From time to time we hear about a progressive Christian leader who says something outrageous and downright heretical. The latest case is Rev. Rachel Small Stokes, pastor of Immanuel United Church of Christ in Louisville, Ky. The United Church of Christ is a far-left denomination; it’s actually the denomination where Barack and Michelle Obama attended church when they lived in Chicago until the toxic pastor began hogging the headlines.
Stokes, in an undated video from WokePreacherClips (a Twitter account you must follow), asks her congregation members to stand and recite the “Sparkle Creed.”
“Let us confess our faith today in the words of the Sparkle Creed” pic.twitter.com/CXeQQZvhbC
— Woke Preacher Clips (@WokePreacherTV) June 27, 2023
Here’s the text of the creed, which Stokes wrote herself in 2021:
- I believe in the non-binary God whose pronouns are plural.
- I believe in Jesus Christ, their child, who wore a fabulous tunic and had two dads, and who saw everyone as a sibling child of God.
- I believe in the rainbow Spirit, which shatters our image of one white light and refracts it into a rainbow of gorgeous diversity.
- I believe in the church of everyday saints, as numerous, creative, and resilient as patches on the AIDS quilt, whose feet are grounded in mud and whose eyes gaze at the stars in Wonder.
- I believe in the calling to each of us, that love is love is love, so beloved, let us love.
- I believe, in a glorious God. Help my unbelief.
This is absurd, but it’s a perfect illustration of what happens when churches ignore the timeless truths in Scripture and give in to ever-changing cultures. Progressive Christianity is the reason why many “mainline” religions are declining.
One of my colleagues wrote an interesting article on this subject for HotAir. He claims that the “wokeness” of some churches, as suggested by his title, is a sign of the “decline of Christianity”.
Christianity is still a part of culture, but it has become a minor one. The Catholic Church is not the driving force behind the culture.
This article is not intended to criticize Protestantism. Luther thought that every man was his priest. Yes, the doctrine is a slippery idea without the backing of a bureaucracy.
I agree with his point but respectfully disagree about a part. The “vast” number is exaggerated. I don’t have an exact number, but I know that there are progressive Christians, such as Rev. Stokes, who is a member of a small minority in the Christian faith.
Up to a certain point, it may be true to say that Protestantism is a kind of “Wild West”, where such ideas are born. We can’t blame Protestantism for the United Church of Christ, or other progressive pockets of Christianity.
It is true that Protestantism has a “big tent”. Although there are different theological perspectives within denominations and nondenominational churches, the majority of Protestants hold the same fundamental beliefs as Catholics.
There will always be pockets where heresy exists as long as the church is made up of fallible individuals.
Does this all indicate a “decline” in Christianity? This is far from the truth. While the American church is in a downward spiral, the flames are stoked by persecution. Christians know that God will still win the war even if they lose some battles.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:1-4 (ESV)
God will never abandon a small group of believers who are committed to truth, no matter how bad our culture gets.