Almost one month ago, Mr. Charles Crosby, hereafter referred to by his online moniker “yes2truth,” wrote a lengthy blog entry about me, which he entitled Rick Beckman — The Progressive ‘Christian’ — Repent!.
His entry has garnered dozens of comments on his blog, was the spark which caused an email debate between Shawn McGrath & yes2truth, and I feel that I should finally reply to his message concerning me. I feel as though I and my beliefs have been misrepresented, so that will be my primary goal in writing this. Bear in mind as you read this that I have no ill will toward yes2truth. I hope with all of my heart that he knows the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that in Heaven we will be able to fellowship without division. I do not consider him an enemy, nor do I consider myself at enmity with him. I reply to him publicly to answer public claims, but I reply to him as a brother would, not as an adversary, with hopes of clearing away misconceptions.
This is merely part 1 of a series. His blog entry is quite lengthy, so to keep this manageable and readable, I will break up my reply into portions. For readability, yes2truth’s writings will be block quoted (all quotes from here), with my responses immediately following. I welcome yes2truth’s comments on what I will say here, as well as anyone else’s.
Really, if he knew what was good for him, it would be better if he ‘shut up shop’ and went home, rather than continue with his pontificating nonsense, for every word he spouts digs his hole of spiritual darkness ever deeper.
To pontificate is to express opinions or judgments in a dogmatic way, or to behave or speak with an exaggerated authority. I have no doubt that I do this at times, and often I do neglect to cite Bible verses to back up certain things, as my dad has pointed out.
Yes2truth, it interesting that you have used pontification to accuse me of pontification. You seem to have claimed some authority over myself in deciding that it is better for me to shut up rather than encouraging me and entreating me as a fellow believer in Christ and the Bible to further study the Scriptures.
I have decided to publish this blog specifically to counter Mr Beckman’s blasphemies against Jesus Christ.
To be honest, I was enjoying being the sole purpose of someone else’s blog! Free publicity, people I don’t even know reading about me. But then I saw that the blog now has a message about Shawn McGrath as well, and so the novelty has worn off. :)
Yes, I am being lighthearted about this. I have no reason to be angry, and if I can’t be joyful and friendly in my reply, then it isn’t worth replying.
I would, however, never intentionally blaspheme Jesus Christ. He bought me with His own precious blood, and I owe Him my very life, let alone honor, praise, and exaltation!
He believes in ‘progressive Christianity’, and even has a blog under that banner,
No, do not have a blog under that banner. Timothy’s Burden operates under the banner of 2 Timothy 4:2. I assume you have mistaken the title of this post for my actual tagline. In that post, I was questioning what exactly Progressive Christianity was because someone else had labeled me thus. I don’t label myself that, though I do think that I interpret the Bible progressively. That is to say, I interpret in a “going forward” manner. Spiritually, I started out as a Baptist with a love of many different traditions. However, I have “moved on,” so to speak, in my study of the Bible and have realized that the traditions of man are unnecessary in worshiping God. The ability to study the Bible and to cast off past errors of interpretation is progressive.
Yes2truth, I would say that you too are progressive in this respect. Not content to settle for the teachings of past generations regarding the Trinity, you cast off that teaching and have moved on to what you believe now.
so what we need to do first, is find out what ‘Progressive Christianity’ actually is, for I know that it is not a Biblical term, and this means it is man made, or of man and not of God. These terms which Bible intellectuals and theologians regularly use are what I call NVATs; short for No Value Added Terms.
Yes2truth, you cannot say that manmade terms are of no value when you are creating a manmade term (NVATs) to describe them. Either manmade words are wrong, or they are okay, but the Bible does not give a commandment either way on this matter, so is it really something you feel your time is well spent on?
In other words they add nothing to Holy Scripture but rather, diminish it and in many cases make The Word of God to none effect.
I am not sure how this is possible. It is true that manmade tradition can make the word of God of null effect (Mark 7:13), but Christ says nothing of using specific words.
