Pastors Unite to Denounce Churches’ Attack on Progressive Christianity

Pastors Unite to Denounce Churches’ Attack on Progressive Christianity May 22, 2015

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In my last post (Eight “Bible-believing” churches vs. one progressive church) I wrote about how a group of eight churches in Fountain Hills, AZ, had grouped together to launch “a series of messages” aimed at debunking progressive Christianity generally, and the lone progressive church in their area specifically. That article was also run on The Huffington Post, from where it was picked up by Yahoo.com.

One of the churches in what I called the “Gang of 8” is Fountain Hills Presbyterian, pastored by Bill Good.

This didn’t sit so well with some of other Presbyterian churches in the area. So yesterday the pastors of those churches got together and released this:

A RESPONSE TO REV. BILL GOOD AND THE CHURCHES OF FOUNTAIN HILLS ATTACKING PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANS

Recently eight churches in Fountain Hills, Arizona, posted banners announcing a collective sermon series entitled “’Progressive’ Christianity: Fact or Fiction.” The Rev. Bill Good of Fountain Hills Presbyterian Church, and president of the local clergy association, mischaracterized in his first sermon a distinction between “Progressive Christianity” and what he called “Biblical Christianity,” insinuating that Progressive Christianity is not Biblical nor a valid expression of Christian faith.

We respectfully reject this false dichotomy and claim what is often labeled as Progressive Christianity to be a faithful expression of Christian faith in the spirit of Jesus Christ who crossed cultural boundaries and challenged traditional norms for the sake of God’s love, especially for the poor, oppressed, and socially marginalized.

The entire spirit of this campaign is not in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

As clergy members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the same denomination as Rev. Good, we, the undersigned of this statement, celebrate the vast diversity of expressions of Christian faith present in the Body of Christ—the Church universal—and further state that Rev. Good’s views do not represent our views, the views of the Christian congregations we serve, nor the views of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The Hebrew Scriptures teach us to “not bear false witness against our neighbor” (Exodus 20.16). We believe Rev. Good and his colleagues are preaching a distorted view of progressive Christianity to serve their own purposes rather than God’s. In our Gospels, Jesus teaches us to “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7.12). A major thread that runs throughout the Bible, and summarized by Jesus, is that we are called to love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. An important aspect of this love is the respect of self and others, especially those with whom we might disagree (Matthew 5.44). We believe Rev. Good’s intentions violate God’s standards of love and seek to tear down rather than build up the Body of Christ.

We … cannot support, condone, nor keep silent about anyone who claims Christian identity and then openly attacks the peace, unity, and purity of the Body of Christ by calling some within it “not really Christian.”

We consider Rev. Good a colleague and a brother in Christ, along with the other clergy participating in this action. We are deeply saddened by the tone and language being used in this campaign, and are especially concerned as the campaign seems to be directed at one particular neighboring congregation: The Fountains United Methodist Church and its pastor, the Rev. David Felten.

We believe Rev. Good’s actions are not in keeping with Jesus’ teachings, nor the teachings of our Scriptures. We implore Rev. Good and his colleagues to stop this divisive behavior. We stand in solidarity with Rev. Felten and our sisters and brothers at The Fountains, and hold them all in prayer. We also hold in prayer Rev. Good, our sisters and brothers in the congregation he serves, and the other clergy and congregations participating, trusting that somehow God’s love will win in the end for all of our sakes.

We implore Rev. Good and his colleagues to stop these attacks, take down their banners, and, in the spirit of Jesus Christ, seek to be in conversation and dialogue to seek deeper understanding and respect, rather than resorting to overly simplistic attacks that further drive a wedge into the heart of the Body of Christ—seeking understanding over division; seeking to love rather than hate; seeking to build up rather than tear down.

Sincerely, your sisters and brothers in Christ,
The Rev. Eric O. Ledermann, University Presbyterian Church, Tempe, Arizona
The Rev. Peggy Roberts, Presbytery of Grand Canyon at-large, Phoenix, Arizona
The Rev. Linda Worsnop, Palo Christi Presbyterian Church, Paradise Valley, Arizona
The Rev. Leslie Vogel, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Mission Co-worker, Phoenix, Arizona/Guatemala
The Rev. José Olagues, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Honorably Retried, Phoenix, Arizona
The Rev. Cynthia A. Jennison, Memorial Presbyterian Church, Phoenix, Arizona
The Rev. Sue Wintz, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Board Certified Chaplain, Mesa, Arizona
The Rev. Dr. Arthur J. Campbell, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Honorably Retired, Chandler, Arizona
The Rev. Larry Corbett, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, at-large Interim, Estes Park, Colorado
The Rev. Deanne Hodgson, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Honorably Retired, Phoenix, Arizona
The Rev. Ken Moe, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Honorably Retired, Mesa, Arizona
The Rev. Shelly Moe, Celebration of Life Presbyterian Church, Mesa, Arizona
The Rev. Martha Sadongei, Central Presbyterian Church, Phoenix, Arizona

The Rev. Doug Baer, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Honorably Retired, Phoenix, Arizona
The Rev. Tully M. Fletcher IV, Orangewood Presbyterian Church, Phoenix, Arizona
The Rev. Terry Palmer, Gilbert Presbyterian Church, Gilbert, Arizona
The Rev. Richard Nielsen, Presbytery of Grand Canyon, Honorably Retired, Scottsdale, Arizona
The Rev. David Hicks, First Presbyterian Church, Yuma, Arizona

If you would like to show your support for the pastors who wrote the above, do so in the comments sections below. I know they’d appreciate it.

Read the unabridged pastors’ statement here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Dave-n-TN

    Bravo to the ministers that wrote and signed this letter. As a former PCUSA member I am pleased to see such a response to a campaign that is obviously intended to be divisive and hurtful.

  • Barb

    I’m still a PC-USA member, love this. Thanks for posting it.

  • That’s a beautiful letter! Love this bit: “We celebrate and appreciate a healthy tension between conservative, progressive, and other understandings of God, Jesus, and the Bible, even though we may disagree on many things. We believe we are all better together than apart, and seek to build bridges of understanding and mutual respect.”

  • Thomas MichaelGarabaldi Bobay

    Faith in humanity restored. Thank you.

  • JenellYB

    Thank you to these pastors.
    The most truly shameful about what I’ve seen so far out of this “gang of 8’s” approach to this “campaign” against Progressive Christians is the dishonesty, the bearing of false witness against them. They are presenting a dishonest, false “straw man” image and beliefs of Progressive Christians, which of course is then easily dismantled and torched as if discrediting actual Progressive Christians’ faith and beliefs.
    I am Progressive Christian, and of what I’ve seen presented by them so far as supposed Progressive Christianity, not a single assertion they’ve made would describe my faith and beliefs at all. I would actually find all of the supposed beliefs and positions of PC they have articulated unacceptable and offensive.

  • SLF

    Thank you all (and you, John Shore) for this loving and beautiful letter.

  • Scot Carnell

    This makes me proud to be a Presbyterian.

  • sgtgwn

    As a ruling Elder in my local PCUSA church, I’m very glad that these local clergy wrote this letter. It is beautifully written and contains everything that I think my church stands for. I can’t imagine his Presbytery not taking some sort of action on this.

  • Olivia Jackson

    This is wonderful! More and more I’m so thankful for the continuous Love shown by the Progressive family, especially toward those who would try and tear us down and keep us apart.

  • Frank

    This is why progressive Christianity is dying.

  • ??

  • lisa

    Wow! Beautiful! A great testimony to God’s will working through you!

  • Carole Ashley

    Wonderful to see support from other Christians. Whether one shares the beliefs of us progressives, or indeed any of the other approaches to following Jesus, we are all part of the Body of Christ.

  • Frank

    Because their beliefs are not consistent with the entirety of scripture and they keep doubling down on them. Numbers don’t lie.

    That’s not to say I agree with the way these 8 churches are doing. They should just stick to substance. That’s enough.

  • BarbaraR

    ??

  • Frank

    Not sure what is confusing about what I wrote.

  • BarbaraR

    This is why progressive Christianity is dying…..Because their beliefs are not consistent with the entirety of scripture and they keep doubling down on them. Numbers don’t lie.

    None of this makes sense.

  • Frank

    It makes perfect sense. Progressive Christianity is dying. Why? Because of their unsupported beliefs. And yet they continue to hold on to those unsupported beliefs.

  • Oh Bast Its Frankentroll. I thought he’d finally given up.

  • BarbaraR

    Oh, you know him? Dang, why didn’t you introduce us earlier?

  • Jim Summers

    Feeding the poor without condition is an unsupported belief? Loving one another without condition is an unsupported belief? Helping the homeless without condition is an unsupported belief?

  • otrotierra

    “Frank” has previously been banned for his hate-filled trolling here at this blog, as well as multiple times at blogs by Susan Cottrell, Kimberly Knight, Benjamin Corey, Fred Clark, and others.

  • Exactly. As I’m missing my mod hat for some reason (eye’s Disqus with disdain, I cant do what I wanted as soon as I saw his comments.

  • BarbaraR

    I see. Thanks for the update.

  • otrotierra

    I’m hoping you and other moderators will be able to find a more permanent solution to this habitual problem.

  • Geo Downer

    Many thanks to these leaders of the Body of Christ who point to the central message of Jesus to teach love.

  • I think it goes without saying that everyone who identifies with a specific denomination believes their own position is right. The problem is when some people resort to falsehoods in an effort to “invalidate” anyone who asserts an idea that doesn’t match their own.

