progressive christians

November 25, 2016

Progressive Christians to “Take Back Their Faith” After Election

A week after the election, the Huffington Post published a blog entry in which Progressive Christians suggested what like-minded Christians should do in order to “take back their faith.”

Still reeling from the election in which Donald Trump was elected president, several progressive Christians pondered the necessary steps to draw a stronger contrast between their brand of kindhearted progressive Christianity, and the kind of conservative, evangelical Christianity that helped elect Donald Trump.

The responses were predictably representative of left-wing Christianity, which centered on re-emphasizing social justice issues and identity politics as the “loving,” compassionate, anti-Trumpian counterpart to the hate-filled Christianity of the right. Also predictably representative was the tone of unearned moral superiority in the responses of the progressive Christians interviewed – and progressive Christians in general.

For example, Rachel Held Evans said,

We’re about to witness firsthand what happens when the established Church compromises its moral authority and sells out the marginalized ― refugees, immigrants, religious and ethnic minorities, sexual assault survivors, the sick and those with disabilities, and LGBT people ― for the promise of power. It won’t be pretty.”

Rev. Jacqueline Lewis, a New York-based pastor and activist added,

“I’m going to fight for people to have jobs, for everyone to have enough. I’m going to fight against racism and xenophobia. I’m going to fight for black lives. I’m going to fight for LGBT rights… I’m going to fight for love.”

Lewis added,

“Maybe what’s happening is progressive people of faith are finding ways to connect around our shared beliefs that all people are children of God … All of those people are joining together right now, we’re… plotting and planning how to resist together… to me is the new religion, the new Christianity.”

Benjamin Corey suggested that, “This election revealed that a far larger branch of Christianity has been married off to political power than we previously thought,” emphasizing that the religious right is more concerned with political power than the actual gospel of Christ.

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and author of America’s Original Sin, claimed, “White Christians voted just like white people in America did, and being Christian didn’t matter much. So how do we teach white Christians, white evangelicals to be more Christian than white? That’s the issue going forward.”

Wallis – reflecting on Jesus’ counsel regarding the relationship between treating a ‘stranger’ and treating Jesus – suggested that pastors allow their churches to become sanctuaries to protect illegal aliens from deportation.

To an extent, there’s some truth about the concerns of progressive Christians. Corey’s observation regarding evangelicals having become too cozy with political power, which has muted the volume, consistency, and effectiveness of their prophetic political witness, is a legitimate concern.

But where’s the moral balance and condemnation of progressive Christians for having done the same? What about Episcopalians, Presbyterians (USA), a segment of Methodists, and other left-leaning Christians who’re guilty of preferring political power and cultural cache to the Christian gospel.  Whether one agrees or disagrees, at least conservative evangelicals can be praised for attempting to clarify – or redeem – what it means to be an evangelical and have a responsible and biblically articulate political witness in the age of Donald Trump.

Moreover, why doesn’t the Christian Left (or Right) consistently condemn black Christians and black churches for sacrificing Christian principles in favor of political expediency and influence via an unholy marriage to Leftism and social progressive causes? This shifting standard of morality is but one issue that persistently undermines the Christian Left’s political witness.

Likewise, and echoing Wallis with a twist, can’t one say with moral clarity that “Black Christians voted just like black people in America did (especially in 2008 and 2012), and being Christian didn’t matter much. So how do we teach black Christians, black (progressive) evangelicals to be more Christian than black? Why isn’t that ever an issue going forward?” And it is an issue. Black Christians should be more Christian than black. One can and should argue that the covenantal relationship between black Christians and Leftism is much more challenging than the partnership between evangelicals and the political right.

However, there’s little truth to Evans’ suggestion that evangelicals who voted for Trump sold out “marginalized” groups for political power. How is she in a position to know the minds, hearts or reasoned intentions of voters who sided with Donald Trump? The charge is not only silly but it isn’t true. It’s meant to dismiss as evil fellow (white) Christians by projecting a social pox (sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc.) upon those who voted against her preferred candidate. Framing it in a simple moral dichotomy that dismisses nuance, and that divorces Christian support for Trump from caring about “marginalized” groups allows Evans and her sympathizers to claim a superficial unmerited moral purity to dismiss everyone who disagrees with them as not only wrong, but immoral.

Voting for Trump, directly or indirectly, doesn’t mean the voter is against “marginalized” people and Evans knows this.

The same goes for Lewis’ virtue-signaling bravery as a social justice warrior. All of the sacralized issues she raised are supported or defended without Christian influence everyday, so what distinguishes her intentions, purportedly Christian, as being important or necessary? Her ‘new Christianity’ accommodates one-dimensional social identities that compete with the identity that’s required to be grounded in Christ. Lewis should be mindful of Paul’s admonition about teaching a ‘new’ gospel that differs from the one positioned in Christ.

The gospel of progressive Christians is increasingly more about the gospel of Leftism than the Gospel of Christ. Specifically, this social gospel – or social virtue – is really about disassociating oneself, or one’s group, from that which supposedly threatens the common good – what the in-group consensus simplistically defines as a myriad of trendy ‘evils’. It allows the separated to pretentiously claim a false sense of moral superiority over those who reject their definitions and moral claims.

