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Amy is co-host and blogger for both Stand Up for the Truth and Naomi's Table, two ministries that give her the opportunity to write and talk about Jesus all day long. She has written, produced and broadcast in the realm of television and radio news, magazine business journals and marketing materials.

Six ways Progressive theology is destroying Christianity

Jesus is So Cool

First they asked you to think outside the box of Truth; now they’re asking you to stop speaking Truth altogether.  The Progressive wing of the Church has been able to grow and thrive, thanks in part to the re-surging Emergent movement that has long been taking the doctrines of Christianity apart.

Here’s how Steve McSwain, contributor to the extreme leftist publication Huffington Post (a site from which I share frequently about the activities of the Christian Left), is trying to re-shape the Bride of Christ into the harlot of Babylon.  How influential is this guy? Steve is celebrated as the “Voice of the SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious),” as well as author, speaker, thought leader and spiritual teacher.  His latest article is getting thunderous applause. Gird your loins:

6 Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

It is time.

No, it is past time.

Christians must stop saying the following things.

1. The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God.

It isn’t inerrant and not likely even in the “original manuscripts.” But then, I cannot say that with absolute certainty, anymore than anyone else can either.

Why? Because no such “original” manuscripts even exists. That’s like saying, “We believe there are aliens on other planets!”

Good for you. Now, prove it.

As we have it, no matter what translation you favor, the Bible is replete with errors. To pretend otherwise is your right. To say otherwise is a lie. You are entitled to your opinions, your assumptions, even your beliefs. What you are not entitled to is a misrepresentation of the facts.

A corollary to this that Christians should stop saying is this:

2. We just believe the Bible.

That, too, is false. What you really believe is your interpretation of the Bible. And the last I checked, the history of the Christian church is the history of disagreement over “interpretation.” How else do you explain the scores of denominations within Christianity alone? It would be patently more honest of Christians to say, “The following represents our understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures, but we are also aware there are many equally sincere Christians who interpret the Scriptures differently from us.”

A third thing Christians should stop saying:

3. Jesus is the only way to heaven.

What you are really saying is, “The way we interpret John 14:6 is that Jesus was clearly drawing a line in the sand and telling his hearers and the world: ‘If you do not believe in Me, you won’t go to the Father when you die.'”

For this, I refer back to No. 2 above: what you and your group of believers really mean to say is, “It is our interpretation of John 14:6 that Jesus is saying that He is the only way to heaven.”

There are scores of Christians, however, and I am one of them, who do not interpret Jesus’ words in John 14 the same way. Just because I do not makes me no less Christian than you are. So stop drawing lines in the sand, please, between equally sincere followers of Jesus.

When I read the 14th chapter of John, I see a context that yields an alternative reading of the text. Instead of Jesus starting some new religion here and saying, “OK, fellas, I’m going to go away soon” — referring to his death — “but, before I go, you should know that where I’m going you, and others who believe just like you, will one day be, too — that is, of course, if they believe like you believe that I am the only way to heaven. That is to say, if the people around you and who come after you don’t believe that I am the only way to heaven, then, of course, they’ll have to go to hell. Is all that clear?”

I offer an alternative interpretation: When Jesus spoke to them about leaving them, they were understandably shaken.

How could they not be? After all, they had left everything to follow him. Now, just a year, or two, or three years later, Jesus is saying he’s getting ready to leave them?

But, of course, they’re upset. So Thomas, speaking on behalf of the others, asks, “But where are you going and why can’t we go with you? Furthermore, how will we know the way?”

Jesus responds in tender, reassuring ways. Sensing the fragility of their faith, seeing the anxiety on their faces, he reassures them that, in God’s house are many rooms, “mansions” or places. Yes, He’s going away but where He’s going they, too, will go. Just as He has led them this far, He will lead them further still (and what follows in the latter part of John 14 is the beautiful reassurance of the on-going presence of God in the Holy Spirit).