    I happen to be both a Baptist and someone who on secular matters leans Libertarian (a type of conservative). One of my close friends is a Methodist pastor who leans Liberal. There is no shortage of days when we shake our heads at the “wrongness” of each other’s ideas. That doesn’t mean we aren’t “brothers in Christ”. Too many in this world need Jesus in their lives to waste time on petty sibling rivalry.

  • Im sure a solution is in the future. Meanwhile those who can, will have or soon will perform an extermination.

  • BarbaraR

    Disqus decommissioned us a couple of weeks ago, which is quite annoying. We’re hopeful this will be resolved.

  • Al_Doyle

    I don’t live in your town, but inhabit the same world and the greater Christian community! I believe you are attempting to make both these worlds a better place by calling for dialing rather than diatribe. Bless you an thank you.

  • He’s gone.

  • Hi, ot. You probably know this, but there’s nothing anyone can do to stop blog trolls. As soon as we/I see them, we ban and block them. That’s enough for some of them; lots of them then get interested in you, and hunker down for a long and steady onslaught. (The worst of them use a readily available spamming program, so that every time they post they’re using a new name, email address, and ISP address, which makes them extremely difficult to continue blocking/banning.) Trolls are just … part of what it is to live online anymore. (To be honest with you, I don’t know of any blog that more quickly or summarily blocks trolls than this one. A lot of bloggers LIKE trolls and flamers, because they like how it increases the comments count. I’ve never gone that route: I’ve always and assiduously kept my blogs as troll-free as possible.)

  • John Vandermey

    All rivers run to the sea. We all return to spirit in the end. We just take different path in getting there.

  • Archon

    Good to see someone’s got Rev. Felten’s back.

  • Stu Bloom

    I wonder how the pastors of the eight “Bible believing” churches interpret:

    “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind one to another, and tenderhearted”

  • Reed

    I support these guys for supporting the progressive church and denouncing this dishonest attack.

  • Sheila Warner

    What a breath of fresh air! I transitioned from Fundamentalism into Roman Catholicism, and am now transitioning into “Progressive” Christianity. The more I thought what my leaders told me was absolute truth, the more I discovered that I was mistaken. I love the affirmation of a healthy tension within Christianity. I love it that pastors who disagree are being charitable in their disagreement. I could very well have been condemned by those with a greater appreciation for the love of God in Jesus at the times when I was rigid, dogmatic, and unloving. Instead, I found loving dialogue with progressive Christians who engaged me where I was, and who gently pointed me in another direction. I pray for an open heart before God and Jesus. I realize that in my 60 short years on this earth, I still have much to learn, both from those who agree with me and those who do not. I’m so happy that these pastors released this statement.

  • Pavitrasarala

    Fantastic!

  • Thank you, John, for sharing our statement. As the author of this response, in collaboration with Rev. Peggy Roberts, we have been receiving requests from folks outside the Presbytery of Grand Canyon to sign on. So, we are inviting those who wish to sign on to add their names in the comment section at http://www.faithandcoffee.com/2015/05/faith-fight-fountain-hills-arizona.html.

    My hope, and prayer, is that we might be able to engage in meaningful dialogue and stop this divisive sillyness that is just tearing the church apart, distracting us from our purpose of living into the love and grace of the living God revealed in and through Jesus, and, understandably, sending people running from the Church. I truly believe the Church can be a beautiful thing.

    Thank you to all of you for your support, and we appreciate your prayers for all of us, including Rev. Good and his church and the other 7 churches involved in the action against Progressive Christianity. By the way, not all the signatories would claim the banner, “Progressive Christian,” which makes this all the more amazing!

  • Pavitrasarala

    Let us focus on feeding the poor, not trolls.

  • As a Salvation Army officer, I also support this letter and sincerely wish and pray for more unity in the Church and less bickering.

  • Vickie Saenz-Brown

    Amen! Voices of reason and true Christianity in a divisive world.

  • Fran Hayes

    Thank you, Arizona Presbyterian pastors, for your witness!

  • I don’t think I qualify as a “Progressive Christian” myself, given my personal take on Christianity. Anyway, great job, Rev. Ledermann. As the comments here attest, you’ve encouraged a lot of people with this wonderful response of yours.

  • James P. White

    It’s sad when one group insists that they are right and everyone else is wrong. We have to be willing to ask the tough questions about our faith. That’s why God gave us a brain. Asking questions and having discussions about our faith is what disciples of Christ should be doing, engaging the text and asking if what we are doing matches what we read, and if our lives reflect the love of Christ to the world.

  • And not all the signers of this response would claim the banner “Progressive Christian” either. That’s kinda the beauty of this. Hopes for reconciliation and resurrection!

  • Ann

    I support these progressive pastors in their message.

  • Michael Love

    Thank you and God bless you, Arizona Presbyterian pastors for your support of your neighbors in the body of Christ. In Faith, Rev. Michael Love Trinity United Methodist Church Mountain View CA

  • Rod Murray

    Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

  • Rod Murray

    It is interesting Stu that you are insinuating that these churches are behaving with bitterness, wrath, anger, and malice and yet I am guessing that you have not even heard one of their messages. Perhaps you need to look in your own eye.

  • Stu Bloom

    “The progressives are at it again, and for a small fee you can join the primary proponent of this apostate religious movement to get answers.
    Albeit, not answers with any biblical authority, but from the minds of reprobates who believe they know more than the original authors of the Scripture and more than the Holy Spirit who inspired them to write the Scriptures.”

  • Linda Morrow

    This is one of the primary reasons the Presbyterian church (USA) has been my church home for decades. Thank you for this loving but firm reproach to exclusiveness.

  • Rod: Play nice, or take it elswhere, k? Thanks.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/be-nice/

  • JD

    And your point is…?

  • ErinErin

    Thank you for lovingly responding to the misguided efforts of a few to malign the ministries of other brothers and sisters in Christ. May those listening to these sermons be convicted to stop the unloving nature of these pastors. And may doors be opened for thoughtful conversation. Shalom. I stand with you.

    Rev. Erin Thomas PCUSA
    Riverside, CA

  • Rev. Walker Westerlage

    I noticed you lack the conviction of your beliefs because you did not use your name. Certainly the ironic use of the alias “Truth seeker” is a very pusillanimous attempt to bring a rancorous response.

  • Truth seeker

    Sorry you feel that way. I am not seeking a rancorous response in any way and God knows the conviction of my beliefs and my true heart.

  • Michael Demeule-Calella

    hmm..i see a possible conversion to presbyterian in my near future.

  • Michael Demeule-Calella

    yes he is. question is are we willing to embrace others in that same unchanging undying love? It isn’t about wether Jesus changed it’s about if through his love and grace for ALL if we can.

  • Truth seeker

    Not safe to use my name but am removing post to show my sincerity in not wanting a rancorous response.
    However, I encourage everyone to listen to the sermons before passing judgement on Rev Good or any of these churches.

  • Rod Murray

    I’m sorry John. I see much condemnation flying around here directed at the “eight churches”. And truthfully I don’t believe it is warranted. Is pointing that out not allowed? I also don’t see any rebuke posted here for all the vitrol against these same churches (I’m not seeing much love from all these people claiming to be proponents of love and tolerance. I haven’t seen one person even come close to suggest praying for these churches.) Many people would consider that to be “not playing nice.” It is your blog so if the answer is yes, I will certainly respect that and as you suggest “take it elsewhere.”

  • Amy K.

    I don’t think that goes without saying… I think my chosen church is right *for me*.

  • This is perfectly said. Those who claim “Biblical Christianity” are not-so-subtly implying that there’s is the only faithful expression of Christianity. Ironically, that’s an unbiblical posture (…well…I guess it’s biblical in that Jesus had harsh words for those who made such claims).

  • The pastor of my Church welcomes the congregation by saying “we believe that you don’t have to check your heart or your mind at the door to worship here.” Love that.

  • Sheila –

    I love this. In my ecclesiology, the (small c) church isn’t the keeper of truth. My discipleship is to Jesus, not to church leaders and their lists of dos and don’ts.

    I believe that we are to keep in communion with one another and, by doing so, we are mutually transformed as we seek God together. We are sanctified through relationship.

    So I need pastor and a faith community who will come alongside me, willing to discuss our experiences and differences openly and honestly, as we walk towards shalom together. To me, that is (big C) Church.

  • Rod,
    I haven’t heard these messages. My impression from the way that they are marketing them – starting with putting progressive Christianity in quotes – that they are setting up a dichotomy between faithful Christians and apostates. You seem to have the inside track here…am I mistaken? Will they be preaching that those who believe differently are still faithful siblings who worship the same risen Christ?

  • I banned him like three times. He keeps creating new users when he’s banned from too many sites.

  • Rod Murray

    Hi Ford1968, (I had a 68 Mustang when I was a kid by the way 🙂 ) I don’t know about “inside track” , I just happen to attend one of these churches. And actually, the messages are not addressing people at all. They are addressing doctrine and the difference between literal, reading of the Bible and believing that “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness.” 2 Tim 3:16 and doctrine’s not based on that. At the beginning of the first message, the Pastor at the church I attend specifically said that “we are not here to judge anybody. We are here to discuss biblical truth.”

  • Rod Murray

    My point is that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

  • What a thoughtful and lovingly direct response on the unbiblically “biblical” teachings of this group.

  • Rod…

    At the beginning of the first message, the Pastor at the church I attend specifically said that “we are not here to judge anybody. We are here to discuss biblical truth.”

    …Hmmm…
    How do you not view that as an indictment of people who believe differently? “Biblical truth” means “we’re right and anyone who holds a different view is apostate.” All doctrine has pastoral implications. There is no way to claim a monopoly on (small t) truth without claiming other believers are “outside the faith” or “deceived”.

