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What is “Progressive” Christianity?*

By using the word progressive to identify ourselves, we mean that we are Christians who…

  1. Follow the life, spirit and teachings of Jesus Christ, the foundation of our faith and our window upon spiritual life;
  2. Recognize that other people in different cultures and religions have other names for the Divine, and acknowledge that their ways are as true for them as our way is for us;
  3. Understand the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus name to be a representation of an ancient vision of God’s feast for all peoples;
  4. Invite all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including, but not limited to):
             believers, agnostics, atheists, and seekers,
             conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
             women and men,
             those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
             those of all ethnicities and cultures,
             those of all classes and abilities
             those who hope for a better world
             and those who struggle to find hope;
  5. Know that the way we behave toward one another and toward other people is fullest expression of what we believe;
  6. Find more grace in the search for understanding than we do in dogmatic certainty, more value in questioning than in absolutes;
  7. Form ourselves into communities dedicated to equipping one another for the work we feel called to do: striving for peace and justice among all people, protecting and restoring the integrity of all God’s creation, and bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers; and
  8. Recognize that being followers of Jesus is costly, and entails selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege.

(*This explanation of Progressive Christianity represents our version of the 8 Points provided by The Center for Progressive Christianity)

Is there a Progressive Christian Theology?
Our church has no religious creeds or dogma (statements of what individuals must believe in order to become a member). Our ancestors said, “No creed but Christ.” Therefore, each participant is free to follow the dictates of his/her own conscience in matters of faith and belief.

The following is a consensus view in our church that provides a guide to the general direction of our thinking about...

God    Our church believes that the Holy or Divine Spirit has no gender. Thus, we use inclusive language such as God, Goddess, Creator, Christ, Logos or Sophia to express the universal nature of this Spirit. The name Sophia (the Greek word for Wisdom) is used for Christ in the New Testament. We also tend to view the Divine in more naturalistic ways consistent with ancient faiths and post-modern science, rather than as a supernatural being.

Jesus Christ   Relying on recent New Testament scholarship, we distinguish between the “historical Jesus” and the “Christ of faith.” The earthly Jesus was a Spirit-filled, first century Jew who embodied the presence of God in his own life and ministry, and is therefore our guide and inspiration for a life dedicated to God. The Christ of faith is the Divine Spirit in Jesus that was resurrected in the hearts and minds of disciples whenever they gathered in Christ’ name. Both the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith are presented in the Bible.

The Bible   Generally, we consider the sacred scriptures in the Christian Bible to contain the Word of God rather than be equated with the Word of God. We take the bible seriously but not always literally; it is desirable for teaching, preaching and discussion. We also acknowledge and use other inspired writings from Christian and various religious traditions.

Salvation   The Divine Spirit affects change or transformation in individuals and communities of faith in many different ways: as enlightenment, forgiveness, wholeness, healing, reconciliation, peace, restoration, freedom, and a home coming. The death of Jesus Christ on a cross is seen primarily as an expression of divine self-giving love and not as a required sacrifice needed to appease an angry or offended deity.

Worship   Recognizing the diversity of personal preferences, taste and interest in the people who worship at Church of the Foothills, we are committed to a “blended” approach in our service that includes traditional, classical, contemporary, gospel, folk, and modern music, as well as other forms of worship. We hope the richness of the worship experience will enhance the spiritual life and faith of all who participate.


 

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