So, for me personally, and many other Christians, too, Jesus is no more pointing to himself as the “one-and-only-way” to God than Thomas is expressing in his question concern for Hindus, Muslims or Buddhists and whether they’ll go to heaven? I can assure you that Thomas, and the others, were only concerned about themselves. And yet, even at that point, Jesus is tender in His care of them and seeks to reassure them that, just as He and the Father were one, and just as they had trusted the things He had been saying to them during his time with them, so they could trust him and what he was saying at this time, too. Yes, he was leaving them. But no, they would not be left alone. Where he was, they would be. He had shown them the way to the Father. But, even after He’s gone from them, they will know the way then, too. The Comforter would guide them.

And so, the Church is here today. But not because Christians declare, “There is no way to go to heaven if you don’t believe in Jesus.” The Church is here today because when people do trust the things Jesus said about HImself, about HIs relationship to the Father…when people believe and so live the teachings of Jesus they, too, are changed — they, too, become “new creations in Christ,” as Saint Paul put it (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Now, I took longer with this one thing Christians need to stop saying because many Christians seem stuck here, thinking that there’s only one way to interpret Jesus’ words about being the way. It is my hope these Christians will know there are equally sincere Christians like myself and others who do not believe Jesus was drawing a line in the sand between him and some new religion he was creating and all the other religions of the world.

Again, it’s your right to “believe” or, more accurately, interpret Scripture as you wish. You do not, however, have permission to arrogantly assume your way of interpreting the words of Jesus are the only way to understand His words. Last I checked, no one’s interpretation of anything is infallible. Not yours. Not mine.

A fourth thing Christians need to stop saying:

4. The rapture of Jesus is imminent.

Again, if you want to believe in some secret rapture of Christians from the earth just before the Tribulation, if you want to believe in and carry around in your hip pocket detailed charts and graphs of how its all going to happen, then so be it. But do the rest of us a favor and stop saying so in public.

So far, your record of correctly predicting the future earns a flunking grade. And I and scores of other Christians are frankly tired of apologizing for your arrogant — and so far, absolutely wrong — predictions as to when it’ll happen.

My recommendation? Burn up your charts and go live like Christ. Quit masking your real fears by calling them faith. It isn’t faith that leads you to sell all you have, give the proceeds to some wacko, and go camp out on Mount Horeb as you await the rapture. It’s stupidity instead. It’s embarrassing, too. It makes thoughtful Christians have to apologize to the world and explain that we’re not all off-our-rockers, at least, not yet, anyway. So, please, please. If you want to believe in the charts that Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye and other “get-rich-off-the-stupidity-of-Christians” have duped scores into believing, then have at it. Just stay out of the news please! Go quietly to your campsites and do your waiting.:

5. Homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle and it is a sin against God.

This one issue, my friend, is on the outs. If you don’t know that, you are more blind than the Republicans were in the last election. They misinterpreted the political environment and so completely blew it when it came to getting their candidate elected. And you, my friend, are misinterpreting the moral, spiritual and religious environment — and the changes that are coming.

My son said it well the other day. We were discussing homosexuality and same-sex marriage and he observed, “Dad, it’s your generation that’s hung up on these issues. Once you guys get out of the way and the younger generation moves into the decision-making arena, these issues will disappear. The day will come when, just as slavery is unthinkable in our consciousness today, it will be equally unthinkable to deny anyone the right to be who they are or the right to same-sex marriage.”

You can still revere the Bible, my friend, but move beyond the prejudice of Paul or anyone else. You don’t need to make Saint Paul infallible to treat the Bible as important.

Finally, please, please Christians stop insisting that…

6. The earth is less than 10,000 years old.

If you want to believe that Genesis is a scientific description of the origins of the universe, then have at it. Just stop insisting that those myths be taught in our public schools. You do no service to the Bible nor to the morality of this country by demanding school administrators include textbooks that teach that nonsense or by demanding courts hang the Ten Commandments on chamber walls or classroom walls.

If this democracy is going to survive, get over your silly, misinformed notions that our forefathers were all Bible-believing, Bible thumping, Genesis-affirming Christians who came to this country to establish your kind of Christian nation and then expect everyone else to conform to your misguided assumptions.

Whew! I feel better. Thanks for letting me get a few things off my chest.