    This is a word game that many religious conservative leaders love to play. It’s a disingenuous rhetoric calculated to appear humble while speaking with pride and arrogance. This rhetoric also engenders exclusion and coercion. Those within the faith community who come to different understandings are suddenly rebelling against “biblical truth”. [You know…like those progressives who are put in quotation marks on your program banners.]

    Unfortunately, this language smacks of sinful moral certitude – the kind that separates us from God. Defending the man-made truth of biblical interpretation creates unnecessary division in the body of Christ. Rigid biblical interpretation and the social norms that flow from it also creates crises of faith for those in the community.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Paul. Now we know in part, we are viewing (big T) Truth through a dark glass. Soon we will know fully…but until then, humility.

  • Rod Murray

    Certainly I agree with the need for humility and I’ll be the first to say that I certainly don’t have everything perfectly correct. But you seem to be making the case that genuine truth cannot be ascertained literally from the Bible. If that is so, then what good is it? And if the Bible is not our objective standard of truth, then what is? Is it whatever society tells us to believe at any given moment? Is it whatever feels right? Also, If I believe you are doctrinally incorrect (as you apparently believe about the eight churches) how is that an indictment? You are free to believe whatever you want. The progressive church boldly proclaims what they believe and it happens to be diametrically opposed to what we believe. They are in essence is loudly proclaiming that we are wrong. And they have every right to do that! So why is it then when we start proclaiming what we believe to be true doctrine, which is contrary to progressive doctrine, we are hate mongers, and intolerant? Finally, if the Bible is of any value at all, it says this: “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. ” 1 Cor 15: 12-19 Now how else can one interpret this?

  • Hi Rod –
    The bible is a beautiful narrative written in many genres in different cultural contexts across generations about God’s relationship to humankind culminating with the gospel and it’s implication for our lives. It most certainly isn’t useless – it is the foundation of our faith.

    But to suggest that the particulars of the faith are explicitly revealed in scripture is to ignore the fact that the bible is rife with contradictions. Those particulars are man-decided not unambiguously supported by scripture.

    The thing is literalists aren’t claiming simple faithfulness, they are claiming absolute truth and seeking to “contend for the faith” against “unbiblical apostates”. There is very seldom such condemnations in the other direction. Progressive Christianity leaves room for all comers (you know…like Jesus showed us). Literalists seek to exclude a portion of the body from the communion table.

    Fortunately for us all, the invitation to the communion table is not ours to revoke. We’re all at this dance together and God sent the invites.

  • BarbaraR

    Paragraphs are your friend.

    There are more ways to interpret scripture than an either-or situation (“if the Bible is not our objective standard of truth, then what is?”). Not everyone has a binary viewpoint and there are multiple interpretations possible.

    Moreover, the myriad religions of the world and their accompanying sacred books and texts are not to be discounted or ignored when it comes to revealing the nature of God and how humans relate to the sacred.

    As Ford1968 said, the Bible is full of contradictions and the multiple versions and translations over hundreds of years are hardly error-free, as well as being the work of humans with very human biases and leanings.

    Reliance on a modern English version of a translated and re-translated ancient text, as well as the teaching of a few pastors, is leaving out one’s own wisdom, learning, and personal relationship with God. To say there is only one possible interpretation may work for you, but it excludes the possibility of learning more than what is simply parroted from the pulpit or taught in Sunday school. There is lots of room for dialogue, disagreement, and learning from others with very different outlooks.

  • BarbaraR

    I haven’t seen one person even come close to suggest praying for these churches.

    That is probably because unless prayers are specifically requested during a crisis, “I’ll pray for you” usually means “You’re a real mess. I’m going to demand that God change you so I approve of you.” It’s an insult hiding behind a platitude.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Plus which, who cares if progressive Christianity or any other kind of Christianity is “dying”? Do we or do we not believe in resurrection?

  • Rod Murray

    Thank You Mr Ford1968. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your thoughts. I can tell by the tone of your message that you are sincere. I do however believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and after 35 years of sitting before God and studying it, meditating on it, and praying it back to Him, that’s not likely to change. But as clarification, we don’t want to (and don’t) exclude anybody. Anybody is welcome to come into the Church I attend (and I suspect the same of the other 7), be welcome, be befriended, and hear the good news of Christ. We believe that Jesus gave us a great gift and sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins. We want everybody else to be able to experience that same great gift.

  • Rod Murray

    “Paragraphs are your friend.”

    Gotcha! 😉

  • Rod Murray

    I have an exceedingly difficult time interpreting an offer to pray for somebody or some group of people as “an insult hiding behind a platitude.” When I offer a prayer for somebody it’s because I care about them. And as for the theology of this, I have no ability to demand anything of God. He is the sovereign one, not I. I can only “Let my requests be made known to Him.” I have also learned that even if I pray in error, God, through His Spirit often uses those prayers to change my own heart…

  • Michelle Par

    A beautiful and kind statement.

  • Kirk Leavens

    As an Evangelical Christian I find some of the actions of the Religious Right troublesome. In an American culture that is increasingly turned off by Christianity, especially the conservative flavor of it, I can’t help thinking that all this infighting is part of the reason for America becoming “Post-Christian”. Personally, I find the views and actions of my Progressive brothers and sisters challenge me, sharpen my witness and help me to become more Christlike. As Evangelicalism becomes more and more the face of Christianity that Americans see, the danger is that we end up with a “one size fits all”, authoritarian, rigid Christianity that doesn’t relate to Americans. In truth, we all need each other, that is what the Body of Christ is all about.

  • Bob

    But John, you are on the Progressive Christian channel on Patheos. Is not that by choice? But not your identity?

  • Well, look at the link I gave Eric, and you tell me: do I qualify as a “progressive” Christian? Most progressive Christians would say no. Most evangelicals would say yes. I say who gives a rat’s butt?

  • CDR_N

    “Progressive Christianity” isn’t Christianity – it’s universalism. You needn’t take my word for it, you can read it on their own website here: http://progressivechristianity.org/the-8-points/

    So the short answer is that Rev Shore, et al. are correct, while John Shore is wrong.

    It’s not at all surprising that a number of PCUSA pastors have come out against Orthodox Christianity. The standards of our denomination have been steadfastly ignored for the last century. For a precise measure of our continuing apostasy you can check the official record of the Presbyterian Panel.
    https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/research/pdfs/presbyterian_panel_survey_fall_2011_religious_and_demographic_profile_of_presbyterians.pdf

  • “”Progressive Christianity” isn’t Christianity – it’s universalism. ”
    Hang on, didn’t you just do exactly what Rev Shore is being criticised for?

    (Saying that people who believe differently “aren’t Christian”.)

    To the point of imitating the scare quotes?
    Did you even read the letter quoted above?

    “We … cannot support, condone, nor keep silent about anyone who claims Christian identity and then openly attacks the peace, unity, and purity of the Body of Christ by calling some within it “not really Christian.””

  • I wonder if that welcome is unconditional. What if, for example, a gay member of your church comes to affirm the sanctity of gay relationships. Are gay couples welcome uncondionally? Or would they be considered unrepentant sinners and asked to repent or leave?

  • Rev. Vernon Meyer, PhD

    I applaud these Presbyterian pastors for their courage and willingness to articulate the vision of Progressive Christianity against the strained voices of fundamentalism. I for one have taught many classes at the Fountains UMC and anyone who has attended my classes know, that I am strongly rooted in the Jewish and Christians scriptures and root a prophetic vision of Christianity in the ancient prophets of Israel with Moses and Jesus being the greatest(next to Elijah and Jeremiah of course) The fat that Protestant Christianity redefined the foundations of Christianity in the 16th goes without saying that the Orthodox Christians consider all the rest of us heretics since Western Christianity redefined the relationship of the Trinity. So it seems that only since the 19th century when the Niagra Conference took steps away from the developing scientific views of creation and humanity, did any kind of non-negotiable sets of beliefs really develop. People who want to limit Christianity to a minimal set of beliefs seem to forget that throughout the history of Christianity there has been a great diversity of beliefs. So I for one stand with progressive Christianity because as I read the bible I see God acting in creative and dynamic ways who first asks that we only “listen”(which the original idea of obey) to the dynamic word spoken, and then that we work for justice and walk humbly(see the prophet Micah 6)the rest of the time! Besides if people have to stir up the fear and anger of people in order to protect their power base, then they should read 1 John 4 where perfect love casts out fear! Is that biblical enough for them? Rev Vernon J Meyer, PhD, Pastor, Sun Lakes United Church of Christ.

  • Bob

    John, I agree with you! Labels can be useful; they can also be a detriment. What is important is whether we are having open, honest, serious conversation where we can learn from another, and that is what I see happening here. I salute you!

  • Excellently well put, Kirk. As an unabashed Progressive, I’m happy to know yet another Evangelical about whom I can say the same.

  • Come and see, Michael. One of the best things is that we celebrate “always being reformed,” as in living. We often take some time to reach critical mass for a statement, but we’re always listening for the Spirit to push us on.

  • I got only 12 minutes into Good’s first sermon before he mocked the witness whose video he’d just shown and approvingly quoted labeling his opponents’ thinking (mine, that is) “theological malware” and compared studying it to “staring into the eyes of a cobra.” It’s not mine to pass judgment, but that’s not truth or Christlike.

