Nine signals of progressive Christianity

Scot McKnight interacts a little with Roger Olson’s attempt to identify markers of progressive Christianity. You should read the whole thing but here they are in condensed form:

  1. Doctrines are talked about only as historical relics, not as living realities to be protected and defended
  2. An abandonment of church discipline especially as that relates to doctrinal accountability and sexual behaviour
  3. A determination, however, slow and subtle, to accommodate to trends within academic culture
  4. An elevation of inclusiveness to a virtue bar none
  5. The abandonment of concepts such as “sin,” “repentance,” “salvation,” “return of Christ,” and, yes, “judgement of God.”
  6. Implicit universalism— and with that a complete abandonment of any mention of hell
  7. Description of the Bible as different in degree but not in kind from other great and inspiring writings (not as a supernaturally inspired and unique message from God, possessing final authority for faith and practice).
  8. The complete abandonment of belief in the supernatural together with a strong emphasis on the immanence of God in all people
  9. The adoption of hostile language about groups of human beings who dare to defend traditional values

As Olson warns

As in fundamentalism, within many progressive Christian circles an echo chamber develops. In this one, though, those “out of touch” with the latest trends in sociology, social work, education, journalism and the social sciences in general are effectively silenced. There develops a “fundamentalism of the left” that is not really inclusive at all.


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