Gospels Old and New

Alisa Childers Compares the New Testament Gospel to Progressive Christianity

Alisa Childers asked Jesus into her heart at age five. By the time she was twelve, she’d read most of the Bible, and all through her teens, she never abandoned her faith. Ultimately, she made her way into adulthood a wholly devoted Christian, fully convinced that the Bible was the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.

As a young mom, she was invited to take part in a four-year-long, by-invitation-only discussion group. The pastor teaching it said she would come out of it with a theological education comparable to four years in seminary. He was an educated, eloquent intellectual who expressed love for Jesus, and she accepted this seemingly exclusive invitation.

One day early on, he asked the class, “How many of you believe the Bible is God’s Word?” Alisa raised her hand, along with one other woman.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I can feel it,” the other woman said. “It’s something that resonates so deeply in my heart, it’s palpable.”

“I’ve met Muslims who say the exact same thing about the Quran,” the pastor said. “They say it’s something they feel deep in their hearts.”

Alisa looked at the woman, hoping she would have an answer. But she didn’t. Worse, in the awkward silence that followed, Alisa realized she herself didn’t know how to respond either.

This precipitated a crisis. She had based everything on this one book. All her life, “The Bible says …” had been enough to settle any matter, as far as she was concerned. Suddenly, she was confronted with the realization that she had no intellectual reason to explain why.

Thankfully, she did not take an intellectually lazy path out of this disquieting spot. She didn’t capitulate to the pressure to go along with the confident pastor-teacher (and most of the other class members). Nor did she shut her mind to the clearly valid question that he had raised. After all, both she and the hypothetical Muslim were persuaded that their book was the holy book. Simple logic said they couldn’t both be right. But this raised the more foundational question of who, if either, was right? And how is one to go about finding the answer to that question?

Instead of taking either path of low resistance, she chose the narrow and much more arduous way of seeking the truth about these matters at all costs, and she’s now chronicled her journey in Another Gospel? A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity. Alisa discovered that there is good evidence for placing confidence in the Bible as the holy book. If you believe, like her, that the Bible is God’s holy book, then you’ll find this encouraging to read about, but she does lots than just tell her story and explain the reasons for faith that she turned up.

In Another Gospel?, she lays out a well-thought-out, in-depth analysis of the “gospel” according to progressive Christianity, a movement that has been making its way into American Christendom for a few decades now. You’ve probably encountered it, but are you prepared to respond to it with wisdom and tact? Maybe you feel confident that your faith won’t be shaken, but are you prepared to help your friends or family members who may be susceptible to its smooth allure?

Alisa shows how progressive Christianity does begin by asking legitimate questions but doesn’t offer much in the way of answers. To the progressive, the questions matter more than answers, and absolutes are avoided. To the progressive, the Bible is a good book, but ultimately it is the human reader who judges its content, rather than the Word of its content who judges the reader. And the Jesus of progressive Christianity is more of a political figure whose life and message was about speaking truth to power, rather than the true lamb who came to offer his life a sacrifice of atonement for sinful humanity … maybe we get forgiveness because of the cross, but that’s not really the point of it.

Is this really the gospel of the New Testament? Or is it another gospel? And if it is another gospel, are you prepared to identify it and explain why? If you’re not sure you are, I cannot recommend this book more highly. As Alisa writes, “it’s not enough to simply know the facts anymore … we have to learn how to think them through.” Another Gospel? is an easy-to-read guide for doing just that par excellence.

 is Deputy Editor of Salvo and writes on apologetics and matters of faith.

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