  • But the PC(USA), in which Good has promised to be a friend in ministry, is a church “reformed and always being reformed, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” That is, a living church, through which Christ lives and grows.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Thank you, and God bless. Unfortunately we are seeing deepening divisions in the Church as Evangelicals further identify Christianity with Republican Party politics and the obsession with creating a Christian State. I am afraid the upcoming battle over same sex marriage will see a further widening of the gap between Christian “tribes”, at least in the short term. I’ve come to the conclusion recently that the surge of LGBT victories is God’s way of forcing the Church to notice that they have been neglecting a rather large group of people. The Right seems to forget that God so loved the world he sent His Son for ALL people. It will be interesting to see how we Evangelicals will eventually have to reach out to those we’ve marginalized in the past.

  • Rod, you haven’t said which of the churches you attend, but it took me only 12 minutes into Rev. Good’s first sermon in the series before he mocked the progressive whose video he had just shown, approvingly quoted characterizing progressive Christianity as “theological malware,” and compared studying it to “staring into the eyes of the cobra.” I’m a Presbyterian, btw, with standing to charge Rev. Good with violation of his ordination/installation promise to be “a friend in ministry.”

  • It’s not a zero-sum game, Rod. We Presbyterians, including Rev. Good, affirm the Scriptures as “the unique and authoritative witness to … Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s word to [me].” Not God’s wordS. We have 10 confessions as part of our constitution to assist us with interpreting the Bible, and our ministers, including Rev. Good, have had to pass courses and examinations in Hebrew and Greek, so that they are equipped to go far behind others’ interpretations. Even more, we are cautious about quoting single verses to prove points, but are trained to look to context.

  • boo13hiss

    I am so full of hope seeing this. It is not the scriptures that make a church, it is not the cathedral, nor is it the collections of art the ornate vestments, the pomp or circumstance. Do you follow the word of your Lord or do you follow it when it is convenient and serves your own purposes. Do you twist the sanctity of caring for the least of your brothers into collecting millions for your own mansions and cars?
    When I was young I came to a progressive understanding of my very deep relationship with God and attended a great fellowship in a school mates basement, Children of God’s Light we were called. It was about joy and fellowship and responsibility of doing good always to all others. As I got older and through Catholic High School and College back east I was lucky to continue to find these like minded people in the Church. When I became an adult and moved away I found extreme distaste and uninclusive behavior pervaded the other churches I came across and ultimately gave up attending any because of their pervasive hatred of all “others” there was no pity unless you were one of them, no compassion, no action to lift up the poor, the struggling, the “others” of all kinds. While I do not attend Church still, finding John Shore and others out there gives me hope that the real Christians I knew and respected are still out there, still fighting the good fight and doing good works. Thank you to all of you who signed this letter, You are keeping the true Light of God’s Children alive.

  • boo13hiss

    AMEN KIRK & Barbara!! On this Sunday your sentiments affirm my heartfelt beliefs and thank you SO much for your efforts.

  • boo13hiss

    WOW that is awesome! That was the kind of teaching i had as a child at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Wayne and then again at De Paul HS same town. I know that many were not so lucky but these are the nuns and priests who shaped my being a critical thinking heart open brain engaged person. Lovely to hear it is still alive out there 🙂 Thank your pastor from an anonymous fan please!

  • otrotierra

    John, thank you for your thoughtful explanation. And thank you for “cleaning the table” for Jesus followers!

  • BarbaraR

    If you have a point to make, make it in your own words.

  • pl1224

    Beautifully, wonderfully stated–thank you and God bless!!

  • Ben

    The reason it is not Christianity is because you do not profess that Christ is who he said he was. Ref. Progressivechristianity.org

  • Ben

    “Moses and Jesus being the greatest(next to Elijah and Jeremiah of course)”

    Where does this come from.. I have been reading a lot of Progressive artiicles and most give me great reason to think more deeply about Jesus greatest commandment and also most lead me to the conclusion the sermons of the 8 might be a good thing to hear.

  • Kathy Horstman

    Wait a minute. The Scriptures ARE the word of our Lord. Jesus Himself said they all spoke about Him. How can we set the written Word and what it commands by the Holy Spirit against the Living Word, Jesus Christ?

    If Rev. Good and the others are not preaching repentance and faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for sin as set forth in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, or if they’re claiming we human beings have any ability whatsoever to save ourselves by doing good to others, they should repent and be forgiven. But if they are faithfully preaching Christ and Him crucified, they should be upheld and commended, regardless of how many of their misguided colleagues stand against them.

    For myself, I’ll have to listen to the sermons in question before I can say yes or no. But let’s not check our minds at the keyboard and try to pit Jesus against Himself.

  • There’s a few ways I could respond:

    1. Oh, but I do believe Christ is who he said he is. Like John, I’m not even sure I am a Progressive Christian.

    2. Whether the Progressive Christianity 8 Points fits with Jesus’ claims is, at the very least, open to interpretation.

    3. Ironically, it seems you haven’t taken the trouble to actually understand how Progressive Christianity works. Unlike more hardline churches, the 8 Points aren’t a doctrinal statement, to which Progressive Christians must (outwardly) conform, or be kicked out.

    4. Even people who attend churches with mandatory doctrinal statements have quite a lot of variation in their core beliefs. Some might not be able to express it at church, but it’s there. Just watch how they act. (Do you measure people’s beliefs by what they say, or how they act?)

  • Heidi Carico

    [comment deleted]

  • Kirk Leavens

    The responses to this forum so clearly illustrate what a book reviewer said on a Christianity Today’s site that it is uncanny. I ordered Collin Hansen’s small book: “Blind Spots: Becoming a Courageous, Compassionate, and Commissioned Church” recently. It hasn’t arrived yet so I can’t fully critique it. But the gist of the book is the author’s understanding that the Church is fragmented into 3 main groups: “There are three types of Christians in Hansen’s telling. There are the courageous, who love to take a stand against clear opposition and relish a clarifying doctrinal dispute; the compassionate, who sympathize, listen with all their hearts, and seek to heal whatever pain they find; and the commissioned,
    who keep their focus on evangelism and outreach to unbelievers,
    devising new forms of communicating the gospel as the need arises. Each
    type habitually partners with like-minded believers. As Hansen writes,
    “We tend to cluster around Christians with similar personalities, who
    reinforce our strengths but turn a blind eye to our weaknesses.” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/may/christians-who-annoy-us-are-christians-we-need-most.html)
    The problem with retreating to our separate camps is we don’t see our own shortcomings, but instead focus on the shortcomings of another “tribe”. You can see the posts below and tell where people fall. Heidi and Kathy, you belong to the “courageous” tribe. I, as a Pentecostal Evangelical belong to the “commissioned” tribe. The rest of our posters belong to the “compassionate” tribe.
    What the Church so often fails to realize is that we need each other. The Church needs to be all of the above: courageous, compassionate and commissioned. The glue that should be holding us together is a common love for Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. How different the religious landscape of America would have been if, in the early 20th century Progressive Christians hadn’t dismissed Fundamentalists as uneducated simpletons and Fundamentalists had taken the Social Gospel to heart.
    Personally, I find it heartening to see that despite the Church”s failings in Western Culture the spread of the Gospel is alive and well south of the border and in Third World countries. God’s plan continues to march on with or without us. It is time for American Christians to join forces if we plan on being a part of that plan.

  • boo13hiss

    Thank you for sharing Kathy, I respect your opinion & will pray for your enlightenment, Jesus did not write a word of the bible, men did. The Holy Spirit & God bless you!

  • Ben

    I am on a journey to understand Progressive Christianity. The one universal thing I have seen is intolerance. The very intolerance progressive christianity claims to be running from. Fundamentalism is painted with a very broad and evil brush. Are there not some fundamental truths such as who is Christ that arent upfor Interpretation. The progressive movement seems to say he was a great prophet. See Rev. Meyers earlier post. He provides good reason for other churches to state that what is being taught in that church is not scriptural. Namely who is Christ.
    The argument there for me is should churches be pointing out what they feel is false doctrine. I would say no. But it is very hard to do it under Christs commandment to love one another.

  • boo13hiss

    Yes Dear and I am sure that if one of your children happens to be left handed you will have smite them in the Lord’s mighty name since it is mentioned 25 times in the Bible as an abomination, right? Thank God for your mighty vigilance! May the true Light of Christ and the Holy Spirit save you from those left handed lobster eating demons out there! 🙂

  • Ben

    any references there???? I cant find one on left handed being an abomination. Lobster eating maybe. 🙂

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-left-handed.html

    Maybe it could have been expressed better but Gods word hasnt changed and Progressives seem to want to rewrite it for their own purposes.

    Speaking as someone who is trying to figure out what Progressive Christianity is.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Thanks boo for sharing some very personal thought of your religious journey. There have been times when I have been discouraged too. I encourage you to not give up, but find a good Church home that is compassionate about reaching the needs of people and has a mature understanding of the purpose of the Church. As for your statement that it is not the Scriptures that make the church, I am going to attempt to explain my understanding of this. Perhaps this will help with Kathy’s question below. The writings of the Bible did not create the Church, the infilling and empowering work of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost “created” the Church. Scripture is the Word of God and is where we turn for encouragement, wisdom and to get our “marching orders”, whether that be to feed the poor, heal the sick, love others we find difficult or to evangelize the world. It is a reliable authority we can turn to for all kinds of direction. But it can be misused. When well-meaning Christians let pride direct their use of Scripture it can become a hurtful weapon rather than an instrument of life and hope. If the Bible becomes a rigid set of rules governing Christian behavior it is very easy to slip into legalism, something Jesus faced constantly from the Pharisees and Sadducees. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in, softening our hearts, humbling us and removing our selfish impulses. The side of the Church that relegates much of the first century work of the Holy Spirit to that period alone, tends to ascribe Scripture now as our primary, if not sole guide to Christian living and response to society. The result can be a sort of stagnant “stuck in the third century” authoritarian Christianity that can be seen as bigoted and heartless. One of the reasons I am Pentecostal! So “Bible Only” Christians can use a good dollop of Spirit-derived passion and emotion every once in a while while Pentecostals can learn from the soberness of Fundamentalists and all can learn something of showing compassion from the Progressives. We are not going to all agree on theology, but we can learn from each other.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Ben, I am not a “Progressive Christian” and do have disagreements with some of the general tenancies of Classic Liberal theology. That doesn’t stop me from appreciating insights they may have, nor is my faith threatened by associating with Christians who practice a Social Gospel. I came into contact with all flavors of Christians when I attended Fuller Theological Seminary getting my Masters in Theology. What I have found is the more you come into contact with views outside one’s own cherished “tribe”, the more useable you are to the Holy Spirit, the more “stretched” you become as a Christian and the more compassionate you become to others that make you uncomfortable. Yes, Christ commanded us to love one another!

