Is Substitutionary Atonement Just a Type of "Cosmic Child Abuse" That Christians Came Up With in the Middle Ages?
Did you ever think you'd be living in a day when believing in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus' blood would be controversial among Christians? Welcome to 2018, when saying "Jesus died for my sins" is considered at best a pagan idea (1) and at worst "psychologically damaging" to children.
What did Jesus accomplish on the cross? This is possibly the most important question a Christian can ask. Did He go to the cross in order to take the punishment of our sins upon Himself? To bring us into an adoptive relationship with God the Father? To ransom us to God? To set a moral example for us to follow? To victoriously defeat sin and death?
Think about the phrase "New Age." What comes to mind? Old documentaries of hippies at Woodstock experimenting with LSD and yoga? Shirley MacLaine holding a cluster of crystals on the cover of Time Magazine back in the ‘80s? Deepak Chopra teaching Oprah how to move things with her mind in the ‘90s? As old or out of touch as these images may seem, New Age beliefs are hotter than ever and have permeated our culture—but with a slick new image. The psychic hotline of the ‘80s has been replaced by winsome hipster gurus who have traded robes for skinny jeans—often translating Eastern religious ideas into Christianese.
Many Christians aren't even aware of how New Age beliefs have infiltrated Christendom through the Progressive Church. I've written about Progressive Christianity here, and talked about it here, here, and here. It wasn't until I recently did a study of New Age Spirituality that I realized how much Progressive Christianity has in common with it.
I'll never forget sitting in my rocking chair in the darkness, holding my daughter close to me, with quiet tears streaming down my face. I realized in that moment that my faith had become paralyzed. It wasn't gone....but it was damaged.
I know but I don't know. This is the best way I can describe the profound period of doubt I experienced after my faith was challenged by a clever agnostic. I knew God existed. I knew Jesus died and was resurrected. I knew Christianity was true. But I didn't....know.
The New Apostolic Reformation: What It Is And Why We Should Care With Holly Pivec —The Alisa Childers Podcast #16
It's no secret that biblical literacy is at an all-time low. This is not surprising, given that cultural trends show many people leaving Christianity for atheism, and many others embracing a "spiritual but not religious" mindset. You probably can't fool the average Christian into thinking that the Bible says, "God helps those who help themselves," or "Cleanliness is next to godliness." BUT there are some common "facts" and stories that regularly make their way into sermons, Bible studies, and conversations among otherwise biblically literate Christians. Here are 6 facts you think are in the Bible but aren't:
Almost the Real Thing: How Progressive Christianity Has Hijacked the Gospel—Alisa Childers Podcast #15
Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today's World: With Brett Kunkle—The Alisa Childers Podcast #14
In the purest sense of the word, literally no one takes the Bible literally. No one.
Don't get me wrong—most Evangelicals would probably say they do, in fact, read the Bible literally. According to a 2011 Gallup poll, 41% of Protestants make that claim, but I suspect it all comes down to what they mean by the word “literal.” If someone asked me if I read the Bible literally, I would answer, "Yes. But to read it literally doesn't mean I take everything in it literally."
This is why I'm always a little stunned when skeptics and progressive Christians demean Evangelicals by characterizing them as "literalists." I always wonder—"What do they think that means?" Is it just another way of saying “fundamentalist”?