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Progressive Christianity

Norman McNulty


This sermon addresses contemporary ideas among so-called progressive Christians. These ideas are evaluated in light of the truth of the Bible. The listener will be challenged to live by the Word of God rather than the trends of modern culture.


Norman McNulty

Neurologist at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System, Lawrenceburg, TN



  • May 13, 2017
    11:00 AM
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Father in heaven we think you. For this day we thank you that we have the opportunity to worship you. And I pray on the Sabbath you would give me the words to speak may the message be clear may give us a clearer understanding for your will for our lives I pray in Jesus' name. The title for our message this morning is Progressive Christianity and you may be may wonder where I'm going with this message let me start off with our scriptures reading with a few other thoughts and then I will get to the main idea for the message this morning and the book of G.-D. in the apostle of Judah Judah writes to the early Christian believers and we're going to read the first four verses here before we move on to some other verses and here we read Jude the servant of Jesus Christ him brother of James to them that are sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called mercy unto you in peace and love be multiplied so it's a standard introductory greeting at the beginning. But M. verse three Jude starts to say some things that should cause the ears of every Christian to perk up in verse three G. It says Be Love it when I gave all diligence to Roy and to you of the common solve ation that was needful for me to write and you and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered under the Saints Here is what Judas saying further in my IT and original idea when I was going to write an A plus will to you a letter of exportation to you I was going to write to you of the common salvation. Of. Something happened. It was necessary. For me to write and to you and exhort. So in other words circumstances changed in the early Christian church where instead of giving a simple message of how we are saved by grace through faith which is a message which will stand the test of time until Jesus comes back and which we could always stand to hear more about but it was necessary for me to change what I was going to write to you about. And what I am Bing T. you is that I am exhorting you I am begging you I am pleading with view that you should earnestly and then for the faith which was once delivered under the Saints. Now is there a reason why you would say such a thing to the early Christian believers does he have false alarm bells is he a fearmonger were is he just someone who has a tendency to worry and shew cry wolf too many times is that what's happening here in the early Christian church No it's not there is a reason why is writing this message of X. or Taishan in verse four he tells us why he is writing this letter for there are certain men crept in on a Whereas or in other words there are men who have come into the church unnoticed. Who were before of old ordained to this condemnation ungodly men churning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God in our Lord Jesus Christ in other words there are men who have come into the Christian church this goes back to the first century A.D. who come and unnoticed and they change the message of true grace. And they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness not the world the seriousness is a big word but it simply means turning God's grace into a license to keep Senate that's what it means. In denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ in other words they're denying God the Father and they're denying Jesus is the son now I'm not going to continue through the rest of the book of Jude this is a platform for where I'm headed with the rest of the message today Needless to say though if you study the Book of Jude you will find that the very issues that troubled the early Christian church are going to be the very issues that will trouble God's Alas the church and I will just give you him by saying when you get to the end of the book of Jude Jude says now under him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you fall as before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy that is a prophetic picture of the one hundred forty four thousand who stand without fall before the throne of gun and what Jude is contending with in this a personal is a false gospel that would cause Christian believers to be kept from the kingdom of God and that is why he says to the early Christian believers I exhort. I beg with you I plead with you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered under the Saints friends a Seventh Day Adventist Christians today we stand on the Word of God the pure word of truth that has been passed down to us from the fathers of our past the early the Old Testament apostles and the the New Testament apostles. We are standing on a foundation that was laid from. The scripture and from Jesus and for us to churn away from the faith which has been delivered to us is a very dangerous thing to do. And in fact in the book of his E.Q. chapter thirty three. We have been told that there is a need for there to be watchman in the church and Ezekiel chapter thirty three starting in verse seven as a so those Son of man I have set the A watchman under the house of Israel therefore social hear the word of my mouth and mourn them from me when I say and of the work of the wicked man that will surely die if the US not speak to warn the wicked from his way the wicked man shall die in his inequity but his blood will require at the one hand never the laws of war and the wicked of his way to turn from it if he Do not sure and from his way he shall die in as the next what he but that has the liver deisel you know there has come a tendency into the Christian church a large sheet to shy away from a straightforward preaching of Scripture because we are afraid of offending people in stepping on their toes when in reality if we truly a one of everybody we will give them a clear add for admonition from scripture of what God has said to us about