Alisa Childers

Alisa Childers is a former CCM recording artist with the Dove award-winning group ZOEgirl. But once she came off the road in her mid-thirties, she suffered a crisis of faith. The source of her newfound uncertainty and doubt? Her secretly deconstructing pastor.

On today’s episode of the Great Stories Podcast, Alisa shares the story of her detour into progressive Christianity, as well as how the Lord delivered her to embrace a vibrant, rational, and informed faith that is grounded in historical Christianity. If you or a loved one is wrestling with doubt or uncertainty, we pray this conversation will help.

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There is a growing trend of people walking away from the faith in favor of an alternative gospel. Exvangelicals, post-Christians, deconstructionists, and nones are on the rise. In response to this great faith crisis, Brandon Kimber set out to make the timely documentary American Gospel: Christ Crucified, which engages with the claims of the progressive Christian movement, while also countering them with a sound, biblical declaration of Jesus’ saving work on the cross.

As our thanks for your gift to Haven Ministries, we want to send you a copy of American Gospel: Christ Crucified. But before you watch, we also want you to be prepared with two things.

First, we want you to have the free study guide that was made for churches and small groups to print and distribute. It’s not a necessary part of the viewing experience, but many will find it helpful to take notes and respond thoughtfully to the questions raised by the film. You can download your free study guide here >>

Second, we believe it is important you become acquainted with the individuals from the progressive and humanist side of the conversation featured in the documentary. This film allows each of them to express their opinions about Scripture, even though we disagree with what they believe.

The film’s position (and Haven’s for that matter) is that their views about Christianity—particularly the atonement—are outside the bounds of historic Christianity. The filmmaker writes:

We are thankful that these men participated and cooperated in making this film possible. We believe that their involvement is valuable in making this film a helpful apologetic tool for Christians to understand the thinking of those who identify as progressive Christians. Pray for them, and if you interact with them on social media, thank them for their help in making this film possible.

Here is a brief introduction to each of the men presenting opposing viewpoints throughout the film.

  1. Bart Campolo, American Gospel: Christ CrucifiedOur first subject is Bart Campolo (son of Tony Campolo), who, in his very first lines in the film, explains how he lost his faith; the film follows his journey from progressive Christianity to secular humanism (atheism) and compares it to the journey of Russell Berger, who journeys from atheism to Christianity. Bart is always titled “secular humanist” and his perspective on God’s sovereignty, homosexuality, hell, the exclusivity of Jesus Christ in salvation, penal substitution, and the resurrection, are all countered with the opposite (biblical) perspective through Russell Berger, etc.
  2. Tony Jones, American Gospel: Christ CrucifiedTony Jones is labeled as “co-founder of the Emergent Church movement,” and author of “Did God Kill Jesus?” Throughout the film Tony explains his problems with the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, and argues that God doesn’t need be to be just in order to forgive sin. All of Tony’s arguments are met with a biblical response, which we believe makes our film’s position clear.
  3. Deconstructionists, American Gospel: Christ CrucifiedFinally, John Williamson and Adam Narloch of The Deconstructionist Podcast are featured. As the film progresses, we see that they are influenced by and share many of the same beliefs as Richard Rohr and other progressive leaders.

American Gospel: Christ Crucified

The gospel message of “Christ crucified” has always been offensive.

In our culture it is common for preachers to soften the offense of the cross, and the attributes of God that are displayed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. American Gospel: Christ Crucified explores how the paths of post-modernism and progressive Christianity lead to a different gospel, and a god created in our own image.

“But we preach Christ Crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness…” (1 Cor. 1:23)      

The sequel to American Gospel: Christ Alone, this equally-stirring continuation examines some of the following hot topics in Christian discussion today:

  1. We often hear the phrase, “Jesus died for our sins.” What does that mean?
  2. Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God in the New Testament?
  3. Did God the Father kill Jesus?
  4. Can a loving God also express wrath?
  5. Why is hell necessary?