Progressive Christianity is characterized by a willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the earth. Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to “love one another” (John 15:17) within the teachings of Jesus Christ. This leads to a focus on promoting values such as compassion, justice, mercy, and tolerance, often through political activism. Though prominent, the movement is by no means the only significant movement of progressive thought among Christians. (wikipedia)
Here’s what I think:
Any of the above mentioned virtues in the absence of wisdom represent a perversion of their intended purpose. Compassion becomes a subsidy, justice becomes favoritism, mercy becomes an endorsement and tolerance becomes indifference. And when I say, “wisdom,” I mean Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Recently I was listening to a speaker on youtube elaborating on why the evangelical community is flawed in the way the condemn homosexuality. His entire platform was based on Jesus’ unconditional love and how we are commanded to love one another. Therefore any kind of criticism, let alone condemnation, is immediately processed as judgmental if not worse.
Our model is Christ, not only in the way He loved in terms of encouragement (Jn 16:33), sacrifice (Mk 10:45; l Jn 10:11) and forgiveness (Matt 18:21-22; Jn 8:11 ), but also in the way He loved by judging (Jn 7:24 [Eph 5:11]), condemning (Matt 12:34; Lk 11:29 [Rev 20:12]) and criticizing (Lk 13:14-15, 32). And I want to emphasize the “way” He loved. You don’t love someone by humiliating them, but you’re not loving them by being silent either. The Pharisees would’ve had a very difficult time making the case that Jesus was being “oppressive” by telling them the Truth.
At the heart of the Progressive mindset is the notion that there is no such thing as sin, and they hide their agenda behind words that are designed to position the sinner as a victim. Once established as a casualty, anyone who would criticize them is automatically processed as a villain – and that includes God Himself.
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Cost of Discipleship“)
Dilute the reality of sin and a redeemer is no longer necessary. Once redemption is irrelevant, Jesus Himself becomes a noble martyr rather than a Divine sacrifice.
And if you pull the curtain back on that strategy, you see satan himself pulling the strings (1 Jn 1-3).
Granted, you want to maintain your witness when it comes to dealing with “progressives” who ultimately champion a distortion of Scripture and not an application of it. But it is a toxic distraction that ultimately leads to death and for that reason, you want to roll up your sleeves and challenge those individuals by asking them to quote chapters and verses and not just a chapter and a verse that is taken out of context (Matt 7:15-23; 1 Tim 3:16-17).