What is the biggest challenge facing the American church in 2021?
Some would say that is the shift in political power from Republican to Democrat.
Others might answer the left-wing liberal agenda or socialism.
A case could be made for the pandemic.
Perhaps it’s the flurry of activities that compete for people’s time.
I’m sure many people have many answers. However, I believe that the church's biggest threat in 2021 is false doctrine and heresy of progressive Christian theology.
Why is this such a significant threat?
Because progressive Christianity is not Christianity at all. Instead, it actually denies the fundamental theology of the Bible. For instance:
Progressive Christianity denies the infallibility of Scripture.
It denies the necessity of Christ’s atonement on the cross.
It says there is no literal Heaven or Hell.
They say that it is unnecessary to receive salvation through Jesus...that all religions are the same and all roads lead to Heaven.
While their teachings completely nullify the basic tenants of Christianity, here are some things they support:
Freedom of sexuality in any form
Putting one's desires and self-worth above anything else….if it makes you happy, it’s good and alright with God.
Obviously, they are far from the real message of the Gospel, and yet they are leading so many believers astray. Seeing that their teaching is so radically different from Biblical teaching, how is this possible?
Packaging. They are experts at packaging and presentation.
Playing on people’s emotional vulnerabilities, their need for love and affirmation, and many people’s illegitimate (or sometimes legitimate) wounds from traditional church life, progressive Christian teachers present their alternative view. Using an abundance of humor and relatable stories, they cloak their deception using more than a spoonful of sugar to make their poison go down.
It all sounds so good….
“God loves you….so obviously, He wants you to be happy.”
"How could a loving God do the things that cause pain?”
“Things were different when the Bible was written….you can’t apply that to 2021.”
Through their books, their podcasts, and other forms of communications (progressive Christian influencers have mastered social media), they lead those who do not have a firm foundation on Biblical teaching and solid theology away from the truth.
So what can we do to stand against this movement?
First, we need to understand that progressive Christianity isn’t just “Christianity lite.”
We need to recognize that it is a dangerous lie…a false religion…that needs to be fought against rather than embraced.
Second, we need to adopt that attitude that Paul had in Galatians.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.
Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Galatians 1:6-9)
Like today, the believers in this church were being infiltrated by false teachers who wanted to make Christianity more politically correct. They tried to make it fit in more with Jewish culture to be less offensive. Wanting the best of both worlds, they tried to twist the early believers' minds to incorporate false teaching into Christianity.
Paul says, “No way!!”
Throughout the book of Galatians, he reminds them of the theology of salvation through Christ, freedom from the law and sin, and the fact that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
Following his example, today, the faithful followers of Jesus need to stand firmly against progressive Christianity.
We need to keep it out our home, out of our churches, off of our bookshelves, and even off of our music playlists. We need to reaffirm our commitment to sound doctrine and Biblical theology. When we see a friend being led astray, we need to kindly help them see the error in what they are hearing and help them find the truth.
“But I’m no Bible scholar; how do I do this?”
Here are some resources that will help:
I love the Alica Childer’s podcast because she explains what progressive Christianity is teaching, but she also gives a Biblical basis for how this teaching is wrong. She helps us create solid, Biblical answers to give to those in a state of questioning traditional Christianity. With a spirit of empathy and understanding, she gives us the tools to stand against this false religion and rescue those who are susceptible to this deception.
I’ve learned a lot from her. I’m sharing this with you so that you can learn, too. Because I genuinely believe that this is so important. People’s souls are on the line. My heart breaks for all of the well-meaning people who are deceived by these lies…people who believe they are ok with God when the whole time they are living in a backslidden state because they believed false theology.
The truth is that there is a Heaven and a Hell,
Salvation through Jesus is the only way to Heaven and eternal life.
All roads do not lead to Heaven, and we can’t just live however we please as if there is no judgment for sin.
This is life and death. Fighting this theology is at the core of the church’s mission.
We need to rescue the lost and preach the true Gospel so that souls can be saved and people can live the life Jesus has for them.
It’s our challenge this year and always.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.