Jesus Creed

Brad Braxton, here in Chicago at McCormick Theological Seminary, writes in the HuffPo about progressive Christianity and prophetic evangelicalism, and he urges us to get in front of Jesus.

What do you think of getting in front of Jesus?
What about progressive Christian and prophetic evangelical?

Parishioners in the church of my childhood often sang the hymn, “I have decided to follow Jesus…No turning back, no turning back.” The hymn cautioned disciples about turning away from Jesus. This essay explores the prospect of being disciples by getting in front of Jesus.

To follow a person usually means walking behind that person. Could it be, however, that we follow Jesus most faithfully when we walk ahead of Jesus? I argue for a progressive Christianity that extends the meaning and mission of Jesus into the present and future, rather than promoting an obsession with the past. Defining “progressive Christian” and “prophetic evangelical” (interchangeable terms for me) will facilitate a discussion of the politics of progressive Christianity….

Progressive Christians believe that sacred truth is not frozen in the ancient past. While respecting the wisdom of the past, progressive Christians are open to the ways truth is moving forward in the present and future for the betterment of the world. Progressive Christianity recognizes that our sacred texts and authoritative traditions must be critically engaged and continually reinterpreted in light of contemporary circumstances to prevent religion from becoming a relic….

Prophetic evangelicals are deeply devoted to Jesus and, based on that devotion, deeply committed to transforming the social order so that marginalized and mistreated people might enjoy God’s abundance. Consequently, as a prophetic evangelical, I believe in Jesus, and I also believe in what Jesus believes in — justice!…

With all due respect to my conservative Christian friends, it seems to me that the terms “conservative” and “Christian” are contradictory. Jesus was not a conservative. He laid d
own his life in a struggle against the conservative forces of Roman imperialism.

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