Arizona ministers use sermon series to critique ‘progressive’ faith

When eight pastors in Fountain Hills, Arizona, were planning a joint sermon series called “‘Progressive’ Christianity: Fact or Fiction?” they didn’t invite a local pastor who had cowritten a curriculum on the topic.

“You’d think if they want to do a series on progressive Christianity, they’d want the guy who has written a DVD curriculum on it,” said David Felten, who is coauthor of Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity. “That indicates to me that it’s not just a broad concern, but aimed at us”—him and his congregation, the Fountains, a United Methodist church.

The May and June sermon series in the town of 22,500 caught the attention of national media, as well as pastors in the region and Christian leaders nationally and internationally who have signed an open letter expressing concerns about the series. Congregations taking part include Baptist, Lutheran Church–Mis­souri Synod, and nondenominational congregations.