The Truth Part 11: Progressive Christianity (1) – Sermon by Steven Loots

Read Jude 1:1-4

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for[a] Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Paul is writing this letter to believers.

  • He expresses his desire to talk about their shared faith – about Salvation.
  • However,
    • he feels compelled to address a real issue facing the church.
    • The problem of false teachers and teaching within their midst.

In verses 3 to 4 he makes clear the following;

“The faith” has been given to God’s people, once for all.

  • There is nothing to add and nothing can be taken away, it can however be misinterpreted.
  • This “faith” is in Jesus Christ the Messiah and is explained in the Gospel of Grace through faith.
    • The Gospel reveals that every human being has a sin problem and is in need of a savior.
    • This is why the world is in a mess – people sin against each other and against God.
    • People, and therefore, any society cannot change without being born again.
    • This is the Gospel of grace.
    • We are sinners, destined for judgement.
      • However, God sent his son to die in our place.
      • We need to have a personal encounter with the living Christ.
      • When we believe we are born again.
      • His Holy Spirit comes and lives in us.

Paul’s audience knows these things. It has been revealed to them. They are believers, followers of Jesus Christ.

Now here’s the problem in verse 4 we read the following:

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Paul’s answer to this problem is simple: he writes and says contend for the faith.

  • We need to stand up for the truth.
  • Truth matters.
  • Our faith the Gospel is at stake.
  • The enemy is among us.
    • This danger is not coming from the outside, not from the world, not from a government, not from those who hate the church,
      • but from inside the church.
      • There are people who are perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality and who deny Jesus Christ our only Savior and Lord.

Why are they doing this?

  • Because of the immorality in the world that they find so appealing.
    • They want both the church and the world.
    • They want their consciences eased and they want to fulfil their desires.
    • They want salvation without repentance and faith without sacrifice.
    • They want to serve a god of their own making,
      • who conforms to their view of the world rather than being transformed into the person God wants them to be.
    • They want to shape the world into a form of Utopia based on their terms, using Christianity as a base and a justification for their worldview.
    • They want to conform to the culture of the day.
    • In the end, they want to be their own god.
    • And in the process they are denying Jesus Christ as savior and Lord.

Today we are faced with a similar problem.

  • From within the church a new gospel has arisen which denies the faith that was handed to us in the Bible.
  • It denies the very basis of the faith/ of the Gospel
    • it denies the fact that we need a personal savior because of sin and focuses rather on systemic
    • It sees all the evils of the world as bound up in systemic racism systemic economic injustice, social injustice, poverty, inequality, sexual discrimination, and a variety of social ills.
    • Basically society and not man must change.

What is progressive Christianity?

Progressive Christianity has its roots in liberal Christianity or liberal theology and has been around for a long time.

  • It is in essence more than a different perspective but rather a different religion altogether.
  • It is no longer actually Christianity.
  • It has several names like liberal Christianity or the emerging church or progressive Christianity – they’re really all the same.

Progressive Christianity is a movement within the wider global church

  • It is widespread
  • Many if not most churches are feeling its influence to some degree.
  • It is propagated by some of the most well known and loved teachers of our time.
  • In most churches there are individuals who hold onto its core beliefs
  • It is found in whole congregations and even in large denominations.
  • In some instances, pastors are teaching it without even realizing what they’re doing as they have been influenced by its proponents – the popular teachers and writers of our day.
  • In other cases, it is openly celebrated.

Progressive Christianity represents a wide range of people

  • This includes moderates who would openly proclaim that they believe in the authority of the Bible yet dismiss key passages they see is problematic
  • and liberals who are merely slightly religious.


  • While there is a strong connection to liberal politics, at its core progressive Christianity is based on postmodern or liberal theology this theology abhors certainty and celebrates mystery which makes it fertile ground for influence from the Mystics.


  • It hates the certainty of a gospel where people can say with conviction “I am saved” or “there is only one way to God, through Jesus Christ” or even the mere fact that Christianity is God’s answer to the world.
  • It denies the full authority of the scripture and it stands opposed to biblical Christianity.
  • It cannot handle the idea of personal accountability one day before God or the doctrine of hell.
  • It is being taught in Bible Schools and seminaries.
  • It has gained momentum with the growing popularity of the Mystics and in particular Richard Rohr.
  • Whole denominations are facing this threat: Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Anglicans and even the Catholics are seeing multiple churches embracing this teaching.
  • Independent churches are being swallowed whole or being planted on the basic tenants of progressive Christianity even evangelicals are feeling the pressure.
  • Mission movements and ministries – especially those who are populated by younger believers are moving in this direction – effecting how they share the gospel, or what they believe what it means to fulfill the Great Commission.

Why is it growing?

Many people, especially younger people, are attracted to it because of its emphasis on social justice, fairness, love, the environment and equity. it appeals to our idea of what God should do and what society should look like. It answers questions that the church has stopped asking.

The challenge of dealing with progressive Christianity is that most of what it says is partially true.

  • Dealing with half-truths is more difficult than dealing with outright lies.
  • It sounds so appealing.
  • It speaks to our idea of fairness and our concern for those less privileged.
  • Those who have not heard the gospel.
  • It universalizes faith.
  • It calls on us to be unified with all people,
    • to agree with people
    • to be open minded,
    • to accept people whoever they are,
    • not to judge people,
    • and to create a just society.
    • All of this seems good. One could ask is this not what Jesus would want us to do?
    • However, it denies the truth of Scripture, selecting only those passages that confirm its prejudices and denying the power of the gospel and the uniqueness of Christ.

We might be tempted to argue that we need to find middle ground with the culture of our day

  • including when it comes to moral positions and mainly as far as sexual ethics are concerned.
  • While this seems reasonable it is at direct odds was faithfully sticking to God’s word.
  • For progressive Christians, disagreement equals hate, while we say that we can love you and still speak truth into your life.
  • We are entering a time we will have to take a stand.
    • There’s nowhere to hide.
    • We need to struggle for the faith:
      • the faith found in Scripture.
      • even though it will make us very unpopular.
      • This might very well be the persecution of our day, cultural persecution, where you either cave to progressive Christianity or face the cancel culture.

In the following weeks we will examine some of its teachings and see how it is influencing the church and why we need to contend for the faith in these days.