Marcus Borg’s well-written, thoughtful book The Heart of Christianity has become a manifesto of sorts for progressive Christians of the postmodern age. When I finished reading it, I found myself asking the question, What’s new? Universalism isn’t. Neither is pantheism. Or Arianism. And there have always been those who denied the divine origin of Scripture.
Cutting the doctrinal heart out of the Christian faith and still insisting on calling it Christian is also not new. In 1923, J. Gresham Machen published his classic polemical work Christianity and Liberalism in which he argued that there is so much difference between orthodox Christianity and modern liberal Christianity that they are, in fact, two different religions. The same applies to traditional Christianity and Borg’s faith, which he calls the earlier and emerging paradigms, respectively. In my mind, the differences are so vast that they are two different faiths, despite their common heritage, vocabulary, and liturgies. Truth in advertising would seem to require a different name for this newer faith. Borgism, anyone?