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Do Progressive Christians Believe in the Resurrection?


Guest Wesley Southern

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Guest Wesley Southern

I had the good fortune to discover Dr. Sean McDowell’s youtube channel who is a Christian apologist and hear this dialogue about the differences between Evangelical and Progressive Christianity.

 

One thing that stuck out to me is who Jesus is according to Progressive Christianity. Colby Martin is a Progressive Christian pastor in California and talks about the four “tenets” of Progressive Christianity which are:

 

  1. Equality of genders as opposed to complementary genders
  2. The acknowledgement of white supremacy and its damage on society
  3. Full affirmation of the LGBTQ+ community
  4. Following the science

 

Of course, Colby also says he doesn’t speak for all Progressive Christians. What I was most interested in was, did Jesus resurrect from the grave?

 

Colby gives a long answer between 46:40-52:30, but the summary is that he doesn’t know. He is inconsistent every Easter about whether he believes the resurrection was literal or just a metaphor. He used to be Evangelical, but one of the things he gave up to become a Progressive was that God isn’t a being, like a heavenly Father, more like a force.

 

The more I listened to Colby, the less clarity I got about his beliefs only that it didn’t sound like the Christianity I learned in Religion class. (Actually, it sounded like a totally different religion to me) Maybe Christians on this site can weigh in on whether his beliefs sound Christian or not.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The term Progressive Christianity is an umbrella term that covers many different outlooks. Especially nowadays, we can see lots of people who pick and choose from various ideas that appeal to them, in creating their own buffet-style religion. Christianity certainly has appealing aspects that may catch their eye.

 

If we were to search the world, I'm sure we could find people who call themselves Progressive Christians who will believe in the resurrection, who don't believe, and those who believe some creative interpretation of their own, pertaining to what the resurrection might mean. When you're essentially creating your own religion, you have lots of options...

 

An interesting thing about Colby's "Four Tenets" is that while he uses this to describe what he calls Christianity, they make no mention whatsoever of Christ. An interesting thing about the various "forms" of Christianity that pop up in the USA is their embrace of our current and local politics, as if these were things that vitally interested God. Colby's tenets are full-on political.  To be fair, many Evangelicals also try to stir a reasonable dose of their politics in, as well.

 

We can contrast both of these with Jesus' teachings, which looked only toward the Kingdom of God, and which brushed away others' attempts to bring their own local politics into the discussion. There are many kinds of distractions.

Edited by Wes B
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It breaks my heart that these "Christians" get pulled into the enemy's ideas and stray so far away from God's Truth. But Scripture tells us just that, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4 NKJV) We need to pray for them.

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Wesley Southern,

 

I was raised in the Catholic Church, but wasn't a Christian. God was like Alpha Centauri -- something up there and very far away that presumably created the universe.

 

In 1972, at 15 years old, I was born again through a rock opera -- Jesus Christ Superstar. Big problem with that. There really should be a mature Christian right there at our moment of rebirth to start teaching us what we truly need to know on who God is and how much he loves us. Alas, no such person for me for the next 8 years, so I bought a whole lot of junk from a whole lot of immature Christians, while reading the Bible.

 

I married that mature Christian half a year later. Mature, but if you go to a church that doesn't preach the gospel, (but preaches whatever is on their mind at that moment and sticks a verse or two in there so it sounds right), you're not likely to grow.

 

Someone gave him a long list of books every Christian should know, and hubby began catching on to a true understanding of God. And brought me along on that ride. Somewhere in the next ten years, we left the church with the very-nice-people-but-little-understanding-of-Christ and eventually found churches that preached straight from the Bible. (We moved, and churches close sometimes, so we've gone to a few over the decades.)

 

Why did I tell you all that? Because I'm 65 years old now, and spent more than half of my life learning junk that now has to be swept out of my mind to replace it with God and his word. I can't do it. Little-by-little God has been doing the sweeping, as I find yet another piece I thought was real, but isn't. Because of that, I cannot afford to read, watch, or hear more junk. It's too easy for me to buy it and too hard to wipe it out, once bought.

