What If We Listened to the ‘Progressive’ Christians?

A protester holds rosary beads with a anti-abortion placard in front of the gates of the Irish Parliament building in Dublin on July 10, 2013 during a demonstration ahead of a vote to introduce abortion in limited cases where the mother's life is at risk.

By Michael Brown Published on November 4, 2018

For the last three years, liberal Christians have told conservative Christians that we were hypocrites for supporting Donald Trump. We were told that we betrayed fundamental gospel values, that we sold our souls in an attempt to regain political power, that we outright denied Jesus. These accusations, then, lead to an obvious question: Where would we be today if we listened to these “progressive” voices? Where would their counsel lead us? And are they themselves immune to the charge of hypocrisy?

While I strongly differ with many of the doctrinal emphases of these liberal Christians, I don’t for a moment believe that conservative Christians have a monopoly on morality.

For example, when it comes to immigration, conservatives might emphasize the importance of maintaining order and protecting against terrorism. These concerns are certainly both biblical and moral.

Liberals, on the other hand, would emphasize compassion for the needy. This too is both biblical and moral.

As one of my colleagues once said, you need a right wing and a left wing to fly.

Where Would We Be Today?

But what if conservatives had followed the example of these liberal Christians? Where would be today?

Jim Wallis represents the left wing of evangelicalism, and as expected, he is a strident critic of Trump and of the Christians who support him.

For example, Wallis took strong issue with Jerry Falwell, Jr.  calling Donald Trump a “dream president,” stating, “But many African American, Hispanic, and Asian American evangelicals are experiencing Trump’s presidency as a nightmare; and the body of Christ around the world —which is overwhelmingly Christians of color — is utterly astonished that 81% of white American evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. That 81% number has become a dramatic international symbol representing a betrayal of the body of Christ and its commitment to racial reconciliation and justice.”

Yes, according to Wallis, white evangelicals voting for Trump represented a “crisis in the church.”

Indeed, in the opinion of Wallis (and many other “progressives”), “TRUMP EVANGELICALS are destroying the ‘evangel’ — the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ. . . .

“TRUMP EVANGELICALS,” he continues, “have so completely and uncritically offered their faithful allegiance to the man in the White House that they have compromised the gospel of Jesus Christ — whose values the president’s life has stood antithetically against.”

“Reclaiming Jesus”

In keeping with these convictions, Wallis helped author the “Reclaiming Jesus” document.

It states that, “When politics undermines our theology, we must examine that politics. The church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ. The government’s role is to serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior (Romans 13). When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.’”

Reading through this document, I found myself saying “Amen” at point after point, since “Reclaiming Jesus” emphasizes some fundamental gospel truths. (I do not, however, concur with every point.)

The Problem is Application

The problem, however, is with the application. How do these Christian leaders vote? What policies do they support?

By and large, they lean left and vote left, meaning they end up voting for Democratic candidates – in other words, for pro-abortion, pro-homosexual “marriage” candidates. That means they vote for candidates who support policies that put LGBT rights above religious rights. And they vote for candidates who support pouring millions of dollars into the coffers of Planned Parenthood.

For liberal Christians like Brian McLaren, whom I cited in my last article, if you do not support gay “marriage,” you’re not being Christian. Talk about turning things upside down.

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Had we followed the advice of these leaders: 1) there would be almost no chance of overturning Roe v. Wade for another generation; 2) our religious freedoms would continue to evaporate; 3) our children would be forced to endure an increasingly aggressive LGBT agenda in their schools; 4) there would be less and less pushback to the intimidating, silencing tactics of the left. (This is just a short list of the most obvious concerns.)  

That’s why I tweeted, “It’s ironic that ‘progressive’ Christians blast evangelicals who voted for Trump, calling us hypocrites. Yet they support pro-abortion candidates, they support radical LGBT activism, and they often stand against Israel. Perhaps this is the pot calling the kettle black?”

Hypocrisy Personified

It would have been one thing had these progressives said to us, “We share your moral concerns, but we have too many issues with Trump, because of which we are sitting out this election (or, voting for a protest candidate).”

But when they lambast us for hypocrisy while at the same time supporting policies and laws and standards that are in total conflict with biblical values, they show themselves to be hypocrites. How does this glorify Jesus or advance the cause of the gospel?