what is right and what is wrong. We shouldn't come to church with an expectation that will be patted on the back for living a life of sun. We should come to church with the expectation that we will be challenged in our walk with Jesus to draw closer to him and with an understanding that it does our sins and our inequities that have separated us from go on. Scripture warns us of Matthew seven fifteen the false prophets will come in sheep clothing and sheep's clothing but inwardly they are Raven and walls. And I'm going to address a topic today. That will hopefully showed some. Why on some of the challenges that we as God's people are facing in the time that we are living in and I came across a blog this week that. Really summarize some of these thoughts nicely it's a blog by a woman by the name of a list of Childers. And she wrote a blog entitled five signs that your church might be headed towards Progressive Christianity. And so we're going to look at these five signs and I'm going to add some Bible verses in chew the commentary. And we're going to see what the Bible says versus what progressive Christianity is saying now I might hasten to add that the word progressive is a term used by such people in a way that I would not consider to be progressive. I would call it really regressive. Now. The first thing. And actually maybe I'll just read all five points and then we'll go through each one of them so here's the five points number one they have a lower view of the Bible number chief feelings are emphasized over facts number three essential Christian doctrines are open for reinterpretation number four historic terms are redefined and number five the heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice so we're going to go through these points. So number one there is a lower To view of the Bible now as I said as Seventh Day Adventists we stand on the Word of God we came and she would exist and because we followed the Word of God and by every word that proceeded out of out of the mouth of God We simply followed were the truth of Scripture let us and that's how we came to an understanding of the Sabbath message and of the same message and of the second coming message that G.. He's a scumming literally in the clouds of heaven we we understood that some of the popular Christian ideas of a thousand years of peace before Jesus comes and establishes His Kingdom on this earth has nothing to do with what Scripture says we have an understanding that Jesus is coming to deliver his people from a world of sin that there will never be a thousand years of peace and prosperity before Jesus comes back these are some things that we came to understand as Seventh Day Adventists as we came into existence as a church yet amazingly. There are some not just in out into ism but in Christianity at large who have developed a love low word a view of what the Bible is one of the main differences between progressive Christianity and historic Christianity is the view of the Bible historically Christians have viewed the Bible as the Word of God and authoritative for our lives. But progressed of Christianity generally abandons these terms emphasizing personal belief over biblical mandate so what would some examples of this be well first of all they say they don't say that the Bible is the Word of God They say the Bible contains the word. You see the difference so if you say the Bible contains the Word of God That means you can pick and choose which part of the Bible contains the Word of God verses which part of the Bible is the Word of God So you may hear some people say you know the Bible is a human book written by human authors and it has human error therefore we have to pick and choose and then you may hear someone say. You know I disagree with the Apostle Paul on that issue. Yeah I know that he says very clearly. That the bishop in the church should be the husband of one wife but I don't agree with him. Because the Bible was written in a context at that time for that culture so I can't really accept what Paul is saying now not to get off on that particular issue but for those who like to say that Paul was giving a cultural argument for his time Paul wrote the book a first time a thief to a traveling minister who went all over the early Christian church to all the churches Timothy was tasks to raise up churches so Paul was giving him a standard to use in every culture in every church no matter the situation not just one place. We see some of the add in us and it's Christians in second term of the chapter three the admonition of second Timothy Chapter three verses sixteen and seventeen where it says All Scripture is given by inspiration of a gun and it's profitable for a doctrine for per reproof for correction for instruction and righteousness that the man of God may be perfect throughly furnished and all good works all of Scripture not just the parts that we agree with and if we find a passage in scripture that we don't agree with it's probably because our lives are living in contradiction to the revealed will of God rather than the other way around. God and His love too as a has made his will very clear to us and one of the powerful things about scripture. Is that when we understand the power in the Word of God It changes our allies and John chapter one verse one it says in the beginning was the word in the Word was WITH God and the Word was God The same was in the beginning with God The Roman centurion had an understanding of the power of the Word of God The Roman centurion understood that Jesus is the word because when his server. I was sick he said Jesus you're a man of authority just as I'm a man of authority I say to my servant do this and he does it and go here and he does that you're a man of authority as well so just speak the word only and my servant be healed because your word has the highest authority in the universe now if we get away from the authority of the Word of God and deny the power of the Word of God How can we expect the power of the Word of God to change our hearts and our lives if we don't even believe what is. In Jesus saying I have not found faith in all of us who are like this Roman centurion Jesus is looking for Christians today to not lower the view of the Bible to not bring it down to a cultural book woman and to