These words–descriptions of types of faith like progressive, fundamental, or even liberal–are merely descriptions. They are not intended to add to the Bible, but serve as answers to the question, “How do you view the Bible?”
Personally, I view the Bible through a fundamental, progressive viewpoint. “Fundamental” because I believe and uphold biblical truth, the inerrancy of Scripture, and so on. “Progressive” because I am not bound by what our spiritual predecessors believed and taught. I am free to learn from those men of the past, but am also free to learn the Scriptures from the unique vantage point that is my own life. I do not claim to have a private interpretation, but I do not claim to be bound by somebody else’s.
I will be dealing with more of these NVAT’s of Mr Beckman’s later.
Is my vocabulary really that big a deal? It certainly isn’t possible to defend the use (or non-use) of adjectives via the scriptures, is it?
Now as I stated earlier, you won’t find the term Progressive Christian in Holy Scripture and progressive Christianity is really just a hotch potch of people who, to say the least, are not confident in their belief, which in turn means they do not have a strong brotherly relationship with Jesus Christ.
If I follow your logic, is is wrong to use the descriptor “progressive Christian,” but it is acceptable to use the descriptor “hotch potch of people”? Is the Bible your standard for vocabular or not?
On what basis do you claim that progressive Christians are weak in their faith? If I were weak in the faith, I would be being carried about by every wind of doctrine, as the Bible says. I stand firm in my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that faith would remain strong even in the face of death.
You might know some weak-faith progressive Christians, and if you do pray for them. But please do not make such a broad statement lest you become guilty of bearing false witness about people.
They are the nearest thing to Laodiceans that I have yet come across.
The Laodiceans were known for being neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, and it made God sick. If being a progressive Christian is even close to being a Laodicean, then I am not in any way a progressive Christian. Unlike the Laodiceans, I do not claim to be rich and in need of nothing. I daily depend on Christ, and recognize that without Him, I have nothing.
Are you seeking to rebuke me, yes2truth, or the whole population of progressive Christians? I don’t speak for them, nor do they speak for me. If you want to rebuke me, at least find out a little bit more about me. I’ll even let you interview me if you want to straight facts about me. I’ve no problem with this at all, and it is preferred to being unnecessarily grouped together with progessive Christians in general.
They are repelled by people who know The Truth, and to know The Truth means to know Jesus Christ, so in turn they are repelled by people who know Jesus Christ. I will leave you all to deduce what this actually means.
I love the Bible, I spend time everyday studying it, I love the Lord, I love His people. Like David, I hate every false way. I will leave you all to deduce what this actually means.
Now in fairness to them they may be repelled by Bible bashers who still thump out The Ten Commandments from their pulpits, and they are quite right to be repelled by these people, for they are just modern day Galatianists, Judaisers and legalists. That said there are some of us who do know The Truth i.e. Jesus Christ and quote only Holy Scripture, not meaningless ‘progressive’ jargon.
Three more of yes2truth’s own NVATs: “Galatianists,” “Judaisers,” and “legalists.” Each of those describe a group of people which I do not belong to, and they are adjectives which are not found in the Bible, just as “progressive.” Yes2truth, would you be so kind as to let me know what the standard is for using extrabiblical terminology so that we can have a more fruitful conversation?
Here though for the record, is a definition of what Progressive Christians are all about: “Progressive Christianity casts a very broad tent. All people are welcome as affiliates. Their fourth point invites: “.…all people to participate in our community and worship life without insisting that they become like us in order to be acceptable (including but not limited to): believers and agnostics, conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, those of all races and cultures, those of all classes and abilities, those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope.” Most affiliates probably view religious belief as a process — a searching for truth rather than establishing truth. Most are probably liberal Christians or post-Christians who stress justice and tolerance above creedal beliefs.”
What a mouthful that is! Looking at that, I can see why God would be displeased with progressive Christians! However, I am not for certain why it is wrong to accept those of “women and men … all races and cultures, those of all classes and abilities, those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope.”
