Progressive Christianity is as Much of a Threat to Your Kids’ Faith as Atheism

by Natasha Crain

In our backyard we used to have a beautiful lime tree.

One day I noticed that a thorny vine of some kind had started growing around it. It looked enough like the rest of the tree that I figured it was just another stage of growth. A quick Google search told me thorns often grow around citrus trees, so I didn’t think much more about it.

Then, within a couple of months, the thorns took over the tree and it began to die. A gardener looked at it and said these particular thorns weren’t part of the tree at all. It turns out they were a foreign invader.

Had the foreign invader looked more foreign, I would have realized the need to uproot it immediately. But because it shared surface-level similarities with the tree, I was fooled into thinking it was all the same thing.

I often write here about the threat hostile atheists pose to kids’ faith today. But atheism is not the only threat. In fact, there’s a particular threat that can be even more dangerous because it less obviously requires attention. It’s like the thorny plant that gradually killed my lime tree because I didn’t even realize it was foreign.

That threat is called progressive Christianity.

What is Progressive Christianity?

It can be hard to define progressive Christianity because it’s an umbrella term for a lot of different beliefs. But I think my friend and fellow blogger, Alisa Childers (who was once part of a progressive Christian church) hit the nail on the head when she summarized it this way in a recent post:

  • A lowered view of the Bible
  • Feelings are emphasized over facts
  • Essential Christian doctrines are open for reinterpretation
  • Historic terms are redefined
  • The heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice

Here’s the danger. To the untrained ear, the progressive Christian message can sound a lot like biblical Christianity. There’s talk of God, Jesus, the Bible, love, and compassion. If a child has never learned to think more deeply about theology and what the Bible actually teaches, they can easily mistake progressive Christianity for biblical Christianity…

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Progressive Christianity is as Much of a Threat to Your Kids’ Faith as Atheism