So Progressive Christian is a lie. If you don't believe the God of the Bible and what he wrote in his word, than you are a non-Christian. If you teach the lie, you are a heretic. Pastor Colby is to pastor as I am to wombat. He's not. I'm not. I have little idea what he is other than a heretic, and I don't want to know. Oh, and I've got no idea what a wombat is other than a large rodent, but I'd be more interested in learning about the wombat, than listening to "progressive christianity."

Do NOT mess your head up with heretical teachings. They are so hard to get out of your head once they seep in. Stick with churches who teach the Bible and pray to God. That's the stuff that will never be swept out of our minds... or hearts.

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Guest Wesley Southern
22 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

Wesley Southern,

 

I was raised in the Catholic Church, but wasn't a Christian. God was like Alpha Centauri -- something up there and very far away that presumably created the universe.

 

In 1972, at 15 years old, I was born again through a rock opera -- Jesus Christ Superstar. Big problem with that. There really should be a mature Christian right there at our moment of rebirth to start teaching us what we truly need to know on who God is and how much he loves us. Alas, no such person for me for the next 8 years, so I bought a whole lot of junk from a whole lot of immature Christians, while reading the Bible.

 

I married that mature Christian half a year later. Mature, but if you go to a church that doesn't preach the gospel, (but preaches whatever is on their mind at that moment and sticks a verse or two in there so it sounds right), you're not likely to grow.

 

Someone gave him a long list of books every Christian should know, and hubby began catching on to a true understanding of God. And brought me along on that ride. Somewhere in the next ten years, we left the church with the very-nice-people-but-little-understanding-of-Christ and eventually found churches that preached straight from the Bible. (We moved, and churches close sometimes, so we've gone to a few over the decades.)

 

Why did I tell you all that? Because I'm 65 years old now, and spent more than half of my life learning junk that now has to be swept out of my mind to replace it with God and his word. I can't do it. Little-by-little God has been doing the sweeping, as I find yet another piece I thought was real, but isn't. Because of that, I cannot afford to read, watch, or hear more junk. It's too easy for me to buy it and too hard to wipe it out, once bought.

So Progressive Christian is a lie. If you don't believe the God of the Bible and what he wrote in his word, than you are a non-Christian. If you teach the lie, you are a heretic. Pastor Colby is to pastor as I am to wombat. He's not. I'm not. I have little idea what he is other than a heretic, and I don't want to know. Oh, and I've got no idea what a wombat is other than a large rodent, but I'd be more interested in learning about the wombat, than listening to "progressive christianity."

Do NOT mess your head up with heretical teachings. They are so hard to get out of your head once they seep in. Stick with churches who teach the Bible and pray to God. That's the stuff that will never be swept out of our minds... or hearts.

 

Thank you for sharing your story with me.

 

Before the board got locked, I was asking why churches were hanging rainbow flags outside their doors and signs. I even saw a nude figurine of a woman that is supposed to represent Christ presented in an Episcopal church. I was shocked!

 

I wanted to know why these churches had so much influence in America today but no one knew. I’m sure there are more Pastor Colby’s in every major city.

 

Even the church-of-very-nice-people you belonged to could be led by a Pastor Colby today. Doesn’t that mean, for every church the teaches the Bible, there is a church that teaches their own values?

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@Wesley Southern, there's one thing that would answer your questions definitively for you, and that is... God's Word. If you believe God (and there's a difference in "believing God" and "believing in God"), what He has said in His word has the answers. 

 

For instance, as to the resurrection, Paul assured the Christians in Thessalonica about the resurrection:

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, so also God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words." -- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

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Why? For the same reason all non-believers sin. For the same reason we loved to sin. For the same reason we still sin, (even though now we're not aiming to sin.) Mankind would rather live in the darkness to hide our sins. (John 3:16-21)

 

And, if you check out church history, Man has spent 2000 years trying to "fix the gospel" into a cut-and-paste story they can live with. We did the same thing until God carried out/wrought the Light into us.

 

It will be like this until the Second Coming. Wheat and tares. Sheep and goats.

