Much of the current debate among the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field—more than 20 candidates have already thrown their hats into the ring—has focused on the rising prominence of socialism promoted by contenders such as Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
Given the perpetually left-leaning philosophy of most Democratic leaders, that is really no surprise. When the demise of personal responsibility—Warren has suggested that every college student be forgiven of $50,000 in student debt—is combined with the notion of an overreaching government, then the stage is set for an entirely different landscape.
However, there has arisen another element of the campaign that truly troubles me.
Not long after South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg entered the fray, he launched a personal attack on Vice President Mike Pence for his views on gay marriage. Buttigieg, who is gay and married to a man, said that his homosexual lifestyle was perfectly compatible with his Christian faith. He said that marrying a gay man had made him “a better man,” and moved him “closer to God.”
Buttigieg went on to challenge the vice president with these words: “If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Pence, who is a committed evangelical believer and has openly advocated for pro-life causes and religious liberty, responded: “I think Pete’s quarrel is with the First Amendment. All of us in this country have the right to our religious beliefs. I’m a Bible-believing Christian.”
What Mayor Buttigieg and many others are seeking to do is simply redefine Christianity in their own terms—“progressive Christianity,” as it has been called. The core values of this movement have little or nothing to do with sin, the power of the cross, Heaven or hell, the deity of Christ or the authority of God’s Word.
Rather, their focus is on the universal love of God, social justice and the approval of various lifestyles with no regard for adherence to Biblical truth. So-called progressive Christianity is simply another term that allows each person to “do what is right in his own eyes” (see Judges 21:25).
In a Facebook post following Buttigieg’s widely publicized remarks, I said the following:
“Mayor Buttigieg says he is a gay Christian. As a Christian, I believe what the Bible says. God’s Word defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman—not two men, not two women. …
“The core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world—to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation.”
Using new terms like Progressive Christianity and the Christian left may sound appealing to some, but God’s laws and standards do not change. He says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). I believe what the Bible says is truth.
Progressive Christianity is simply another name for theological liberalism and its accompanying permissive lifestyle that ignores God’s call to holiness and obedience. There is really nothing progressive about it, other than an increasing slide into sin and disobedience.
We can never allow someone to seek to redefine the orthodox Christian faith according to their own faulty terms. It is a “different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7, NIV).
It reminds me of Thomas Jefferson, our nation’s third president, who put out a treatise called “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.” Starting with the four Gospels, Jefferson cut with a razor and pasted with glue to eliminate virtually all Scripture references to miracles and the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He ended with Christ’s burial in a tomb but rejected the resurrection of the Savior.
The Bible says that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
I am grateful for men like Mike Pence who take a bold stand on the truth of God’s Word and are not ashamed of the Gospel. He is a man of deep integrity, and he is not afraid to speak God’s truth to a degenerating society.
By the time you read this article, I will have returned from preaching the Gospel in seven cities in the Northeast United States, one of the most liberal bastions of our nation. Much of the flawed tenets of progressive Christianity have already permeated the institutions of that part of America.
However, as always, I will have preached the Gospel as the power of God unto salvation and proclaimed Jesus as the way, the truth and the life—the only way a depraved sinner can approach a holy God. There is no other name under Heaven by which a person may be saved, except through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we seek God’s will in our lives and in our nation, we need to “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16).
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. The Scripture quotation marked NIV is taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version.
Photo: Ron Nickel/2017 BGEA