My dear friend,
These two words describe "progressive" Christians.
First, they are arrogant about "progressive" Christianity. They believe that for over the past 2,000 years, Christians were wrong about Christianity...and now they've got it right. And their "right" is discarding Bible doctrines and declaring "doctrine doesn't matter"; and replacing holiness with humanitarianism. Unquestionably, they have radically transformed Christianity by corrupting it with theological mythology, environmentalism (nature cult), hippieism/socialism/communism, and other false beliefs.
Second, they are ignorant. They are ignorant about the Bible. They don't read the Bible, and, if they do, they read false interpretations: The Message, the New International Version (NIV), and other corrupt versions. Instead of true translations, progressive Christians pick progressive interpretations that tickle their ears...and they don't want to know the Truth. These false interpretations deny the deity of Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. All teach a "progressive" - perverted - gospel. It is the word of men vs. the Word of God.
And progressive Christians are ignorant about righteousness. They replace true holiness with good deeds: feeding the "homeless" (bums), "compassion" for animals by not eating meat, and other social and political activism. They preach these good deeds in the name of love. But many man-made religions, including humanism and Buddhism, are based on universal love as expressed by good deeds. In man-made religions, good deeds are a result of the power of persuasion of the teachings of Buddha, Rick Warren or other deified humans. In man-made religions, the glory goes to man, not God.
This is wholly contrary to Scripture. Alas, by grace are we saved through faith...
For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.
When we are born again, we are born of the Spirit. We are new creatures in Christ; and by the power of the Holy Spirit we are fruitful in good works, or show a pattern of righteous behavior - holiness. Holiness is purity or integrity of moral character, or freedom from sin. Holiness is the perfecting of our character because God will not allow sin to enter the gates of heaven. In short, we must be sanctified before we can be glorified. Therefore, because our sanctification is a result of the purifying power of the Holy Spirit, the glory goes to God, not ourselves. But with man-made religions the glory goes to men.
All religions besides Christianity and Judaism are man-made religions: psychology (the perfecting of man through psychological reformation), environmentalism (nature worship), Buddhism, and so forth. Each of these religions was invented by man. Judaism was ordained by God, but the old covenant was replaced with the new covenant. Christ redeemed us from the old ceremonial law, but under the new covenant we are still under the moral law.
However, progressive Christians, like the unbelieving Jews, are ignorant of God's righteousness and establish their own righteousness; they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Paul writes of the unbelieving Jews:
Brethren, my heart's desire
and prayer to God for Israel is,
that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that
they have a zeal of God,
but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of Christ's righteousness,
and going about to establish
their own righteousness,
have not submitted themselves
unto the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law of righteousness
to every one that believeth.
Likewise, progressive Christians are ignorant of Christ's righteousness and have established their own righteousness - good deeds. They have a form of godliness, but deny the power of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul warns us...
This know also,
that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves,
covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers,
disobedient to parents,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers,
false accusers, incontinent, fierce,
despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded,
lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof:
from such turn away.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
The good deeds - charity - of progressive Christians is "having a form of godliness." But charity is not a sign of true Christianity. Even atheist humanitarians practice charity.
Progressive Christianity appeals to many because it allows them to practice charity and indulge in sin. They ignorantly believe that their good deeds whitewash their black sins. They are deceived and deceive others.
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived.
2 Timothy 3:13
Paul warns us that men will not endure sound doctrine, but shall turn unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3,4). Irrefutably, progressive Christians reject pure Christianity and corrupt it with religious fables.
What is pure Christianity?
Pure religion and undefiled
before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows
in their affliction,
and to keep himself
unspotted from the world.
In The Pulpit Commentary, Reverend C. Jerdan comments:
The Christian is a man who, having been once washed all over in the blood of atonement, must labour in the strength of God's Spirit to keep himself from fresh defilement. He is to guard himself against the contamination of the world, its pursuits, ambitions, counsels, and its grosser pleasures. He must not become an ascetic or hermit; rather, he is to show his fellow-men that he can live in the world an unworldly life. It is hard to do so, doubtless; it requires rare moral courage to resist evil, and to brave the contempt and persecution which such resistance entails. Yet this is the worship to which God calls us. He will not accept our "devotions" if we refuse him our devotion. A holy life is the most beautiful of psalms. It is the blossom and fruit of all other praise. It is grander than the finest cathedral service, for it is the perfect realization of the Divine ideal of worship...The Church exists that its members may be inspired to become a fountain of spiritual sympathy to the widow, and a ministry of moral help to the orphan.
We are to be holy and charitable, but the Bible instructs us to be prudent in charity. For example, Paul states the rules for supporting widows.
If any man or woman that believeth have widows,
let them relieve them,
and let not the church be charged;
that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
1 Timothy 5:16
Matthew Henry comments:
It is appointed that those widows only should be relieved by the charity of the church who were pious and devout, and not wanton widows that lived in pleasure, v. 5, 6.
Another rule he gives is that the church should not be charged with the maintenance of those widows who had relations of their own that were able to maintain them. This is mentioned several times (v. 4): If any widow have children or nephews, that is grandchildren or near relations, let them maintain them, and let not the church be burdened. So v. 16. This is called showing piety at home (v. 4), or showing piety towards their own families.
Observe, Charity misplaced is a great hindrance to true charity; there should be prudence in the choice of the objects of charity, that it may not be thrown away upon those who are not properly so, that there may be the more for those who are real objects of charity.
But progressive Christians reject the Word of God and make all who put their hands out objects of charity. They feel this is "compassion." They are ignorant of true compassion. They are ignorant of true charity.
Progressive Christians not only reject the Bible's admonitions about charity, they also reject the Biblical command to lead a life of purity. Instead, they allow evil men to deceive them and indulge in hedonistic pleasures. They are "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." And they despise those who preach and live the old-fashioned true Gospel of holiness.
Indeed, these two words describe progressive Christians - false Christians.
Grace and peace,
Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.