Quote of the week

Posted by: ST on March 27, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Right on:

Do you know why these “progressive” Christians want to “progress” right through the tenets of Christianity into the grim world of neither-faith-nor-reason but self-actualizing instinct and “hopeful” feelings? Why they want Jesus with no Christ, God with a small g and all that? Can you take a guess?

If you said “it is the logical culmination of baby-boomer narcissism and that generations’ tireless effort to deconstruct the universe and put itself at the center of all things” then ding, ding, ding! You win the daily double!

That was written by The Anchoress, in response to this story from Canada’s Globe and Mail about a church in Toronto that wants to take two words out of the church in an attempt to be more ‘progressive.’ What two words are we talking about?

Jesus Christ.

The G&M reported (via The Captain):

That triumphal barnburner of an Easter hymn, Jesus Christ Has Risen Today – Hallelujah, this morning will rock the walls of Toronto’s West Hill United Church as it will in most Christian churches across the country.

But at West Hill on the faith’s holiest day, it will be done with a huge difference. The words “Jesus Christ” will be excised from what the congregation sings and replaced with “Glorious hope.”

Thus, it will be hope that is declared to be resurrected – an expression of renewal of optimism and the human spirit – but not Jesus, contrary to Christianity’s central tenet about the return to life on Easter morning of the crucified divine son of God.

Generally speaking, no divine anybody makes an appearance in West Hill’s Sunday service liturgy.

There is no authoritative Big-Godism, as Rev. Gretta Vosper, West Hill’s minister for the past 10 years, puts it. No petitionary prayers (“Dear God, step into the world and do good things about global warming and the poor”). No miracles-performing magic Jesus given birth by a virgin and coming back to life. No references to salvation, Christianity’s teaching of the final victory over death through belief in Jesus’s death as an atonement for sin and the omnipotent love of God. For that matter, no omnipotent God, or god.

Ms. Vosper has written a book, published this week – With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe – in which she argues that the Christian church, in the form in which it exists today, has outlived its viability and either it sheds its no-longer credible myths, doctrines and dogmas, or it’s toast.

She is considered one of the bright, if unconventional, minds within the United Church, Canada’s largest Protestant Christian denomination. She holds a master of divinity degree from Queen’s University and was ordained in 1992. She founded and chairs the Toronto-based Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity.

Sadly, this type of ‘secular Christianity’ is becoming more the rule than the exception in amongst liberal Christians. Vosper might literally be taking the words Jesus Christ and the word of God out of her “church,” but modern liberal Christians have been doing this in other ways for years. The Episcopalian church has been ripped apart the last few years after consecretating their first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in November 2003. You’ve got radical liberal Christian churches like Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s that preach about the supremacy of black people over all others, which is not something you learn from the Bible. The presidential candidate who calls Wright his “spiritual mentor” believes the Sermon on the Mount justifies civil unions, and that we can “create a kingdom right here on earth.” Secularists and liberal Christians alike react with absolute outrage when churches refuse to memorialize lifestyles that are contra-Biblical scripture, not understanding that Bible-believing churches are not supposed to be tolerant of sin of any sort … because God wasn’t, either. The head of the DNC claimed in front of thousands of Jewish leaders late last year that “there are no bars to heaven for anybody.”

In response to Howard Dean’s claim, I wrote:

To liberal churchgoers like him, there is no right or wrong, and God is not a judgmental God, but instead a tolerant one. This is secular wishful thinking – and it’s dangerous (to them). The mentality is: Go on and do whatever you want to do, and in the end, God will still welcome you into heaven! Wrong, wrong, wrong. Informed believers know that in order for a Christian to make it past the pearly gates they must accept the Lord into their heart as their saviour, ask forgiveness for their sins, and pledge to live their lives according to God’s word. This is not Sister Toldjah “claiming” this – any Bible-believing preacher will tell you the same thing.

To sum up: If you take Jesus Christ out of the church, you might as well not even have a church. If a Christian church preaches that good deeds alone will get its congregants into heaven, and/or tells them that not only does God love the sinner, but will also “tolerate” the sin, then that church is no better than the street-corner bar for all the good its doing its attendees in terms of their journey towards and with Christ, and the deep spiritual and emotional fulfillment which comes from it.

The type of “if it feels good, it must be ok” Christianity preached by Vosper and other liberal Christians might win them friends in high places here on earth, but won’t do them any favors when it comes to an even higher place.

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17 Responses to “Quote of the week”


  1. Pray for poor Gretta Vosper. She wants desperately to be provocative, but she’s not even original. Retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong was saying that Christianity as “the faith once delivered to the saints” had passed its sell-by date years ago. He, too, has made a career out of calling for an “update.” Not to be outdone, the “progressive” Catholic nun Sister Joan Chittister has a spiritual memoir out titled “Called to Question.” By that she doesn’t mean to imply that she has the doubt that makes room for faith, which would be great. She means instead to say that being a pain in the patootie is her “vocation.”

    Orthodox belief is adventurous– it accommodates great, vastly different minds like Saint Paul and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Progressives mean well, but their thinking and theology has a sameness to it because it always devolves into navel-gazing.

  2. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    The words “Jesus Christ” will be excised from what the congregation sings and replaced with “Glorious hope.”

