In the 2016 National Church Life Survey, of the 96 Pitt Street members who completed the survey, more than half indicated that their theological position was either “liberal” or “progressive”. During the past fifteen years, we have increasingly referred to ourselves as a “progressive Christian community”. The word “progressive” has a number of meanings, though within a broad framework which includes an openness to new understandings of the Scriptures, life and faith.
The statement printed below (“The eight points of progressive Christianity”) are from a USA-based organization called “Progressive Christianity” which is a network of individuals and congregations committed to an evolving faith. Pitt Street has not formally endorsed the “eight points”, though they would resonate - with some changes to the language - for many Pitt Street people.
Some of our thinking about progressive faith was stimulated by the visit of (now retired) Bishop John Shelby Spong in 2007. In addition to Bishops Spong’s various books (such as “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism”) members have been influenced by the popular books of the late Dr Marcus Borg (such as “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time”).
A focus on progressive faith does not change the Pitt Street words of welcome:
Wherever you are on your faith journey, wherever you have come from, wherever you are going to, whatever you believe, whatever you do not believe, you are welcome here.
The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity
By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…
- Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
- Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
- Seek community that is inclusive of all people, including but not limited to:
- Conventional Christians and questioning sceptics,
- Believers and agnostics,
- Women and men,
- Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
- Those of all classes and abilities;
- Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
- Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
- Strive for peace and justice among all people;
- Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;
- Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.