Skip to comments.Is Saving the Earth More Important than Saving Souls? (10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity)
Posted on 01/18/2019 5:58:36 AM PST by Gamecock
Here is the next thread in this series. I will be posing them in descending order, starting with #10.
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Over the past year, I have slowly worked my way through my series on The 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity. Its an examination of 10 core tenets of progressive (or liberal) Christianity offered by Richard Rohr, but really based on the book by Philip Gulley.
We finally come to the tenth and last commandment of progressive Christianity and this one is a classic: Life in This World is More Important than the Afterlife.
Its hard to imagine a statement that better captures the ethos of progressive Christianity than this one. It marks a profound pivot away from matters eternal and toward matters earthly. Lets not worry ourselves about what happens after death, we are told, because no one knows anyway. All that matters is helping the poor, feeding the hungry, and relieving human suffering.
This commandment marks a fitting end to the series because it embodies (in a single statement) many of the values of liberal Christianity pointed out by J. Gresham Machen many years ago. Here are a few of them:
Prioritizing the Horizontal over the Vertical
For progressive Christians, humans have a real problem. But its not that they are rebellious sinners who have offended a holy God. Rather, the problem for humanity is that there is suffering, war, poverty and disease.
In other words, human problems are defined in purely horizontal terms (the way humans relate to the world or to fellow humans), and not in vertical terms (the way man relates to God).
As a result, the highest ideal of progressive Christianity can be nothing other than fixing present, temporal problems. For them, speaking of eternity is a distraction at best, and a waste of time at worst.
Thus, Gulley laments the churchs preoccupation (175) and overemphasis (176) on the afterlife and how fortunes are spent saving people from the imaginary dangers of imaginary places (184).
Preaching Moralism not Salvation
If theres no eternity to worry about, then what should humans focus on? Well doing good works, of course. Helping our fellow man. The hallmark of progressive Christianity is a deep commitment to being good and doing good things.
Gulley states, If the Church were Christian, we would do what Jesus didequip one another to live better in this world and stop fretting about the next one (184).
Of course, anyone familiar with the teachings of Jesus should find this statement genuinely stunning. Jesus was quite concerned with the next world and spoke of it often. Consider just one example: Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matt 10:28).
If there is no hell, no sin, no judgment, then progressive Christianity has no other option than to become a moralistic religion.
Claiming Uncertainty While Espousing Certainty
At the core of Gulleys argument is the belief that hell isnt real. I decided not to invest any effort in saving peoples souls from a hell I didnt believe in (181).
Indeed, Gulley repeatedly states that hell isnt real throughout the chapter. He is banking his eternal fate (as well as the fate of others) on this conviction.
But, how does he know this? Missing from Gulleys argument is any reason to think he could know such a thing. He just states his claim without any basis to back it up.
The irony of such a claim is that Gulley actually positions himself as the humble seeker, uncertain of his beliefs. Ive not yet arrived at a definitive understanding of God and I dont suspect I ever will (182).
This highlights one of the most notable trends in progressive Christianity: Claim uncertainty on the front end, but then smuggle your own certain convictions through the back door.
In the end, Gulleys final commandment is a masterpiece of progressive Christianity. It downplays doctrine for morality, focuses on man instead of God, and claims uncertainty while all the while being very certain.
Sadly, this entire affair clouds the real message of Christianity; the real message of Jesus. For the record, Jesus cared about the sufferings of humans. And he has called Christians to do the same. But, we dont address human suffering as an act of moralism. But, as a response to the grace shown to us at the cross.
Moreover, we dont address temporal human suffering only. Even if we could alleviate all human suffering, that would not, in the end, meet humanitys greatest need. As Jesus reminds us, For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? (Matt 16:26).
Did he somehow miss the entire point of Jesus coming to earth in the first place?
Many have mistaken humanism for Christianity, and therefore the god of this world for the God of heaven. Some false teachers will say Jesus was a socialist, and pull a few Bible verses out of context to make it appear so. They end up replacing God with human governments as the only way to feed the poor, save the planet, ensure economic equality, all the worldly things that matter in this life but not the next.
According to the humanism, the answer is yes. That is because humanism (and its religious sibling, liberal Christianity) downplays the spiritual aspect of human beings - that we are spiritual beings in a material world. Instead, the biological aspects are emphasized, and so obviously, saving the earth is more important than saving souls, because “souls” are superstitious, non-scientific nonsense, as opposed to tangible, scientific entities like anatomy and biology, in that way of thinking.
Thanks for posting these. I’d like to be on the Ping list, please.
It’s Gnosticism, the great enemy of out faith.
I dont think so. Humanism is the greater enemy.
But, humanism is a form of Gnosticism, that says the Universe created itself.
Meanwhile, they behave as if they believe this a million times more than any Fundamentalist could. It's like they think if life on earth were to vanish the whole universe would cease to exist.
No, savings souls is more important.
We have to remember that God is in control of our temporary surroundings.
No. Next question.
Dennis Prager, “Exodus: God, Slavery and Freedom: The Rational Bible.”
And this tripe doesn't help their case at all:
If the Church were Christian, we would do what Jesus didequip one another to live better in this world and stop fretting about the next one.
#10 commandment of progressive Christianity
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