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Progressive Christianity is moving into the 21st century with a freedom to challenge and question tradition and scripture in ways that simultaneously respect the past and look for fresh ways to live into the future. Traditional Christian interpretations of scriptures on a wide variety of issues—hell, gender, sexuality, marriage, community, atonement, social justice, and leadership—are giving way to more nuanced understandings of authorial intent, deeper explorations of the linguistic and cultural realities of the biblical world, and broader definitions of Christian identity. What is the role of Scripture for progressives? How do we define its authority? To what extent is it prescriptive for 21st-century Christians?

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Featured Panelists

Making Sense of the Bible

Making Sense of the Bible

Adam Hamilton, United Methodist minister and author

While my love for scripture has deepened over the years, so has my awareness of the questions we are right to ask when we read it. The questions begin on page one.

The Bible and Seeds of Imagination

The Bible and Seeds of Imagination

Barbara Brown Taylor, Author and professor

Open your imagination to the divine stories of the Bible and the world stands a better chance of becoming a sacred place, if only because you are out there acting like it is.

The Problem Isn't the Bible

The Problem Isn't the Bible

Brian McLaren, Author and speaker

The Bible is too good and too important to be left to those who won't think critically about it. And frankly, it is too dangerous.

Does the Bible Matter?

Does the Bible Matter?

Marcus Borg, Author, Speaker, Theologian

To neglect the Bible because of negative associations would be to abandon our heritage and to deprive ourselves of its riches and power as one of the world's great wisdom traditions.

For the Bible Tells Me So: Learning to See Myself as God's Reflection

For the Bible Tells Me So: Learning to See Myself as God's Reflection

Candice Benbow, Author and speaker

While I acknowledge the holiness of the Bible, I also acknowledge the places in our sacred narrative where human hands have obscured the love that set us free.

The New Readers of Scripture: Responsive, Not Reactive

The New Readers of Scripture: Responsive, Not Reactive

Jose F. Morales, Jr., Regional Minister Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

A new way—a third way—of reading the Bible is emerging, particularly among younger believers. This new way is neither fully conservative nor fully liberal.

Getting Under Our Skin: The Role of Scripture for Progressive Christians

Getting Under Our Skin: The Role of Scripture for Progressive Christians

Carol Howard Merritt, Presbyterian minister and author

As progressive Christians look to the Bible, we come to the text with the curiosity of people longing to know not "how," but "why."

Scripture Is More Like a Beach Than a Path

Scripture Is More Like a Beach Than a Path

Eric Smith, Congregational Church minister

Having walked the shifting shoreline, we prefer the beach to the path. We like the way it's never the same twice, and we find truth in the change and interplay.

Weightier Matters of the Law: Biblical Authority for Progressives

Weightier Matters of the Law: Biblical Authority for Progressives

Peter Laarman, Progressive Christians Uniting

Sooner or later we will make our own decisions about which parts of the biblical testimony hold ultimate authority for us.

Go to Hell: Remembering, Reflecting, and Re-imagining Howard Thurman

Go to Hell: Remembering, Reflecting, and Re-imagining Howard Thurman

Peter Matthews, United Methodist minister, author, and speaker

Will we simply speak on behalf of the disinherited or are we willing to incarnate the Gospel in ways that unleash the shackles the vast majority of the world finds themselves in?

For the Bible Tells Me So?

For the Bible Tells Me So?

Mark Sandlin, Presbyterian (USA) minister

Ultimately, this is where biblical authority rests for Progressive Christians: in relationship.

Unlimited by Ink or Paper or Male Voices

Unlimited by Ink or Paper or Male Voices

Mihee Kim-Kort, Presbyterian minister and author

The way I view authority is different now—I rely on the Holy Spirit to engage and provide meaning.

Progressive Christians and the Bible

Progressive Christians and the Bible

James McGrath, Professor and blogger, "Exploring Our Matrix"

I’d like to begin by challenging the notion that progressive Christians’ approach to and understanding of the Bible deserves to be contrasted with “traditional” interpretations.

Permission to Ask the Hard Questions

Permission to Ask the Hard Questions

Ben Corey, Blogger, "Formerly Fundie"

My fear for Progressive Christianity is the potential for it to spiral into a giant theological mosh pit.

Who's Got the Power? Reclaiming the Authority of the Bible

Who's Got the Power? Reclaiming the Authority of the Bible

Joerg Rieger, Author and Professor

We can reclaim the authority of the Bible when we realize that not even the most powerful empires, including current forms of capitalism, have the last word.

More From Our Blogging Community

16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible

16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible

Roger Wolsey

I can’t speak for all progressive Christians, but here’s how many progressive Christians approach, discern, and interpret the Bible...

The Bible is Not a Myth: God's Patience with Tone-Deaf People

The Bible is Not a Myth: God's Patience with Tone-Deaf People

Suzanne Ross

A Spirit of renewal has been moving through Christianity. New meanings are being discovered in Scripture, meanings that are so strange and unnatural to us that they could only have come from God.

"I Was Always Taught the Bible Says X, But I Just Don't See It"

Peter Enns

Scripture doesn’t line up very well with the conservative paradigm of scripture (some form of inerrancy). That’s why the paradigm needs constant tending and vigilant defending in order to survive.

Three Questions About the Bible Jesus Might Ask

Three Questions About the Bible Jesus Might Ask

Chuck Queen

Christians would do well to humbly acknowledge that our sacred texts are also limited and fallible. Jesus did.

Kids Make the Road by Walking, Too: Progressive Christian Families and the Bible

Kids Make the Road by Walking, Too: Progressive Christian Families and the Bible

John Stonecypher

Our parents had the Bible figured out. Our children’s parents don’t. How we're teaching the Bible to our kids.

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