[Originally published on thegospelcoalition.org]
“Listen. I gotta break it to you . . . I’m post-Christian. . . . I don’t believe it anymore. I don’t believe any of it.”
These are the words former Christian minister Bart Campolo recalls speaking to his famous evangelist father, Tony Campolo, after leaving the faith of his youth. He explained that his journey to secular humanism was a 30-year process of passing through every stage of heresy. In other words, his theology “progressed” from conservative to liberal to entirely secular.
He predicted that in 10 years, 30 percent to 40 percent of so-called progressive Christians will also become atheists. Progressive Christianity is tough to define, because there isn’t a creed or list of beliefs that progressive Christians officially unite around. However, progressive Christians tend to reject the historic biblical understanding of marriage and sexuality, and generally deny or redefine doctrines such as the atonement and biblical authority.
As a result, Campolo believes that for the most part, progressives have already abandoned Christianity, simply redefining terms in an effort to hold on to some semblance of their faith. He believes the generation behind them will recognize the shallowness of this new theology—and, with nothing invested in remaining a Christian, they’ll basically say, “Let’s just call it what it is,” and leave the faith altogether.
The trajectory Campolo identifies isn’t difficult to spot. Husband-and-wife Christian recording duo Gungor recently made headlines when Lisa described her husband’s year-long conversion to atheism in a Buzzfeed video titled, “I Stopped Believing in God after Pastoring a MegaChurch.” The video highlighted the couple’s spiritual evolution from faith to “heretical” to unbelieving . . . and back to belief. Although Lisa’s own atheism lasted only a day, the faith she and Michael have finally come to embrace looks little like historic Christianity. After stating he no longer feels “spiritually homeless,” Michael identified himself as an “Apophatic mystic Hindu pantheist Christian Buddhist skeptic with a penchant for nihilistic progressive existentialism.”
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