Now, there is one thing I think all Christians, including me, should remember — no, should practice (and we should practice this between ourselves first, too) — and that is the one simple thing Jesus once said would be the one-and-only thing the world would know us by…

Not our beliefs.
Not our doctrines.
Not our denomination’s distinctions.
Not even our declarations.

Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love” (John 13:35).

When we love, what more needs to be said?

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18 Responses to “Six ways Progressive theology is destroying Christianity”

  1. Darrel #

    Wow, Mr. McSwain, got hate? You really do hate the Lord Jesus, don't you? Perhaps there a few things that should never be spoken by your mouth again, like:
    1. Stop telling the world that the Bible is not the inerrant and infallible Word of God just because you don't like that it shines the light of it's truth on your wicked and sin filled heart.
    2. Yes, we do believe the Bible and just because you can't you expect us to forsake the Word. All of this on the word of some demonic zealot (that would be you, Mr. McSwain) and his co-hearts that want to de-throne God Almighty from His throne. Be silent.
    3. Jesus Christ IS the ONLY way to the Father and it makes no difference if you give your approval to that FACT or not. You seem to be so bold to say that there are other ways to the Father, are you willing to bet your eternal destiny on that and try to climb up to the throne of God by one of your methods? Stop with your lies.
    4. The rapture of the church is imminent, could happen at any second and no you will not be one of the ones to be a partcipant. Only the genuine born again, regenerate soul will be taken and from your own words you do not qualify. Shut up.
    5. Homosexuality has always been and forever shall be an abomination to the God you claim to love and serve. There will be no practicing homosexuals admitted to heaven, only those who have forsaken that life and found the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are to believe the lies of the great Mr. McSwain because he has spoken and that must be the end of it. Never gonna happen, your silence is required.
    6. Since you are so outspoken on all things that pretain to life and eternity it would be interesting to know your source for you fantasy evolution theories. Maybe it's every body's favorite, Darwin? Could it be? That mental giant that wants us all to believe that we descended from apes-everyone except for him, he's entirely to smart and must have some other as yet unknown lineage. If you were half as smart as you want all of us Christians to believe you are, please address the question as to the origin of the matter that made up the big bang in the first place. Wow! That's a stumper! What was going on before time began? Sorry, didn't mean to tax your IQ that much. What? No answers for me? Good, then shut up.
    7. The fantasy god you have created will doubtless serve you well right up to your last breath on this earth. Soon enough you will be escorted into the presense of the One you have hated all you life where He will tell you: "Depart from Me, I NEVER KNEW YOU. Shortly before your departure for the eternal abyss called hell, these words will fall from you lips: "Jesus Christ is Lord." You will never be heard from again, the screams of agony from the bottomless pit will go unnoticed and unheard. This will happen whether you believe that it will or not, whether you like it or not, and it will be the righteous judgment of the God you have blaphemed. There will be no escape and you will be silenced.
    8. And yet for all of this, the same Jesus that you demean and blaspheme is ready to receive you, save you, regenerate you and give you a heart to love Him. His requirements are: "Repent and believe." You are betting you eternal destiny on the self made philosophical gospel of deceit, you better hope you're right, but you know that you are not.

    March 3, 2013 at 9:18 AM Reply
  2. BJ #

    1) You're right, the Bible is not inerrant, but you're also wrong. It is infallible. If you make it the rule for faith and conduct it will not fail you. It cannot.

    2) Again, you're right. Most people who say things like that aren't really reading much of the Bible either. There's a whole lot I believe that has nothing to do with the Bible. Like the fact I really do believe I should go to bed rather than ramble on here since it is after midnight. Anyways…

    3) You're wrong. The sacrifice he made in dying so that your sins and mine is the only way to the Father. Whether that sacrifice is efficacious for everyone or only those who "accept" that gift is up for debate but there is no other access provided except His shed blood.

    4) I think you're wrong but until but hey, who knows? "Above all you must understand that no prophesy of scripture comes about by man's interpretation. For prophesy never had its origins in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (I think that's in 1 Peter 1. It's somewhere) I'm also pretty sure Tim LeHaye is wrong too. If the rapture does happen soon I hope Kirk Cameron isn't "Left Behind" he's really annoying and I want him out of here.