  • Ben

    I believe you have described why I am here. Tough to write a long coherant dialogue on a phone. As someone who was brought up in what would be considered a fundamental background Ive found a lot of negative generalization, many new viewpoints and trains of thought that expand my horizons. My beliefs are not threatened. I just see people who on the surface follow Christ and then pick and choose what they want from scripture to fit their personal belief system. Maybe we all do

  • Based solely on what you’ve posted here, what you say is a blind spot, I see as a strength.

    I do not wish to be in the courageous group; I do not consider moral certitude noble or virtuous.

    And I am equally unconcerned with evangelism which, by its very nature, insists on discrediting other’s search for God – again not a virtuous posture. If I’m going to be God’s sales person, it will be through the witness of my life.

    I would happily be categorized as compassionate even though I too often fall far short of that description.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Wikipedia has a pretty good definition of Progressive Christianity: “Progressive Christianity is a form of Christianity which 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.[1] This leads to a focus on promoting values such as compassion, justice, mercy, tolerance, often through political activism.”
    Today’s Progressive Church owes much to Classic Liberal Theology of the late 19th century as well as the Neo-Orthodox teachings of the post WWI period. Until the rise of Fundamentalism in the early 20th century, progressive views that the world would gradually get better and better, largely through the efforts of traditional “mainline” Protestant denominations was the predominant Protestant Christian belief. Although brief, I hope this clarifies things a bit for you.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Ahh, but what you are saying does support what I am saying. To be in the courageous group without compassion can disintegrate into legalism, to be compassionate without courage can fall into sentimentalism and to be commissioned without compassion becomes merely earning brownie points with God. I am glad you are compassionate. We need compassion in the Body of Christ.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Ben Christianity Today has a thought provoking article on the intolerance of the Left http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/may-web-only/kirsten-powers-rise-of-intolerant-left.html by the Conservative commentator Kirsten Powers. Both sides are terribly guilty of not hearing one another and being intolerant of views other than their own. This has gone on for the last 120 years. It is really not helpful. It is hard to have a meaningful discussion with non-Christians when Christians can’t talk civilly to each other.

  • I’m sorry…You’re describing a really horrible game of cosmic Rock Paper Scissors. Love is not trumped by exclusion, judgement, or condemnation. Ever.

    I believe in fervently discerning God’s will. I call BS on anyone who claims to know with certainty God’s will. Such unfounded “courage” is the root of immense harm. Again, I’m happy to be compassionate, sentimental, empathetic, tender, or whatever other virtuous adjective you deem to be somehow lacking because I refuse to make exclusive claims and condemn others. I’m good with that.

  • Well…That’s a loaded comment.

    Progressives don’t want to rewrite anything. The bible is what it is – a narrative of God’s faithful redemption of humankind culminating in the gospel. It is a library of books written in many different cultural contexts over many centuries.

    Progressives don’t pretend that the bible is unambiguous or that it isn’t rife with contradictions. Our lens for interpreting the bible is Jesus – this puts our beliefs in conflict with certain traditional interpretations that aren’t aligned with the example of Christ. Yes, this is revisionism. No, this is not “rewriting” or unfaithfulness as your comment glibly suggests.

    Conservative Christians emphasize the sinfulness of man and our reliance on a savior; conservatives find obedience through the pursuit of holiness. It is faith grounded in fear of the consequence of sin.

    Progressive Christians emphasize the redemption of humankind through the death and resurrection of Christ; progressives find obedience through the pursuit of reconciliation and living out the great commandment. It is faith grounded in hope of God’s faithfulness and the triumph of love.

  • I’d like to take you at your word that you are seeking to understand. Your comments herein don’t suggest that’s true. You’re stating your errant presuppositions as fact.

  • One of my core beliefs is this: if we take God at his word that we are all created in his image, then to know and be known by one another is to glimpse God himself. We are mutually transformed by being in communion with one another. We are sanctified through relationship.

    I pray for a day when we can delight in one another – even in the midst of serious disagreement.

  • Andy

    I think you came to the wrong place. Perhaps you should turn that high horse around and ride it out.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Ford, this excersize in dialogue is so fascinating. There is a kind of organic development of understanding that unfolds as we question each other and struggle to explain ourselves and respond. If I just had your response to go on about “rock, paper scissors”, I’d think you were hopelessly mired in relativism, and wonder why you read Scripture at all, since you seemed so unwilling to gather anything from it with certainty. But your answer above to Ben clarifies your position beautifully and I find comfort in what you are saying. Thank you.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Ford, I respond under Heidi’s thread below. God bless.

  • Ben, the nature of Progressive Christianity is that there isn’t one central authority. It’s just not possible to point to one Progressive Christian’s statement and say: “that’s what all Progressive Christians believe!”

    The nature of the Bible is that it inevitably requires interpretation. It required interpretation in the translation from the original languages to English, and it requires interpretation to understand the English translation. Everything in scripture is open to interpretation. And therefore, different people will end up with different interpretations. It’s unavoidable.

    Fundamentalists are taught their interpretation is (one of) the only correct one(s). (As are some progressives.) Perhaps it is. Perhaps it isn’t. But the discussion requires a bit more of a nuanced conversation than “everyone who doesn’t believe what I do is wrong, so I must correct them forcefully”.

    And that’s regardless of whether anyone involved in the conversation is fundamentalist or progressive. I’ve seen many Christians lose sight of love and respect when things get heated.

    I can’t quite work out what you mean by your last paragraph. (The last 3 sentences.) But I think I might have covered it in responding to the rest of your post.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Rev. Meyer your post brings up a number of interesting points. First, the Bible has been westernized greatly in Protestant thought. Most Christians don’t think of the New Testament as being Jewish and forget that the early Church was Jewish. A further proof of this can be found in the Religious Rights reapplication of God’s promises to Israel to apply to America, as though America (which is not mentioned in Scripture) is somehow the new Israel. Secondly, The development of the various Church creeds and even Paul’s need to address various schisms in the early church show that Scripture is not always perfectly clear and our understanding of it is not, as some would like, set in stone. Fundamentalism attempts to remove all uncertainty by coercing Scripture to fit a certain framework, usually that of Dispensationalism. As you know, this is technically called “systematic theology” as opposed to Biblical theology. The two methodologies are not mutually exclusive, but are clearly not the same. Where we get into the most trouble and causes the most infighting is in our attempts to make Scripture fit our systematic theologies, which develope over time and are human attempts to categorize God’s thoughts. We need to be careful here, as once we commit to a certain framework of theological thought it becomes imparitive that we defend it at all cost. Yes, Paul admonishes us of a better way, perfect love. It can cast out a lot of fear, fear that we don’t get it right, fear that others will find us odd, fear that we fail, etc. thank you.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Amen!

  • Kirk Leavens

    I have always felt at home in Presbyterian churches, having attended many over the years and even being an Elder in one some years back. I currently attend an Assemblies of God church, as it is the church my wife grew up in and she is most comfortable there. When we retire and move to another state, Washington,,Spokane area, i want to visit the Presbyterian church my brother attends and hopefully she will find it a good fit. Will see.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Well put!

  • Kirk Leavens

    I had a 1968 Mustang too. As I post further up the forum, how one views the nature of inspiration of Scripture fits into what is called Systematic Theology, the realm into which we get into the most trouble. The Bible states that all Scripture is “theopneustos”, -God-breathed 2 Tim 3:16. Certain presuppositions now come into play as to what exactly that means. Fundamentalists come to a certain conclusion, also shared by many Evangelicals, that Scripture therefore must be inerrant. Unfortunately, they are not honest enough, or humble enough to admit that it is a human presupposition and that there might be valid reasons to understand the Scripture in a different light. It is interesting how one verse can morph into an entire rigid theological belief set. I had many an interesting “conversation” when attending a large Congregational church in Pasadena while a student at Fuller Theological Seminary and came into contact with Dallas Theological Seminary grads teaching there!

  • Ben

    Thanks for the response to my loaded comment. As I said im trying to figure Progressive Christianty is. Been reading a lot. Got to here early on.

    http://progressivechrstianity.org/the-8-points/

    I come from this formulated background from growing up a Southern Baptist, I have been a member of a Presbyterian USA, Evangelical Covenant, and unafiliated ..The one thing in common in all is that Christ was the son of God, born of the virgin Mary, he died, rose on the third day all to save us from our sin..He said I am the only way to eternal life..

    We know of Christ through the inspired word of God, which was put on paper by men. This truth, the bible, is the foundation of our faith.

