Revisiting the progressive evangelical package

Jan 16, 2019 by

By Derek Rishmawy, Mere Orthodoxy.

A few years ago I wrote a piece for Mere O called, “The Progressive Evangelical Package.” It probably helps to read it before proceeding. Simply put, though, before the language of “tribes” and “tribal thinking” became lingua franca, I tried to point out that Progressive Evangelicals had a developing orthodoxy of key doctrines just as much as conservative Calvinists did. I did that by identifying seven of them, trying to pinpoint some of the underlying, causal roots funding this cluster as a whole, and inviting folks to recognize that social pressure was being exerted on them to conform to it…

…Looking back at it now, I think my argument holds up well enough in most places on the issues themselves. I have seen folks definitely progress along lines I anticipated (I’ll come back to that), especially on the sexual revolution front. There is the predictable, slow move towards affirming stances by some, while a few folks basically took the slippery slopes conservatives warned about and treated them like slip-and-slides into ethically sourced porn and holy polyamory. Similar trajectories could be traced with theologies of Scripture, atonement, and so forth.

When looking at the section on underlying causes, I realize I had not read Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind at the time. If I had, alongside the business about empathy and authenticity, harm, and anti-authoritarianism, I would have made much, much more of the liberty/oppression axis that funds so much of progressive Evangelical moral and theological reasoning.

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