Oldfangled Ideas that Become “Progressive”

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Some new ideas are actually very much old ideas. Over time new ideas spring up that squelch out what people had thought for centuries or even millennia.  Given enough time and enough influential people to perpetuate those ideas and they become orthodox. When an attempt is made to revive  the ancient ideas some will be tempted to call that progressive.

Let’s take house churches. I have seen church leadership think they were wrong because we were supposed to be meeting in a building together rather than in homes. Small groups are more biblical than church buildings, not less. Or take all of the new emphasis (thanks to N.T. Wright in particular) on God’s redeeming all things in creation, even creation itself. If you don’t know your history one might be tempted to call this a heretical new teaching but it is actually more ancient and biblical than believing in a more limited redemption of just humanity itself. Or take the bodily resurrection. That was THE belief on what resurrection was all about for millennia until gnosticism and platonism reared its ugly head and medieval theology latched on to Greek philosophy and early Christian heresy than it did the Bible and traditional biblical doctrine. Or how about churches that take the Supper as part of a larger meal. That was the early church’s practice but such a practice today might draw the ire of some not because it lacks biblical and historical precedence but because it kicks against the goads of our traditions and thus must be progressive and summarily destroyed.

Just because something seems new doesn’t mean it is and just because something doesn’t conform with tradition doesn’t mean it is a progressive evil to be shunned and excommunicated over. Many newfangled ideas are actually oldfangled ideas but you don’t know that if you are more entrenched in your own traditions than you are in history and scripture.

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