Progressive Christianity?


One of the links from Al Mohler’s The Briefing is titled, What Christianity Would Look Like Without Hell.

The author is John Shore author of a book titled Unfair: Christians and the LGBT Question.

The essence of Shore’s argument is that God is love and nothing but love. Shore concludes that hell is inconsistent with his interpretation of what God is and what God is not. Shore equates the doctrine of hell “with the toxic lie that the Bible condemns homosexuality.”

Shore insists that Bible believing Christians who believe such things are naïve.

Shore then argues for a Christianity without the doctrine of hell and what it would look like. Here are some examples of Shore’s conclusions:

” A Christianity without hell would have nothing to recommend it but the constant and unending love of God. It would allow Christians to point upward to God’s love—but never downward to His/Her wrath.”

My comment: This statement sets the tone for all of his other statements. It is based on Shore’s presupposition that God is love and nothing but love and Shore gets to define what that love looks like by assuming that God is a God without wrath. It could mean to Shore that there is no such thing as sin and therefore no need for Christ to die on the Cross, taking the wrath of God upon himself in the atonement.  On the other hand judging by this statement and Shore’s other statements Shore is actually a universalist meaning that all people are saved regardless of what they believe. Whatever the case Shore is well on his way to inventing his own religion.

Shore goes on: “A Christianity without hell would be largely unevangelical, since there would be nothing to save anyone from.”

My comment: I wonder what Shore means by “largely evangelical” unless he means converting people to his point of view. I’m guessing that is what he means since he concludes with this statement: “I want that Christianity. I insist upon that Christianity.”

My Comment: Shore is insisting even demanding a Christianity void of absolutes and void of all doctrine except for the doctrines he finds acceptable and redefines to make them acceptable. Shore’s source of authority is Shore. Shore’s concluding statement above smacks of the intolerance of the LGBT movement that demands conformity to their beliefs.

Shore continues: “A Christianity without hell would trust that God’s loving benevolence towards all people (emphasis on all) extends beyond this life and into the next.”

My comment: I can only surmise that Shore has no use for the Jesus of Scripture since Jesus speaks more of hell than he does of God’s love.

Shore: “Bringing peace about the afterlife, a Christianity without hell would free Christians to fully embrace this life, to heed Christ’s commandment to in this life love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”

My comment: This statement is interesting since Shore is making an attempt to quote the Bible. He paraphrases the second great commandment (Matt. 22:37-39). The commandment is in the context of the Pharisee’s testing Jesus in regards to the law (Ten Commandments).  Shore paraphrases the second summation of the commandments while ignoring the first; the command to love your God with your whole heart, mind and soul. Shore is cherry picking a verse out of its context and then defining for us what he thinks Christ meant by loving our neighbors. Presumably, loving our neighbors would not mean telling them about hell. Shore clearly does not believe there is a hell while Jesus certainly did. My question to Shore would be that if Jesus is right and Shore is wrong and there is such a place as hell would it be loving to not tell people about it? Again, what we see here is Shore setting himself up as his own authority, his own interpreter of Scripture as it suits him. Shore practices the age old error of getting the Bible to say what you want it say to say rather than what it actually says.

Then there is this from Shore:

“In short, a Christianity without hell would be a fearless, trusting, loving, divinely inspired source of good in the world. And this Christianity would be more biblical—would be truer to not just the words but the very spirit of Christianity—than any Christianity that posits the reality of hell.”

My comment: The arrogance contained in these statements is breath-taking. Shore’s entire argument is based on Shore being his own authority and driven by his agenda for a Christianity that has no need for a Savior. Yet, he has the audacity to say that his version of Christianity is more biblical and more in keeping with the spirit of Christianity. Wow!

The piece originally appeared on the Patheos website under the label “Progressive Christianity.” Patheos is a mish-mash of eclectic religious thought including atheism. Shore’s article was reproduced by the online version of Time Magazine under “opinion.”

Personally, I wonder why Shore and those that agree with him bother with the label of “Christian” at all.  Shore’s gospel is the gospel of anything goes and that is no gospel at all.


Go Duck Hunting Phil Robertson

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Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)

Paul's main concern was for the purity of the church not the Corinthian culture as a whole.

Paul’s main concern was for the purity of the church not the Corinthian culture as a whole.

I could be wrong but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a church with the word “Corinth” in its name. It would be odd if there were such a church.

Corinth in the apostle Paul’s day was an immoral cesspool even by pagan standards and was well-known throughout the ancient world as such (and that is saying something).

The problems within Corinthian culture were also present within the Corinthian churches and the great apostle spent a large amount of ink trying to straighten them out and give them hope for change. In fact, Paul makes it a priority to point out that the sexual immorality within the church is actually worse than within the Corinthian culture:

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
(1 Corinthians 5:1 ESV)

Paul took sin seriously and he took it particularity seriously when it occurred among professing believers like the Corinthian churches. He took it so seriously that the man mentioned in 1 Corinthian 5:1 got booted from the church because he was unrepentant. Paul’s priority was the purity of the church and not the Corinthian culture. Paul relied on the Spirit of God to change individual sinners from the culture rather than trying to turn around the entire culture. Jesus came to save sinners who knew they were sinners and not sinners who denied the word “sin” in the first place. Our culture, by and large, does deny sin especially when it comes to sexual morality be it heterosexual or homosexual.

Phil Robertson of the popular A & E show Duck Dynasty was suspended (fired?) by A & E largely for paraphrasing 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and making a crude reference to the anatomy of women and what homosexuals  use the anatomy of other men for. The LGBT crowd was predictably “outraged” when Phil made the crude reference although he was certainly pointing out the obvious. They were further outraged when Phil paraphrased the above Scripture and mentioned the most politically incorrect term of all, sin.

Phil Robertson is on the right.

Phil Robertson is on the right.

Personally, I think it was only a matter of time before one of the Duck Dynasty stars said something politically incorrect and LGBT piranhas would smell blood and go in for the kill. The show was simply too popular, too wholesome and too funny without being filthy to remain a small target in a Corinthian culture that recognizes few if any boundaries.

Statements from official LGBT groups included words like “vile” and “unscientific” and “unchristian” which is a bit amusing given Paul’s rather blunt and straight forward words on the subject. Perhaps Paul was not a Christian?

Clearly A & E fears LGBT political correctness more than they value free speech. Bible-believing Christians need to recognize the playing field is not level nor fair. Robertson should have known and perhaps he did before he shared his biblically grounded opinion on homosexuality and sin. In fact, I rather suspect that Phil did know he was treading on politically incorrect ground. I further suspect that he’s not all that concerned about getting fired. In a related story it was reported he cancelled an interview with Barabara Walters (probably a set up) and went duck hunting instead. I suspect that Phil and family will do just fine without A & E.

Phil’s response to getting fired is really without apology. He admits to his own “Corinthian” lifestyle prior to Christ as well as what it means to Phil to follow Jesus now. He also points out that disagreeing with LGBT types is not the same as hating them, something that all the Bible-believing Christians I know would agree with it-a fact that is lost on the LGBT community who seek not just respect but endorsement of what they practice. Here’s Phil’s response to the hate filled responses he received from the LGBT:

“I myself am a product of the ’60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

Phil was not putting himself on a moral pedestal. In his response he says quite bluntly he was “Corinthian” until Jesus found him and he repented, thus having genuine hope. This is akin to the apostle Paul’s words in verse 11; “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Go duck hunting Phil and let the chips fall where they may.

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