How to think of our progressive "brethren"?

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arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My sister asked me a good question this evening and one I couldn't definitely answer nor thought a lot about. It basically amounted to "are 'progressive Christians' true Christians?" Since our church is going through Philippians, the idea that Paul was glad the Gospel was being preached be those spiting him piqued her interest. I told her that the Word of God is powerful and that the Holy Spirit works through it no matter the preacher's life or doctrine. Yet, what if the doctrine is terrible or they are heretical or close to heretical can one belong to a church like that and still remain a Christian? While we saved by the object of our faith, and not necessarily our strength of faith or doctrine, what about the doctrine of justification and those who barely repent she asked (she thinks largely of CRT and BLM, who seem to be otherwise orthodox)? It evolved into "what about progressives if they deny a lot of things yet claim to trust in Christ?" I don't have a good answer.
 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
1. Truth can be preached by an unbeliever to the salvation of sinners.
2. Error can be preached by a believer to the damnation of sinners.
3. Truth can be preached by a believer to the salvation of sinners.
4. Error can be preached by an unbeliever to the damnation of sinners.

It isn't the virtue of the preacher, but of the virtue of the message preached that matters.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
The best and most correct of christians are still redeemed sinners, all of whom are carrying baggage they won't be rid of until glory. We all have distractions and hobbyhorses; we all emphasize things that don't matter much, and neglect others of great importance. Some think I'm too worked up over things in the church they consider no big deal--regulated worship, decency and order, etc--while at the same time getting absolutely frantic over politics, for which my concern is little.
Bottom line is, as long as they are trusting in Christ alone for salvation, they are God's children, and are on the long road of sanctification. While it is not your duty to join them in every distraction, cause, and crusade they take up--"who are you to judge another man's servant? To his own master he must stand or fall"--it is your duty to behave charitably, knowing that when we get to glory and see Christ as He is, we're all going to see how many of the ideas we had about everything were wrong.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
Bottom line is, as long as they are trusting in Christ alone for salvation, they are God's children, and are on the long road of sanctification.
Well that’s a relief. Because I have a friend who sincerely believes abortion is a means of solving the world’s “overpopulation“ problem but since she recently underwent baptism and is trusting in Christ alone for salvation I guess it’s all good.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Well that’s a relief. Because I have a friend who sincerely believes abortion is a means of solving the world’s “overpopulation“ problem but since she recently underwent baptism and is trusting in Christ alone for salvation I guess it’s all good.
People forget that there is a consequential relationship between our profession and certain ethical decisions that in some case are so indicative of what is going on in a person that they trump other considerations. For instance, 1 Tim 5:8. Notice no room is given for “he’s a confused believer,” “make room for progressive sanctification,” or any of the other myriad excuses/dismissals/justifications we often use.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well that’s a relief. Because I have a friend who sincerely believes abortion is a means of solving the world’s “overpopulation“ problem but since she recently underwent baptism and is trusting in Christ alone for salvation I guess it’s all good.
Her conscience may need instructing--whose doesn't? Perhaps you could winsomely help her along the road to seeing her error, as iron sharpens iron.
You could pray for her.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
I tried for 3 years. Winsome doesn’t always prove effective. Even got her to attend my church for a year but noticed she usually slept through the sermon. She is a self-avowed environmentalist who wants to protect the Earth at all costs, people, not so much.
She is unregenerate despite her recent United Methodist baptism. Are we allowed to say that, or must we assume that all who make the claim are children of God, as you seemed to suggest?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
People forget that there is a consequential relationship between our profession and certain ethical decisions that in some case are so indicative of what is going on in a person that they trump other considerations. For instance, 1 Tim 5:8. Notice no room is given for “he’s a confused believer,” “make room for progressive sanctification,” or any of the other myriad excuses/dismissals/justifications we often use.

