The Dangers of Pragmatism and Progressivism
Two of the greatest threats to a denomination and a church today are “pragmatism” and “progressivism”. The first is merely the gateway to the latter. One says, “We can say it better than God!”.The other says, “Did God really say it all?”
Both will manipulate scripture to justify their worldview and ministry philosophy, while falsely assuming a momentary cease of hostility from the world must equate acceptance with God. They choose the wide gate and say it’s not the widest and forsake the narrow way by saying there’s a better way.
The pragmatic preacher, like the progressive preacher, will hedge their ideologies by propping up false dichotomies. They demand unity over truth and safety over conviction.
The pragmatic will never call Herod to repent for fear of losing his head. While retreating, he says it’s not my place to judge.
The progressive will never call Herod to repent because he sees no reason for him to repent because after all, “God is love”.
While the pragmatic will sacrifice truth for unity, the progressive will do the same but with an added wink and simply say “what is truth?”
Like the progressive, the pragmatic feels a need to constantly find ways to reimagine God to appease the adolescent culture that it helped create. Constantly forming new idols to entertain the masses, the pragmatic rejects the sufficiency of scripture, while the progressive does the same while also rejecting the inherency of scripture.
One believes in adding unto and the other believes in taking away. One believes in making Christianity more palatable, the other proposes something more radical; deconstruction.
One is so ashamed of the Gospel they feel the need to rephrase it. The other is so ashamed of the Gospel they want to change it. But both feel the Gospel needs them to be effective.
One endeavors to steady the gospel “ark” with winsomeness and tone; the other would rather replace it all together with a rainbow colored calf. One building with hay and stubble while the other builds with shifting sand.
Both claim to have the answers to what ails the modern church. Both promise a more authentic form of Christianity. They offer the perfect bait and switch; an inclusive Christianity, free from the legalist and the Pharisee, and replacing it with a Hellenized Christianity filled with gnostics and Sadducees.
But what is the biblical alternative? Is it to go back to the 1950s? Absolutely not. The church model of the 1950s was just another form of pragmatism born out of the generation before that led to the sacred act of “counting heads” and “repeat this prayer”.
So what is the biblical alternative? What is the solution? It’s simple. Preach the Word.
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
“If the foundations be destroyed, What can the righteous do?”
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.”
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:1-5
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”