What is the most underlying, common problem with the New Evangelical and Progressive Christian movements?
The answer is disobedience to God’s Word.
And one of the most basic components of this disobedience is an unwillingness to separate from evil. Or, to say it another way, to separate ourselves unto Him.
Rounding Up the Flock
In the last year or so, I have been writing a great deal about the downward, “Progressive” slide of the church.
And while doing a great deal of research into the names, organizations. and issues that drive Progressivism, it has been difficult to nail down exactly what the major cause of this shift has been. And also, to figure out how to warn churches what they can do to protect themselves from Progressive corruption.
Then I dawned on me that New Evangelicalism and Progressivism could not exist without the gathering of Christians and unbelievers together into associations, “cooperative evangelism” programs, gospel coalitions, joint social declarations, and all manner of other organizational configurations.
Now, this may seem like I’m just stating the obvious. But bear with me for a moment.
Seduced by Our Own Good Intentions
What is the major point of these movements?
It is to round people up into massive groups in order to do some good thing.
But, in order to do this, there must be a disregard for all of the commands that Christians have been given for gathering together. We might call those commands “the boundaries” that the Lord has given to the church for doing His work. The boundaries the Lord has established to put a brake on our own good intentions.
This means that the church does not have a license to associate itself with an unbelieving organization in order to accomplish a good cause. In other words, we cannot do something wrong in order to do something right.
“Doing good” is not justified if our method is unbiblical.
This applies to all the ministries of the church.
It applies to every ministry including those involving the church’s interaction with the world. To every social outreach. To every community outreach. To every type of social or cultural interaction that the church might conceivably engage in.
Because the church is a called-out group of people. They have been called-out of the world to be “separate” from the world by their devotion to Christ alone.
Which is demonstrated by our obedience to the word of God alone.
And it even includes how we preach the gospel. And with whom we might choose to join up with to do that.
(And don’t think I am not fully aware of what a can of worms that opens up.)
Of course, this probably doesn’t apply if some mainstream Evangelical leader has convinced the church that activities of a social or moral nature take precedence over the purity of the gospel.
(And when was the last time that any leader today has actually said something like that? I mean, really, isn’t the priority just to get the gospel out? Who really thinks that the purity of the gospel is an issue? Seriously?)
I’m not sure if the churches today have any idea what “the purity of the gospel” even means. Because to define that would require entering into a doctrinal study. To delve deeply into the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of salvation, the doctrine of sin, and the doctrine of the church. To name only a few.
And that is the last thing any church today seems willing to do. Because then they would have to take a good hard look at what they believe; and a good hard look at the apostasy of mainline Protestantism, or Catholicism, or Mormonism, or all the other churches with Evangelicals are aligned today.
A Part of Some Big Thing
But movements ignore all that.
For some reason, movements get by without inspection by Christian leaders. Because everyone wants to be part of some big thing. To feel safe and secure in a larger group. And to discover ones identity within some larger body.
Like a graduate taking pride in his university. Or a pastor getting an invitation to speak at some big Christian conference. Or a church member identifying with some large Mega or Metro-church; which is pastored by a famous author, preacher, or evangelist.
It’s interesting that Christians simply long to be identified with some group or organization. The idea that one is simply identified with the Lord, and His word, and a faithful local body of believers. Well, that’s a novel idea in this age.
What most Christians don’t stop to consider is the true purpose of the para-church organizations that they join or support. And that is dangerous.
Because the true, underlying agenda for a gathering together may have nothing to do with what the publicly-advertised purposes of the group are. The leaders behind the movement may have an entirely different agenda for gathering people together than what the multitudes understand.
The Promise VS the Hidden Agenda
This problem is common with the the major social and political organizations that are popular today.
Especially with those on the Left. That gather young people from all over the country, zeroing in on recruiting young college students, to support all kinds of aberrant ideas. And all with the promise of making a difference in our world.
Or, for Christians, to fulfill some “missional” idea about living out the life of Christ. Which is a component for winning the culture for Christ. For becoming a contextual church. And a socially-engaged church.
A major danger in all larger organizations, whether composed of Christians or not, is that the leadership will tell people what they want to hear. While the leadership uses the group to accomplish some other purpose.
This is how Satan works. He uses people, even sincere people, in large groups to move the world as he wants to move it.
The hidden agenda is a part of most everything we see going on today: whether in the general culture or in Christian circles.
The Progressive Christian movement is no different.
A New Kind of Believer?
It uses its focus on good works and social activism to draw in believers who think they are living out the Sermon on the Mount ideals. While the leaders of that movement use it to change the political voting direction of Evangelicals from the Right to the Left. Even while claiming that following Conservative politics is a form of idolatry.
They also use these groups to corrupt the doctrinal foundations of the church. To remove the clear barriers of separation that should exist between the church and the world.
And all this goes on while our unwitting church leadership buys into it all. Preaching the sermon series that flow from the main movers and shakers of the Progressive movement.
While believing they are living out the Beatitudes. Living out the life of Jesus. Being a more socially responsible believer. A more thoughtful, more loving, more tolerant, more unselfish, and more inclusive Christian.
Becoming a new kind of believer.
But, tragically, becoming a believer who is disobedient to the Lord’s command, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (II Corinthians 6:17)
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