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Progressive Christianity is a false doctrine and is not of God nor does have the Bible as the central source to measure all beliefs by. It is an attempt to water down the Gospel and try and make it more acceptable to the world. It sacrifices truth and holiness for more acceptance, tolerance and popularity.

 

When we come to salvation we are born again, we are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) and we are no longer of this world but are aliens living in the world but no longer part of it. Do we doubt the scriptures? Can we not accept them as a record of truth. We know that all scripture is from God (2 Tim 3:16) so we should not doubt that God wouldn't speak truth as he is truth and cannot lie. The Bible tells us Jesus was resurrected, believing that is simply faith in God and his word, it doesn't require we understand how he was resurrected other than through the power of God, just belief that it happened. It is very nature of faith (Hebrews 1:11) 

 

Although commentaries and studies and other books about reading and understanding the Bible may be good, I've personally neved used them. I always figured the only book we truly need is the Bible and we should never strive to understand it by ourselves but in conjunction with the Holy Spirit who will inspire, illuminate and reveal the truth of the Scriptures to us, we have no better teacher than God himself. If we strive to understand it only by ourselves, we may understand in part in our mind, but not gain the full understanding in our heart.

 

False doctrines like this and like many other false teachings or cult manifestos are derived from a place of selfishness and focus on mankind or self as the center rather than God. People become uncomfortable with what the Bible stands for or at least parts of it so they start out to customize their own religion where they can see themselves as good people, they can feel good about themselves and no one dislikes or persecutes them for their beliefs. 

 

But the problem is that we are not good people. The heart is wicked above all else (Jer 17:9) In Isiah 64:4-9 is says "All our righteousness is like filthy rags". The only thing that makes us worthy and righteous isn't even something we did or could do but is completely and only about what Jesus did.

 

Jesus told us that just as he wasn't liked, neither would they like us. That the Gospel is foolishness to those who don't believe. That we should consider it joy if we are persecuted for his names sake. If in your Christian walk you aren't uncomfortable, then we need to consider the question is "Are we growing?" because if you aren't growing, if you are not moving forward than you standing still. Even in times of rest or healing we can be learning more about God and our own walk of faith. Part of growing your faith is God pushing you out of your comfort zone in order to rely on him more and grow and transform to become more like Jesus, not less like him.

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31 minutes ago, Amosathar said:

Although commentaries and studies and other books about reading and understanding the Bible may be good, I've personally neved used them.

Commentaries, devotionals, etc. are written by people, and as such, they express the opinions of humans. They can, therefore, be unreliable, so, like you, I don't use them. 

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16 hours ago, Wesley Southern said:

Even the church-of-very-nice-people you belonged to could be led by a Pastor Colby today. Doesn’t that mean, for every church the teaches the Bible, there is a church that teaches their own values?

 

It gets even more complicated than that. While God has given us His values in scripture, any of us can try to add our own values, and probably do. That's why everything anyone tells you is best checked against what the scriptures actually say. 

 

While all of the people here may look like we present one monolithic view when compared to Pastor Colby, we'll likely have differing opinions on various little, nit-picky things. If we have some maturity and humility, we might recognize that we may not have every answer correct on every minute detail, but that's okay. Learning God's truths is a journey, and if we trust Him and look to him for guidance, rather than looking to people, God will not disappoint.

 

While we each have a sense of what's right and what's wrong, our own egos and biases can and will distort it, and the Bible can help us get back on track. While I will not attempt to read pastor Colby's mind, I suspect that he sincerely believes what he's saying. Yet he's probably inverted this model, and preaches first on his feelings, while using the Bible only where it conveniently backs up his points. So, rather than using the Bible to correct his impressions, he's first trusting his impressions, while trying to use the Bible to add authority to them, where it can be hammered and formed to match them.

 

Both kinds of people will always exist. This is why the Bible cautions us to test every teaching we hear, and that includes both those from Pastor Colby and from us. We believe that it's the actual scriptures that keep us on the rails, rathe than running off them.

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11 hours ago, Amosathar said:

Although commentaries and studies and other books about reading and understanding the Bible may be good, I've personally neved used them.

