I am a P.E.O. Christian; a progressive evangelical orthodox Christian.
Thomas Oden is a leading proponent of orthodox Christian faith, i.e. the understanding of Christian faith once delivered everywhere and accepted by everyone. He wants to lead the Christian community back to study the Word of God as it has been understood by historical Christian exegetes. In this journey Oden wants “to begin to prepare the postmodern Christian community for its third millennium by returning again to the careful study and respectful following of the central tradition of classical Christianity.” In consideration of our pivotal age, Oden has a deep concern about “how the faith once delivered to the saints is to be rightly guarded, reasonably championed and wisely advocated in our special historic situation.”
The term evangelical comes from the Greek word that means “good news.” Evangelism and its attendant movement, Evangelicalism, promote the good news of the salvation that is available through faith in Jesus Christ’s dying to pay the penalty for my wrong doing. An evangelical believes, lives out, and shares an orthodox faith with others. They respond to God’s invitation of friendship and extend that invitation to others.
The desire to move forward beats in the heart of a progressive. They desire improvement rather than wishing to maintain things as they are. Johannes Gutenberg invented the process of producing books. His method of moveable-type printing produced the first book ever printed, the Bible in Latin. The cost of producing books was slashed which made them affordable and thus available to far more than the privileged class. Scientists and inventors such as Blaise Paschal and Thomas Edison improved the lives of millions. Each of them had a clearly articulated goal. Gutenberg’s was to make books available to the masses by reducing their cost. Pascal’s was to improve health. One of Edison’s was to make a better form of light. Their goals were not new. Their methods were. They did not change the laws of nature or science although they improved lives through a better understanding and application of them.
A Progressive Christian lives and shares an orthodox faith in culturally relevant ways while seeking to understand God’s Biblical Truth in head and heart. Living out this truth once delivered to the saints means Asian and African Christians do not have to worship in English dressed like Europeans. Celebrating Jesus in their own tongue, clothes, and native musical styles does not change their orthodox faith. They are progressive in their application of it. When they share that new form of ancient faith they move into the current of evangelical fervor.
Now you know my view of faith. What is yours? Remember, you believe not just what you say, but what you practice.