Last week I announced a new series entitled “The 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity,” based off a list offered by Richard Rohr. This list embodies the type of theological liberalism that was battled by Machen in the early 20th century and still abides today.
So, let’s jump right into the first commandment: “Jesus is a model for living more than an object of worship.”
In many ways, this is a fitting first commandment for progressive Christianity. When given the choice between worshiping Jesus (which requires that he is divine) and merely looking at Jesus as a good moral guide, liberals have always favored the latter.
Of course, one might object that this statement isn’t really rejecting the divinity of Jesus because of the phrase “more than.” Thus, it could be argued, liberals are quite happy to worship Jesus as divine, but just put the priority on his moral example.
But, I think that would be a naive way to take the text. While such a reading is possible, the entire history of liberal Christianity is against it. The first thing to be jettisoned by liberals is always the divinity of Jesus–and therefore the worship of him. Moreover, if Jesus really is our divine Lord, how could worshiping him be secondary? Why would Jesus as example be more important than Jesus as object of worship?
It seems, therefore, we ought not to read too much into the “more than” phrase. It is likely just a way to tone down and soften the implications of this first commandment.
What, then, do we make of Jesus as simply a moral example? Several problems arise here: [Read more…]