Sorry, Christianity IS Progressive

I had a seminary professor who used to bemoan the fact that we human beings have difficulty holding two seemingly contradictory thoughts in our minds at the same time. We especially have this problem in Christianity. Are we under law or grace? Both. Are we judged by faith or by works? Both. Those are just two time-worn examples of our lack of dichotomous thinking.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11719
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“We are to plant no stakes that we are not willing to take up and plant farther on, nearer the heights we hope to ascend" (Letter 164, 1903). ”

Sounds progressive to me . . . Here are a few of the stakes (you most likely have a few you could add to the list) that have been planted in the name of Christianity that need to be ignored, repudiated, modified, or planted farther on.

  • God has a plan for your life.
  • Clerics need to get ordained.
  • Women should not be ordained to the gospel ministry.
  • The tithe should only be used for the male ministry.
  • Movies are evil.
  • Remarriage is only allowed in cases of infidelity or death.
  • Not 1 in 20 youth will be saved.
  • Meat eaters will not be translated.
  • Masturbation causes all sorts of maladies and is a sin.
  • Amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen . . . in certain races of men.
  • The Bible is inerrant.
  • America is a Christian nation.
  • God has an intended spouse for you.
  • SDAs are the remnant people.
  • We will live without a mediator.
  • LGBTQ2 + should not be allowed to join the SDA Church.
  • Genesis story trumps scientific observation.
  • 2300 days
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So, how has Adventism progressed since its inception - - - - anyone?

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I was wondering the same thing, Sirje.

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I am not quite sure what the author meant by this statement. Rigid, as in close-minded? Rigid, as in not flexible? Rigid, as in stuck? Rigid, as in unfriendly and stern?

I find various churches have various views. I believe that one’s relationship with God is most important and others simply have a different experience than your own.

I wonder about the statement of “Christianity IS Progressive”. Progressively growing in an understanding of God or maybe the author means progressively GOING in the direction the world is headed.

Just because things change doesn’t necessarily mean the movement is progressive. Based on some of the attitudes I see in the church today, I wonder if change is not sometimes regressive…at least in terms of love and acceptance of others.

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This is a strange viewpoint. While throwing down the gauntlet with the first word in the title - “Sorry” - the inference is there’s going to be a definitive proof coming in an on-going argument. I think the word “progressive” as used here is more in line with current political wars as in one party being progressive and the other not. Of course those wars spill over into other areas.

I find it strange to think of Christianity as being part of those wars. If anything, the idea that Christianity is climbing a latter to perfection is neither progressive or regressive, just strange.

We are supposed to grow; we are supposed to get better, even as we guard against straying away from the narrow path that God has set before us. The very nature of Christianity is that we are progressing, trying to perfect being a disciple of Christ. How that can be accomplished if you’re not willing to move from what you know to what you don’t know is beyond me to explain.

How we’re supposed to moved into something “we don’t know” is beyond me. This whole idea of “getting better” at being a Christian is itself somewhat retro, hearkening back to that stilted Christianity of becoming perfect through our own efforts. We certainly should be open to growth, as in growth in faith, but I thought we had “progressed” long ago to dropping perfectionism.

If, by progressive we mean growing in knowledge and not being strangled by religious traditions, then we can talk; but I doubt this is what it’s about.

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I too suspect that it’s a slip of the bait and switch conflation that later down the road swaps ideological progressivism because the egalitarian part of it aligns with Christianity. On the other hand, we have to ignore things like secular humanism as the vehicle of choice for progressive ideology…

In which case, “progress” means getting out of the “outdated traditionalism” and embracing the brave new world.

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I am very curious as to who the author is apologizing to in the title of this article. I assume it’s Conservative Christians who are supposedly against progress. This is where the use of the term progressive runs into problems. I don’t know any Conservative Christians that are against progress but I do know many Conservative Christians who are against so-called “progressive” ideologies whether in the political sphere or Christianity. As the author said we as Christians seek progress in the form of becoming more Christ-like which causes improvement in many facets of life. However, progression is not the totality of Christianity because we also seek to conserve authentic Christianity. If we did not conserve Christianity there would be no way for us to trace our roots through history. Even while we must constantly examine ourselves and our beliefs there must be an essence with which we work to ensure that what we do is still Christianity otherwise one can easily completely lose Christianity altogether. That essence, for a lot of Christians, is the Word of God.

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The only thing that came to mind was…rejecting the shut door doctrine? Like hooray, the church doesn’t teach no one can obtain mercy ever again? That’s a pretty low bar to clear, but I guess it’s technically a bar. Even then, you’ve got pockets of the church who believe that only SDAs are going to heaven.

I guess some might argue 1888, but two problems there. One, it’s been 135 years, it’s like bragging your car goes into second gear. And two, listen to the actual church “leaders” (or watch 3ABN) and see what the faith vs. works balance actually is. We talk a good “righteousness by faith” game, but sure don’t teach it.

It’s funny you asked, because I was thinking the same thing about the local churches this morning. Back in 2020, they just were adamant that things had to “get back to normal” as soon as possible. Wouldn’t close the churches, wear masks, socially distance, or generally act like they cared about anyone but themselves. If you weren’t coming to church, you were “doing the enemy’s will.” I can’t remember a baptism in the last 5 years, but it was important to keep doing the exact same thing that wasn’t working at all.

Their arrogance and cold hearted attitudes ran me off for good. Somebody finally checked on me, but they weren’t checking on me. They wanted to remind me that even if I didn’t come, “Sister White says we need to give our tithes because the church is the storehouse.” That’s it. That’s your concern. But hey, at least we didn’t have to install Zoom on our computers.

Anyway, that’s a lot of words to say: I have no idea either.

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Excellent… :rofl: :100: :woman_facepalming:

I have no idea either.

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