 

Well, I'm going to voice an opinion in the other direction, not that I'm disagreeing with you and TL. I've attended numerous Bible studies over the years, all exceptionally written and taught. I gained a great understanding of the Bible over the years which helped me to grow as a Christian. I also use commentaries in my Bible program but always remember they, too, are human-written. And no, I am not persuaded by each opinion. I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.

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Don't get me wrong, I am not saying people shouldn't use them as they can be beneficial for younger Christians who desire to learn more about the Bible. As long as people read the Bible more than commentaries and measure everything they read or hear against the Bible to make sure it is agreement then there isn't a problem. But I myself for the most part have never used them. When I read I often find it easier to grasp and understand what I'm reading. That is partially due to three years of Bible college mixed with an aptitude towards understanding the written word and interpretation from the Holy Spirit.

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11 hours ago, Tommie Lyn said:

Commentaries, devotionals, etc. are written by people, and as such, they express the opinions of humans. They can, therefore, be unreliable, so, like you, I don't use them. 

The Bible was written by people too.

 

I figure the Dead Guys, (sometimes I've found guys who were alive, however, they tend to die shortly after I discover them -- J.M. Boise, R.C. Sproul, and J.I. Packer come to mind.), who wrote them spent many hours a day studying the word to the point of learning the three languages in the Bible, the people and the customs to get the most out of every word. And then, other learned men read/read what they wrote after studying too, so they tell if the commentator is good... or not.

 

Meanwhile, I spend an hour a day on exceptionally good days, have never understood any of the three language, (and barely understand any Latin either), don't do the linguistics or semantics of that time and people, so trust the men who trust those Dead Guys. Oh, and then check 2-3 more out to make sure they all agree. And, if they do, than I know they all get the same thing out of that passage, so that's what it says. And if they don't? Truthfully, I figure God will explain that to all of us in eternity.

 

I see no purpose in reinventing the wheel, but I also know that just because I assume I get something in the Bible doesn't mean I do. I've just recently started learning that the Father loves his children with a kind of love no one else can give anyone. (He honestly loves me. Wow. Still having trouble realizing he's not just waiting to punish me for my latest offense.) Too many heretics start with "The Holy Spirit taught me that...." I don't want to depart from the path because I confused my thoughts with God's thoughts... yet again.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Amosathar said:

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying people shouldn't use them as they can be beneficial for younger Christians who desire to learn more about the Bible. As long as people read the Bible more than commentaries and measure everything they read or hear against the Bible to make sure it is agreement then there isn't a problem. But I myself for the most part have never used them. When I read I often find it easier to grasp and understand what I'm reading. That is partially due to three years of Bible college mixed with an aptitude towards understanding the written word and interpretation from the Holy Spirit.

But you are saying.

 

You said, "It benefits younger Christians who desire to learn more about the Bible." I never got the memo that said that desire was supposed to end when we were no longer "younger."

 

You said, "As long as people read the Bible more than commentaries." I've been doing a word study off and on again for a year about God the Father. I've hit John 14, which strikes ne as THE chapter about God. So much meat there, and yet I can guarantee I don't see it all nor do I get it all. I've read the chapter. I've also read about 200 pages of what different commentators say about it, copy-pasted about 25% of that, and I'm only halfway through my Dead Guys. I think that qualifies as "reading more commentaries than Bible." Objections? I've got no regrets or objections, other than I wish I could get it faster and explain it better. (My earthly father was nothing like our heavenly Father, so sooooo much to learn on who God is. Doubly hard because of the Trinity, and the Father isn't "part of God." He's all of God.)

You said, "measure everything they read or hear against the Bible to make sure it is agreement then there isn't a problem." Well, since we're talking commentaries, which ones have you read that are against the Bible? Must be one odd commentary. And then odder question, how do you know about it if you only read from the Bible? Truthfully, what I've always had problems is is the agreement part. For instance, how does Isaiah 55:6-9 fit with Psalm 14? Do the wicked come to God or destroyed by God? That is the reason I need commentators. I'm not smart enough to figure out how it all agrees, and it isn't in God's plans to turn me into a theological genius in this life.

