Why Being Progressive Isn’t Always a Good Thing

20 Aug

It’s very “au courant” to be progressive. When that word progressive is used today, it has the connotation, to most, of someone or something that is “with the times” and has left behind old, out-dated notions. If you’re a progressive, you’re modern, you’re interested in  reform, you hold to new, liberal ideas.

But being progressive isn’t always a good thing, especially when it comes to Scripture. There are and have always been shifts throughout Christian history, where a person or group began to advocate teaching that seemed to “progress” beyond orthodox Christian beliefs. By orthodox, I’m not referring to the Orthodox church, but rather, I mean truths that have been universally accepted by Christians since the time of Jesus. Diverging. Moving away. To diverge and move away would be good things, if the teaching that was being supported was untrue or harmful. But when moving away and diverging from the truth is what’s taking place, you’re in a dangerous place. Today, movements within Christianity such as the emergent church, and the prosperity gospel  are good examples of false teaching that has and continues to lead many people astray. Being led astray is no small thing, when the matter at hand is one of life and death.

In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” Those who do not bear fruit, or do not display the marks of true disciples, will be proved in the end to be false. And those who are not true disciples, as the Bible says, will spend eternity apart from God, in hell. That is a grim reality for anyone who has believed a false teacher and who has followed their teaching. Therefore, leaving behind or straying from what is true and following what is false is of mortal danger to the soul.

Last week, I came across this powerful sermon from John Piper and wanted to share the link with you. He makes six points from 2 Timothy 3:14-17 on why we must continue on in the truth found in Scripture. Here is a short summary of the main points, but I hope you’ll be willing to take a listen (or 3- I had to in order to soak up as much as I could, and I’ll probably listen again!) and study this passage as a reminder, or introduction, on why we must not leave the Scriptures and “progress” to new, different, au courant teachings.

2 Timothy 3:14–17,

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work

1. The character of the people who taught you the truth (verse 14b).

– Don’t forget the testimony of those who taught you the truth. Part of our confidence in the faith is in the credibility of the witness of those who were influential in leading us to Christ.

2. The marks of divine holiness in the Scriptures (verse 15a).

– “Just as God’s holiness is his utter uniqueness, so the Scriptures share in that holiness and have their own self-authenticating unique traits. So, Timothy, stay in what you’ve learned, because these writings are holy, they bear the distinguishing marks of the one and only God. Don’t turn away from them. Ask God to give you eyes.”

3. The power of Scripture to save sinners (verse 15b).

– “The Scriptures are uniquely suited to subdue folly and impart wisdom which can then see reality and embrace saving truth.”

4. The Scriptures brought you to Christ  (verse 15c).

– “The Scriptures prepared your mind and heart to see Jesus for who he is and to believe in him. Don’t walk away from the writings that brought you to Christ.”

5. The Scriptures are God-breathed (verse 16).

– “God’s influence was not simply on the mind of the writers in general, but his attention to the process of Scripture creation was such that when their minds and hands  composed actual Scripture words, these words were so much God’s words that Paul says the writings themselves are God-breathed.”

6. Finally, the Scripture is profitable—inestimably profitable (verses 16–17).

– “The God-breathed Bible aims to make us godly. To make us doers of good in this world. Don’t miss that. The doctrines of the Bible are designed to produce deeds. Good deeds. And they do it by teaching, verse 16, and that teaching has three sequential effects: Reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.”

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