I remain open to dialogue with my liberal Christian friends (to date, my attempts to reach out to Jim Wallis and some of his colleagues have failed). And, to repeat, I don’t claim that Christian conservatives are right on every point or without our blind spots.

I simply want to emphasize that for liberal Christians to blast conservatives for their alleged hypocrisy is, in fact, hypocrisy personified.

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  • Patmos

    Every so called liberal “Christian” I come across just about makes me want to puke, as I have yet to see a single one that rests on sound doctrine. These people are the scum of the Earth, inserting their own desires into scripture, and looking to be pleasing to the world rather than pleasing to God. I have yet to see one target and call out a legitimate sin, instead preaching grace for everybody with no repentance needed. Their morality is masquerade, used to try to pass liberal policy in pretty much every instance, and their motivations have nothing to do with the gospel of Christ and being raised up together with him.

    The liberal “Christian” is merely flip side of the Pharisees during the time of Jesus: All show, no substance, leading people into darkness while not entering in to the kingdom themselves. Do not be fooled by these wretched ingrates, stick to God’s word and his Holy Spirit.

    • Baronsamedi1925

      I would disagree in some cases. I am someone who is religiously conservative but politically liberal because there are issues beyond sex
      .I think that those issues should be handled by the church. You just need a good bible based minister who can teach people the word.

  • Webb

    Not every “Christian” is a Christian. Not every “church” is a true church.

  • Nick Stuart

    ” 3) our children would be forced to endure an increasingly aggressive LGBT agenda in their schools; ”

    Where have you been Dr. Brown? The battle over the LGBT agenda in government schools is over. We lost. That is well documented in “Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child from Public School Before It’s Too Late” by Mary Rice Hasson and Theresa Farnan.

  • Nick Stuart

    There are two Donald Trumps:

    1. SIX HIRB Trump. The one the major media constantly tells us is Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, Bigoted (h/t Dennis Prager). The one Jim Wallis is railing about. To which my question is “where’s the evidence?” What specifically has Trump actually done to cause African American, Hispanic, and Asian American evangelicals to experience Trump’s presidency as a nightmare?

    2. Actual Trump. The one whose speeches you can watch on TV. The one whose actions you can observe.

    What it comes down to is Progressive Christians don’t like his tone.

    Actually, they really don’t like that their agenda is stalled when they thought they were inches away from their goal of permanently reshaping our country to fit their agenda.

    • Baronsamedi1925

      I don’t see him as being Christian or supporting anything but a superficially Christian agenda. He doesn’t support the sanity of life when he allows people to dump toxic chemicals into the water and air. And when he sends people back to places where they will likely die even if they helped us.

      • Nick Stuart

        Give examples.

        Also discuss how we’ve outsourced our pollution to places like China and Mexico.

      • Jim Walker

        We should also ban other dangerous jobstoo, not just those you mentioned.

  • Sven

    The progressive “Christians” I know are more committed to their ideology than to Christ. I suspect that most of them, deep down, are agnostics or atheists. If they were honest, they would out themselves and walk away from the church for good, but they would prefer to stay and try to destroy it from the inside. Considering the membership losses in those churches, they are doing an excellent job.

  • Baronsamedi1925

    Those aren’t my only concern.

    • your concern would be that someone gets in the way of your devil worship?

  • Trilemma

    People who are progressive Christians should probably be a little more conservative. People who are conservative Christians .should probably be a little more progressive.

    There is almost no chance of overturning Roe v. Wade in this generation.

    Religious freedoms would not evaporate if people who are conservative Christians became more progressive.

    People who are progressive Christians need to be more conservative when it comes to LGBT activism in schools. Teaching acceptance of others who are different is good. Encouraging experimentation is not so good.

    Some people who are progressive Christians are against abortion such as Benjamin L. Corey.

    The Bible is not as anti-homosexual as people who are conservative Christians say it is which is why they should listen to people who are progressive Christians.

    • Andrew Mason

      It depends what you mean by anti-homosexual. Scripture is explicit in that God hates homosexuality, but if you’re arguing that conservative Christians say God hates homosexuals – the people rather than the practice, then I’d be wanting some evidence that view is widespread outside the Westboro sect.

      • Trilemma

        As an example, some people interpret Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 to be a condemnation of all manner of homosexuality whereas some interpret these verses as a condemnation of sex between two men only in the context of male cult temple prostitution. The latter looks to be the better interpretation.