Astute observers realize that this is more about being properly positioned and seen as against manufactured evils – how “moral” and “religious” they look to other like-minded people choosing ‘love’ over ‘hate’ – rather than genuine concern for the people/groups these “evils,” it’s claimed, negatively effect.

It’s self-congratulatory virtue vanity, it’s empty, and it violates Jesus’ admonition against practicing one’s righteousness before men instead of calling those they claim to represent to a higher standard of living as disciples of Christ.

This practice of synthesizing identity politics with Christianity is dangerous because of the popular and cultural influence afforded to the Christian Left.

If progressive Christians are really concerned about the future of their faith, they may want to consider what faith is really of concern – Leftism or Christianity.


11 Responses to Progressive Christians to “Take Back Their Faith” After Election

  1. Bobloblaw67 says:

    more fake news

  2. chuckles says:

    There is no such animal as progressive Christianity. You are either a follower of Christ or you are not. Making up your own Jesus is idol worship. When someone carves a stick and worships it, he has made up a deity in his head and makes it god. There is the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and Satan. There is no others. If you can’t accept what Jesus has offered, you are lost forever. If you think Jesus would bless chopping babies up for cash, you have “missed the mark”, as they say. If you think God changed His mind after Sodom and Gomorrah, you read a different Bible than I do. If you use politics to decide what God thinks, you don’t understand the relationship. Jesus said,( in red writing), that you must hate your mother and father and a half dozen others to be worthy to follow Him. Of course He doesn’t want you to hate anyone, but what He is saying is NOTHING should come between you and Him, even family. If you put politics ahead of Him, you cannot be His. He will tell you, I never knew you!
    There are many verses that prophesy these things in the Last Days. Isa 4:1 speaks of this.
    Isa 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; Only let us be called by your name, To take away our reproach.”
    In that day= last days. 7 women= women are churches 7= Christian churches. take hold of one man= Jesus. We will eat our own food= make up our own doctrine. And wear our own apparel= garments are righteousness and our righteousness is as filthy rags before God. Let us be called by your name to take away our reproach= I want to be called Christian, even though I call evil good, and good evil, being called Christian is catchier that being called the church of Satan or follower of Babylon. If Jesus is King of KIngs, following a political dogma over Christ won’t work.

  3. Thisoldspouse says:

    So many ironic euphemisms in this article.

  4. Wyostk says:

    The more a Christian or even “The Church”, believes in and follows The Bible, the more they will come under attack. They will face ridicule and hateful names. Much like today’s political division, those on the left/progressive can get down right nasty and even violent. Stand!!!

  5. popechezame says:

    Mr. Green should be congratulated for his laser beam insights into the politicization of Christianity. His nuanced thoughts are conspicuolsy missing from the national news narrative that runs the tired and untrue mantra that Trump supporters are xenophobic, racist, and ugly Americans. Dear God, please give Derryck Green a mass media platform and continue to bless him with a prophetic voice.

  6. DaCoachK says:

    “progressive Christian”–Trojan Horse to remake the faith into a social club where abortion is a sacred rite as important as baptism and where homos are the holiest beings on the planet, and where condemning sin is considered being too judgemental.

  7. Great analysis! Such hypocrisy and racism from the “Christian” Left. Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis just covets 24×7. Evans can’t get past her own book cover without mocking the Bible and showcasing her ignorance (https://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/with-rachel-held-evans-as-the-author-you-can-judge-a-book-by-the-cover/

    The “progressives”

  8. Great analysis! Such hypocrisy and racism from the “Christian” Left. I didn’t vote for Trump but respected why people did and am glad Clinton lost.

    Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis just covets 24×7. How wicked of him to encourage such lawlessness!

    Evans can’t get past her own book cover without mocking the Bible and showcasing her ignorance. (https://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/with-rachel-held-evans-as-the-author-you-can-judge-a-book-by-the-cover/ She’s been in full melt-down mode since the election, pretending to care about the truth (Hillary has been a serial liar her entire career, and especially regarding her selling out of U.S. interests for financial and political gain), and is still lying after the election, with her staged “candid” photos).

    The “progressives” are pro-abortion extremists*, and their dream of taxpayer-funded abortions would increase the rate of black abortions to whites well past the current 3-to-1 ratio. If that isn’t racism, nothing is.

    And worst of all, they deny the Savior they pretend to follow. The “Christian” Left denies that Jesus is the only way to salvation, ignoring that it is a truth taught over 100 times in scripture.

    *I am not making this up. They really say this: “According to the bible, a fetus is not a living person with a soul until after drawing its first breath.”
    https://1eternitymatters.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/the-christian-left-is-far-more-extreme-than-the-average-pro-choice-person-2/

  9. Shiphrah Puah says:

    I find it ironic that Evans and her ilk find any “moral purity” in supporting a candidates and a party drenched in the blood of the unborn in this nation.

  10. T_Ford says:

    Great comments everyone. When I read about these radicals I wonder what is wrong with them. They go on and on about being a “prophetic voice” to the secular culture and I think “are you kidding me?”

  11. Tippy Tan says:

    Shear heresy. Try as you do, you cannot possibly make a case for support of Trump’s pandering to xenophobia, heaping scorn on ‘the least of these”, trashing refugees in their plight, and so on while purporting to represent Wesleyan Christianity. You should feel ashamed. What you’ve done here is inexcusable, disgraceful, vile.

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