Another Gospel? : A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

Another Gospel? : A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity

Author:

Alisa Childers (foreword by Lee Strobel)

Publisher:

Tyndale Momentum

https://tyndalemomentum.com

Publication Date:

October 6, 2020

Format:

Paperback

Length:

270 pages

OVERVIEW

If you’d asked Alisa Childers a few years ago if she had any spiritual doubts, she’d have said, “No way!” Then around the time she had her first child, her family moved to a new church with a pastor who described himself as a “hopeful agnostic.” She joined a class where the pastor routinely critiqued traditional Christian doctrines, and she discovered objections she never knew people had brought against Christianity. After leaving the class, Childers took her own search to find out whether Christianity had substance or was a pack of legends. Ultimately, this led her to renewed faith and a new understanding of progressive Christianity. Here, she unpacks the classic objections that progressive Christians make and explains the answers that apologetics provides.

Childers collects lots of information about the most recent wave of progressive Christianity, particularly member of the Emergent Village movement. She does a great job of citing their common arguments and summarizing classic arguments that refute their ideas. However, her historical overview of the movement seems to be based more on her own experience than anything else. She talks about growing up in the pre-Internet 1980s and claims in that era Christians pretty much stayed within their denominations and didn’t know much about other ones. Furthermore, she argues that before Internet forums and blogs, most American Christians didn’t know about the objections that progressive Christianity raised. This may have been true of some American church, but interdenominational dialogue is hardly new and varies widely by region. For example, a protestant living in New Mexico will likely live around many Hispanic Catholics and have at least some conversations about Roman Catholicism. As far as progressive Christianity is concerned, Internet forums may have brought it to a new audience, but writers like Francis Schaeffer had been talking since at least the 1970s about the dangers of liberal Christian thought.

All things considered, it might be more accurate to say progressive Christianity seemed like a huge threat in the 2000s, because many American evangelicals didn’t know its history or the historic responses to it. Much of the book is about Childers discovering objections that had been around for some time and then finding much-needed answers that had been around for some time. She describes how she didn’t know Biblical teachings on Hell, or read classic Christian authors like Augustine until after she met the progressive pastor. By that point, Childers had been a well-known Christian musician and a worship leader for years. Her journey parallels one seen in many Christian memoirs where the writers grew up in church, experienced great suffering, and then were surprised to find Christian teachings about the problem of evil that no one in church ever told them about. In that sense, this book is less about progressive Christianity and more about American evangelicals failing to pass on historic doctrines or solid Biblical knowledge. A lack of roots leaves people vulnerable to cheap attacks.

While Childers arguably misses the mark in trying to be a historian, she excels at capturing her own story. She shows how strange and awkward it was to take classes on Christianity for four months and realize almost everyone was throwing out faith in favor of preference. She also observes that while many progressive Christians she’s met have intellectual questions, most came from legalistic or hypocritical Christian backgrounds and seemed to be reacting against those experiences. Childers also describes how she ended up at the progressive church in the first place because the pastor seemed honest and caring. In other words, relationship factors just as much as intellect in spiritual journeys. People tend to favor the views of people they got along with, and react against views of people who harmed them. One might say that humans build their ideologies based on who they know just as much as on what they know. Childers’ emphasis on the relational side of her journey serves as a great corrective against apologists that make it sound like collecting facts is all that matters.

While the book’s not contextual enough to work as an analysis of progressive Christianity, Childers does a fine job of summarizing progressive objections, the classic answers, and showing the personal angle in apologetics.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

3.5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians interested in the early 2000s progressive Christianity movements, classic progressive objections to Christianity, and apologetics arguments for historic Christian faith.

Christian Impact

The author may not accurately describe progressive Christianity, but she does a great job of showing how easy it is to doubt and how compelling it is to find answers to those doubts.

Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity


No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: