- by Jim Gordon
Progressives and Evangelicals. Is it Really US vs THEM?
There are hundreds of various denominations within the Christian faith and thousands of various interpretations and doctrines based on the bible. It seems we hear much about two of these groups: Evangelicals and Progressives. They appear to be on opposite ends of the Christian belief spectrum. Should it really become an us versus them way of life? My reply to this comes from James 3:10 (NIV): "My brothers and sisters, it should not." I grew up as an Evangelical Christian and spent nearly fifty years living with that belief system. After many years of questioning my beliefs and what I was taught, I have become less evangelical and more progressive in my thinking. That certainly does not mean I have all of a sudden become anti-evangelical, nor am I an enemy to my brothers and sisters who follow the traditional evangelical way.
We are not enemies!
Unfortunately, many times we get an us versus them attitude and fight and argue amongst ourselves over doctrine and interpretation of scriptures. Again I say, brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be. We are not enemies. We are not against each other. We are brothers and sisters in Christ with different interpretations of belief.
As Romans 12:4-5 (NLT) says, "Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body and we all belong to each other". If you are Christian, we are instructed to be people that make up the one true Church which has many members, each with an equally important part to play with Jesus as the head. Just because we interpret scripture differently, just because we have a different view on what the bible may say, it does not mean we are enemies. Rather than fight and argue over who is right or wrong, remember we are in this together as a family, with God as our Father. We are one community of believers who want to serve our Father by showing his love to a hurting world. There are many ways of following the example of Jesus and living for him.
Are they different? There are many people in our world hurting, questioning and lost - who do not know that God loves them. Instead they see people claiming to know God fighting amongst themselves. Because of this, they figure, "What is the use? There is no reason to become part of this group of people. They are no different than anyone else." Yet, we who are followers of Christ are to show the world that God loves them. We are to do this by loving one another, encouraging one another and lifting one another up. We are to show the love of God to those who are hurting and do not know that God loves them. We are to let the love of the Spirit of Christ flow from within us to touch those who need to know they are loved and accepted. Rather than fight and argue amongst ourselves over doctrine, denominations and interpretations, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us and love all people with the love of God. We can agree to disagree on things and live a life loving others, even in our differences.
Jim was raised in the methodist church and spent nearly sixty years in the organized church. He and his wife became dissatisfied with the way things were going and became very disillusioned the weekly service format. After several years of looking for answers and trying different churches, they left the religious system and have been living for God outside the walls of religion and traditional church. Jim believes that God loves all people and that everyone should be loved and accepted as is. Jim started writing a blog called Done with Religion where he talks about various topics of christian living in non-religious ways. Jim and his wife live in the Columbus, Ohio area of the USA. They enjoy their family, traveling and meeting people from all walks of life. See all previous articles by Jim Gordon