Monday, April 21, 2014

Christian Love, Progressive Style

While Progressive “Christian” churches boast that they include all, Evangelicals – those who are Bible-centered – are consistently bashed. While they talk about their brotherhood with Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists, they have nothing but disdain for Evangelicals. Sometimes, this yuck-word is left unspoken, but the message is clearly and consistently an Evangelical head-hunting orgy. One Episcopal rector disguised his attack like this:

  • Christian faith is not about submission to dogma [doctrine, teachings]… We walk by faith and not by doctrinal certainty.
This is an unmistakable portrait of Evangelicalism, which has always been Scripture and doctrine-centered. As such, we try to live as Jesus instructed:

  • “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

Oddly, for someone who declared that the Christian faith is not about doctrine, the rector’s sermon was all about doctrine. He insisted that Jesus was “ultimate love” – a love that receives everyone without any qualifications regarding their beliefs or lifestyles (not like those pharisaical Evangelicals).

The Progressives have cast us into the role of the judgmental, narrow-minded Pharisees. They excluded people, especially the marginalized, just as those Evangelicals do. Meanwhile, the Progressives liken themselves to Jesus Himself who included everyone, or did He?

If Jesus is “ultimate love,” was He all-inclusive as the Progressives insist? Did He receive everyone without concern for their doctrine and lifestyle? Certainly not! He set the bar high for His followers:

  • But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

They not only had to grab hold of His plow; they had to keep their hand on it:

  • Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat. 16:24-26)

Was Jesus all-inclusive? Was He against the use of all power and coercion? No! In fact, He spoke the first word on excommunication:

  • “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector” [and separate from them]. (Mat. 18:15-17)

While Jesus did receive everyone who was willing to truly follow Him, there were also qualifications. They had to repent of their sins:

  • And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:2-5)

For Jesus, repentance wasn’t merely a quality-of-life issue. It was salvation itself, as He taught in His commission to His Apostles:

  • Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)

What then is love? Is it merely a matter of receiving everyone – (as long as they are not Evangelicals) - regardless of their sins? Instead, if we care, we will warn and point to the only Source of hope. Meanwhile, in the minds of the Progressive “Christians,” the Evangelical is a Pharisee, because, faithful to Scripture, he insists on repentance.

Also, in their zeal to demonstrate that they are truly the ones who love as Jesus did, the Progressives eliminate any doctrinal requirements. Doesn’t removing these artificial barriers between people prove that they love as Jesus did? It depends on what Jesus taught. Did He teach, “It doesn’t matter what your believe as long as you are following me.” Certainly not! He taught that His disciples had to abide in Him by abiding in His teachings:

  • “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you… If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love… You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:5-14)

Keeping Jesus’ commandments aren’t optional, and to keep them, we first need to believe and understand them. Nor is it optional what we think about Him. He warned the Pharisees:

  • “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

This again raises that contentious question, “What is love.” Is love a superficial “making nice,” or is love a matter of being devoted to the ultimate welfare of the other? And isn’t this welfare a matter of eternal salvation! Is it therefore pharisaical to point to salvation through Jesus alone? Certainly not!

At this point, you find that the Progressive “Christian” jumps ship. It is here that you will discover that what is most holy for the progressive is not Jesus’ teachings or Scripture. Instead, it is they! Instead of Scripture judging them, they are sitting in judgment over Scripture. They are the ultimate authority. Sometimes, they will admit that they pick-and-choose those verses that support their own worldview. However, Jesus would never approve of such a thing. Quoting Deuteronomy 8 against the Devil, He stated:

  • Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mat. 4:4)

According to Jesus, we are not free to stand in judgment over the Word but must submit to “every word” as He did. It is therefore a gross charade, when the Progressive churches will read Scripture and then claim that this is “The Word of God.”

Progressive ministers also use Scripture in their sermons. Of course, they expect you to regard their selected verses as authoritative – as the final word and proof to settle any question. However, these hypocrites discard everything else in Scripture that they find unappealing. They choose to maintain a façade of Christian love as they conform their modernized religion to the values of the day. Meanwhile, they disparage those who take the Bible seriously, falsely claiming that doctrinal confidence has never been the focus of Christianity.

Is it unloving to call these deceivers, “hypocrites,” or is this something they need to hear? If Jesus is our model of “ultimate love,” then we have to observe how He talked to others:

  • “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Mat. 23:13-15)

We are all undeserving sinners. Without the Lord’s light, we’d all be hypocrites and worse. However, this is not the question. Instead, the question remains, “What is love?” Clearly, sometimes love requires shaking. Jesus loved the Pharisees, so He shook them so that some light would enter through the newly formed cracks.

Progressivism is a modern form of liberalism and skepticism – a gross perversion of the Christian faith. Shouldn’t we shake it until the ugliness of its hypocrisy is exposed!

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