How Progressive Christians Are Denying The Eternality of the Human Soul

How Progressive Christians Are Denying The Eternality of the Human Soul June 27, 2023

In just a few days, another Pride Month will come to an end. Many of the flown rainbow flags will be replaced by American ones, company logos will flip back to their traditional branding, and the collective social consciousness of the people of the United States will undoubtedly shift to something else. However, this short-lived, annual, widespread celebration of the LBGTQ+ communities’ values and principles feels a bit tragic to me – especially when it comes from professing Christians. Why? Well, because almost everything about the LBGTQ+ community’s focus is vain and temporal. Soon, our earthly bodies and sexual realities/fantasies will cease. On that day, I question what will have been the eternal weight and worth of a diversified, inclusive sexual life.

To me, this is one of the major philosophical and theological flaws in the Progressive Christian support of the LBGTQ+ movement. It fails to consider any substantive, eternal perspective. By design, the entire movement is focused on celebrating the here and now; it’s entirely horizontal. One can dress all of this up in the flowery language of love, acceptance, equality, and affirmation, but if you peel back those layers, we’re just talking about sex. Withdraw sex from the growing list of Pride Month virtues and the entirety of the structure will fail. Any person regardless of their sexual orientation, who defines their life by sex is by definition shallow.

Do not misunderstand me; I am not eliminating the significance of sex for humanity. Sex is essential to the human experience and posterity. It is a God-given gift, clearly defined in scripture. It has a purpose, place, and utility; it’s a beautiful thing when practiced appropriately. But it’s not eternal. Its pleasures and function cease when our bodies die. There is nothing in scripture to suggest that sex is part of the new creation. Jesus even points out there’s not even marriage (Matthew 22:30). Yet somehow, we have elevated sex and sexual identity as the cultural endgame. We have effectively, as Paul describes, “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25).

Pride Month, and a bulk of the LBGTQ+ movement, teaches that people’s worth comes from their sexual preferences. Friends, that is unequivocally heartbreaking. For all the Progressive Christians who criticize conservative Christians for being “narrow-minded”, think about that reality. My criticisms of the LGBTQ+ movement are not rooted in bigotry. Rather, it’s pleading for people to recognize the eternal magnitude and value of the human soul.

A person’s worth, value, and identity do not come from sexuality. Rather, our value comes from being made in the image of God. If we boil the human experience down to sexual experience or identity, we debase it; we cheapen it. What is the value of a human soul? Consider the words of the late, R.C. Sproul. In his commentary on The Gospel of Mark, he writes, “We can see the true value of souls by noting how much Jesus was willing to pay for the souls of His people”. God died on the cross to ransom human souls and restore what had previously been broken. We must find our value, our worth, our purpose, and our entire identity here. To live God-glorifying, wholesome life, this cross-centric perspective must shape our worldview.

One of the defining elements of being a Christian is that our complete individuality is in the eternity of Christ and His kingdom. In Richard Niebuhr’s classic, Christ & Culture, he elaborates on the “enduring problem” this eternal perspective has given civilizations and cultures. While Christians are called to live in the world, Christian ideals transcend all earthly cultures and values. This is because Christ “enables men to regard this current disaster with a certain equanimity, directs their hopes toward another world, and so seems to deprive them of the motivation to engage in the ceaseless labor of conserving a massive but insecure social heritage” (pg. 5-6). In other words, Christianity has survived thousands of years because it fundamentally exists beyond the here and now. This is where the power of the Christian life dwells. It provides the common man with an eternal perspective. With this worldview, you can take everything away from a man (even his very life), and he knows he has lost nothing. Consider how the Apostle Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

When it comes to LBGTQ+ ideals, Progressive Christians seem to forget/ignore any perspective that considers the bodily resurrection and the new creation. Scripture teaches us that the spirit and body will be joined together in perfect harmony forever. By the blood of Christ, we will be pure and spotless. In this state, there is no need for sex or sexual identity. As stated earlier, there will not even be a need for marriage. Our entire existence will be rooted and satisfied in the glory of Christ.

If we bear the name and mark of Christ upon our life and soul, we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) before we are anything else. Every other aspect of our life must submit and align to this glorious reality. Everything we do and say should be influenced by THAT day. That is the day when Christ will come to judge the living and dead. In doing so, He will make right all that is wrong and establish His Kingdom forever. Fleeting sexual experiences pale in comparison to the weight of this glorious truth. This is why the Progressive Christian, obsessed with affirming sexual deviancies, baffles me. Nothing about the sexual revolution has this eternal weight and perspective. In contrast, I understand why an atheist would live this way. After all, what else do they have to live for except the here and now? But for someone to call themselves a Christian and share this short-sighted view of reality is disastrous.

