Progessive Christianity: Social Justice
In my recent articles, I have addressed the insurgency of mysticism and New Age/far Eastern contemplative prayer meditation into the modern church. The progressive/social justice elements are holding its coattails and gaining recognition through association with these emergent teachings. The long-term objective of these movements is the dismantling of traditional biblical Christianity. The methods they use are designed to redefine Christian beliefs and terms to suit their new teachings. This new church paradigm seeks to supplant the foundational doctrines of the Bible and re-characterize God as being more concerned with the worldly secular needs of man rather than with the consequences of sin. The emergent church’s concepts have infiltrated and intersected with denominational, Evangelical, and Pentecostal churches all over the world.
The emergent church adherents desire to live their faith as a “postmodern” society. Oftentimes it is difficult for us to distinguish them from the pluralistic, secular (worldly) society in which they exist. Most of its followers are unsatisfied with what they term “organized religion” and the “institutional” church. To accomplish making church meaningful to them, they seek to reinvent the church from within. The danger of this is that correct biblical teaching and application is being ignored with the wider implications being the allowance for ongoing, unrepentant sin to exist within the body of Christ.
The emergent church is proactive in its desire to change and influence society and the earth. This may include using political power to bring in the “kingdom,” such as the Kingdom Now (dominionism) theology, which resonates with many emergent followers. Emergent church members create or work from a platform of social activism, while trying to overcome the public and private system that is presently held in society. The “world biblical view” in missions and presenting the gospel is to emphasize the love of God as one of the primary attributes of God but ignores man’s sinful condition. It is not quite the health, wealth, and prosperity (greed) gospel, but it is often stripped of its need for the necessity of a Saviour, because they frequently fail to mention sin. The only answer for sin is the cross of Christ—to the unsaved and the saved.
The emerging, or emergent, church movement takes its name from the idea that as culture changes, a new church should emerge in response. “The emergent church movement falls into line with basic post-modernist thinking—it is about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward, feelings over truth. These are reactions to modernism and are thought to be necessary in order to actively engage contemporary culture.”
The movement does not have a standard modus operandi of “doing” church amongst the groups choosing to embrace a post-modern mindset. In fact, the emerging church rejects any standard methodology for doing anything. Therefore, there is a broad range of how far groups take a post-modernist approach to Christianity. Some groups go only a slight way off in order to try and impact their community for Christ but remain biblically sound. However, the majority that embrace a post-modernist thinking will eventually steer toward a very liberal interpretation of the Bible. To them the authority of the Bible is not respected. The Bible is only used to support their agenda rather than having a vision that is derived from the Word of God. Many adherents seem to start out from a conservative background but over time transition to a modern liberal interpretation and application of God’s Word.
Another area where the emergent church movement has become anti-biblical is its focus on ecumenism. Unity among people coming from different religious backgrounds and diversity in the expression of corporate worship are strong focuses of the emergent church movement. Being ecumenical means that compromise is taking place, and this results in a watering down of Scripture in favor of not offending an apostate, or a seeker. Seeker sensitive churches are almost always emergent church adherents.
The Center for Progressive Christianity’s homepage makes it abundantly clear how progressive Christians view themselves: “By calling ourselves progressive, we mean we are Christians who recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.”
In order to obtain common ground for the sake of unity, the concepts of social justice to meet the needs of humanity are championed and taught. Marxist and socialist instruction is “Christianized” and then presented as the solution to address societal flaws. The very term progressive is nothing but a euphemism for socialism. According to Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM), socialism is defined as “an economic system in which society is largely run by the government and where the wealth and production of members of that society are distributed equally among other members of society for governmental decrees. Private ownership is lessened, and public ownership of all things is promoted.”
Besides an emphasis on caring for the poor through social justice, emergent church adherents are environmentally conscious and believe followers of Jesus are commanded to be the guardians of the earth. Many believe in the “sacred and the oneness and unity of all life.” This panentheistic and pantheistic thinking makes everything we do affect God. In panentheism, events and changes in the universe affect and change God. As the universe grows and learns, God also increases in knowledge and being. This concept makes us god and gives us creative powers. The seed of Gnosticism rests on this teaching, notwithstanding, the Word of Faith doctrine, which is still being taught today. The social gospel advances ideas such as racial justice, open borders, and left-wing political ideology that has a facade of Christlikeness, but under the surface, merely replaces the gospel with social activism.
Furthermore, social justice is not a missing piece of the gospel that has been recently discovered by progressive elitists in evangelical leadership positions. It’s a mass effort to appease large numbers of people who view biblical Christianity negatively by appealing to their sense of self-entitlement. It’s all about what society can do for me, and how society, instead of me, can take the blame and responsibility for my wrongdoings. It eliminates personal accountability and thereby removes the need for repentance.
The emergent progressive religious left demands transfer of wealth under the guise of social justice. Beware when you hear terms such as “social reform” and “social justice” because those terms are doublespeak for socialism.
Deconstructionism is a term closely related to postmodernism.
Deconstructionism is a challenge to the attempt to establish any ultimate or secure meaning in a text. Basing itself in language analysis, it seeks to “deconstruct” the ideological biases of gender, racial, economic, political, cultural and traditional assumptions that contaminate all histories, as well as philosophical and religious “truths.” It is oftentimes coupled with cultural Marxism—a revolutionary leftist idea that traditional culture is the source of oppression in the modern world. Cultural Marxism is often linked to an insistence upon political correctness, multiculturalism, and perpetual attacks on the foundations of culture: the nuclear family, marriage, patriotism, traditional morality, law and order, etc. Cultural Marxists are assumed to be committed to establishing economic Marxism, in which case their cultural attacks are a necessary preparation for their ultimate goal—money and control.