I agree with your general point here, Ben. Still, I am wondering is it not the case that when most of us say "so and so is a confused believer" and other such things that we may just be saying that the person in question does not appear to be stiff-necked or incorrigible in their errors?
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
I tried for 3 years. Winsome doesn’t always prove effective. Even got her to attend my church for a year but noticed she usually slept through the sermon. She is a self-avowed environmentalist who wants to protect the Earth at all costs, people, not so much.
She is unregenerate despite her recent United Methodist baptism. Are we allowed to say that, or must we assume that all who make the claim are children of God, as you seemed to suggest?
I with you. There comes a time to mark and avoid. I think social justice/ progressive "Christian's" are part of a different religion (a cult). I think there are definitely those that are confused though. But people like Jamar Tisby, Eric Mason, David Platt, and Phil Vischer, they are false teachers. I am not their judge though. I will pray for them, but I will also avoid anything they put out.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
My sister asked me a good question this evening and one I couldn't definitely answer nor thought a lot about. It basically amounted to "are 'progressive Christians' true Christians?" Since our church is going through Philippians, the idea that Paul was glad the Gospel was being preached be those spiting him piqued her interest. I told her that the Word of God is powerful and that the Holy Spirit works through it no matter the preacher's life or doctrine. Yet, what if the doctrine is terrible or they are heretical or close to heretical can one belong to a church like that and still remain a Christian? While we saved by the object of our faith, and not necessarily our strength of faith or doctrine, what about the doctrine of justification and those who barely repent she asked (she thinks largely of CRT and BLM, who seem to be otherwise orthodox)? It evolved into "what about progressives if they deny a lot of things yet claim to trust in Christ?" I don't have a good answer.
Hmmm.... you could probably say that about some conservative cultural Christians as well though. There’s politics and there’s biblical theology. Even within the Reformed camp there’s plenty of flavors and possibly even a continuum with Antinomianism on the one end and Legalism on the other. I would argue there is a cut off on either extreme where we may be outside of God’s favor. So obviously orthodoxy could be skewed in practice and even true understanding, as well as doctrine gone just enough astray, and may be indicative of a heart outside of Christ I reckon.
 
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Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I with you. There comes a time to mark and avoid. I think social justice/ progressive "Christian's" are part of a different religion (a cult). I think there are definitely those that are confused though. But people like Jamar Tisby, Eric Mason, David Platt, and Phil Vischer, they are false teachers. I am not their judge though. I will pray for them, but I will also avoid anything they put out.
David Platt is a false teacher? I’m not familiar with the other names in your sentence, but am surprised to hear David Platt called out as such.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
I tried for 3 years. Winsome doesn’t always prove effective. Even got her to attend my church for a year but noticed she usually slept through the sermon. She is a self-avowed environmentalist who wants to protect the Earth at all costs, people, not so much.
She is unregenerate despite her recent United Methodist baptism. Are we allowed to say that, or must we assume that all who make the claim are children of God, as you seemed to suggest?
Not all who make the claim are saved: "many shall to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did not we in thy name...?"
But you said she was trusting in Christ alone for her salvation. If she truly is, her life will eventually show it. My point is, there are many who are truly redeemed christians who with uninformed consciences believe all sorts of nonsense. No one is a perfect christian the day after conversion nor fifty years after conversion. It takes time to grow in grace and knowledge.
Now if you believe she is not actually converted, your duty to her is still to be light and salt. If she rejects you and becomes a mocker, shake off the dust of your feet as you leave (like Paud did in the villages where the Gospel was rejected) and avoid contact.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
I with you. There comes a time to mark and avoid. I think social justice/ progressive "Christian's" are part of a different religion (a cult). I think there are definitely those that are confused though. But people like Jamar Tisby, Eric Mason, David Platt, and Phil Vischer, they are false teachers. I am not their judge though. I will pray for them, but I will also avoid anything they put out.
I agree with Jeri and Steve and would like to hear your explanation for why you think that. I haven't really read or followed the work of Tisby or Mason (I know they're controversial but from what little I have read and know I'm not sure they meet the standard for being a labeled "false teacher" and not Christians) and I am not familiar with Phil Vischer but I've always found David Platt reasonable and helpful even when I disagree with him.

Just an observation, but I think the label "false teacher" gets thrown around a little too easily and quickly on the internet. I haven't spent a great deal of time reflecting on what a false teacher is, but it seems to me the standard between teaching things that happen to be false and being labeled a false teacher should be pretty high.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
In the case of professing Christians supporting BLM or other such organisations, I think that we have to realise that many true believers are either naive or just downright silly when it comes to such matters. They have grace, but they have very little gumption. Causes like BLM sound good, because who wants to say that black lives do not matter? And many people know enough history to know that black Americans were once systemically oppressed but then wrongly assume that such systemic oppression is still taking place because the media told them so. Going to a church beside a university, I see this sort of thing all the time among Christian students. Many of these types of people are either grossly misinformed or else will grow out of their naiveté with age.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
I agree with Jeri and Steve and would like to hear your explanation for why you think that. I haven't really read or followed the work of Tisby or Mason (I know they're controversial but from what little I have read and know I'm not sure they meet the standard for being a labeled "false teacher" and not Christians) and I am not familiar with Phil Vischer but I've always found David Platt reasonable and helpful even when I disagree with him.