    All the rest is open for Christian debate. That just seems to be too fundamental of a statement for progressives.

    If the bible is just a narative then it would appear that anything goes.

  • Ben

    Trying to answer on a phone that only shows 3 sentences and is uncooperative in moving around..sorry.. Basically question #1 is. Are there any absolutes in Progrssive Christianity about Christ

  • Heidi Carico

    [comment deleted]

  • Heidi Carico

    [comment deleted]

  • Hmmm…
    Not sure why you keep insisting that “anything goes”. Nor do I understand why you think progressives reject the historic creeds. I don’t think anything in my resposes to you or others would support those claims – and I enthusiastically embrace the label “progressive”.

    Based on what you’ve written here, I’m sure you and I would have serious disagreements about the particulars of the faith. But that doesn’t make one of us a “real” Christian. That makes us fellow travelers on a common journey.

    (The link you provided didn’t work for me).

  • Progressive Christianity doesn’t have any absolutes, as far as I know. They’re more like general guidelines.

    I’ve tried several different explanations of this fact in three different comments. I can’t work out what’s causing this understanding gap between us. I also can’t see the conversation progressing much past this point. We seem pretty stuck on it.

    So I’m going to leave you with this one, final request:

    You assume that every expression of Christianity must have some absolute beliefs. Please allow yourself to question this assumption. There are many ways for people to identify, and not all of them depend on doctrinal agreement.

  • You say relativism like it’s a bad thing 😉

    The history of the Church is a history of relativism – including in the bible. Because cultural context changes and the Holy Spirit guides. It is revelation as we move towards reconciliation; it’s not a slippery slope to apostasy. I’ll embrace the charge of relativism as quickly as i do the charge of sentimentality. You flatter me by painting me as a prophet.

    FWIW – I love your heart in these comments. I’m sure you and I could find much, much common ground.

    Peace and blessings brother.

  • Snooterpoot

    I haven’t heard anyone say that god’s word has changed. We are saying that our understanding of the Bible, its history and its applicability to today’s world makes it a living word that more fully reflects god’s love for everyone, not just the people whom some Christians deem worthy.

    To be a follower of Christ is to love. That’s all. Not to judge; not to condemn people who believe differently; just to love. It takes a lot of courage to fully receive and to live her word, but you can do it if you open your heart to it.

    Peace be with you.

  • Ben –

    You seem to think that validating other religions is somehow rejecting Christ.

    I believe that Christ is fully human and fully divine. I believe that in the death and resurrection of Christ, God reconciled humankind to himself. I hold an orthodox view of Christ.

    I believe that ultimate gift of grace was unconditional. It was given to all humankind. It has no strings attached – not even a profession of Christian faith. My view is unorthodox, but it gives more meaning to the crucifiction of Christ, not less.

    God works in the lives of all people, in his way, in his time.

  • Ben

    Thanks for the conversation..the link was a part of my basis of anything goes as well as the research I could find on the writings I could find by the pastor of the progressive church in the article as well as the Rev. Meyer in the post below…not necessarily our conversation…it would appear we will just disagree

  • JimA

    Ben, this is my experience, coming from an evangelical and fairly conservative background. There are “intolerants” among those in any religious grouping you care to examine. I think of Progressive Christianity as somehow Christianity for the rest of us. Many come into this collectively-labeled Progressive Christianity because they have encountered something soul-unsatisfying in the message/practice of a particular understanding of Christianity they inherited or otherwise embraced in their earlier years. For that reason, some are likely to give voice to these (for them) pivotal issues, and thereby sound (oh yes, even act) intolerant.

    That said, it is risky to generalize about the “beliefs” of Progressive Christians because their understandings are – by their very nature – so very diverse, …and most often still evolving, even as you suggest your own may be. That may make a tight definition of Progressive Christianity virtually impossible, but more than that, undesirable. Instead, there is a certain like-mindedness that draws Progressives into community. I think the main thing we share in common is a hunger for a more essential and personal understanding, not so much of how to “be a follower” of this Jesus, but how to become the “presence of Jesus” in the world we live in.

    Among Progressive Christians there is openness to questions and conversation about such things. It’s OK to question or doubt. We learn from other perspectives, even ones that do not resonate for us. We also learn A LOT about aspects of Christianity – both present and historical – that we never knew about! We get used to the notion that looking at an idea does not require us to put it into our own pocket. We learn patience, …that some of the most important issues just take time to sort out. The questions and conversations are also helpful in just learning to put words around those things that trouble or interest us.

    The caution is that this environment, by its very nature, tends toward being left-brained. We have to work at keeping balance with perspectives of the heart. The prayers and music help in that respect. I hope this helps. JimA

  • Elyse Frances Enger

    Karma will bite you in the ass. Just a caveat.

  • Ben

    Thx

  • Ben

    Thanks …I come from a similar bacground and am very right brained. An engineer that is much better with numbers that the wrtten language.

    Ive attended multiple denominations in my life. The denomination gives an inkling of the core beliefs of a group of people meeting together. I am trying to place Progressive Christianity in a box of this nature and I guess it does not exist.

    Most of what you describe in what a progressive is..exists in all the churches Ive attended except there was always a strong core of beliefs in a foundation in scripture that frpm what I can tell…may or may not exist in this theology depending on who you are talking to.

  • JimA

    Sounds familiar. My working career was as engineer/physicist, now retired. Spending all my years in church life, somehow there has always been an internal compass that lobbied strongly for a certain integrity among my understandings. One result was that I had a trust in the voice of science/nature that ultimately caused me to adjust some my understandings in the faith domain (some of them over time pretty profound). But that also led me to search for a better (never perfect) fit in a faith community. This integrity business can be tough and slow work (and sometimes solitary – still underway), but at least in some places within the Progressive Christian community, there is an accommodation and understanding of the space and time required for such wrestlings, and an acknowledgement of their importance. It may even change one’s sense of faith from “belief” into a greater trust in the not-quite-so-knowable Divine. Meantime, …we talk, …and walk, and ponder, and learn, and serve, and enjoy one another in community.

  • Wonder

    There are lots of reasons one might not use one’s legal name to comment on an internet forum besides lack of sincerity. that’s a petty cheap shot, and I don’t.care.which.side of a debate you’re taking

  • Ben

    Sorry about the last 3 sentences. Because I believe in eternal consequences for incorrect choices….as do the 8 in this article. Isnt there a time to speak out if you believe something being spread as gospel is false. Progressives….seems to be their mission….Some do it lovingly. Others with the blunt force of the 8.

    I am new to the Progressive movement…trying to understand because we come from such different backgrounds and perspectives that should be respected…..in that I should not begrade you but reject it completely from an eternal perspective…..maybe that is impossible in the progressive mind. Also…..if you are still speaking to me….how much does Progressivechristianity.
    org represent the progressive movement. The IFB (independent baptist) as described in this blog represent about 1/4 od independents. The key word is independent. There are crazies like the folks from Kansas but they are not the norm. Neither is the female submission garbage on this blog…it exists…I grew up in the deep south in a southernbaptist pastors home…I have not rejected his message. But the people have a lot to learn about presentation of what is in their hearys

  • JimA

    …and 2 Samuel where God “repents” (changes his mind) about destroying Jerusalem? And just out of curiosity, do you worship on Saturday, or Sunday?

  • Paul B

    I’m missing something. Through which media outlet or outlets was this released? Was it a local newspaper or a number of newspapers?

  • Heidi. To assume that people who do not believe as you do about the Bible, hate it, and therefore God is quite mistaken, it is merely a religious based bias. The same it true with the dogma of original sin, or that the Bible is literally the words of god. They are beliefs by some christians, but hardly a majority of Christians. I’d suggest before you jump in and start judging and condemning everyone because you see things differently, that you take the time to try to understand different Christian schools of thoughts, and why there are so many.

  • The first question as have to ask here is exactly what is God’s word. According to John, its not a book, but a person. The anonymous author, makes a strong effort to make a mystical claim as to the deity of Christ.

    The idea of the Bible being “god’s word” comes fairly late into Christian history, being made popular in the US in the 19th century and revived in the 1970s. Biblical inerrancy is not widely held by all Christians.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Sorry, I am guilty in using “relativism” in the sense that all points of view are of equal value, when I think now that you are saying is that our religious experience is relative to and filtered through our cultural environment. In this I would agree. If God is the same yesterday today and forever, He is unchanging, ie., He has no need of change, being complete and perfect in and of Himself. He is Absolute. But we are a different story, aren’t we? We are constantly looking for new ways to present/live the Gospel in a ever-changing world. You are correct, even Scripture is not static, but shows a clear development over time, culminating in the New Testament. The task before the Church is to keep relevant. God bless.