the concept of being an ancient text but to have an understanding through faith that the Bible is still the Living Word of God today. The Bible says does not simply contain the word of God The Bible is the Word of God and house power to change our lives rather than disagreeing with the Apostle Paul on various issues or the apostle Peter or perhaps even Jesus himself let's see to follow Jesus and shew order our lives and surrender to him when we read the Word of God and apply it to our lives now Point number two feelings are in for sized over facts. In Progress of churches personal experiences feelings and opinions. Tend to be valued above objective truth as the Bible ceases to be viewed as God's defended of word what a person feels to be true becomes the a fault of the ultimate authority for Faith and Practice and that's a dangerous place to go. What you feel to be true as opposed to what the Bible says. And I want to say this when I lived in Southern California I was having dinner one Saturday night this was just. Probably two or three months before Joe Well and I got married so this was about ten years ago because they're well and I are going to be married ten years as of August this year. We were having dinner with another couple who were going to be married about two months before we were and they described a conversation they had with a young man who went to a certain university of which I will not name. And this particular individual said you know. Maybe my classes of MUST with my thinking but if my conscience goes against what the Bible says I've got to go with my conscience. Was a dangerous place to be. If your conscience is going against the Bible it might just be because your conscience is like the serpent of old that is saying Did God really say that. You may hear comments such as this you know that bible verse just doesn't resonate with me. I just can't believe Jesus would send good people to destruction. And this one hits closer to home and it gets to an issue in our time and I'll also say this I have a relative that I had dinner with not too long ago who said something very similar to this. The then there's the idea I thought homosexuality was a son until I met and became friends with gay people now let me say this. We're not here to. Condemn gay people and show them hey if we do that then we don't have a good Christian experience right we're here to show them the love of God. But if we show gay people that they can keep living the way they're living without. Any consequences for a lifestyle that is clearly condemned in Scripture are we really showing them true love because one of the arguments in Christianity today is that if we're going to show these people true love we will accept their lifestyle we will accept their practice and there is nothing wrong with what they were doing we just have to get up with the times get up with the Coulter and be accepting of who they are without expecting any change now let me read to you what the Bible really says. And I'm not going to go to the Old Testament verses which by the way those who advocate for this lifestyle say that these verses of scripture are clobber texts now if we use the Bible in the wrong way certainly we can beat people over the head but if we are showing people in love what God's plan for their life really can be then these are not clobber texts but words of love that are designed to use our lives in order now this passage in First Corinthians six chapter six verses nine through eleven does not particularly pick on one son it has a list of sins let me read it to you. First Corinthians Chapter six verses nine through eleven. Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God So the Apostle Paul is saying here do you not know that the UN righteous are those who are living in Sun shell not inherit the kingdom of God It's a question he's asking because the answer is obvious if you are living an N righteous life apart from the righteousness of Christ through faith you will not inherit the kingdom of God and then he says Be not deceived because there is the suction that has come into the Christian church this is you can live and I'm right just life and still be saved and the apostle Paul says Be not to see. Neither fornicators. Nor idolaters nor adulterers and I'll stop there first because we will talk about the rest of the passage next the there is even a problem in the church today where there are people who are fornicators which we know what that means idolaters those people who have made idols in their lives adulterers and we just sweep those things under the rug and say Who are we to judge and yet then we come back around and say well we can accept homosexuality. But we're not dealing with the other sins in the church. Now God says listen don't be to see. If you are a fornicator or an idolater or an adulterer. You will not inherit the kingdom of God. Continuing on nor effeminate nor abusers of themselves with mankind now in King James language it sometimes hard to understand what Paul is saying here if you have like the N A S B It's very clear now to be effeminate means to be a man and you're denying your masculinity and you're trying to be like a woman another word you're trying to be transgender. And then the other one it says those who want to say as abusers of themselves with mankind the N A S B says those who practice homosexuality. Is very clear so to say oh who are we to judge only God can know the heart the Bible tells us we don't have to guess as to what the outcome will be if we don't in the love warn our brothers and sisters Now again if you're in the living and I don't know the hearts of people here but maybe there's someone here who is under the table doing something in an adulterous way that's the same issue whatever the case may be God says don't be deceived. Either fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers North eminent or those who practice homosexuality then verse ten or thieves. Your covetousness nor drunkards nor reviler is nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God Now if we stop right there you would walk away a bit like man says this is pretty pretty brutal it's like you're not going to go to heaven if you're doing this this this and this will sometimes we need to have our kids rattle just a