Just an observation, but I think the label "false teacher" gets thrown around a little too easily and quickly on the internet. I haven't spent a great deal of time reflecting on what a false teacher is, but it seems to me the standard between teaching things that happen to be false and being labeled a false teacher should be pretty high.
I will post some specific examples as soon as I can. All are deeply involved in the social justice gospel and basically how being white is an epidemic that needs to be solved (however that is supposed to work). Platt has not always been like this, but more recently has dove in deep. In the mean time, there is a channel called woke preacher clips on YouTube that documents a lot of these instances. It is just the person themselves talking (so in their own words). And if you think it is dishonest portrayals, you can also go to the source and watch the entire thing.
 
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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
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JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I wonder whether some of these 'evangelical' preachers who seem to be going Woke are doing it out of 'white guilt syndrome', or hoping to reap some harvest of 'believers' out of this woke crowd of young people who've been indoctrinated by schools, universities, and the popular culture. Seeing the handwriting on the wall so to speak. Preaching 'another gospel' as it were. We know what Paul said about that.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here are some examples of the men I mentioned earlier:

David Platt:
(analysis of Platt and Matt Chandler shifts in theology)
(longer analysis, not as dramatic)

Phil Vischer and Jamar Tisby:
(analysis of the above, starts at around 40 mins)

Eric Mason:
("Biblical" case for reparations)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4DUipMJzSI (analysis of the above, although I doubt you will need it)
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you for posting these. A few years ago I came across a notice for a conference at Platt’s church and was considering going. Then I read the syllabus and the workshop descriptions and was heartbroken. McClean Bible Church was once a solid church but it has been hijacked by the social justice racialist Crowd. Once upon a time, not so long ago, Platt guilted anyone who didn’t go on missions. He was all about missions. Now since the sending of (white) missionaries is viewed as a continuation of the white colonialist enterprise he has shifted to the woke gospel, which is NO gospel. Why did so many wealthy churches around DC and northern Virginia go down this road? It’s as though wealth and affluence almost guarantees this. And no denomination is immune from these influences.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Junior
"Jesus is Trayvon Martin, armed only with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea against an entire world that would rather hang him from a tree than love him. Until we see this, we are lost."



“Americans assume that race is a biological entity, and use the folk term “blood” (meaning ancestry) to describe it. Since Zimmerman has some African ancestry on his Peruvian mother’s side, he would probably meet Louisiana’s former criterion, that anyone with 1/32 black blood is black. So one possible race for Zimmerman is black.

Most Americans would say that discrimination against Hispanics is racial discrimination, implying that Hispanics or Latinos are a race. However, the 2010 census says that Hispanics can be of any race. Hence, we have the hierarchical paradox that Hispanics are a race that can be any race. In any event, another possible race for Zimmerman is Hispanic.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/...l-mirror/201308/what-race-is-george-zimmerman
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
I will post some specific examples as soon as I can. All are deeply involved in the social justice gospel and basically how being white is an epidemic that needs to be solved (however that is supposed to work). Platt has not always been like this, but more recently has dove in deep. In the mean time, there is a channel called woke preacher clips on YouTube that documents a lot of these instances. It is just the person themselves talking (so in their own words). And if you think it is dishonest portrayals, you can also go to the source and watch the entire thing.
Thanks for taking time to reply. Sorry mine has been slow! I'm familiar with Woke Preacher Clips but haven't viewed any before. Your response is also clarifying because you describe them as promoting the social justice gospel as opposed to the true gospel. While I'm not really currently familiar enough with any of those people to really assess that claim, it's helpful to understand where you're coming from.

