Progressive Christianity: What is it?

Reason for the question: A member of my extended family has self identified as a proponent of Progressive Christianity. He has enthusiastically embraced Rob Bell and Richard Rohr. My nephew attended private "Christian" schools k-12 followed by Whitworth College and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. He has been working in campus ministries for two decades. This post isn't about my nephew. It is about the worldview he is caught up in.

The question:

How does Progressive Christianity differ from the modernism of the 20th century?

I am wondering if Progressive Christianity is really a thing. It seems that it is somewhat fuzzy at the edges.

There are a few apologists[1] who have taken up discussing Progressive Christianity. But some of them admit it isn't cohesive.

[1] for example, Alicia Childers
 

e v e

Super Member
I read the article.
Another version from the own mind and not listening to God. In that respect it is similar to (much of) modern christianity.
 
I read the article.
Another version from the own mind and not listening to God. In that respect it is similar to (much of) modern christianity.
Yes, a good synopsis of Richard Rohr's Contemplative Spirituality. I only became aware of this because old friends, people whom I have respected, became involved with authors and teachers who are not promoting "Historic Christianity." This pattern repeats itself. In the last 30 years I have seen friends who were formerly orthodox wandering into dubious spiritual territory.
 
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Gary Mac

Well-known member
Reason for the question: A member of my extended family has self identified as a proponent of Progressive Christianity. He has enthusiastically embraced Rob Bell and Richard Rohr. My nephew attended private "Christian" schools k-12 followed by Whitworth College and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. He has been working in campus ministries for two decades. This post isn't about my nephew. It is about the worldview he is caught up in.

The question:

How does Progressive Christianity differ from the modernism of the 20th century?

I am wondering if Progressive Christianity is really a thing. It seems that it is somewhat fuzzy at the edges.

There are a few apologists[1] who have taken up discussing Progressive Christianity. But some of them admit it isn't cohesive.

[1] for example, Alicia Childers
People are always coming up with their own doctrines for beliefs of their gods in ignorance from lack in having the One Jesus had in himself as their own mind.
 

Sethproton

Well-known member
Reason for the question: A member of my extended family has self identified as a proponent of Progressive Christianity. He has enthusiastically embraced Rob Bell and Richard Rohr. My nephew attended private "Christian" schools k-12 followed by Whitworth College and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. He has been working in campus ministries for two decades. This post isn't about my nephew. It is about the worldview he is caught up in.

The question:

How does Progressive Christianity differ from the modernism of the 20th century?

I am wondering if Progressive Christianity is really a thing. It seems that it is somewhat fuzzy at the edges.

There are a few apologists[1] who have taken up discussing Progressive Christianity. But some of them admit it isn't cohesive.

[1] for example, Alicia Childers
What is the issue with Rob Bell? I have seen a teaching by him, but don't know the breadth of what he teaches.
 

e v e

Super Member
Yes, a good synopsis of Richard Rohr's Contemplative Spirituality. I only became aware of this because old friends, people whom I have respected, became involved with authors and teachers who are not promoting "Historic Christianity." This pattern repeats itself. In the last 30 years I have seen friends who were formerly orthodox wandering into dubious spiritual territory.


The fallen world and all its versions and translations. 😕
 
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I am listening to the audio book of Michael Kruger's book I just accessed from a local library. Philip Gulley and Richard Rohr seem to be the target of Kruger's analysis. Kruger starts with the assumption that Progressive movement is not much different from Modernism of the 19th and 20th century. He leans on Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism.

Did Modernism involve spiritualism? Bishop James A. Pike only wandered into spiritualism toward the end of his life. I suspect there were other theological modernists who dabbled in spiritualism but it doesn't represent a prototypical component of Modernism. Richard Rohr is promoting something more dangerous than Modernism. Pike's life and death is a parable for the current generation to contemplate.
 
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Thanks. My opinion is that if it can't be stated in a few words, the disagreement must be more subtle and complex.

Yes it is complex and Micael Kruger's book doesn't address Rob Bell. I had never heard of Philip Gulley before listening to Micael Kruger's book. The book is good but incomplete. It doesn't address some important aspects of Progressive Christianity.

Rob Bell and Brian McLaren came to my attention during the Mars Hill Mark Driscoll era. Driscoll was at one time friendly with the Emergent movement. I was talking to friends who were engaged in the Mars Hill (Seattle) Driscoll phenomena, so when Rob Bell started unveiling his theology, I heard about it. Rob Bell's ideas were very familiar so it didn't grab my attention. Richard Rohr came to my attention because old friends of mine were engaging in contemplative spirituality. Taking spiritual pilgrimages to Ireland with Richard Rohr or someone like him. The Progressive movement wasn't on my radar because I didn't see it as connected with Richard Rohr. Not until recently. Alisa Childers makes the connection. I just started listening to her a few weeks ago.

I am still working on this project.
 
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Sethproton

Well-known member
Yes it is complex and Micael Kruger's book doesn't address Rob Bell. I had never heard of Philip Gulley before listening to Micael Kruger's book. The book is good but incomplete. It doesn't address some important aspects of Progressive Christianity.

Rob Bell and Brian McLaren came to my attention during the Mars Hill Mark Driscoll era. Driscoll was at one time friendly with the Emergent movement. I was talking to friends who were engaged in the Mars Hill (Seattle) Driscoll phenomena, so when Rob Bell started unveiling his theology, I heard about it. Rob Bell's ideas were very familiar so it didn't grab my attention. Richard Rohr came to my attention because old friends of mine were engaging in contemplative spirituality. Taking spiritual pilgrimages to Ireland with Richard Rohr or someone like him. The Progressive movement wasn't on my radar because I didn't see it as connected with Richard Rohr. Not until recently. Alisa Childers makes the connection. I just started listening to her a few weeks ago.