little bit to be reminded of the malignity of sin and just how much God hates and I remember God hates them but he doesn't hate the sin. Now here's the amazing thing that Paul's those in verse eleven. And such were some of me. But now here's the contra us you used to be that way but you're not anymore. That's the way you lived when you were living a life of sin. But you were washed but you are sanctified but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the spirit of our God another words when you come and she was saving justifying sanctifying relationship with Jesus the sins of your past become a practice of the past in your line. Whatever you may be struggling on there is a whole list of things fornication idolatry adultery transgender issues homosexual issues theft covetousness Bay being a drunk being a reviler extorting people of money all of those things that are signs that you live an underwriting this life those are things that Scripture says clearly through the power of God you can gain the victory over so why are we as twenty first century Christians trying to neutralize the power of the Word of God. Because the power of the Word of God brings freedom and relief from a wife of body. To send. What may seem to be freedom in reality ins of being bondage. So that's point number two feelings are emphasizing over facts. Point number three essential Christian doctrines are open for reinterpretation. And appear in progressive author by the name of China John Pavlov It's wrote There are no sacred cows in progressive Christian Christianity tradition dogma and doctrine are all fair game because all pass through the hands of flawed humanity so while so anything can be reinterpreted including doctrine so a pretty good purpose of Christians are often open to redefining and reinterpreting the Bible on hot button moral issues like homosexuality and abortion and other Cardinal Law and such as the virgin conception and the resurrection of Jesus they say such things as the resurrection of Jesus doesn't have to be factual to speak truth are you kidding me. Oh Jesus didn't really have to really be raised from the dead for us to gain some truth that's a nice sum bollock idea that Jesus was raised from the devil let me read to you the Apostle Paul again as he seems to be the one that has good answers to all of these weird ideas that are coming into the Christian church First Corinthians fifteen vs sixteen and seventeen he says for if the dead rate rise not then is not Christ raise and he's addressing the issue that the Sadducees taught that there is no resurrection of the notice for seventeen and of Christ being not raised your faith is vain you are yet in your son's In other words there is no redemption if Jesus is not raised from the dead and we understand why because Jesus was resurrected so that he could go to heaven to finish the work of redemption as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. And. Course they mention other things that can be offensive and need to be reinterpreted or updated within a modern framework Listen friends we do not allow modern culture to frame what the Bible says yes we live our lives based see what the Bible says because we love Jesus and Jesus is the word. Now a couple of other points and I'm going to get to my closing thoughts or point to before historic terms are redefined. So they will say such things like if you ask them Do you believe the Bible is the Vialli inspired they'll say Oh sure it is but they place that inspired in quotes in the same way that they would say other Christian books songs or sermons are inspired. And you may hear certain comments such as God wouldn't punish centers He is love. Sure the Bible's authoritative authoritative but we've mostly misunderstood it for the first two thousand years of church history and finally it's not our job to talk to anyone about send us our job just to love them well then why does the Bible talk about sin. And if we're going to follow Jesus and if Jesus condemns and we will follow Jesus as well again in the right and loving way. And then finally this is the last point that we're going to get to the closing point the heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice now this is very interesting The Here's some of the thoughts there is no doubt that the Bible commands us to take care of the unfortunate offend those who are oppressed This is a very real and profoundly important part of what it means to live our Christian faith however the core message of Christianity of the gospel is that Jesus died for us and this is true what I'm reading here the core message is that Jesus died for. Our sins was buried and resurrected and thereby reconciled us to God This is the message that will truly bring freedom to the oppressed however many progress of Christians today find the concept of God willing His Son to die on the cross to be embarrassing or even appalling and you believe. And this is what they say they sometimes refer to the death of Jesus as cosmic child abuse. The idea of blood atonement is deemphasized or deny it all together with social justice and good works in thrown in its place they say such things a sin doesn't separate us from God We are made in His image and he called us good wall that's before son came into the world number two God didn't actually require a sacrifice for our sins the first Christians picked up on the pagan practice of animal sacrifice and told the Jesus story in similar terms so they. They lower the cross and bring it down to the level of a pagan sacrifice absolutely ridiculous and then finally they say we don't really need to preach the Gospel we just need to show love by bringing justice to the oppressed and provision to the needy now the last part is yes we do need to bring justice to the A for us and provision to the needy but that doesn't mean that we don't share the gospel truth as well and in fact James Chapter one Verse twenty seven says pure religion and undefiled before God in the Father is this to visit the fatherless and will those in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world now perhaps sometimes as Christians we've done a better job of trying to keep ourselves on spotted from the world and we forgotten to do the good works of visiting the father was in the widows and