[Originally published in March 2021 as Pagan “Christianity”]
You may find such a concept slightly startling and even seem oxymoronic. It should be. But we live in times that are utterly insane, so we need to start dealing with this issue. So-called “Progressive” Christianity is not Christianity. Much of what is called “Christian” in the US is simply paganism with a veneer of Christian-ese slapped on top of it to make it sound quasi-orthodox. In the past, when America was a more Christianized culture, this made such ideas more acceptable to the culture at large. However, the “progressive” wing of Christianity has largely been imploding as the culture has become more openly pagan.
Perhaps the most recent example of this comes from a progressive church in Nashville. The church ran a Facebook advertisement for one of its recent sermons. The text of the advertisement read “As Progressive Christians, we’re open to the tensions and inconsistencies in the Bible. We know that it can’t live up to impossible, modern standards. We strive to more clearly articulate what Scripture is and isn’t.” Accompanying the advertisement was a list of affirmations and denials of what they think the Bible is:
“The Bible,” the church said, “isn’t: the Word of God, self-interpreting, a science book, an answer/rule book, inerrant or infallible.” Rather, it is: “a product of community, a library of texts, multi-vocal, a human response to God, living and dynamic.”
This is blatant paganism. And this was deliberate. The church actually believes these claims. The pastor gave an interview with the Christian Post where he expressed surprise that people were upset by the post.
Note what these people believe the Bible is not. They will not affirm it is the Word of God. This leads me to ask: if it’s not God’s Word, why follow it? If it’s just a collection of man’s ideas about God, why bother obeying any of it? What sets it apart from the Koran, or the Hindu or Buddhist holy texts? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The other things they reject follow naturally from rejecting the Bible from its rightful place as the Word of God.
Interestingly, the pseudo-Christian organization BioLogos does not affirm inerrancy, the infallibility of the Scriptures, yet still claims that it is the Word of God. If God, who is perfect and holy, wrote a book, wouldn’t you expect that book to be without error? But this goes along with BioLogos’s overall low view of both Scripture and God. Keep in mind that this is the same organization that employs a woman who would rather her children be pagan than give up contraceptives, and once published an article claiming Jesus could make mistakes.
Most paganism within the church is not this blatant, however. Much of it comes in forms that claim to be Christ-honoring. Some are over-the-top, like the Charismatics’ exaggerated claims to miraculously heal people in the name of Jesus. Others are more subtle, such as when Evangelicals embrace godless entertainment to draw people into their churches in the hopes of somehow converting them. Still other forms of paganism within the church sound incredibly spiritual until you think about it.
Consider this recent statement from none other than Southern Baptist President JD Greear. “Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Take up my teachings and follow me,’ or, ‘Take up my moral code.’ He says, ‘Take up my cross.'” This statement sounds super pious and spiritual. But it’s demonstrably false, and there is no way Greear does not know that. Consider what Jesus says before His ascension in Matthew 28:18–20.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (emphsis added)
Notice the italicized words. What is Jesus commanding His followers to do? Go and preach the gospel to the nations, and teach them to do what? Follow His commands! The verse is a common one. There is no way Greear is not familiar with it. He is also undoubtedly familiar with John 14:15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Yet he ignored both of those passages to distort what Jesus taught.
I want to emphasize that I do not believe Greear is a pagan. However, what purpose could he possibly have in making such a pagan statement? It seems clear he is trying to divorce Jesus from his moral and spiritual commands, likely in order to accommodate the abortionists he admits attend his church. But this is the essence of what progressive Christianity does. They want to keep Jesus but divorce Him from what He taught. Progressive Christianity makes gods in their own image and calls them Jesus. That is exactly what Greear is doing.
With so much pagan thinking infiltrating the church in all areas, we need to realize that our greatest mission field may well be our church pews. This may not be true of every church, but it is undoubtedly true of the church in general. It’s time to clean house within the church and purge ourselves of pagan philosophies so that we might be a spotless bride for Christ when He comes for us.