        • Ken Abbott

          On what textual, hermeneutical, and historical bases is the latter to be considered a superior interpretation?

        • Andrew Mason

          Actually it’s not. Temple prostitution doesn’t enter the equation with those verses. If it did then why is female temple prostitution not prohibited? It’s also inconsistent with the wider arc of Biblical teaching on sexual relations. Basically that’s an invented explanation with no rational basis.

          • Trilemma

            Robert Gagon writes:

            “I do not doubt that the circles out of which Leviticus 18:22 was produced had in view homosexual cult prostitution, at least partly. Homosexual cult prostitution appears to have been the primary form in which homosexual intercourse was practiced in Israel”

            Of course Mr. Gagnon then goes to great lengths to explain why these verses should be interpreted as broadly as possible. I think interpreting Bible verses as broadly as possible is simply an effort to make the Bible say something it doesn’t.

          • Andrew Mason

            I’d want a great deal more info before entertaining Gagon’s proposition. Since Leviticus was written before the Israelites settled in Israel and I don’t see slaves having much of a role in Egyptian temples – which as far as I’m aware didn’t entail homosexual acts anyway, I can’t see what the basis to his claim would be.

        • sodomy is the second worst sin of all, and is so evil that it got the creators of it melted by a meteor because of it.

          Is there a day you do not desperately try to defend at least one sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance?

          • Trilemma

            You used to say the creators of sodomy were killed by the flood. Now you say they were melted by a meteor. What an imagination.

          • No, sodom was blown up with a meteor.

            you tried to gaslight me on the Church by claiming they support abortion (the worst sin of all) and now you are trying to gaslight me by claiming I said something else. Do they not teach you better techniques in your sleeper cell/coven?

            Is this all you have?

            Is there a day you will not support at least one sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance?

          • Trilemma

            Did sodomy exist before the flood?

          • Yes, one of the main reasons why it was needed. What caused the flood was people attempting to marry men together in satanic rituals.

            Is that what you tried to twist before?

          • Trilemma

            If sodomy existed before the flood then it was not created by the people of sodom as you claimed.

          • The term is based on the sodomites.

            That evil played heavily into making the reordering/remaking of the world to be necessary.

            It was created when a demon tried to enflame a man’s lust, and the man’s original sin made it something even more monstrous. Because of this, demons are disgusted by it and don’t claim ownership to it.

            you spend every day supporting it and every other sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance as well. Even going so far to claim that Christians must be censured for refusing to take part in these satanic rituals.

            Did your coven tell you that you can’t rank up if you do not get one of the people in the baptist church you are infiltrating to partake in one of these rituals?

    • So your argument is that Christians must damn themselves by accepting sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance… because why? To escape persecution? To take a lazy path to damnation?

      It seems you forgot to make a point here.

  • Dave

    There are only two options: blindly support the President or adopt Jim Wallis’ radical outlook. There are no other options according to this author.

    • Tim Bushong

      “Blindly”? No–that is not what Michael said at all.

  • Ken Abbott

    Almost a century ago, J. G. Machen nailed the issue with his “Christianity and Liberalism,” in which he laid the matter out plainly. If you want to be an honest liberal, don’t call yourself a Christian. Theological liberalism is an entirely different religion.

  • The problem with Michael Brown is that he takes progressive Christians seriously. These people are not Christians in any measurable way because they fail the most obvious test — they promote contra-Scriptural positions. Progressivism starts from a basis of atheism and proceeds through duplicity and deception to endorse everything that is abhorrent to God. Go down the list of things the Bible identifies as sinful and you’ll find a progressive arguing that these things are in fact good.

  • Sapient

    What would happen if Christians began to embrace progressive Christians? The very same thing that would happen if steel were to embrace rust…or if American freedom began to compromise with Communism…or if the brave began to entertain cowardice…or if reason mixed with madness. You don’t need a conservative Christian and a progressive Christian to make a whole Christian view.

  • Johan Pettersen

    The term “Progressive Christian” is itself an oxymoron.

  • timotheus1

    I believe most Christians who support Trump are hypocrites. The proof is the fact that many are trying to convince us that Trump is a Christian. When Trump becomes the face of the faith push back is inevitable , especially by the minority. This guy is a white nationalist.

