A self-proclaimed "progressive" church based in Nashville, Tennessee, posted a Facebook message earlier this month declaring the Bible "isn't the Word of God ... inerrant or infallible."
The statement from GracePointe Church also said "as Progressive Christians, we're open to the tensions and inconsistencies in the Bible. We know that it can't live up to impossible, modern standards. We strive to more clearly articulate what Scripture is and isn't."
The post also said the Bible is not "self-interpreting, a science book, an answer/rule book."
GracePointe also posted its service — "What Is Progressive Christianity?" — on YouTube the same day.
What was the response?
While some folks agreed with GracePointe's stance, it appears the lion's share of responses are taking issue with the church's point of view:
- "Nothing more than a social club of individuals bent on usurping the authority of Scripture in order to hold themselves up as the moral authority and arbiters of good and evil, right and wrong," one commenter wrote. "You may get away with this momentarily in this lifetime, but when you stand before God, that will come to a screeching halt. Settle with the King while you have time. Turn to Christ and live."
- "This is so profoundly sad," another commenter observed.
- "The Great Apostasy is in full force," another commenter said before adding text from 2 Timothy 4: "For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts."
What does the pastor have to say?
The Christian Post interviewed GracePointe's pastor Josh Scott about the church's progressive positions and said it was good to have begun this conversation.
"I think we definitely have a tendency to treat the Bible almost as an idol," Scott — who grew up a Southern Baptist — told the Post. "And in doing so, we fail, I think, to see the real call, which is never for us just to read something but always for us to read it, wrestle with it, and then embody the rest of it the way we live our lives in the world."
He added to the outlet that "if there are any sort of conversations that are off limits in the Christian tradition, then it probably just means we are afraid of them. We're probably afraid to engage them because we are afraid of being labeled heretics, we're afraid of people saying hateful things. In reality, these are important conversations. So yeah, I feel like it's something that needs to be talked about."
Interestingly, the Post said Scott noted, "I'm not saying the Bible has some sort of flaw in it" but that "we bring expectations to it that it just isn't intended to bear and can't bear. Because if we go to the Bible and we're looking for really up-to-date information on how the cosmos works, we're not going to find it because I don't think the Bible is a book trying to tell how things change. I think the Bible is trying to say to us why. The Bible isn't necessarily the source of the how, the Bible is the source of why do we exist, why is there a world, what does it mean to be a human being in the world, how do we live our lives in the best way possible. I think those are more of the questions the Bible is trying to get at."
He also told the outlet that while parts of the Bible can be considered the "Word of God," not all of it is — and Scott pointed to Old Testament prophets like Amos and Jeremiah who would preface messages from God with "the Lord came to Amos, or the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah."
"There is stuff in [the Bible] that I think really goes against the character of God," Scott added to the Post. "There are genocides that have been divinely sanctioned in the Bible. People have used the text in the Bible, plain readings of the text at times to support white supremacy, to defend slavery, to defend segregation. Saying the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it absolves us of our responsibility to do what our ancestors did, which is to wrestle."
The Bible | What Is Progressive Christianity?