Plight of the Progressives (2 Peter 2:10b-14)

But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;” (2 Peter 2:12, AV)

There is a movement in this country that has sneaked its way into the church to some extent. The movement is called modern progressivism. It is difficult to bring a complete exegesis of what modern progressivism entails, but in general it involves an ideology that seeks aggressive change. It is in contrast with conservatism which values stability according to a standard. In the United States, conservatism desires to hold to a strict adherence to our constitution. Progressivism sees the constitution as a paper document that should be revised, in some cases removing certain individual liberties and implementing others as cultural mores shift.

Modern Progressivism covers a variety of areas, but one that is particularly alarming is that of relativism. This is the view that all truth is relative and that there is no absolute universal truth. Thus, universal truth is that which is determined by the individual. As a result, universal norms are then determined by the majority. In this, freedoms for some may be restricted and, in the guise of freedom, former prohibitions can be made areas of freedom to be indulged. For example, one such area has to do with human sexuality.

This issue of progressive thought is not a new one and it has invaded the church. It did so in Peter’s day and it continues to even a greater degree now. In biblical days there were false teachers who led people astray with false teachings. They despised the authority of the Lord by denying certain biblical truths. Peter indicated that they were deceptive, greedy, enticing the unsteady souls (v13-14). These false teachers perverted biblical doctrine and likely promoted fleshly indulgence as properly approved. They were leading people astray.

Many churches today are functioning in a progressive way. Consider these things. Some denominations have approved various sexual practices that are clearly outside the biblical definition of those that are proper. The progressive churches do not hold to biblical inerrancy and sufficiency. They will interpret practices condemned by the Bible as practices for a past time and culture. Thus, they do not see the Bible as absolute immutable truth. Some of these churches will not teach on eternal punishment. Some will hold to universalist views, stating that Jesus is just one of many ways to heaven and the Bible is just one of many spiritual truths.

Peter here emphasizes that those who teach such things are like creatures that are born to be caught and destroyed. They are speaking blasphemy about things they do not know and understand. These are like unwanted vermin destined for destruction. There is a judgment to come and theirs will be particularly harsh, since they presented themselves as teachers and have led many astray. James wrote of the responsibility that teachers have, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1, AV).

Teaching is a serious business. Teachers must ensure that they are teaching and preaching the truth of God’s word. The Bible is truth, absolute truth. Everyone should ensure that they examine their teaching and beliefs in accordance with the word of God. Flee from the progressive church movement.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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