I also would like to know where that definition came from, if you don’t mind. The Wikipedia gives quite a different definition to progressive Christianity: “Progressive Christianity is the name given to a movement within contemporary American Protestant Christianity which promotes social justice as a Christian imperative, and opposes the notion that Christians must necessarily take a politically conservative or ‘right-wing’ stance on issues such as poverty, racism, and the environment. In doing this, it focuses on biblical injunctions that Christians should live correctly and fight injustice, and seeks to act on those injunctions in the public sphere.”
According to that, progressive Christianity calls people to love and justice, two things which Christ emphasized. As you will undoubtedly note, there are exceptions to this, and that typically of those who would add to Scripture their own teachings and traditions or who would deny its truths. The enemies of Christians in the New Testament are almost always said to be within our own midst–our own teachers, pastors, mentors, etc. Because of that, it is all the more important to try the spirits to see whether they are of God, and to (like the Bereans) search the Scriptures daily, to see whether what is being taught is actually the truth.
Again, I remind yes2truth and the reader that I do not claim to be a progressive Christian. I believe in justice, in love, and in living peaceably insomuch as it is possible. If that is what progressive Christianity is, fine, but I am content to be called solely by Jesus’ name. If I were to claim and publicize all of the titles given to specific beliefs that I hold, this blog would be nothing but a container for them. I guess people just like names ’cause every subtle variation of belief has its own title!
But just because a name has been applied to a belief does not make the belief unbiblical, nor should it automatically group one person labeled a certain way with everyone else who are labeled similarly.
Now, bearing the above Laodicean spew in mind (and I will return to this statement and examine it separately and in more detail later), this person, this Mr Beckman thinks he knows more about Scripture than a Son of God and yet another of his/their ‘progressive’ mantras is “we value the truth even though it can never be fully possessed”
I have the Bible, the complete written revelation of God, and study it daily. Jesus Christ (the Truth) abides within me, and I in Him. I do not claim to know more than any other Christian, but I do not think every Christian knows the same things. To be a son of God doesn’t mean to know all their is about God, but it does mean to be on a course of learning about Him more and more each day. Whether or not you are more knowledgeable than I am, I cannot say.
Yes2truth, where did I say that I knew more than you or anyone else? I do not recall saying anything like that; if I did, I apologize, but I would like to be reminded of it if at all possible.
This statement is a lie and alone tells us they do not even know The Truth, nor do they understand it, never mind fully possess it — I’m not even sure if ‘possess’ is a correct term in this situation. What Mr Beckman is also saying, even though he will never fully know The Truth, is that he knows more about Scripture than someone who does fully know The Truth; a person who is and has been, taught directly by God through His Word without the help or teaching of any man since the days of his discipling.
I do not make the claim to fully know the truth, and while I am one with the Truth (Jesus Christ) I still learn more and more about Him everyday. His Bible contains a vast wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and I look forward to learning more and more of it all my days through the teaching and edification of others as well as through personal study.
If you have already finished this journey and have learned all there is to know, then I applaud you.
Do not be surprised nor taken aback by this statement for Holy Scripture supports it: 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. Please note too, that I boast in Jesus Christ and in Him alone; not in myself, nor in men nor in any religion.
In this we are agreed: God Himself is the best teacher of the Bible there can be. But we cannot presume that those John wrote to had no longer any need of teachers, for John himself was teaching and instructing them through his epistle to them. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 that we should edify each other, and that is one of the wonderful aspects of being a member of God’s family. No matter where we are at in the family, we can be comforted, encouraged, and built up those brethren willing to do so.
Anyway, here is what he says: I will put his words in italics, my words, from my website in bold including any Scriptures and my counter comments in standard font.
We have just now arrived at the beginning of his reply to my actual comments, and I have already been misrepresented by a questionable definition of progressive Christianity. It is upon that shaky foundation which yes2truth continues.
