Progressive Church Declares Bible Isn’t Actually God’s Word

By Mark A. Kellner | Posted March 02, 2021

What is the Bible? Many churches say it is “the only rule for faith and practice.

A church in Nashville, Tennessee, is quite sure that’s not true. GracePointe Church, a self-styled “progressive” congregation, recently kicked up some social media dust when it declared on its Facebook page: “The Bible isn’t: the Word of God, self-interpreting, a science book, an answer/rule book, inerrant or infallible.”

Instead, the congregation, which is meeting virtually during the pandemic, asserts, “The Bible is: a product of community, a library of texts, multi-vocal, a human response to God, living and dynamic.”

The announcement was prefaced with an introduction: “As Progressive Christians, we’re open to the tensions and inconsistencies in the Bible. We know that it can’t live up to impossible, modern standards. We strive to more clearly articulate what Scripture is and isn’t.”

Unfortunately, in seeking that “articulation,” they skip over what the Bible itself declares: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). There’s no ambiguity here: The Bible is “an answer/rule book” that is “inerrant” and “infallible.”

Misrepresenting God’s Word?

Josh Scott, the church’s lead pastor since April 2019, expounded on the position to online newspaper The Christian Post: “I think we definitely have a tendency to treat the Bible almost as an idol.” He added, “I think one of the greatest challenges that happens with the Bible is we bring expectations to it that it just isn’t intended to bear and can’t bear.” He goes on to opine that the Bible is more concerned with explaining the “why” rather than the “how,” even inferring upon the subject of evolution.

He also resorted to this familiar trope typically reserved for atheist talking points: “People have used the text in the Bible, plain readings of the text at times to support white supremacy, to defend slavery, to defend segregation. Saying the Bible is inerrant and infallible, it absolves us of our responsibility to do what our ancestors did, which is to wrestle.”

Scott’s wording is significant: “People have used the text in the Bible” to advocate abominable practices and belief systems, yet it must also be said those people did not allow the Bible to reshape and reform them.

If they had, then there certainly would be more testimonies like that of John Newton, a sea captain whose business involved transporting slaves from Africa to British colonies. After a near-death experience at sea, Newton turned to the Bible, denounced slavery, and devoted his life to sharing the Christian message with others. You might have sung his famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” That’s what the Word of God does—it transforms people: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

A unified miracle divinely assembled over the course of thousands of years by dozens of people of widely differing backgrounds, the Bible is a “living” rejection of Scott’s claim—and most definitely not in the way that he intends the word. The Bible is not relative truth; it does not change. But it is alive, “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, emphasis added). 

The one consistent theme from Genesis in the Old Testament to the end of Revelation in the New Testament is “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The Bible documents God’s character in writing, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Bible puts God’s character of love within you.

No Turning Back

This is not GracePointe’s first foray into controversy; notably,it rejected the biblical definition of marriage several years ago. At the time, the church lost members and donations due to its policy changes, but Stan Mitchell, the lead pastor at the time, said that there was no turning back.

It appears that Mitchell’s pronouncement is coming true. Picking and choosing when the Bible is relevant and when it is irrelevant makes Christians weak and subject to any wind of doctrine, no matter how contradictory to the fullness of God’s Word.

What GracePointe’s belief really comes down to is the fact that the Bible demands something of us: We are to hold to God’s definition of morality. If we don’t, we end up making the true idol—the stuff of our own fancies. We “[exchange] the truth of God for the lie, and [worship] and [serve] the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

Progressive Christians may claim the Bible is nothing more than a collection of writings, but any who call themselves followers of Christ are qualified by their belief in the Bible as their gyrocompass, the true North of God’s will. Pastor Doug Batchelor writes about this in The Ultimate Resource, a free online book you can read right now.

And if GracePointe’s stance has you wondering, “Is There Anything Left You Can Trust?”, our free, online Bible study lesson has answers. See the claims the Bible makes—and learn how to prove the absolute infallibility of God’s Word.

Mark Kellner
Mark A. Kellner is a staff writer for Amazing Facts International. He is a veteran journalist whose work has been published in Religion News Service, The Washington Times, and numerous computer magazines.

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