 

And, after telling what others should do, you also said, "When I read I often find it easier to grasp and understand what I'm reading. That is partially due to three years of Bible college mixed with an aptitude towards understanding the written word and interpretation from the Holy Spirit." So you did study outside the Bible for three years and got it all? And you have a natural aptitude toward understanding? (The Bible tells what Man's aptitude is all about.)

 

I find it easy to understand too. I understand Psalm 14. Isaiah 55:6-9 comes as a complete shocker. (Especially right smack in the middle of Isaiah.) But I truly due recommend people learn the Bible as best we can, even if that means studying other info, such as taught in Bible college. I spent too many years seeing the destruction of those who thought they got it directly.

Edited by Spaulding
Pushed the wrong button. lol)
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36 minutes ago, Amosathar said:

That is partially due to three years of Bible college

 

Not disagreeing but a little confused. So Bible college taught by men/women who have studied (which includes commentaries) is not the same as reading a commentary on one's own?

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Awwwww.... I think we might cut each other a little bit of slack here...

 

I think we each find our own ways of study that are comfortable to us. Sometimes, we forget that others might find other ways that work just as well for them. I'll bet that we can all kinda agree that there are certain extremes that we want to avoid, and that seems all that's been said.

 

(For the record, I probably tend more toward reading the Bible instead of commentaries, though I make exceptions at times. I'm not saying that my mix is the best, but that I'm probably too lazy to make the extra time to do more. That's just me, though... your mileage may -- and probably will -- vary...)

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Absolutely, Wes. What worked for me? For over 45 years, I've dug into the meanings of the words in Scripture. I've studied Jewish traditions, customs, etc. After I became ill 21 years ago, the Lord led me to research and write about the 12 steps of Hebrew/Jewish betrothal and how it applies to believers. Huge understanding exploded in me. Without digging into the Bible and traditions, we lose out on the Bible's depth. Not just words on pages, the Bible has many depths. For instance, have you ever read a verse numerous times and maybe years later, get a big headslap insight into its meaning? For me, studying has also given me many insightful headslaps. 😃

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1 hour ago, Spaulding said:

The Bible was written by people too.

 

Actually, the Bible was written by God, using humans to transcribe it.

 

"All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness;" -- 2 Timothy 3:16, 

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Well said Lynn.

 

In the Anglican Church we have a 3 year reading cycle which means that inevitable if you are someone who preaches regularly (as I do). you find yourself revisiting the same group of texts over the course of time. 

Yet every time I come to a familiar or well know text of the Bible I find new insight in to God's teaching. Sometimes this is with the help of commentaries or times it i simply my own discernment as a mediate on the text.

 

To me commentaries and other theological books are there to provide support to someone reading of the Bible - not to replace it or be the authority on it. They provide historical context/facts of the writings, they can provide a range of different view points (some of which you may or may not agree with) and they can provide stimulus thinking - prodding you to think deeply and make connections about your own personal faith and/or the text application in today world.

 

 

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Guest Wesley Southern
51 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

For instance, have you ever read a verse numerous times and maybe years later, get a big headslap insight into its meaning? For me, studying has also given me many insightful headslaps. 😃

 

Well personally, no because I never really read the Bible until I took a religion class and I read the Gospels for the class assignment, but then I got into Jordan Peterson’s lectures about the Bible (just the Genesis lectures) and I began to think about Jungian synchronicity and Jesus being God.

 

If God could use literature to affect people’s lives, couldn’t God be in the literal Word?

 

There might be a subtle difference between ”to live as if God exists” and “God exists”

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Guest Wesley Southern

Hmm, that subtle difference might actually be pretty profound now that I think about it...

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1 hour ago, lynnmosher said:

For instance, have you ever read a verse numerous times and maybe years later, get a big headslap insight into its meaning? For me, studying has also given me many insightful headslaps. 😃

 

All the time. In a way I think that's great, yet in another, i wonder what took me so long...

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