    • Because all you care about is “power” and believe a delusion that tells you overthrowing God’s order will apotheosize you.

      • timotheus1

        This comment makes no sense.

    • AndRebecca

      I’ve read on the communist websites that President Trump is a white nationalist. Communism wants to do away with Christianity. Why would I believe what a communist says? There’s a huge difference between a nationalist, a person who puts their country first, and a white nationalist, which is a National Socialist. Are you saying President Trump is a Socialist?

      • timotheus1

        Do your homework and go study what the term nationalist mean to downtrodden Germans who became the foot soldiers for Naziism. A nationalist is one who thinks themselves more superior than other (nations or races of people). Trump is an admitted nationalist (racist).

        • AndRebecca

          I happen to have a dictionary right next to my computer and got the two definitions out of it. A nationalist is one who believes in nationalism- which is: Devotion to the interests or culture of a nation, the belief that a nation will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals, etc…President Trump has encouraged other countries to put their countries and citizens first in many speeches, including UN speeches. A globalist wants the crony capitalists and assorted billionaires, the dictators at the UN, and the communist and socialists to run the world. Why on earth would any citizen in America want that? Certainly no Christian would want that. You would do well to fight your brainwashing.

          • timotheus1

            noun: nationalist; plural noun: nationalists
            a person who advocates political independence for a country.
            “a Scottish nationalist”
            a person with strong patriotic feelings, especially one who believes in the superiority of their country over others.

          • AndRebecca

            So you want to have your own meaning for the word. The dictionary I used was written around 1980 and has traditional meanings. Your dictionary has slanted meanings. You like being brainwashed.

          • timotheus1

            Political independence? Superiority of their country over others? That’s exactly what Naziism is lady. Sheesh.

          • AndRebecca

            You have a problem understanding words. You should work on your comprehension abilities. You are easily swayed.

          • timotheus1

            The definition I posted are not my words. Also it’s crazy how someone who is brainwashed try to accuse others of being brainwashed. Let me give you proof that you trumptards have been brainwashed . Show me of any other politician in recent history that called themselves nationalist. There is a reason why you won’t find it. BECAUSE IT’S INAPPROPRIATE .

          • AndRebecca

            So now you are resorting to name calling, but you still don’t know the meaning of nationalist. The only problem with the word is that globalists don’t like it. Americans fought the Nazis and saved the world from National Socialism. American nationalism is Americanism (which is anti-communist). You should study history.

          • timotheus1

            Also ask him if the term globalist is an antisemitic statement. And find a real dictionary slash encyclopedia to help you. You need it.

          • AndRebecca

            You ask anyone you want if globalism is anti-Semitic. Just tell me why you even connected globalism to antisemitism.

          • timotheus1

            Lol. You sent three assaulting sentences to me questioning my intelligence all because I vehemently disagree with your understanding of what a nationalist is. I tell you what you need to do. Go ask Dr. Brown about the history or use of the term nationalist and see what he says. If he’s honest with you you’ll be surprised by his answer.

          • AndRebecca

            I didn’t insult your intelligence. I noticed you use the same talking points as the people on TV and in Hollywood, and so made the statement that you are brainwashed. I’m going by what you’ve said. And I explained to you that nationalism does not mean Nazism and you refuse to believe it because the people on TV have for days been saying it means Nazism and you believe them and not the truth. If that isn’t brainwashed, I don’t know what is.

          • timotheus1

            Do what I asked, go back a see when was the last time any political leader or president use the term nationalist to describe themselves. You can’t but you can at least try in order stop yourself from sounding ignorant. But if that’s what you want to believe then so be it.

          • AndRebecca

            O.K., I thought you knew that globalists are anti-Zionist, but you didn’t. As for calling oneself a nationalist, I told you why no one calls themselves that and you don’t accept it because you hear what the talking heads say and believe it – whatever it is…BTW, the meaning of the word globalist has changed over the years as well. Globalism used to mean the entire world is regarded as an appropriate sphere for a state’s influence, and today that is not the meaning.

  • pablocruize

    If someone can support a person who’s party is built on defending and promoting the aborting of un-born American’s then the self-deception is stronger than the Word of God and the individual (in fact) worships an idol over the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Walt Viet

    If you listen to them you will fall with them. God says “I am that I am” no change then nor now. Just because you do not like it, does not mean you can change it.

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