their affliction but pure religion and a file before God on the father is to do both so we don't separate them apart from each other and say they are mutually exclusive. Now as I close I'm going to share a few verses and I want to start by going to Matthew chapter eleven verse. And if you chapter eleven verse seven this is Jesus speaking of John the Baptist and as they departed Jesus after John's disciples departed to go back to talk to John the Baptist as they departed Jesus began to say end of the multitudes concerning John what went into the wilderness to see and then he asked a question or read shaken with the one. I want to ask you a question. Is there any Tao that John was not like a weed or a reed shaken in the when John stood shrewd he stood straight he stood tall and he was not afraid to call some by his right name. And Jesus identifies that characteristic of John when he says What did you go out to see when you went to hear John Creech in the wilderness was he like a reed shaken with a when that whenever a new wind of doctrine would blow he would blow in the direction of the new doctrine every time a new idea comes into the church that's the latest idea the latest fad that you're going to hang your hat on like oh this is wise Jesus hasn't come this is why Jesus hasn't come or this is how we need to change the church and before you know it you don't believe anything. In IF Eason's for verse fourteen the Apostle Paul again it's admonishes us to not be blown about but carry about with every wind of doctrine friends we need to have a strong foundation in the clear word of God And John the Baptist who Jesus said at that time was the greatest of the prophets was not a reed shaken by the wind. And John Chapter fourteen verse six. Jesus says I am the Way the Truth and the life and in John sixteen thirteen Jesus is of the Holy Spirit that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth don't ever buy into the idea that shrew think is relative and that we really can't know what truth is because if we are under the guiding influence of Jesus and in our lives and the Holy Spirit who has been sent to guide us into all truth we can be directed to know every truth that we need to know for this time. But the problem is. Sometimes the truth cuts against our carnal nature and we don't want to follow the truth of Scripture because we really don't want to follow the Jesus who is the truth and us what Jesus says and Luke nineteen verse twelve he said therefore a certain noble man went into a far country this is the noble man as Jesus to receive for himself a kingdom and to Richard. This is Jesus going into the heavenly sanctuary and when he finishes his work he will come back verse thirteen and he called us ten servants and deliver them temp ounds and Saddam to them Occupy till I come this is a must as that we have some of them as of hell for many years we're occupying till Jesus comes but the question is what are we doing while we're occupying. How are we occupying our time on August first fourteen speaking of the noble man who is Jesus the citizens that would be those in his kingdom and His church but his citizens loved him. It's not what the Bible says this is shocking so the citizens hated him and sent a message after him saying we will not have this man to reign over us another words many Christians say we. We're OK with Jesus being the savior of our lives we will accept a sacrifice but what we will not accept is his lordship or his rulership over our lives and if you are saying that you were saying I hate Jesus. And that's a hard thing to hear but that's what Jesus themselves when I read this passage these are words that are in the they're in the letters rid. Meaning Jesus Himself says my citizens of my last the church who do not want to follow me actually. We will not have this man to reign over us now friends listen there are we all have various issues various struggles that we deal with on a day to day basis and every single one of us whatever it may be in our lives maybe it's a haul or drugs or maybe it's some secret sexual sun there is something maybe it's covets just in this maybe it's a gossiping tongue maybe it's bitterness maybe it's resentment maybe you haven't forgiven someone that you should've forgiven twenty years ago and you still don't look them when you pass them on the way. Whatever the case may be God has made it possible for us to overcome that son and to live our lives in accordance with the Word of God because Jesus in His great love for us died for us and when we see His sacrifice on our behalf it motivates us to love him and to use our lives in order with his life the friends we are not living in ordinary times and as I close I will mention this I'm not necessarily picking on one son above another but we are living in a time now where the sin of homosexuality. Is not only accepted but it has become celebrated not only in the world at large but even by some in the church now every. Ascend whatever the sin may be but I don't see people going around and celebrating the son of murder or the son of adultery or the son a fudge or the son of wine there are still courts of law that will put you behind bars for putting someone to death or for stealing or for whatever else but for the sin of homosexuality. You are celebrated and given awards as if you were somebody special and friends we as God's people and a lot of ing way by the grace of God are to be calling sin by its right name and not been accepting of the cultural values that have come into the world today now is the time for us as God's people to be followers of Jesus to call son by its right name and in the love of Jesus show people that there are truly is Grace and redemption and peace and happiness when we follow Jesus the way he has asked us to follow. And I would challenge each one of you today whatever you may be struggling with. Bring it to the foot of the cross lay it at the foot of Jesus and He will give you the grace that you need to be a follower of him all the way to the kingdom of heaven I'm on. This media was brought to you by audio from a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio first if you would like to listen to more service leave to visit W W W audio verse or.


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