    5) Yes and no. It is a sin. They should be able to marry. We're all sinners in need of grace. Some sins, like murder and theft, should be legislated against. Others, like lying and adultery, Uncle Sam should keep his paws off.

    6) You're absolutely right. Its normally an issue I do my best not to debate. Most young earth creationists will never be persuaded by any measure of logic and reason. If logic and reason had anything to do with it they wouldn't be so ignorant of the truth, now would they?

    Anyways, I agree with about half of your blog but I love it all. It's well thought out and presented. I'm fine with disagreement, we're still brothers in Christ. Then again, perhaps I'm just a bit Hegelian in my naive assumption that disagreement can lead to dialogue which will lead to greater understanding.

    Blessings.

    March 3, 2013 at 6:19 PM Reply
  3. Trave' #

    Interesting to know what happened to rightly dividing the word of God. Equallywonder what his take on sheep in wolves clothing attempting to use the word of God but not be of Him deceiving those who choose to believe the word is of God and infallible.

    March 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM Reply
  4. andy #

    This article is frightening.

    I can see a potential wishy-washy feelgood aliance between this new religion that valuse tolarence over Truth and a government that values control over freedom.

    Notice the choice of words and phrases, especially the stuff about homosexuality: homosexual *acts* and *lusts* are sinful but these are never mentioned in these types of discussions.

    This type of rubbish is simply a progressive pushback against the conservative rubbish that has been pushed for nearly 50 years – Christ should not become a political tool utilized to push fascism or socialism or any other -ism.

    Christ is no political tool.

    It is sickening to see him used as such because it ALWAYS involves a preversion of his message.

    March 4, 2013 at 1:08 AM Reply
    • Antichus "Tony& #

      no its you people that value control over freedom….conservatives

      March 8, 2013 at 7:03 AM Reply
  5. James #

    Amen Brother, I couldn't agree with you more. This guy is so lost and far behind that he thinks he is coming in first.
    People like this sure can lead many right on the road to hell and miss out living with the King forever in Heaven

    March 4, 2013 at 1:58 PM Reply
  6. Mr Davis #

    Someone should take the time and in the article sight the counter argument according to the scriptures. So you have what this man says then what the Bible says.

    What will become evident is the fool says in his heart there is no God.

    March 5, 2013 at 3:14 AM Reply
    • Antichus "Tony& #

      fool says in his heart there is no God,but the smart guy says with his mouth there is not god

      March 8, 2013 at 6:46 AM Reply
  7. christine #

    Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. You, sir, are a rotting decay of fruits. God help you.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:06 AM Reply
  8. Antichus "Tony& #

    so tell me do you think black guys so also sit at the back of the bus?

    but anyways is this what fundies do instead of watching porn? making foaming at the mouth rants?
    " If you were half as smart as you want all of us Christians to believe you are, please address the question as to the origin of the matter that made up the big bang in the first place. Wow! That’s a stumper! What was going on before time began? Sorry, didn’t mean to tax your IQ that much. "

    <span style="color: #ff0000;">The rest of this post was deemed too foul to leave undeleted. This user has been permanently banned, not for his views, but for his behavior. – Amy S.</span>

    March 8, 2013 at 7:01 AM Reply
  9. Antichus "Tony& #

    "Here’s how Steve McSwain, contributor to the extreme leftist publication Huffington Post (a site from which I share frequently about the activities of the Christian Left), is trying to re-shape the Bride of Christ into the harlot of Babylon."

    Huffington Post extreme left??? are you people kidding me???? what planet do you guys live on???? harlot of Babylon …i think you guys really deserve a place on rightwing watch!

    March 8, 2013 at 7:06 AM Reply
  10. RAS #

    Proverbs 26:4-5
    Job 40:2
    “Will the fault finder contend with the Almighty? Let Him who reproves God answer it.”

