Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, recently had a warning for the Christian church: be cautious of the infiltration of the false doctrine of the progressive Christian movement. “Progressive Christianity denies the divinely inspired, authoritative truth of the Bible as it intersects every facet of living,” Graham states in his article, “The Eternal Peril of Christianity.” Graham says that the distortion of the gospel is potentially causing confusion and ultimately sending people to Hell.
Some may wonder what comprises progressive Christianity. The teaching of progressive Christianity encompasses a few different ideas that are in complete opposition to the Bible’s teaching. According to Progressive Christianity.org, there are eight main tenets held by the group. They are:
1.) Belief that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
2.) Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
3.) Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
- Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
- Believers and agnostics,
- Women and men,
- Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
- Those of all classes and abilities
4.) Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
5.) Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
6.) Strive for peace and justice among all people;
7.) Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; and
8.) Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.
Although progressives attempt to make these tenets their “gospel,” Graham notes that “progressive Christianity is not a Gospel at all.” He is correct in his assertion. The eight tenets are an unequivocal rejection of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When examining the tenets against the true Word of God, it is easy to see their errors. In the first point, the progressives state the willingness to explore the teaching of Jesus, but they believe that knowing the Word is enough to create the New Age idea of sacredness and unity. However, Jesus said in the book of John 5:38-40:
“But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
In other words, they willingly search out the scripture, thinking it is enough to connect to God, but they are unwilling to give their lives to Jesus.
We are told in John 3:3, “‘Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Progressives believe they can connect to God without giving their lives to Christ.
The group goes on in the second tenet to argue that Jesus isn’t the only way to God and that a person can use other sources of knowledge. Of course, this is in direct opposition to the Word of God and is a fallacy. In John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” As noted by Franklin Graham, many in this movement have what is described as having “itching ears.” (2 Timothy 4:3)
In their third tenet, progressives claim to be “inclusive.” Indeed, we are all sinners, and as such, all are invited to be included in the Church. But it is so we can accept Christ’s forgiveness of our sins and get help to stop sinning, never in having our sin affirmed. In calling for the acceptance of skeptics, agnostics, and those who identify as LGBTQ, progressives affirm the sins from which the sinners need Christ’s divine help.
Progressive Churches have started gay choirs and fly the LGBT rainbow flag, announcing that they are inclusive. It is the antithesis of Christianity to celebrate the sexual immorality and unbelief that the Bible clearly condemns. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) Progressives’ weak theology is sending people to Hell!
The rest of the points continue to use the language of social justice and equity but deny that true justice comes from God. Only through the redemptive blood of Jesus can we ever have the hope of redemption and peace.
The scariest part of this false gospel is that it is beginning to infiltrate the mainstream church at an alarming pace. Many churches have adopted one or several of these points in their attempt to have an inclusive church. They water down the true gospel and fail to call their congregation to repentance. The congregants are not called to repent and accept Christ’s substitutionary punishment for their sins, but rather are rocked into a false sense of security by the lies of inclusion and a twisted form of grace.
It is true that every church should welcome anyone through its doors, and no church should reject someone who is trapped in sexual immorality, unbelief, or any other sin. However, the church’s mission is to share the true Gospel with the goal of leading the person to repentance. The true gospel must be preached from the pulpit boldly.
Take ACTION: We should heed the warning from Franklin Graham and use extreme caution in correctly handling the Word. Twisting it to suit your lifestyle has eternal consequences. Pray for your pastor and the leaders in your church – that they would remain steadfast in preaching the true Gospel and not compromise. Pray that these false teachers that Jesus warned about would not deceive your family and friends. Without a doubt, the best thing we can all do is read the Bible for ourselves and make sure we know the Word of God. That way we can easily recognize falsehood and expose it.
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine,
but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
~2 Timothy 4:2-5