I will be up front about the fact that I probably won’t get too in depth in defending the Trinity in this post. Much more thorough defenses can be found on CARM.org, and I again refer you back to Shawn’s conversations with yes2truth.
“A fellow by the nickname of yes2truth made the judgment that I was biblically ignorant. Oh, and that I am, for there is far more still yet to learn from the pages of Scripture than would have even been possible to have already learned in my lifetime.”
I will correct him straight away here because he is attempting to lay guilt (rather feebly) by accusing me of judging him; coming to obvious conclusions is not judging.
Yes it is. It may not be a judgment that requires much thought or deliberation, but it is a judgment nonetheless. To judge something is simply come to a conclusion or opinion regarding it. To call me biblically ignorant is as much of a judgment as saying that Cheerios taste good or that Allah is a false god. Judgments don’t necessarily have to be “big” to be judgments.
I also note that I wasn’t being condescending when I said that you judged me. I was simply stating that you had arrived at the conclusion that I was biblically ignorant. I didn’t say that to foster any sort of guilt within you, either.
You sure do claim to know an awful lot about me which there is no way that you would be able to know, such as my motives. If you’re simply comparing me to past experiences, I wonder what you are hoping to gain from such generalizations? Take the time to get to know me and to find out my motives and reasonings; looking at my conclusions and then applying the motives of others who arrive at similar conclusions is no way to go about this.
He is right though, for progressives admit they will never fully grasp The Truth so he is only saying what we already know.
Again, I am grouped needlessly with progressives. Yes2truth, why can you not reply to me personally?
“Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?” (Romans 11:33,34, NASB). None of us can claim to know the whole of truth. Our minds are tiny compared to the mind of God, and His word is a source of spiritual nourishment which we must daily feed upon, renewing our minds so that we will not be conformed to this world.
“I visited yes2truth’s website expecting typical “I’m right; you’re all wrongâ€? divisiveness, as is often seen on, for example, fundamental Baptist, KJV-Onlyist websites (there are, praise the Lord, exceptions; at one point in time, my site was one of them, but it was not one of the exceptions). What I found when I got to his website, however, was quite different.”
Ah, a little judging of his own and attacking other groups, so there is some life in that limp Laodicean liberal heart of his.
Now I’m a liberal? What is your basis for that judgment, yes2truth?
Here too he lays down his intellectual credentials by attacking KJV-Onlyist people. Now this battle between those who love modern abominations and those who love only the KJV displays an emotional immaturity and a lack of understanding in God’s Word. They don’t like what is written in The KJV so with silly emotional knee jerk reactions they go looking for The Truth in a place where He cannot be found — modern translations.
I would think you would appreciate modern versions–many of them do not contain 1 John 5:7, which later in this discussion, we will see that you believe it has no place in the Bible. The King James Version, however, contains this verse. If you believe the KJV contains the whole truth, what do you do with it containing 1 John 5:7?
In the world they call it throwing out the baby with the bath water or cutting off your nose in order to spite your face. Futile! One good thing though, he found something quite different on my website.
I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re saying here. Is it futile to use modern versions? To argue against KJV-Onlyism? Or something else?
I must be tripping over your NVACs (No Value Added ClichÃ©s).
That’s it for “Part 1” of this response. There is still much to reply to, and first up for next time is his explanation of why I am a “man of tradition,” which you are sure to enjoy.
Yes2truth, if you are reading this, well, thank you. You are welcome to comment, but please remember if all you have to claim is “I know the truth, so you don’t,” you won’t get very far with me or anyone else. You have made a number of illogical assumptions that don’t hold up when examined, and you have misrepresented me according to n inaccurate definition of a movement I don’t even claim to be a part of.
Someone who loves and knows the truth as presented in the Bible shouldn’t commit such errors, for they border on (or crossover into) the realm of lying or bearing false witness against me.
Again, thanks for reading. I look forward to your reply.