My only question is to what extent do these men hold to orthodox Christian beliefs in ways that those promoting the social gospel in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century did not? I was always under the impression that the men you listed (who I've heard of) held orthodox views. From what little I do know about their messages on social justice (which is almost entirely second hand), I think there is a lot that can be problematic with some of their emphases and methods (even while I agree with many of their concerns and even aims regarding sinful racism) that can, if taken to their logical conclusions, deny key elements of the gospel message, I'm still not sure it's helpful to call them false teachers if they are otherwise orthodox. Again though, I'm largely thinking by writing and I'm not very familiar with where these men currently stand on other doctrines.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for taking time to reply. Sorry mine has been slow! I'm familiar with Woke Preacher Clips but haven't viewed any before. Your response is also clarifying because you describe them as promoting the social justice gospel as opposed to the true gospel. While I'm not really currently familiar enough with any of those people to really assess that claim, it's helpful to understand where you're coming from.

My only question is to what extent do these men hold to orthodox Christian beliefs in ways that those promoting the social gospel in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century did not? I was always under the impression that the men you listed (who I've heard of) held orthodox views. From what little I do know about their messages on social justice (which is almost entirely second hand), I think there is a lot that can be problematic with some of their emphases and methods (even while I agree with many of their concerns and even aims regarding sinful racism) that can, if taken to their logical conclusions, deny key elements of the gospel message, I'm still not sure it's helpful to call them false teachers if they are otherwise orthodox. Again though, I'm largely thinking by writing and I'm not very familiar with where these men currently stand on other doctrines.
As far as I can tell, they don't preach an orthodox gospel (Platt possibly being an exception SOME of the time). From what I can see, they are obsessed with the color of people's skin and everything revolves around that. They appear to hold to the James Cone school of theology (liberation aka Marxist ideologies), which preaches a different mode of salvation while trying to disguise it using familiar terms (like the Mormans). For more information on the movement in general, here are some resources:

 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
As far as I can tell, they don't preach an orthodox gospel (Platt possibly being an exception SOME of the time). From what I can see, they are obsessed with the color of people's skin and everything revolves around that. They appear to hold to the James Cone school of theology (liberation aka Marxist ideologies), which preaches a different mode of salvation while trying to disguise it using familiar terms (like the Mormans). For more information on the movement in general, here are some resources:

Thanks for the resource recommendations! I have had Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice on my to read list on this subject for awhile (along with Tisby's books to familiarize myself with his work first hand) and was intrigued when I just saw a review of Fault Lines but I wasn't familiar with the first book.

To be clear, I'm not necessarily trying to argue for these guys. My original and follow up post is really just thinking about what it takes to meet the standard of being labeled a false teacher.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for the resource recommendations! I have had Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice on my to read list on this subject for awhile (along with Tisby's books to familiarize myself with his work first hand) and was intrigued when I just saw a review of Fault Lines but I wasn't familiar with the first book.

To be clear, I'm not necessarily trying to argue for these guys. My original and follow up post is really just thinking about what it takes to meet the standard of being labeled a false teacher.
Yes, I did not take it as you going to bat for them. I saw it as a call to make sure I am being balanced and I do appreciate that. I am likely slanted a bit because I feel we are living in a time when it is more important to get along with everyone rather than call out falsehoods. Please understand, I am not accusing you of this, just pointing out something that seems to be happening lately.
 

dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes, I did not take it as you going to bat for them. I saw it as a call to make sure I am being balanced and I do appreciate that. I am likely slanted a bit because I feel we are living in a time when it is more important to get along with everyone rather than call out falsehoods. Please understand, I am not accusing you of this, just pointing out something that seems to be happening lately.
This really seems to me to be a huge motivating factor for most people today. I recognize that draw in myself as I hate confrontation and prior to my conversion especially it was like my life revolved around making sure people if they did not like me at least didn't have a problem with me. A lot of people appear to naturally be wired to seek peace (which is great) but at all costs (which is not biblical). And I get the impression that the largest social drive of the world is just that--peace at all costs; the absolute truth of the world by which all things are weighed against is that every single person must support what is declared "good" by society at that time (extreme subjectivity).

Thank you for posting these. A few years ago I came across a notice for a conference at Platt’s church and was considering going. Then I read the syllabus and the workshop descriptions and was heartbroken. McClean Bible Church was once a solid church but it has been hijacked by the social justice racialist Crowd. Once upon a time, not so long ago, Platt guilted anyone who didn’t go on missions. He was all about missions. Now since the sending of (white) missionaries is viewed as a continuation of the white colonialist enterprise he has shifted to the woke gospel, which is NO gospel. Why did so many wealthy churches around DC and northern Virginia go down this road? It’s as though wealth and affluence almost guarantees this. And no denomination is immune from these influences.

