A VINTAGE CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO OF HOPE • 1Resist Progressive Christianity, Reclaim the Fundamentals
0—Progressive: Let’s Get Vintage!
1—Manifesto: Resist Progressive Christianity, Reclaim the Fundamentals
2—Vintage Faith: 10 Things to Know About Vintage Christianity
3—The Bible: This Book is God’s Book
4—God and gods: The Mars Hill Effect
5—Creation: God Spoke and…What?
6—Humanity: We’re Not Talking Monkeys
7—Homosexuality: An Honest Chat About Its Reality & Revelation
8—Sin: Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be
9—Sin: A Tale of Two Sinners
10—Jesus: Gandhi on Steroids or God Made Flesh?
11—Rescue: Our Victorious Obedient Substitute
12—Cross: A Love Note or Butcher’s Block?
13—Resurrection: Better Than a Zombie
14—Church: No Church No Christ, Know Church Know Christ
15—Universalism: Not All Dogs Go to Heaven
16—Hell: For Real and Forever?
17—Heaven: A Place on Earth?
18—The End: Go Backwards to Go Forwards
What a funny word, manifesto. What a provocative word.
Some of you may be familiar with it only because it’s often associated a particular political movement known as communism. Its major proponent, Karl Marx, penned a small booklet on February 21, 1848 publicly declaring his political views about how society and economies should be ordered. He called this little booklet The Communist Manifesto. Its reverberations are felt to this day, 167 years later.
Wikipedia describes a manifesto this way:
a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus and/or promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. It often is political or artistic in nature, but may present an individual’s life stance.
So there you have it. A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of intentions, motives, and views of the one manifesting.
The word itself comes from the Latin manifestus, a mashup of two other Latin words: manus, meaning “hand,” fendo, meaning “hit, thrust.” Literally, “thrust with the hand!” A manifesto is a hand-thrusting act publicly, verbally declaring ones intentions, motives, and views. Violent, I know. But that’s the nature of such documents.
A manifesto thrusts ideas into the public square by an individual. It manhandles people by the collar, shouting “Look here! Do you know what we’re doing? We’ve got to deal with this!” It’s an individual’s hand-thrusting life-stance into the apathetic, bleary-eyed faces of people who need to wake up and smell the smoldering, decaying rot of life and then do something about it!
It’s the line in the sand, the rabbit hole, the red pill, the call to adventure beckoning people out of the old grey-scale world into a bright new magical one of full-on, high-definition color.
It’s the Ninety-Five Theses publicly nailed to the cathedral door of Wittenberg in 1517.
It’s the parchment with fifty-six ink-stained signatures declaring independence from King George III that one particular July 4th.
It’s the dream speech on that sticky August summer day before 250,000 civil rights activists on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in 1963.
It’s the hand-thrusting collection of ones and zeros slapping the Church of Jesus Christ from her necrotic slumber beckoning her to rediscover and retrieve the historic Christian faith for our modern day, and resist progressive Christianity in the process.
That’s what this is.
Resist Progressive Christianity
Writing a manifesto responding to an entire wing of Christianity might seem odd. Downright non-Christian, even.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than to judge fellow brothers and sisters?” I can hear the chorus responding. Yet responding to others inside the Church is something Christians have been doing for generations, from the very beginning of the Church’s existence.
Paul did it to Peter after he cozied up to the Judaizers. Irenaeus responded to Gnostic Christians who were defiling the gospel through cultural accommodation. Athanasius battled Arius for Jesus’ identity. Augustine slapped Pelagius and his views of human nature, sin, and salvation down.
Then a thousand years later a number of European Christian leaders sought to reform the Church by bringing her back to the basics: salvation by grace through faith alone; Scripture alone as the rule for faith and life; justification through Christ alone; all for the glory of God alone.
In every hand-thrusting instance, the goal was to help Christians rediscover and retrieve what had always been central to the Christian faith. What had always been fundamental to our rescue and re-creation through the Son of God’s life, death, and resurrection.
We need the same movement today, because progressive Christians are reimagining the Christian faith to such an extent that it is no longer even Christian:
The Bible is no longer God’s Word to us about his Story and our story; it’s a community library filled with human conversations about God and stories about our experiences with the Divine.
God is being reimagined to be a force within the world, Star Wars style—an energy and essence we tap into that symbolizes the universal human ideal of love.
Sin has been transformed into systemic social forces that compel people to do bad things; we no longer sin because we’re sinners in desperate need of God’s rescue.
Jesus is a sort of Gandhi on steroids who merely models for us the best way to be human and gives us the best glimpse into the character of God—rather than being the only one true God.
The cross is merely the highest expression of the universal human ideal of love; the resurrection is a symbol for the life, example, and work of Jesus that lived on in and through his disciples.
The Church is one more faith community among a number of options.
Judgement and hell are dismissed as medieval fear mongering, figments of fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist imaginations.
And I think it’s time to stand up and say, “Look here! Do you know what we’re doing? We’ve got to deal with this!”
So that’s what this is. This is my manifesto. My call to adventure. My line in the sand. My rabbit hole. It’s not a defense, but a declaration.
It’s my red pill inviting people to resist progressive Christianity and reclaim the fundamentals of the faith. To lay down their progressive arms and go backwards in order to move forward in their Christian faith by rediscovering and retrieving the fundamentals of that faith.
A Vintage Christian Manifesto of Hope
As hand-thrusting of a gesture as this public declaration is, it’s a hopeful one. Because this is also a call for renewal. It’s a call for the Church to renew her role as guardian and steward of the once-for-all faith entrusted to her by King Jesus himself. A faith that insists:
God’s Word is his word to us, and is our final authority on faith, life, and everything in between.
God is the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
All of this was created on purpose and with purpose. We were created on purpose and with purpose, and crafted after our creator as his representatives on earth; we’re not talking monkeys!
Every one of us is born rebells who openly grasp after the power to decide what is right and wrong; everyone of us bears individual culpability for rebelling against God and vandalizing shalom.
Jesus is the only one true God, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
The cross was the point at which God objectively dealt with our sins; it was the object upon which the Son of God crawled to pay our price in our place.
Jesus was actually, physically, bodily raised to new life by the Father, proving sin and death were defeated; he ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father.
One day Christ will come again to judge every single person on the planet, either in him or not in him.
This is what the Church needs to rediscover and retrieve for our world, because this is what she’s believed. In turn I hope such rediscovery and retrieval will lead to renewal of mission, of purpose, of calling as the chosen people of God—as the royal priesthood, holy nation, and special possession of God who’ve been bought and paid for by the blood of King Jesus, to faithfully declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light.
And I believe—no I publicly declare such a renewal will come only when we rediscover and retrieve. When we go regressive rather than progressive.
This is a call to remember the hope for which have and to which we’ve been called, in Christ. It’s my manifesto of hope for my generation wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant to their modern world, and if progressive Christianity is inventible and the only viable option. It isn’t. Even remotely.
I invite you to explore what is:
The fundamentals of the vintage Christian faith.
Join me in exploring what it means to resist progressive Christianity and reclaim the vintage Christian faith. Next post we’ll outline 9 things you should know about vintage Christianity.