In an article I read this week, A Progressive Christian explained why all Christians should celebrate Pride Month. He writes:

“Many Christians believe it is a celebration of arrogance, failing to grasp the profound message of love, acceptance, and unconditional support. Sadly, these are often direct attempts to mask homophobia and transphobia, cause deep wounds, and hinder beautiful opportunities to love unconditionally — opportunities to actually model the Jesus these Christians claim to follow.

At the core of Pride Month, is a principle of unconditional love and acceptance. Christianity itself teaches the importance of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, regardless of differences or personal beliefs. By dismissing Pride Month and believing in ongoing false teaching that condemns the LGBTQ+ community, Christians miss a chance to practice and embody the unconditional love that their faith encourages. Love knows no boundaries and extends to all individuals, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

I would respond to this with a few things. First, as you might have noticed there is little to nothing said with an eternal perspective. Everything about the position is horizontal. I have addressed this issue above.

Secondly, As a Christian, I want to stress that I do want to practice and embody the love of God in my life toward my neighbor. But I want to do so as Christ instructed. For many, the command of Jesus to “‘love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 12:39) may come to mind. I suspect this verse is the thrust of this author’s argument. This is a wonderful verse. But if you read the entire section of scripture, you see that this command finds its substance in the vertical/eternal. The text reads: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 12:36-40).

Notice how the vertical is the “great and first commandment” and the “loving of the neighbor” comes next. Also, take note of how Jesus says that the law of the prophets is fulfilled in these commandments. This is important. The law (Old Testament) has some very serious wording about sex being used in the wrong way. Therefore, there is absolutely no argument to be made that celebrating one’s sexual deviances is in some way fulfilling the commandment to “love your neighbor”. If anything, you are blaspheming the words and intent of Christ.

Another argument I sometimes hear from Progressive Christians is that by celebrating Pride Month and its virtues, we are effectively carrying out the great commission. The great commission says nothing about accepting one’s sexual preferences as legitimate. Rather, it is about carrying the message of the gospel to the nations to make disciples of Christ. Paul says clearly that he is “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). If you think the point of the gospel is to liberate someone to enjoy whatever sexual experience comes to their heart, you are deceived; this is lust.

Upon becoming Christians, we are to called to forsake our current identities and submit everything to the will and purpose of Christ. We become citizens of heaven who serve the King Jesus. This should impact everything about us. It should change and shape our perspective of how we view friends, family, spouse, children, job, temperament, character, and, yes, even sex. The entirety of human experience takes a radical shift. This is the power of the Gospel in Christ; it changes us to become (and see the world) as Jesus does.

I would do this topic an injustice if I did not quickly point out that, as Christians, we are to show love in the temporal. We are not to become so eternal-focused that we completely forsake the temporal. In Matthew 25, we have a clear teaching on the need for Christians to love, serve, feed, and aid the world. We should do this as followers of Jesus. Moreover, we will want to do this. If our faith is genuine and we claim to be citizens of heaven, we should do all that we can to love and serve those around us. However, there is not a single example in the whole of scripture where this includes celebrating someone’s sexual identity or experiences. If anything, the opposite is true.

In closing, let us consider for a moment King Solomon. Here is a man who was given the ability to explore sexuality to its fullest. I am confident that no one reading can compare to the self-indulgent exploits of King Solomon. He explains in Ecclesiastes that he said to his heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” (2:1). We learn elsewhere that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3)!

What was the result? Solomon sums it up well. He writes, “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also, my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11). The net gain of life and society that affirmed all his sexual desires was vanity and emptiness.

If we look a bit further at Solomon’s response. In his wisdom, he begins to recognize that the entirety of the temporal experience needs to be seen through the lens of eternity. He says plainly that “God is the one you must fear” (5:5). He also reminds us that, “man does not know his time” (9:12) and that for all of us “the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (12:7). But above all, we learn from Solomon that man is more than temporal pleasures. There is a place for these things when done appropriately in a God-fearing way, however, they should not define who are. Solomon ends his book with this final exhortation: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (12:13-14). At the end of all things, he reminds us of the eternal ramifications of our actions.

Our culture doesn’t need a month of pride, it needs a lifetime of God-fearing repentance. Sex is fleeting, but the soul is eternal.

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