"God is Love" is a foundational definition of God for Progressive Christians. A Progressive vision is the inspiration that God’s Love as expressed by Jesus is timeless and inclusive. As new issues emerge, we as Christians, as people of the new creation must respond, modelling our response upon the ministry of Jesus as reflected in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts. The third progressive hallmark is: Seek community that is inclusive to ALL people, including but not limited to: - Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, - Believers and agnostics, - Women and men, - Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, - Those of all classes and abilities.
The understanding of "God" is best understood as a container that has many historic and cultural understandings. Early Jewish practice understood God as a "still small voice" that inhabited all people and all of creation. This voice animated people to love, forgive and reconcile all of creation together. It is known as the Eloheim vision of God, which is the earliest view, held by the Northern Kingdom and often categorized as "weak theology". The Southern Kingdom had a vision known as Jehovah or Yahweh. This vision saw God as a powerful being of the heaven with legions of angels and power to divide rivers, defeat armies and bring destruction. This is categorised as “strong theology”. As time passed, the Greeks further influenced the container of God definition as the Jews had lost their language and were adopting Greek culture and understandings of divinity. God now could hurl thunderbolts, create a royal Kingdom and had almighty power. As the Romans took over Palestine, the Jews and the early Christians further added Roman divine understandings where peace was obtained by defeating the enemy with bloodshed and power. By the time of Constantine and the writing of the Nicene doctrines, The Roman secular views and attributes of God had firmly settled in the minds of the church leaders and church doctrine and metaphoric language of prayer and writing. It reflected all the fears and desires of the old Christian minority as it gained acceptance and power. The image of God had changed and would not be reflective of Jesus’ understanding that is the "weak theology" of the Eloheimists. This was further compounded as the metaphors of the writings were changed to be understood as literal facts at the time of the enlightenment when literalism was used as a defence against the explosion of new knowledge that threatened both the Protestants and the Catholics. Literalism did not settle in to all parts of Christian practice but is still a burden today distorting the understandings of God.
A Progressive vision seeks to claim back the "weak still small voice theology" of Jesus. This sees God's love extended to all of Creation and that God is in all of the creation. The people of the world building a productive, restorative coalition that builds a sustainable planet. We are called to form a meditative intentional community together and quietly work without ego to solve problems, collaborate, restore, respect, forgive and share without any tribalism, or conflict in a spirit of Loving Compassionate Peacefulness with all people on the planet earth.