    The fallible author of this article is asking me chuck the word of the infallible God. I should shut up, and love the world order (not the NWO but the same old world order) in which the “father of lies” is seeking to devour the careless. Is he asking me to read scripture in the way he seems to be doing? Example: Psalm 119:160 should probably read “The Sum of Your word is uncertain, And most of Your righteous ordinances are on the out”. Or maybe he considers himself to be a “New Testament Christian” and Hebrews 4:12 can read “For the word of God is living and active like the Constitution and Bill of Rights and a simple majority will decide the meaning of all, because laws and contracts are made to be re interpretable”.
    He writes this “the Bible is replete with errors.” I’m not sure how a creature with a finite knowledge base could know such a thing for sure, but “good” for him. Let him prove it.
    He writes “the Church is here today. But not because Christians declare, “There is no way to go to heaven if you don’t believe in Jesus.”’. Well the Church is here today because Christ built His church on the rock solid fact that flesh and blood does not reveal that Jesus is the Son of the living God, but rather that the Father in Heaven is the source of the revelation (Matthew 16:16-18). The writer “took longer with this one thing” “because many Christians seem stuck here”. Best place to be stuck (Galatians 1:6-9, Colossians 2:8-10). I find it odd that the writer could have any faith in “new creations” when he denies the power and authority of the sole substitute (Hebrews 2:9), the only begotten Son of God (Hebrews 1:5) and Last Adam (1 Corinthian 15:45).
    You don’t have to be a genius to understand the Bible; you do have to be born again (John 3:6). Realize that Jesus, Son of God, became flesh (John 1:14; Galatians 4:4-5) and took the place of judgment for your sins. Trust that it was necessary (Luke 24:26; Romans 3:23) and that it was sufficient to cover all sin (Galatians 2:21;1Peter 3:18 ). Believe that it was foretold and it was witnessed by many (1 Corinthians 15:1-11). Believing on Him alone (John 3:17-19) you are freed from the penalty of sin (Romans 3:24) and have become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and pass from death to life (John 5:24). And will be saved from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 5:9). And that you have a place not of this world waiting for you ( John 14:3).
    The fallible author of this article is angry, embarrassed and confused about the preserved word of God. This fallible responder is not. “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”(Matthew 11:18-19). People can blame the messenger, but it’s really the message they hate.
    So who are you going to believe, the fallible author of the article, the fallible responder, or the only logical choice, the preserved word of your Creator?
    “Good for you. Now, prove it.”
    To close He writes “Whew! I feel better. Thanks for letting me get a few things off my chest.” I close with this “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-9)

    March 8, 2013 at 9:00 PM Reply
    • mnava #

      Amen RAS!!!

      March 18, 2013 at 6:31 PM Reply
  11. Dale Williams #

    I have only one question…..If Jesus is not the only way to heaven then why would the Judeo-Christian God sacrifice his son when all of us could become Budhists and end up in heaven anyways?

    March 9, 2013 at 5:19 AM Reply
  12. Erik #

    Well he's right, the bible isn't inerrant, there is no way to Heaven, homosexuality is not a choice, and the Earth is not 10,000 years old.

    March 9, 2013 at 11:10 AM Reply
  13. Magniloquence #

    We have been warned about false teachers and false prophets. Study your Bible so you will know who they are. The Word is our defence.

    March 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM Reply
  14. guest #

    Jesus was a jew, you could be one too.. Shalom.

    June 4, 2014 at 2:50 PM Reply
  15. peddiebill #

    The trouble with most of the replies to Steve McSwain is that they are a series of assertions without looking at the reasons why Steve holds his views. This strawman approach will convince the already convinced but as far as those who you need to convince eg the Progressive Christianity supporters, they simply leave the impression that the proponents of Biblical inerancy are so uninformed that they are willing to make judgements without seeking to inform themselves of the evidence which has convinced their critics. What I personally would be more impressed by would be if someone was to look at my articles eg Shaping God which you would find at http://www.billpeddie.wordpress.co.nz and point out the errors in the evidence I outline. Simply claiming I am wrong, so there, I see as childish.

    June 25, 2014 at 11:38 PM Reply

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