    I am mildly surprised that it is not “Glorious change”, given the heavy immersion in leftist politics of the United Church.

    I was a missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for many years. The reason that I left the ELCA was that its leadership was chock full of folks who thought like Rev. Gretta Vosper. “Progressive” Christians are the modern equivalent of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time – religious bigots who taught their own beliefs as the commandments of God and who viewed themselves as morally and ethically superior to the rest of their countrymen. Modern “progressive” Christians have their own Laws ceremonial purity that they cherish, such as environmental absolutism and “inclusive” worship that excludes anyone who is not a far-left liberal.

    And bigotry is exactly what “progressive” Christianity preaches. I have watched in horror as men and women of “progressive” denominations have defended the racist ravings of Rev. Wright (remember that many of these same individuals would go berserk with righteous fury at the slightest comment from Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell). On political issues from the Iraq war to affirmative action to federal spending to taxes, the intolerance of “progressive” Christians to any deviation from liberal orthodoxy is palpable and real.

  3. Lorica says:

    “Progressive” Christians are the modern equivalent of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time

    AMEN MD!!! You will absolutely find no argument here about this comment. They go thru the motions but have no real faith. Christ said it best when he said many will come before Him and say Lord Lord we did great things, and Christ will say Away from me, I knew you not. Is this not the embodiment of what Jesus was saying??

    MD I left the Methodist Church because of similar reasons. When they started placing a person’s “feelings” and “notions” on the same plain as the Gospel Message, I knew it was time to go. I was raised a Methodist, was one for 30 years, was well read about John Wesley, was the youth leader in my church and ended it all due to idiotic thinking. It crushed me, but I felt called out. The high minded, superior thinking of the pastor, and the lack of anything Christ like coming from the Iowa Bishop caused me to leave. I just could not keep myself under that deception for more than the year I did.

    God help these people, and I pray that the deception they are under is lifted from them. Their only real help is going to be the Man they deny now. – Lorica

  4. Tango says:

    I have a long-held notion that when we get to heaven, Jesus is going to look around, shake his head sadly, and say “you know, I made it SO simple for you. And then y’all had to go and make it so HARD.”

    (or words to that effect)

    Various charlatans and other self-annointed doctrine police have attempted to hijack the Good News many times over the centuries (and re-make it in their own images). This is but the current generation. Woe unto them…..


  5. Lissa says:

    I am most definitely not a Christian and most certainly Bible-illiterate. That said, I find those “progressive” ideas extremely stupid. If you think removing Jesus Christ from all your religious material makes for a more perfect religion, then leave Christianity and become a Unitarian Universalist. They believe in all sorts of warm-and-fuzzy core principles, and you don’t have to acknowledge a savior at all (though you can if you want to). In other words, I don’t see why they’re actively trying to destroy Christianity instead of simply leaving a church that no longer fits their beliefs and going to one that does.

    (Okay, that’s a lie — I *do* see why they’re trying to destroy Christianity, and so do all the rest of you.)

  6. Don L says:

    Progresive Christian is an oxymoron. A redefined faith is not the same faith – as opposed to a renewed faith. Can’t have all that sin and Judgement Day talk around a progressive because they want the same outcomes from everything regardless of how one lives their life. It merely means another religion with co-opted terms with themselves as god.

  7. Jon Baker says:

    2Timothy 3: 1-5

    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:…”

  8. Marshall Art says:

    Oh no no no! You’re all wrong. According to the liberal Christians with whom I debate at my blog and at others, you are all acting as if YOU are God by insisting on adhering to Biblical teaching when anyone just knows that it was written by imperfect men, possibly with agendas and anyhow if you are so intent on quoting Scripture you are worshipping the Bible and that’s idolatry, doncha know! Besides, this is the 21st Century and I guess that God didn’t account for the advances in human knowledge which I guess is more advanced than His.

    OK, now I made myself sick.

  9. NC Cop says:

    2Timothy 3: 1-5

    “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:…”

    Great post Jon…and quite chilling.

  10. Lorica says:

    Excellent Choice in Verse Jon. It seems the last days deception is hitting home. It is truly sad how far the Christian Church has fallen. – Lorica

  11. watchin says:

    I would have paid to be there to hear them stumble & mumble through this verse:

    Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
    Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
    Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
    Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

  12. Lorica says:

    =)) Alleluia!!! It looks like we are havin’ Church here at the ST Blog!!! – Lorica =))

  13. Ginger says:

    How foolish! When you turn your back on Jesus He just turns His back on you. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. What a waste of time to go to that (church?). Idiots!

  14. V the K says:

    Like others here, I also left the Methodist Church because it became clear that Marx and Che were more revered than Jesus and Paul. I converted to LDS. Much better off now, even if I’m not 100% on board with Mormon theology.

  15. smg45acp says:

    The “progressive” christians are deluded.
    Who do they think they are going to attract?
    If they don’t believe in anything, don’t believe the Bible. What do they have to offer anybody?
    If there is no heaven to gain and no hell to be saved from why would anybody go to their church?
    They are just self-exterminating themselves. Look at Europe where liberal theology has been the majority for generations. Now 2% of attend church regularly and soon Islam will wipe them out. Religiously and population wise.

    If you are still in such a liberal church, follow Jesus’ advice of “let the dead bury the dead” get out before you get as stupid and spiritually as the rest of them.