  • Ben

    Then all is fallcy….make up what you want to be the truth and so be be it…you decide what is right and wrong…or nothing is wrong…only thing that is evil is what you say is evil…you now have the right to condemn the fundamentalist because you are righteous….no you are not righteous becsause there is no right …no wrong…no sin…I really do not understand

    Look I am trying to understand from my right brain and fundamentalist background. But there has to be some line in the ground where you believe this is right and this is wrong….I put it on this is sin this is not….EVERYONE DOES THIS…I KNOW WHAT CAPITALS MEAN. EVERYONE DOES THIS…the so called fundamentalist have the guts to say in concrete words and lines in the sand what they believe. Not a lot of nebulous I believe Christ is love….We all know that…understand that…the controversy is between the red letter words that progressive christianity seems to be write offs..inconsequential…I see every bit as much self righteousness here as I saw in my fundamentalist household growing up. And just as little accountabilty based on biblical scripture… if there is no base point then all is choas…

  • Ben

    Having now said my peace…do you have references for Gods word comes late in the 19th century. The mystical claim of the unknown ??? author ofJohn

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  • JimA

    Yup, “relent” is fine, used in many translations. That’s why I enclosed the better meaning “changed his mind” in parentheses. But you actually make my only (small) point here, because “relenting” is by most anyone’s definition changing one’s mind. …Off to more constructive doings…

  • Kirk Leavens

    Ben you and I come from similar roots. My denomination, the Assemblies of God, has a doctrinal statement that differs only in the area of Speaking in tongues, something that even your denomination has had to recently reverse its views on. But I digress. Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. They as well as my denomination usually hold to a “high view” of Scripture, holding to a scholastic view of inerrancy. Like allegro states above the belief in the literal inerrancy of Scripture is a fairly recent development in Church history. Scholars that hold to this view do not claim the Bible you and I hold in our hands is inerrant, but that the “original” documents were kept by God from any error. That is why, they believe, we can trust Scripture absolutely. In practice though, most lay people apply it to their modern translations, often the King James Version. So, in reality the doctrine of inerrancy applies only to documents that have not been preserved and perhaps no one has ever seen in a compiled state. In a way, it is immaterial, since God did not deem it important enough to preserve the original documents.
    What it seems, Ben, is that you are looking for something absolute to tie your faith to. I would disagree with Allegro, though as the Word of God is not simply the preincarnate Christ, but also God speaking through the Prophets and Apostles. However, your denomination and mine tend to downplay the human element in the books of the Bible and relegate the writers to an almost robotic state.
    Don’t fear though. As Snooterpoot (the names some parents give their kids!), states below, our understanding and applicability of the Bible is a growth process. Have you ever noticed how you can read the same verses numerous times, then suddenly something jumps out at you that you hadn’t thought of before? The same Holy Spirit that inspired the thoughts of the writers of Scripture bring scripture to life to us. Note I am not meaning Scripture “becomes the Word of God” as we read as in Neo-orthodoxy, but that understanding the Word and applying it is clarified by the Holy Spirit. We can trust Scripture because God gave it to us, not because He gave us an innerant text. God bless.

  • Heidi Carico

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  • Heidi, no one is telling you what to believe here.. So, I am a bit curious why you feel compelled to come here, attempt to insult the beliefs of others, and then proclaim your religious beliefs are Paramount? Do you not see that your methodology is seen as arrogant? Do you not see that strident stances such as what your are displaying appears to be more about your sense of rightness and not of anyone else’s, beliefs, sensibilities or or respect? It begs the questions, why are you at this forum and what do you here, and what do you hope to gain out of it?

  • Ben

    I am not as eloquent as you with the written word. A little more blunt. You have expressed concepts that I have understood and contemplated for at least 40 yrs. (Im 56) There still has to be some foundation to base ones faith on or we all could just make it up to our own wishes and desires. I was trying to explore the Progressive Christianity described on Wikipedia. Ive found the fallacy of Progressivechristianity.org. i spent time this afternoon watching the president of the organization on youtube covering many subjects. It appeared to me to be make it up as you go…God..
    Christ…they can be anything you want them to be…it is really difficult to have meaningful discussion when there is no base point.

  • Kirk Leavens

    I am not the best person to defend Progressive Christianity as I am an Evangelical. What drew me to this site was an honest desire to find “common ground” with Progressives and to challenge myself to more effectively communicate the compassion of the Gospel. Reading through the various posts here I have found that Progressives are not as scary as had once thought. Interpretation of Scripture is really not quite as cut and dry as our human nature would like it to be. Some say sprinkle, some immersion. Some say transubstanciation, some say “represents” the body of Christ. Some say the demonstrative gifts of the Spirit were only for the first century, some say for all time. You get my point? We come to the same set of books, yet come to different conclusions. We generally agree on the broad sweep of Scripture but have differences over details. What exactly are you looking for as the “foundation to build our faith on”? Innerancy of the Bible? My faith is built on a personal encounter with the Living God through my relationship with Jesus Christ and the drawing of the Holy Spirit. I do not care whether the Bible is inerrant or not. I guess I may have a more dynamic view of the “Born Again” experience while you are looking for a more scholastic one. I don’t know. At any rate, God bless.

  • vj

    What a lovely letter 😀

  • vj

    The distinctions you make above remind me of this interesting piece about the broad difference between the Western and Eastern views of Christ on the Cross… http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2015/apr/10/argument-about-greek-debt-echo-ancient-disputes-about-easter

    We must never forget that God supercedes all human cultures, and that each culture must necessarily not fully understand everything (even the Bible tells us that we do not see everything clearly now) – so some measure of humility towards those whose understanding differs from our own is essential!

  • This link is helpful as foro some background information on the NT. I have the book. Its excellent. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcus-borg/a-chronological-new-testament_b_1823018.html

    This book, which I need to finish reading. discusses the mystical quality of the book of John. the author does take a unique take on the story of jesus. http://johnshelbyspong.com/store/the-fourth-gospel-tales-of-a-jewish-mystic/

    Darby and Moody, led the way to the modern dogma of biblical innerrancy. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/Fundamentalism.html

  • Ben

    Thanks for the links. Digesting them

  • Ben

    We are not that different at all. The foundation is certainly Jesus Christ. Whether you use inerrant or inspired the bible is the word of God and his message to us. We just have not figured it all out and never will. I do care if it inerrant. As I write this it would be inspired and inerrant to me. You point out several of the points of disagreement that are what I am referring to. I am guilty of reading and listening to a number of articles and videos on proggressive and not sticking with one train of thought or conversation. Thanks

  • Ben

    Interesting article. Thanks
    I just dont understand how this reconciles with John 3:16. Wiki has many translations

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_3:16

  • Andy

    I am not bothered at all by your warped, arrogant conception of the divine. I do not need anyone to interpret for me what they think God wants. I am perfectly capable of exegesis as well as you are, and mine is at least as valid as yours. If that bothers you, then you’ll just have to be bothered.

    And I don’t really believe in hell, so fuck off with your condemnation. You have absolutely no basis for that. Even if hell exists, you will have no say in who goes there.

  • Heidi Carico

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  • Andy

    Sorry, Heidi, but the “word[s] of God” are hardly comprehensible to us. Unless, of course, you know ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. If you don’t, you have to rely on the translations of others. Furthermore, you have to accept the idea that all of what you consider “word of God” was accurately divined and transcribed by humans, who are most definitely fallible. And if you think people have never made a mistake in divining, transcribing, or translating the purported “word of God”, you’re almost certainly mistaken.

    “There’s nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?”
    —Randal Graves, Clerks

  • Heidi Carico

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  • Andy

    “Well, since I’m a true Christian”

    That much is certainly evident by your condemnation to hell of those you disagree with.

  • Heidi Carico

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  • Andy

    “For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand.”

    A passage that has grown cosmically ironic over the last two millennia.

    And you cannot use scriptural evidence to try to prove the authenticity, infallibility, or inerrancy of the bible to anyone who doesn’t already believe it to be so. That fallacy is called begging the question.

  • RonnyTX

    Heidi,the good news is,there is no Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment,for anyone to go to. Read and think on the matter and you will find out that the belief about such a hell,came from pagan religion and was added on to the bible. Two good links below.

    http://www.tentmaker.org/FAQ/DoesJesusREALLYLoveLittleChildren.html

    http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/ifhellisreal.htm

  • Heidi Carico

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  • Andy

    You’ll be missed.

  • I find such outraged anger sad.

  • If I had a dollar for every person who claimed “true Christian” status that also vehemently denied the claim of others who also claimed “true Christian” status, I could pay off my house, student loans, medical bills, credit cards, fully fund my retirement, and still have money left over.

  • I don’t think my beliefs are any more “right” than anyone elses. They are just my beliefs. I have no desire to force others to believe them, but I will share them to show how diverse we all are…and I’m a bit chatty at times.

  • Like, like, a thousand times like.

  • Ben

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08045a.htm

    catholic point of view. I dont see the difference between inerancy and inspired in simple terms. I know webster does.

    This link supposes the inspiration from the beginning

  • “Andy, then you’re free to join most of the world who’s condemned to hell.”
    That dogma, just blows me away. I just cant understand why people are ok with the idea, or that such an idea represent a loving, merciful god, and of course their supposed eternal soul is more important to all those they have written off as future embers. Maybe that is why I reject it so gladly.

  • This is a great, unbiased overview of relativism and pluralism. Relativists don’t claim that all points of view are equal, but, rather that one point of view cannot be considered the absolute, full truth. That doesn’t go down well with conservatives who wish always to defend the status quo (i.e. to conserve), but it’s a view that can be vigorously defended from scripture.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Catholic/2005/04/What-Is-Relativism.aspx#

  • Ben

    Certainly Matthew 22 is leaned on heavily…I just dont see where the rest of scripture is woven into the progressive thought. Is there sin?? What is sin?? There does appear to be molding the living word to your own understanding. And im sure you could point out that log in my eye. 🙂

  • Hi Heidi.

    God changed his own law in both the Old and New Testament. In Matthew, Jesus says this isn’t because God changed his mind (so I agree with you on that point), but that the people’s hearts were hard and they couldn’t handle the absolute truth.

    Why, then, would you suggest that we have received the full revelation of God’s will? I see plenty of stuff happening in the Church to suggest that our hearts are hard just like the Israelites.

    And where does the Holy Spirit enter into your equation? The promise is that the Spirit would abide in us and guide us. To pretend that we understand God’s will completely is to limit the possibility of the Spirit working in our lives. I call that sinful certitude.