I am still working on this project.
thanks for the response.
 

Our Lord's God

Well-known member
Reason for the question: A member of my extended family has self identified as a proponent of Progressive Christianity. He has enthusiastically embraced Rob Bell and Richard Rohr. My nephew attended private "Christian" schools k-12 followed by Whitworth College and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. He has been working in campus ministries for two decades. This post isn't about my nephew. It is about the worldview he is caught up in.

The question:

How does Progressive Christianity differ from the modernism of the 20th century?

I am wondering if Progressive Christianity is really a thing. It seems that it is somewhat fuzzy at the edges.

There are a few apologists[1] who have taken up discussing Progressive Christianity. But some of them admit it isn't cohesive.

[1] for example, Alicia Childers

Sounds like another excuse to create your own customized plan of salvation for yourself
 
I have had more time to think about this.

Welcome! The Presbytery of Santa Barbara is 20 Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations and 5 new worshipping communities spanning the California Central Coast from Paso Robles to Simi Valley. We join together to foster vibrant worshipping communities who proclaim and live out the love of Jesus Christ for one another and our neighbors. Source

The wording here is important. The expression "the love of Jesus Christ" comes up in the promotional media for the campus ministries associated with the Presbytery of Santa Barbara. The expression "the love of Jesus Christ" is code for WOKENESS and "radical inclusion" is another. Neither expression has anything to do with Historical Christianity. This is modernism redux. In case you didn't see the first release read The Haunting of Bishop Pike, Merrill F. Unger 1971 and Christianity & Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen. People familiar with the history of mainline denominations in the 20th century will find Progressive Christianity very familiar. I was first exposed to this in highschool when my sister attended Whitworth College and brought home The Secular CIty by Harvey Cox and honest to god by J. A. T. Robinson. Gib Martin our pastor was on top of this development and had us reading Escape from Reason and The God who is There by Francis A. Schaeffer.
 
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A friend of our family Talmadge Wilson, who was an ordained Presbyterian missionary to Africa who also taught at Seattle Pacific College, wrote a book about modernism, Freeway to Babylon 1969, which resulted in his being booted out of the Church. I don't have a copy on hand. It was a reply to changes in the official doctrine that took place in the 1960s. I was too young to be aware of what was going on but we left John Knox PC in 1963 and formed an independent Trinity Church and hired Gib Martin as pastor who had interned under Ray Stedman. Tom Graham one of the founders of Trinity Church flew frequently to San Francisco airport and had attended Peninsual Bible Church and befriended Ray Stedman. We still had regular fellowship with people at John Knox. I would still hangout with friends from John Knox when I attended Seattle Pacific. Several of the founding elders of John Knox were founding elders of Trinity Church. It was half of the leaders on one church leaving and starting over. Modernism was the issue. I grew up hearing Tom Graham lecture on the subject.
 
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I read some things today about James A. Pikes decline into "mental illness" which surprised me. You gotta remember that modernism was a secular ideology which denied the existence of the supernatural. So when James Pike had weird experiences and started seeing spiritualists on a regular basis after his son's suicide, his modernist friends and colleagues interpreted this as mental illness. This is a way to explain what was going within the modernist framework. Progressives don't share that aspect of modernism. They are very open to the supernatural. Visit to your local public library and take a look at the teen literature. It saturated with the supernatural. I was listening to covers of White Rabbit (Grace Slick) when I ran across Pink performing it for a recent redux of Alice and Wonderland.

The adult "Christian Progressives" are taking spiritual pilgrimages to holy sites with gurus of all sorts to connect with what ever is supposed to inhabit these sites. I have had friends tell me about these excursions in glowing language about a "presence" in Assisi (Italy) or at some Celtic holy place. I don't mock this because I think there probably is "presence" they are experiencing. I have had similar experiences but not when I was seeking them. It doesn't work that way, you can't plan on it. I never was aware of the exprience until afterward. Reflecting on a visit to Ebey Prairie Whidbey Island on gorgous fall day with wind off the Straits. I hiked alone and saw no one. Took a side trip to the ancient graveyard and looked at the runes on grave stones. It was a beautiful day. Very peacefull and looking back on it wonderful.
 
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rakovsky

Active member
Reason for the question: A member of my extended family has self identified as a proponent of Progressive Christianity. He has enthusiastically embraced Rob Bell and Richard Rohr. My nephew attended private "Christian" schools k-12 followed by Whitworth College and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. He has been working in campus ministries for two decades. This post isn't about my nephew. It is about the worldview he is caught up in.

The question:

How does Progressive Christianity differ from the modernism of the 20th century?

I am wondering if Progressive Christianity is really a thing. It seems that it is somewhat fuzzy at the edges.

There are a few apologists[1] who have taken up discussing Progressive Christianity. But some of them admit it isn't cohesive.

[1] for example, Alicia Childers
It sounds like "Progressive Christianity" is amorphous. The name makes it sound like it's a leftwing cultural or social counterpart to "Conservative Christianity". Definitions I saw online described it as having standard Christian theology plus concerns about social justice or progressive values. Wikipedia's definition presents it as a post-modernist movement questioning aspects of the historicity of Christianity, but I have known Wikipedia to give mistaken or only partially correct information.
 
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