Speculation--maybe subconsciously they are so guilty of using their wealth in unbiblical ways that they seek to make up for it by again subconsciously doing something unbiblical but what appears to be right in the eyes of the current society trend. I don't doubt that I have these things going on under the surface myself that I don't even recognize, trying to compensate for something I know is wrong but instead of looking to God for his grace I turn to something else I can easily do on my own (and something that society is promoting at the time would be an easy pitfall).
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
I agree with you that it may in part be compensating for some kind of perceived guilt, kind of like sewing together fig leaves to cover our shame, something we can do. But I’m not sure of how they have used their wealth in unbiblical ways. I wouldn’t know how to judge that. Personal wealth is tricky. We know that we are called to be generous to the poor among us and do good insofar as we are able but is the mere fact of lawfully-gotten personal affluence a cause for guilt? I know many progressive christians believe that personal wealth is illegitimate but I also know that envy and resentment of the prosperity of others is also sinful. I just don’t know why these affluent churches go off the rails. I think it might have more to do with being at home in the world and seeking the approval of men. It’s very difficult to go against the crowd. It invites ostracism and social exclusion and maybe they just can’t bear the thought so they fall in line with the world’s values. But history shows that once these churches start down that path they seldom return to the biblical faith. Meanwhile, Christ continues to gather in his flock. That’s what gives me peace. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
I agree with you that it may in part be compensating for some kind of perceived guilt, kind of like sewing together fig leaves to cover our shame, something we can do. But I’m not sure of how they have used their wealth in unbiblical ways. I wouldn’t know how to judge that. Personal wealth is tricky. We know that we are called to be generous to the poor among us and do good insofar as we are able but is the mere fact of lawfully-gotten personal affluence a cause for guilt? I know many progressive christians believe that personal wealth is illegitimate but I also know that envy and resentment of the prosperity of others is also sinful. I just don’t know why these affluent churches go off the rails. I think it might have more to do with being at home in the world and seeking the approval of men. It’s very difficult to go against the crowd. It invites ostracism and social exclusion and maybe they just can’t bear the thought so they fall in line with the world’s values. But history shows that once these churches start down that path they seldom return to the biblical faith. Meanwhile, Christ continues to gather in his flock. That’s what gives me peace. Thanks for your thoughts.
Poor choice of words--I should have said that they feel so guilty, a perceived guilt. Maybe they feel they are hording their wealth to themselves and not giving enough, like being a poor steward of God's gifts.

Fitting in with the world would surely be a large factor. It's just a huge temptation, to want to be approved by others.

The Lord does continue to draw in his flock--and it is an amazing testament to his Sovereignty that there still remains a remnant that hold to the truth of this word. I hear there are churches that call themselves Christian that do not even adhere to the infallibility of the word of God. I'm not very knowledgeable about the whole liberal/fundamental controversy which took place in the early 1900s (listened to a few series on sermon audio about church history which included this time period, but can't seem to recall this) but was the infallibility of God's word one of the points which set apart a fundamentalist as I think they were called at that time? That title has a different meaning to it today as it did then, if I'm remembering correctly. Of course, I may have gotten the whole thing mixed up in my mind.

Well today that problem seems to be immense and I wonder if there may be by God's direction another Reformation-like movement that takes place as significant and clear cut as when the Protestants broke away from the Catholic church. I mean, if you can't take the Bible as the absolute word of God, you're leaving God open to being false and then he isn't God at all (and then your "God" is not from the Bible completely then, so whatever else you're using to know about him would be outside his perfect revelation and therefore corrupt).

Like I don't doubt there are saved brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church and I don't doubt there are saved brethren in these liberal churches, but if you have a church that doesn't have as a foundational belief that the Bible is absolutely perfect then I really don't think it should be called a Christian church. I've actually taken when, namely on message boards when it's easier to be more clear and precise (lots of times my words come out all unclear since I have such a scattered mind), to call myself a Bible-believing Christian; I think it's important to make that distinction since Christian seems it can mean just about anything these days. (actually I think more often if you say you're a Christian, people will probably think you're a humanist though they won't of course be thinking of it with that wording).
 
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