  • Heidi Carico

    This is the “Jesus” of “progressive Christians”

    “I came to the earth to tell you that I support everything you do. I know it’s hard for you to admit you’re wrong so I won’t tell anyone he does anything wrong. You can all disagree with me on what I said because I don’t make myself very clear since I myself am confused about what the truth is. But that doesn’t matter since everything is about you and your behavior, not about me. So there’s really nothing I can do for you since your opinions are all right, even when they oppose each other since there is no such thing as truth; only contradictions, opinions and beliefs. So keep up your divisions and confusion. That’s my goal, to confuse you.”

    That’s actually Satan, not Jesus.

  • BarbaraR

    No, it’s you.
    I thought you were going to leave us.

  • Kirk Leavens

    I am so enjoying your comments and that of others on this forum. We are starting to get into a sort of existential discussion that many Christians would find unsettling. The nature of how God speaks to us, God who is in many ways “unknowable” yet has reached out to us through human words so that He might be known, within the limitations of our human, fallible, finite minds. The Bible, we study the ancient texts, toil over finding just the right words to translate, argue which is the best translation, yet we can read it and see what it says, but still not know what it means. God spoke using human vessel, using human speech to get His points across. Of course we are not going to get it fully. I don’t see the necessity of innerancy because, first of all, I don’t see evidence of it, and secondly it is unnecessary. God has given us sufficient information within the confines of the Bible, without having to be literally innerant. At work, gotta go. More later 🙂

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  • Andy

    I’m going to assume she didn’t get enough of a brouhaha with her earlier announcement.

  • Andy

    When I was growing up, someone close to me told me that a particular denomination of Christians was basically a cult, and that they seemed to care about how many souls they brought to Jesus than respecting others’ beliefs. I’m not sure about the former, but I think the latter is the “Occam’s Razor” explanation for some fundamentalists’ evangelism. Or, put another way, some people seem to care more about our souls’ destiny than our present selves.

  • BarbaraR

    That has to be it. It’s rather sad when flinging fundie poo is the best one can do for attention. Either that, or she enjoys making up conversations with Satan.

    Conversations with Satan = awesome band name.

  • Andy

    Totally going to steal this one.

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  • So a line from a story where a kind follows the instructions of the religious leader of his nation and murders every single person in the offensive war he starts, but ignores part of the command in the way of returning livestock and, and the conquered king as a trophy. So the religious leader, insensed that his commands weren’t carried out as he commands, assumes the role of God’s mouthpiece, chastises the king, then murders the captive king with his own hand. Right before terrorizing Saul with words that God doesn’t change, even though it is recorded that he had done so, when talking to Abraham about destroying Sodom, to Moses, when talking about destroying the children of Israel,
    Do note that the livestock are never mentioned. I suspect Samuel, confinscated them.

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  • Snooterpoot

    Why do you worship a sadistic and merciless god that created human beings only to subject them to eternal torment? That’s sick, Heidi. Just sick.

    God is love. God is not Heidi. You should just get over yourself.

  • Ben

    So where was he out of line??

  • Snooterpoot

    You just love to argue with yourself, don’t you, Heidi?

  • Snooterpoot

    Seems to me that you don’t listen to anyone who might cause you to examine your beliefs.

    Or maybe you just don’t listen to anyone but yourself. That looks like where you’re coming from.

    Pitching your hissy fits here will get you nowhere. It won’t get you anywhere with god, either. She’s not keen on having human beings decide what is sin, who is a follower of Christ and who is worthy of her love.

  • BarbaraR

    Google her. She’s infamous.

  • Ben

    I disagree with the dogmatic statement that the Bible being “God’s word” is relatively new. You believe that. There is a lot of literature that says otherwise. I posted a link below. A definitive statement that hell does not exist is also a discussableI point. A link was provided to prove the point that it does not exist. I am looking for a link to point to research proving there is…that being said it would appear that providing links or scripture verses to supports ones position is fruitless

  • Dean

    Bravo to this group of pastors for standing up and celebrating diversity!

  • Such fury. I can’t imagine being so angry at people who have different beliefs, especially people that are essentially strangers , representing no threat or harm. Yet the attempted attempted bullying attempt has me puzzled despite seeing it over and over.

    Are people whose faiths are different that scary?

  • I have no idea what you are ranting about. Or what has you so defensive. What is it about us that terrifies you so?

  • I paraphrased the story where the passage said by Samuel is mentioned. Are you not familiar with the story? The writer of the story pretty much writes Saul off at that point and Samuel begins looking for a replacement, which anywhere else would be considered treason.

    You see I’ve read those stories hundreds of times, fascinated by the intrigue and sheer human element that shines through, as well as people having god as the excuse for some of the really horrific acts they committed

  • So seeing scripture different from you means we lie….well ain’t that special… And irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.

    Sweetie, I know you probably think you are doing a good thing railing against us “satanic ones”, but you really don’t need to do all that anger, insult and anger/bullying shit. We are fine,.truly we are.

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  • Ben

    http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/how-are-we-saved

    after reading several articles on Eastern Orthodox theology i would say the guardian article misrepresents the faith

    This only represents to me dont believe every article on the internet. There is an element of their doctrine in it but the description is in complete.
    From this Greek Orthodox article i would say there is a lot of common ground.

    Often ones passion gets in the way of all else. Having grown up with many Heidi’s. While there may not be any humility. Deep down there is compassion. The harsh words and nastiness makes it impossible to find. She has taken the scripture that says go boldly to new heights.

  • Guy Norred

    And how anyone can look at that and call it good news…

  • Snooterpoot

    Dang! Seems like she’s spreading her hatred all over the world!

  • BarbaraR

    Yes. It’s not pretty.

  • Guy Norred

    Wow! I thought I had missed out on all the fun when their were just two posts from her in her Disqus profile that hadn’t been deleted. :-/

  • BarbaraR

    One person’s fun is another person’s root canal.

  • Guy Norred

    Not my fun. Sorry if the sarcasm wasn’t clear. 🙂

  • BarbaraR

    Oh, I got it 🙂

  • Carol Lynn Thomas

    I wish we had brave churches like this where I live. It’s lonely here.

  • Kirk Leavens

    Ben I appreciate the fact that you are a conservative Christian yet have the courage to come to a Progressive site and ask honest questions. I have been doing the same, and also researching more thoroughly the wide range of Progressive thought. There are some differences regarding “personal salvation”, the nature of sin, hell, etc. The differences are primarily based on the different emphasis or weight given different verses in the Bible. Although Fundamentalists claim that all Scriptures hold equal value, since they are the innerant Word of God, in practice they latch onto certain verses more than others. Personally, perhaps due to my Pentecostal roots, I have a dynamic view of Scripture as a dialogue between God and man. In that sense it is a perfect illustration of the paradox of the Divine conversing with the profane, the incarnation itself, fully God fully Man, the analogies are many. In Scripture we have God using human speech and human minds to convey the mystery of God, and the paradox of the Cross. Human words simply cannot explain fully the Godhead. This is why I believe in the “sufficiency” of Scripture rather than inerrancy. God said everything He needed to say. Even if He had guaranteed innerant original manuscripts, we would still face the limitations of our own understanding in reading them. Take care

  • Chris Hansel

    I live in Fountain Hills and I find this campaign offensive in the extreme. What we find here is so called Christians using hate to reinforce their base. If you live in Arizona then you understand it is one of the most intolerant states in the Union. The purpose of this campaign is not to head people off from being so called ” progressive, read liberal, ” but to attract far right tea party types to their Church’s. It a recruitment drive. Trust me there a very few progressives in F.H. and they are no threat to the far righters.

  • vj

    Yeah, the Guardian article was written by an Anglican parish priest in London, trying to convey a sense of how/why the Greek government has/had a different understanding of debt/restitution to that of the German government, and how those differences could have their roots in the different historical faith traditions prevalent in each country… It wasn’t an exhaustive ‘representation’ of either Western or Eastern Christian orthodoxy, and I linked to it simply to highlight my point that we should ALL be aware that much of our individual understanding of our faith is heavily influenced by cultural and historical factors, in ways that we might not even be aware of.

    For example, Heidi is so convinced of her own righteousness, but her ideas, beliefs and attitudes are almost unrecognizable to me, living as I do on the opposite side of the world (South Africa).

  • vj

    VERY briefly (and thus generally): Western tradition emphasizes that Christ’s death was a punishment in our stead for our sins (hence the Western emphasis on salvation as a ‘debt settlement’), while Eastern tradition emphasizes Christ’s resurrection as a victory over death (without Christ we were destined for death, but in Christ we have eternal life).

    As far as I can see, both views are compatible with each other (it’s merely a difference of emphasis), and both are consistent with John 3:16?

  • Ben

    Both views are compatable as both views require that we as humans have to accept the gracious gift or we will be left out

  • ccws

    Third generation Social Gospel Progressive & Baptist Preacher’s Kid says: No one I’ve ever known in church ever said anything like that, and we certainly never thought Jesus said anything like that! Talk about false witness…there’s Exhibit A for ya. 😛

  • Horseman Bree

    Why do the so-called “Christian” churches of the Group of 8 live in fear? Fear is the symptom of misunderstanding and hatred, neither of which have any place in a Christian group.

  • KEB

    Thank You! to the pastors who wrote and signed the letter of support for Rev. Good. IMHO, the key point is: “we . . . celebrate the vast diversity of
    expressions of Christian faith present in the Body of Christ—the Church
    universal.”

  • Dottie Thompson

    Thank you, thank you brave pastors. We need more of you.