Franklin Graham: The Eternal Peril of Progressive Christianity

Franklin Graham: The Eternal Peril of Progressive Christianity

For decades, a war has been raging against Biblical Christianity that goes under the seemingly innocent name of “progressive Christianity.”

It has cropped up in the halls of seminaries, infiltrated the pulpits of thousands of churches and been propagated by a godless liberal media. It is bent on casting doubt and undermining the foundational principles of God’s Word.

Many of the Apostle Paul’s letters were written to churches that were experiencing serious doctrinal errors. One of his sternest was penned to the church in Galatia, which is part of modern-day Turkey. In it, he launched into a stern rebuke for the teaching that had polluted the Galatian church:

“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, NIV).

In the case of the Galatians, Paul was specifically addressing their attempt to return to the demands of the law rather than continuing to live by grace through faith in the sacrificial, atoning work of the cross of Jesus Christ. Such an attempt wasn’t just a really bad idea; it actually would result in living under God’s curse, not His favor.

I would say the exact same warning applies today to the advocates of progressive Christianity. They deceitfully promote and proclaim what I believe is clearly a “different gospel, which is really no Gospel at all.”

Let me say that again—progressive Christianity is not a Gospel at all. It has nothing to do with the Gospel of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. It results in nothing but spiritual confusion and chaos.

Here’s the problem.

Progressive Christianity denies the divinely inspired, authoritative truth of the Bible as it intersects every facet of living. For example, although Scripture clearly says that marriage is between one man and one woman, proponents of progressive Christianity twist and distort the truth of God’s Word on sexuality, focusing on such nonsensical trends as gender identity. They deny God’s distinction of the sexes, and instead invent their own misguided standards, unguided by the Word of God. The degrading cultural influences that embrace such movements as gay marriage have more sway on their beliefs than the Bible does.

When the topic of justice is discussed, progressive Christianity is primarily concerned with the issues of social and racial justice (which the Bible does address), but most often neglects the far more fundamental issue of God’s justice—how a holy and just God deals with sinful and wicked men.

And when it comes to the matter of personal sin, progressive Christianity most frequently fails to see the ruinous consequences of mankind’s depraved, sinful state. Biblical teaching on the precious blood of Christ, the sacrificial, substitutionary, atoning work of Christ’s death on the cross, is too often neglected or distorted.

So the real, ultimate danger is that progressive Christianity can send a person to hell.

I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

To reject the deity of Christ is to deny Christ and doom yourself to an eternity spent in hell.

To love darkness more than light will end in an eternity in hell.

To hope that good works alone will earn salvation, while rejecting the gift of everlasting life through faith in Christ alone, will lead straight into the eternal abyss.

To deny the fullness of the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—can risk a person spending their eternity separated from the glory and splendor of God Almighty.

Do you see how anything other than orthodox, Biblical Christianity can be so dangerous and deadly? That’s why the Apostle Paul called down a curse on those who preach a different gospel than the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here’s how Paul precisely defined the Gospel:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, NKJV). 

This is the only saving Gospel. Preachers must faithfully proclaim it from the pulpit if they want their congregants to be convicted of their sin and to trust solely in the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Praise and worship have their place in the church, but there is no substitute for pastors preaching the power of the cross and the resurrection.

Pastors today must “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For 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. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5, NKJV).

There’s certainly nothing very forward thinking about progressive Christianity. It actually regresses into unbiblical thinking and living, and it will put a person’s very soul in eternal jeopardy.

Evangelicals need to guard the truth of genuine Scriptural preaching and living, remaining true and bold about exactly what the Bible clearly teaches. There is no other way to be saved and secured for all eternity.


The Scripture quotation marked NIV is taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version. Scripture quotations marked NKJV are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. 

Photo: Thomas J. Petrino/©2022 BGEA

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