I am not a ‘progressive Christian’ if Fred Plumer and his mob get to define the term – http://www.abc.net.au/rn/spiritofthings/stories/2010/2896101.htm. I was listening to Spirit of Things last night and its profile of this movement. If you know me, you probably know my fondess for labels (it comes from being a librarian – I like to give everything subject headings and classify it correctly) and I think they’re ‘post-christians’, not ‘progressive christians’. They think it’s ‘progressive’ to leave behind doctrines like the incarnation and the resurrection. I don’t think there’s much of a future in that.
Rachael Kohn gives way too much time to groups and movements like this, but at least she asked some incisive questions. She asked about what he made of the fact that Jim Wallis liked to call himself a ‘progessive christian’ too but meant something very different by it – an evangelicalism engaged with social justice. Then she asked another interviewee what she would say to the charge that the movement was old liberalism dressed up. The answer was a good one – it builds on the insights of liberalism with spirituality, instead of simply rationality.
The problem is that evangelicals tend to think any critically engaged scholarship is liberal. But my theology is very informed by critically engaged scholarship and I am definitely not Fred Plumer.