14 comments on “A Brief History of Progressivism: Episode 4

  1. Great post. Thank you! I always suspected it, but could never prove it. It’s insidious and cowardly. Cowardly because they chose to undermine the country rather than allowing citizens to choose.

  2. It is always dangerous to mix politics and religion. Well, Conservative Christians are in charge in the U.S. now. I don’t think there is much danger they will want to fix …” economic inequality, poverty, alcoholism, crime, racial tensions, slums, unclean environment, child labor, inadequate labor unions, poor schools, and the danger of war.” (Wikipedia) No, that’s not on their agenda.

    • I could be mistaken of course, but I suspect that Conservative Christians might tend to be surprised to hear that they are in charge in the US. 🙂

      • Trump has 12 Spiritual Advisors. They are telling him what Christians want, because it was Evangelical Christians who were a huge bloc of voters that got him elected. You can google it and there is a list of his advisors. I think Dobson and other big names are there.

  3. Fascinating history. Thanks for sharing this. Of course, the idea of the state representing the Kingdom of God goes back to the time of Constantine in the fourth century. The progressives are just building on this ancient foundation. In fact, much of our “Christianity” is still based on this paradigm.

    What interests me is the push back by Moody and the mindset behind the arguments. It sounds like both sides took something biblical and made it fit in their narrow view. Both were right and both were wrong in some respects. While the progressives did take the idea too far, equating Jesus’ teachings with humanistic social engineering, Jesus did come to save the world, not just the human soul. Although it must start with the transformation of the human soul.

    This idea of rejecting anything material (social, natural) actually comes from a Greek gnostic view of salvation (which originally came from Babylonian mythos). But the “world” (system) is not evil, it’s fallen. The material world is intrinsically good. It’s been high-jacked by the evil one. Its salvation can be affected by the Church, although it certainly won’t be totally free of sin free before Jesus returns! But, regardless, we should be salt and light, transforming it with grace and truth wherever we are in this world.

    My point is, when we only look at the individual human soul as the point of salvation, we ignore all of Jesus’ teachings to transform our culture through the love of the other. The early church saw it this way and transformed much of their world.

    • Interesting Mel, thank you for your thoughts. In thinking about this, there is one distinction that might be importance, and I’d be curious for your thoughts on this…

      The early Social Gospel movement was all about political action i.e. using the State as the right arm of God. Yet neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever called for anything remotely approaching political action. The early church seems to have made it their business to help the poor and needy on their own, yes, and Jesus certainly taught that it was our responsibility to do so as well. Yet none of them every sought to pass the buck to the State, and send the bill to someone else and call it good.

      Am I crazy?

      • I’ll weigh in. I think the difference is when the state does it it’s called an entitlement and this can lead to the ruination of the soul. When the Church does it is it’s called charity and mercy and can lead to the salvation of the soul.

      • It’s a hard question to answer because the early church was being persecuted by the state because they wouldn’t worship Caesar as god. But I would agree with your point, it would not have been politically motivated, and they probably would of never passed the buck to the state. Even so, within the Roman Empire, more and more Christians were in influential roles and they actively changed much. There’s a great book by Dinesh D’Souza titled, “What’s So Great About Christianity’ where he outlines Christianity’s pervasive influence on culture.

        An argument could be made that the church (with a few notable exceptions) didn’t do its part in changing the deplorable conditions during the Industrial Revolution, which opened the door to the progressive alternative. The same with the slavery issue, etc. Those who did stand up tended to be postmillennial or amillennial in their eschatology.

        If our theology is that we’re leaving any moment and the world is going to hell in a handbasket, we’re not going to do much to be actively involved in changing it.

        • Mel I always appreciate your thoughtful comments, and this is no exception; thank you. I think you’ve hit the nail on head here because you are so correct that as time went on, there were Christ followers in places of influence where the values of their faith began to rub off on those around them, to the betterment of the community as a whole, for where ever the Kingdom goes there is healing and wholeness and mercy and justice. Lives were changed, hearts were changed: Communities were changed.

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