What if I told you we were doing it all wrong?

We see changes in our culture and it is freaking us out

It has been written and said that we are living in a post-Christian culture. A post-Christian culture can be defined as “a culture where the Christian faith and worldview no longer has a dominant influence in society.” Many of us were brought up in a world where there was common ground when it comes to absolute truth and morality. That is definitely not the case any more. The problem is the way in which Christians are responding to the changing culture. Out of fear and insecurity about the loss we are experiencing we have become angry and have begun to fight a culture war.

We need to understand what is going on beneath the surface in the hearts and minds of the people all around us

What we need to do is stop and realize that the arguments we are having are, for the most part, symptoms of something much deeper. Let’s take sexuality for example. Many Christians are shocked regarding how our culture’s view of sexuality has changed. So, what do we do? We will argue with people (very rarely in person) about the issue of sexuality. What we normally find is that our arguments have very little power to change anyone’s mind. Why do you think that is true?

The reason that it is true is due to the fact that their world views have completely changed. Our culture’s view of truth, gender, and morality have changed massively over the years. Think of it this way, we are arguing with people about the software when the real problem is the hardware. It might just be possible that our “conversations” are having little impact because they are not going deep enough.

We need to go beyond throwing truth grenades and look to build relationships

So what do we do? One main idea that I keep expressing time and time again is that we need to build actual relationships. We have to give up the idea that the hard hitting meme we post or the political rant is going to make any difference. All that it is going to do is push people away and make it less likely that they will ever come to know the Truth personally.

Imagine this for a moment. Christians, working hard to build old-fashioned relationships with people who are very different from them. Listening. Showing genuine empathy. Asking lots of questions. Being open to the idea that we can learn from others who come from very different backgrounds. It is in the context of a relationship that we can go beyond the surface and talk about the basis, or the foundation, for what we say we believe. The online post or rant is easy, and if we are honest, it feels good to throw out an occasional truth grenade and pretend that we actually accomplished something positive. To go deeper in relationship will come about only when we love people more than we love winning an argument. But the question we are faced with is this, will we take the time, get out of our comfort zone, and actually build relationships with people very different from us?

You Need To Know About Progressive Christianity

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. -2 Timothy 4:3-4

If you hear that something is “progressive” you might think that it is a good thing. That is simply not the case when it comes to Progressive Christianity.

Let me share with you a few of my own thoughts about Progressive Christianity before I have you read the excellent article below by Alisa Childers. I believe that we need to be aware that there are a growing number of people, churches, denominations, universities and ministries that identify themselves as Christian but do not hold to what we would consider an orthodox or traditional understanding of the Christian faith.

Maybe you are thinking, “Michael, pipe down, don’t you know you are going to make some people angry?” That’s not my goal but I really am OK with it. I made peace with the fact that I will not make everyone happy a long time ago. We need to remember that the truth is not always warmly received. John the Baptist clearly taught the truth of God’s Word and the result was that he had his head cut off. Just sayin’.

He (elders in the church) must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. -Titus 1:9

I need to state that defining Progressive Christianity is not easy. The reason for that is because it encompasses lots of people who come from very different theological backgrounds. You can check out THIS from Wikipedia.

So what is at stake with this whole discussion? What kind of issues are we talking about? I believe Progressive Christianity gets in wrong in a number of really important areas (same sex attraction, gender, marriage, hell, substitutionary atonement, absolute truth and the trustworthiness of the Bible). These topics, and others, are all currently being redefined and we need to know what we believe and why we believe it.

There is another side to this that I want to briefly mention. We need to be careful about stating our theological position and then shutting down all dialogue. For the person who is wrestling with questions about the Bible we need to be willing to listen and have genuine dialogue. God loves the skeptics and those who are intellectually curious and so should we!

HERE is the link to Alisa Childers article, “5 Signs Your Church Might Be Headed Toward Progressive Christianity.” I strongly encourage you to read it!

I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and questions! Please leave me a comment!