There is arguably no religious community that talks more about “truth” and “defending truth” than evangelical Christians. And yet, from Trump’s big lie and QAnon to the ubiquity of urban legends, evangelicals have shown themselves to be fatuous and often culpably complicit in spreading harmful misinformation.
Alas, the falsehoods they spread about progressive Christians are no different. And one of the most brazen of those falsehoods is the claim that progressive Christians don’t care about doctrine or right belief.
This is patently absurd. Most self-identifying progressive Christians came from conservative evangelical backgrounds and have found themselves compelled to rethink and revise their theological understanding precisely because they take doctrine seriously. The very reason progressive Christians exist is because they took their conservative theological doctrines seriously enough to think about them, test them, and revise them where necessary.
That set them on a journey that has often been difficult and painful, all the more so when former evangelical friends and family spread misinformation about them, claiming they are no longer Christians, reducing nuanced theological discussions to grossly simplistic and rhetorically loaded questions like “So you disagree with Paul?”, and claiming that the engaged life of the mind is somehow a subversive denial of piety.
It is quite the opposite, in fact. Progressive Christians are wrestling with their understanding of doctrine like Jacob wrestled with the angel. Those who judge them as showing impiety and a disregard for doctrine merely demonstrate the superficiality of their own understanding of Christian discipleship.