The Language of Progressivism
No doubt any individual involved in paying close attention to cultural, political, and theological affairs understands the importance of words. Just as a glancing illustration, if you are pro-abortion, for the LGBTQ agenda, and adamantly work for the “social justice” movement, then you would be labeled a “progressive” in the eyes of the popular culture. Now, that particular wording should give us pause to take a second and stroke our beards in contemplation. Because all of these instances are marks of the agenda of the left. Each and every stance I outlined is consistent with Leftist ideology, belief, and practice. However, it is also known as “progressive” which carries the idea of a society making progress in the sense of bettering itself.
However, it is precisely that point of “progress” which is where we should begin our questioning. If Leftism were true, then what are we progressing towards? A Marxist Utopia of some kind? A day when transgenderism, homosexuality, and every other form of perversion are completely normalized in society? Since the beliefs of the Left are inherently based on the idea that there is no God to whom we are accountable, and since they are also foundationally postmodern at the core, then there can be no true ultimate and unchanging standard in the end. Plainly speaking, if Leftism is true, then there is no benchmark by which to gauge “progress” concretely. If there is no standard for right and wrong, then why would it be an enhancement for “social justice” to be enacted or not, frankly who cares? The very tenets of the left are anti-progress because their foundational beliefs such as denying God’s existence, casting aside morality, and denying the absolute nature of truth cut them off from any way to pursue or measure whether a society is degrading or improving. It is on this point we have a very pressing manner by which to lean into giving a defense of a biblical worldview.
Christianity Gives The Benchmark
The biblical faith does not suffer from the irksome difficulties and pitfalls of progressive leftism. Indeed, the nations of the earth are to make “progress” though certainly not in the progressivist mindset of our area. Foundationally, the commission of the church is to disciple the nations as Christ said:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” -Matthew 28:18-20
Our goal is to see every people group or nation discipled to be servants of Christ obeying all of His commands. Therefore, we measure the progress or regress of a nation by its fidelity to the Lord. If there is widespread repentance brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation, then it should be followed by faithful obedience. The amount of progress a nation makes can then be judged by whether or not they are living according to the Word of God, for in it are all of Christ’s commands. Are they practicing marriage as defined by God or celebrating perversion? Does the society stand for the sanctity of life or against it? Is Christ’s name lifted high amongst the people because they are saved, or is it disdained? The answers to questions like these can help us gauge whether people are being saved by the Gospel, leading to their obedience to Christ, which then changes the nation as a whole because of the Gospel’s influence leading the nation made up of individuals to demonstrate greater conformity to God’s standards. Consequently, we have a stable unshifting benchmark by which to gauge everything, namely the Scripture. It is not that the Gospel “transforms” the society in the social gospel sense. Rather, the true Gospel saves sinners who become disciples of Christ, and as the amount of believers grows the nation is transformed by the presence of individuals who want to live in submission to God’s Word in all of life. Thus, the declaration of the Gospel and the just standard of God undoubtedly have an enormous impact.
Leftism is Regressive Not Progressive
But, we come back to our original question, what is the leftist agenda “progressing” towards? Ultimately, it is what they view as the “shackling chains” of a Christian worldview that they disdain. The battle between Marxist Leftist thought and Christianity is not a neutral one with two sides fighting for the good. When talking about the evils of democratic socialism and liberalism, Spurgeon said:
“For many a year, by the grand old truths of the gospel, sinners were converted, and saints were edified, and the world was made to know that there is a God in Israel. But these are too antiquated for the present cultured race of superior beings! They are going to regenerate the world by Democratic Socialism, and set up a kingdom for Christ without the new birth or the pardon of sin. Truly the Lord has not taken away the seven thousand that have not bowed the knee to Baal …”
“The latter-day gospel is not the gospel by which we were saved. To me it seems a tangle of ever-changing dreams. It is, by the confession of its inventors, the outcome of the period—the monstrous birth of a boasted “progress”—the scum from the cauldron of conceit. It has not been given by the infallible revelation of God—it does not pretend to have been. It is not divine—it has no inspired Scripture at its back. It is, when it touches the Cross, an enemy! When it speaks of Him who died thereon, it is a deceitful friend. Many are its sneers at the truth of substitution—it is irate at the mention of the precious blood. Many a pulpit, where Christ was once lifted high in all the glory of His atoning death, is now profaned by those who laugh at justification by faith. In fact, men are not now to be saved by faith but by doubt. Those who love the Church of God feel heavy at heart because the teachers of the people cause them to err. Even from a national point of view, men of foresight see cause for grave concern.”1 -Charles Spurgeon
Spurgeon understood the left has no stable foundation, their doctrine is most certainly not Christ’s. Why, they desire to take us back to the days of paganism. Homosexuality, child sacrifice, transgenderism, these things are all regressive not progressive. How then shall we combat this agenda? Let us listen again to Spurgeon’s wisdom as a man who was at the forefront of this battle:
“To attempt national regeneration without personal regeneration is to dream of erecting a house without separate bricks.” -Charles Spurgeon
And here we are, you cannot change the situation by somehow attempting to preach a social gospel. What we need is the biblical Gospel of grace to be heralded. We need pastors to declare with every fiber of their being. Our age is in need of missionaries to spread it, Christians to share it, and churches who are ready to live and die for it! My friends, we need to declare the glory of Christ in the riches of salvation. It is only by returning to a declaration of the Gospel that we shall be faithful in the commission our Lord has left to us as His church. Let us not grow weary, but march forward against the enemy knowing our God is powerful to save!