Regressive Christianity

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   John 8:31-32

Does this teaching set me free? Or does it cause doubt?

As you listen to a preacher, read a book, look at a post, or consider Interruptions – ask the question: “Does this set me free?”

There is a form of Christianity today called “progressive” that is regressive. You can ask questions, learn, read, watch a podcast – but many teachings are not about the difficult pursuit of truth.

They are about doubt. Jesus didn’t come to bring doubt.

Those “enlightened” sniff at those who believe in truth. As someone challenges Bible origins, debates the virgin birth, and discusses how complicated it is to know issues like women in leadership, ask the Spirit within, “Do I feel edified, or I am sensing my faith being filled with doubt?”

I’ve read a lot of “progressive” Christian teaching and not all of it is regressive.

Challenging rooted racism, discussing gender roles, and asking questions about the reliability of scripture can be helpful and increase faith. I’m embarrassed when Christians react rather than thoughtfully discuss.

Not all progressives are regressive and many attending the local Baptist, Christian, Lutheran, or Assembly of God congregations regress to constricting ignorance and religious bondage.

Religion doesn’t bring freedom.

Jesus came to speak truth and that truth will set you free. Do you find freedom? Are you given hope by those that influence your thought? Are you taught anger? Does this teaching eliminate Jesus and elevate your feelings to lordship?

When I was a hippie in California – nothing in history was as progressive as a true hippie – it was down with the system, burn your bras, resist the draft, and don’t trust anyone over the age of 30. Then I encountered a woman in San Jose and asked her how old she was. She looked at me and said, “Why would you ask that; I’m 19?” She had been hitchhiking the country (like me) for one year and looked like she was over 30!

I remember thinking, “My parents, in a narrow-minded Christian church in Springfield, Ohio, are happy, loving, and aging well.”

Who sets you free?

Then I encountered “the scholar” as I began irrelevantly calling him. He was a theology student and took joy in dismantling my year-old faith. I listened to him but never succumbed to his doubt because a year earlier Jesus had set me free from drugs.

Again, what do you believe – doubt or freedom?

Alice Childers in her book, Another Faith, writes:

When I have doubts about my faith, or deep nagging questions that keep me up at night, I don’t have the luxury of finding “my truth” because I am committed to the truth. I want to know what is real. I want my worldview (the lens through which I see the world) to line up with reality. God either exists, or he doesn’t. The Bible is his Word, or it’s not. Jesus was raised from the dead, or he wasn’t. Christianity is true, or it isn’t. There is no “my truth” when it comes to God.

Wow! Progressive or regressive? Freedom or doubt?

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