Two theologies are compatible if and only if their core beliefs can coexist without resulting in conflict on issues of faith. Core beliefs may say the same thing in two different ways or may focus on different aspects of dogma. Core beliefs may, for example, be expressed as an ordered list of sequential items (as given below), an ordered list of God’s Decrees (Decrees of Reformed Theology) or even a Christian Manifesto in which the core beliefs are somewhat obscured (1646 Westminster Confession). But when the position of each theology on a given issue is determined, those positions must be identical if the two theologies are compatible.
Incompatibility always results if a specific core belief of one theology is negated by a specific core belief of another theology (e.g. Wesleyan/Arminianism versus Calvinism). Only one instance of core belief negation is required to conclude that two theologies are incompatible; once that instance is found, there is no need to search for additional examples. Furthermore, once a single instance of core belief negation is found, any observed agreement between other core beliefs is irrelevant.
Wesleyan/Arminian core beliefs can be employed when comparing Christian Theology to other theologies – such as those of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Scientology, Universalist Unitarian or Christian Science. The following formulation of Wesleyan/Arminian core beliefs is satisfactory for comparison.
- The Bible is the inspired, infallible and inerrant word of God.
- The one true God exists as three distinct, transcendent, immanent, infinite, eternal, and immutable persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus Christ is God the Son. Jesus Christ is man. Jesus Christ is one person whose divine and human natures cannot be changed, divided, separated or mixed. Jesus Christ was resurrected bodily from the dead. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.
- Every person since Adam and Eve, except Jesus Christ, was born with a sin nature and no person, except Jesus Christ, has lived a sinless life.
- Salvation from the consequences of sin is offered to all persons by the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ.
- The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all persons (Titus 2:11): (a) the requirements of the law are written by God on every heart (Rom. 2:15), (b) Jesus Christ knocks at the door of every heart (Rev. 3:20), (c) the Holy Spirit calls and convicts each person (John 16:8) and (d) God’s eternal power and divine nature are evident in the world around us (Rom 1:20). Nevertheless, many resist the grace of God.
- Each person who responds to God’s grace and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ by confession of sin, remorse, repentance, faith and obedience receives the great gift of salvation. Each person who resists God’s grace is condemned to everlasting punishment.
- Faith precedes regeneration; faith is an act of human free will responding to the grace of God.
According to ProgressiveChristianity.org, the core beliefs of Progressive Christianity, as of 2023, include:
- Believe that following the way and teachings of Jesus can lead to experiencing sacredness, wholeness, and unity of all life, even as we recognize that the Spirit moves in beneficial ways in many faith traditions.
- Seek community that is inclusive of all people, honoring differences in theological perspective, age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, class, or ability.
- Strive for peace and justice among all people, knowing that behaving with compassion and selfless love towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.
- Embrace the insights of contemporary science and strive to protect the Earth and ensure its integrity and sustainability.
- Commit to a path of life-long learning, believing there is more value in questioning than in absolutes.
These five core beliefs cleverly negate the core beliefs of classical Christianity.
- Bullet item 1 sidesteps the core belief of Christianity that the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ is the only path to the salvation of your eternal soul.
- Bullet item 2 makes Christianity inclusive of blasphemous theologies and all kinds of sin.
- Bullet item 3 is a vacuous expression of the Great Commandment (Mat 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31) without context.
- Bullet item 4 ignores the Christian belief that Satan, who holds the power of death (Heb 2:14) and is the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30-31; 16:8-11), exercises a pervasive, structural and diabolical influence which caused all creation to be captured by the bondage of evil.
- Bullet item 5 is a categorical rejection of all eight core beliefs of Christianity.
It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that Classical Christian Theology is not compatible with Progressive Christian Theology.
The pages of christianapologetic.org define what Christians believe, why we believe it and what we should do about it. These doctrinal principles have not changed since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, nearly all Christian fundamentals have been periodically challenged by critics offering a plethora of proposed improvements; the frequency of these suggested changes increased after the Protestant Reformation. Corrections have been suggested by the adherents of Baha’i, Christian Science, Hare Krishna, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Transcendental Meditation, the Unification Church, the Unity School, the Way, the Worldwide Church of God and, most recently, by Progressive Christianity and its kindred spirit Woke Christianity. Challenges are often limited to changes in Christian beliefs about God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Sin and Salvation. But some challenges demand all of Christianity be sent to the dust bin except for a few token concepts useful to the challengers. Regardless of the details, all these challenges represent lawlessness, apostasy, heresy and blasphemy. All are fraudulent. All are lies. None are remotely Christian!
Nevertheless, Progressive Christianity appeals to many, particularly the youth of this age. It has much the same allure as Marxism which is also highly seductive. Marxism is much more than a political, sociological, and economic system; it has all the trappings of the world religions it claims to denounce! Marx denounced every religion as the illusory sun around which man revolves, until he begins to revolve around himself... A being only considers himself independent when he stands on his own feet; and he only stands on his own feet when he owes his existence to himself. (Marx, quoted by Colson and Pearcey, p 235). What does Marx mean when he says you must owe your existence to no one but yourself. Oswald Chambers unpacked this idea a century ago:
“The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man’s sin; but that the disposition of sin, viz. my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race by one man, and that another Man took on Him the sin of the human race and put it away (Heb 9:26) – an infinitely profounder revelation. The disposition of sin is not immorality and wrong-doing, but the disposition of self-realization – I am my own god. This disposition may work out in decorous morality or in indecorous immorality, but it has one basis, my claim to my right to myself.” (Chambers, October 5th)
Marxism teaches there is no higher authority than my own heart, intellect and will. I am my own god! I define good and evil! The core beliefs of Progressive Christianity teach the same thing!
Furthermore, Progressive Christianity is lead by clergy who have toiled, throughout their careers, to dismantle Apostolic Christianity. They have infiltrated the church and sought to destroy it from within.
Progressive Christianity appeals, albeit superficially, to your intelligence and your sense of charity and altruism. But mostly, Progressive Christianity appeals to your pride. Do not forget:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof leads to death. (Prov 14:12)
(See also Sections 2.11, 2.13, 2.14, 2.15, 2.16, 2.17, 2.18, 2.19, 2.20, 13.6 and 13.8 of Theology Corner)