. The culture is infiltrated by strategic thinking ideologs who know exactly what they’re doing as they reinvent words, cancel anyone they disagree with, and promote new definitions of social justice. Steeped in Marxism, it is a growing movement that threatens the very foundations of Western Civilization.

Spilling over like a cultural waterfall into the evangelical church, this Marxist movement takes on the form of being “progressive.” As Noelle Mering writes in her powerful new book, Awake Not Woke, “It corrupts Christianity by turning it into a religion without justice, without mercy, and ultimately without Christ. The stakes could not be higher” (p.11).

Progressive Christianity’s icons are many, but the ones who have wielded great influence would be Rob Bell, a former evangelical pastor, through his books Velvet Elvis and Love Wins. Donald Miller through his book, Blue Like Jazz. Former Christian worship leader, who in years past, performed with Hillsong, but “came out” as an atheist (he’s now changed himself into an agnostic), Michael Gungor, has a music label and podcast, The Liturgists.

To provide a working definition for the popular movement, one can’t get much better than The Liturgists’ vision, found on their website: “The Liturgists are committed to helping humanity love more and suffer less by bravely exploring our unique individuality within community and without judgment.” 

My Background

I grew up in a theologically “neo-orthodox” (meaning on some things orthodox and on other things not) Lutheran pastor’s home. I was raised to understand the Bible as not in itself, truth, but “containing truth.” In other words, it was up to me to discover what parts of the Bible were true or not, and my basis for judgement was how “the Spirit spoke to my heart.” I resonated with this viewpoint. It sounded good, non-judgmental, and very “modern.” And so it was.

But after coming to salvation in college, I discovered the power of Jesus and His Word, the Bible. When I discovered the Living God, made known through Jesus Christ, I simultaneously discovered the Living Word. I simply fell in love with the Book and the Author of the Book! And then, through rigorous study, I grew to believe that the Bible was the inerrant, infallible Word of God.

I grew in my conviction that I could trust every word and statement found in the Bible, that all of scripture is inspired, “God breathed,” and could be trusted. This is called the plenary (meaning “all”) verbal (meaning the words themselves, not just the ideas) inspiration of every part of the Bible.

Thus, as I have heard more and more about Progressive Christianity, it has begun to smell a lot like the neo-orthodoxy of my past. With further study, it has become increasingly clear that we are experiencing a new kind of liberalism in the church; a post conservative theology that undermines the deity of Christ, the authority of scripture, and orthodox doctrines of the Church.

What They Believe

In parallel to the rise of Marxists teaching through the woke movement and cancel culture, Progressive Christianity is now infiltrating evangelical churches. Their beliefs, though varying in degree and approach, are summarized best in 8 beliefs or tenets found on the website by the name. I have attached my critique after each listed on their website (

“By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean that we are Christians who…

  1. 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;”

Pastor Steve: It may sound pithy, but there are hidden meanings to certain words contained. Jesus is front and center, which is awesome at first glance. But then, such words as “awareness,” “experience,” “Oneness and Unity of all life” are mentioned. Take the word “experience.” This new form of progressiveness is more about feelings than facts, and experience than truth. The oneness and unity “of all life,” are buzz words for “god” being contained in and one with all created things. The unitarian movement has adopted such words for the past three centuries. This is a crafty way of making Jesus one with all of nature. Not the creator of creation, the first cause, but rather a creative with creation. This is classic new age pantheism.

  1. “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;”

Pastor Steve:  The operable phrase would be “provide but one of many ways to experience Sacredness.” This is a direct contradiction to Jesus’s own words in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” In orthodox Christianity we believe Jesus is not one of the many, but the only way to God and salvation. The natural result of such diverse thinking concerning salvation then leads into the last part, “we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey.” Again, a cloaked cover for “all roads lead to God.” This is the classic heresy of universalism.

  1. “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;”

Pastor Steve: Once again, it sounds good on the surface until we dive a little deeper. All of us should want our churches to be loving of even those who we would not consider Jesus followers. But the key word here is “community.” A “church” by biblical definition is the family of God, united through faith in Christ, growing more deeply in following Christ (read any or all the New Testament Epistles). The woke church of progressive Christianity is open to community with virtually anyone, regardless of belief and non-judgmental in all beliefs and practices. This sounds more like a state party school than a church.

  1. “Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;”

Pastor Steve: I actually like this one…for a brief shining moment. It has the ring of an attempt at being authentic but sinks in the abyss of reality. If how I behave is the standard of what I believe, then I’m going to be the biggest hypocrite in town. There is no way my behavior will always line up with my faith. But I know what they mean; they are saying that we should be consistent with our words and walk. Yes, I would agree, but it’s still a naive statement.

  1. “Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;”

Pastor Steve: Hmm. “There is more value in questioning than in absolutes?” Wow! Really? This is crazy stuff. Can you imagine if all society adopted this tenet? No one would be stopping at a stop sign, doing their taxes, or telling the truth. The Law and the Prophets and indeed all of Judeo-Christian values are based in absolutes. If you believe there is more value in questioning absolutes than believing in them, all of civilization will eventually crumble.

  1. “Strive for peace and justice among all people;”

Pastor Steve: Sounds good. But what does “peace and justice” mean? And what is the measurement that you have attained it?

  1. “Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; and”

Pastor Steve: I will make only one comment: “Earth” is capitalized! That should tell you everything you need to know. Whatever one believes about global warming and “the green new deal,” you can be assured that progressives will jump on the bandwagon.

  1. “Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.”

Pastor Steve: I would only comment that this is probably the best sentence of the entire 8 beliefs. I think all of us should want to be life-long learners, compassionate, and exhibit selfless love. My prayer for progressive Christians would be for this last sentence to characterize all that they believe, thus setting them up to come back to the fold, the faith, and orthodox Christianity.

If you are currently attending a church where many of the words you’ve just read are frequently being used, where there is little credence given to the Bible, where social justice is more important than evangelism, and where questioning one’s faith is more valued than truth, you might want to start looking for another church.

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”  Ephesians 5:14


Pastor Steve