A Christ-professing church that does not look different from the world is no church at all, says Christian author and speaker Tom Gilson.
In his entry for the equipping of Christians to think clearly about political, economic and moral issues, the senior editor for The Stream identified what progressive churches got wrong both in their ecclesiology - conformity with the world, and theology.
Tom Gilson contends that Jesus was a maverick as illustrated in the gospel books. Additionally, in his book "Too Good To Be False: How Jesus' Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality," Gilson wrote how Jesus was consistent in rejecting every attempt from the outside to mold, control, or make Him conform.
"His family tried it. The Zealots tried it. The Pharisees worked hard at it. Even His disciples tried to control Him. He never faltered. He conformed to no one's will but His Father's," declared Gilson.
Set Apart, Not Weird
Noting that the progressive view of Christianity to compromise with culture is not just wrong, Gilson said it's also "very, very strange."
"So-called 'progressive Christianity' is eager, as Wikipedia spins it, to question 'tradition' through 'acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the earth.' This isn't 'questioning tradition.' It's adopting today's cultural norms without question," he countered.
Going further, Gilson believes that Jesus' examples were written because they're meant to be followed by his Church. That's the essence of the Romans 12:1-2 which the author also quoted in his writing.
"We who follow God were meant to be different from the world. Consider Jesus," he advised.
"Christianity isn't meant to look like the world looks, believe what the world believes, or act as the world acts," he added.
On the "God is love" argument from the progressive camp, Gilson maintained that throughout the Bible, God has standards, expectations, and instructions for believers to follow. This is also seen in the way he introduced himself through his prophets as "a God of both mercy and holiness." Thus, his people must not think that they know and understand the world better than the One who created all.
"Why would He not have known what was right for us when He created us? Was there some science of human nature He hadn't found time yet to study?" challenged Gilson.
"Yes, obviously, humans have advanced greatly in science and technology, but there's no reason to think we're morally wiser now," he stated.
Christians Must Live in God's Truth, Not the World's
On progressive churches that teach compromise in the name of loving people but at the expense of ignoring God's plain commandments, Gilson likened it to rejecting "some of the most obvious truths about who God is."
"He's a God of love, so we must love; He's also a God of truth, so we must live in His truth. That's His truth, though," he said.
God's truth requires Christians to be counter-cultural. In the same vein, Christ's body, the Church, must not "look like the world looks, believe what the world believes, or act as the world acts."