In Part V of our series on Debunking Leftist Myths About Jesus, we confront the disingenuous claim that Jesus was a centrist—a convenient compromise in the ideological battles between progressives and conservatives. This myth, often peddled by compromised church leaders and organizations like the AND Campaign, The Gospel Coalition, and others, insinuates that Jesus offers a “third way,” supposedly making Him an arbiter in modern social and political disputes. It’s an appeasing tactic, meant to dilute Christ’s unyielding standards into wishy-washy moral relativism.
In reality, any claim that Jesus aligns with a centrist stance is a glaring distortion of the Scripture. If we understand conservatism as a loyalty or faithfulness to tradition, then Christ embodies the ultimate standard against which all tradition must be weighed—the enduring word of God. While both sides of the human political spectrum fall short of this divine standard, it is abundantly clear that conservative values align far more closely with Biblical principles than progressive ideologies like LGBTQ activism, abortion, radical feminism, and socialism ever could.
Contrary to the illusion of a “third way,” Jesus presented Himself not as an option among many or as somewhere between the right and the left, but as the exclusive path to God. He proclaimed, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This claim leaves no room for ambiguity. Jesus is not a moderator in the ideological arena—He is the very standard of truth and morality. The “middle ground” is untenable when it comes to Christ, who is, by Biblical standards, the furthest to the right one can go on the spectrum of truth and morality.
The deceptive notion of Jesus as a centrist is not simply an academic musing confined to theological debates—it’s a strategic ploy with real-world ramifications. Percolating down from seminary classrooms into Sunday sermons, this idea presents a sanitized, non-threatening Christ who seemingly hovers above the fray of contentious issues. Let’s not be mistaken, this is a far cry from the Jesus of the Bible, who unhesitatingly overturned tables in the temple and sharply rebuked religious authorities for their hypocrisy. Christ never minced words when it came to matters of righteousness, and He certainly didn’t call us to a worldly compromise but to an uncompromising, radical obedience to God’s truth.
Now, why is this “centrist” portrayal of Jesus so seductive? Progressives frequently tout that Jesus “transcends” both conservatism and progressivism, subtly implying that these positions are equally flawed. It’s a crafty way to distance Christians from a strong conservative stance and lure them into a quagmire of relativism. By suggesting that Jesus presents a “third way,” they give the illusion that this alternative is somehow more enlightened, more in tune with the divine essence of Christ’s teaching. But don’t be fooled, this is not a bridge to higher understanding—it’s a trapdoor leading to moral compromise.
For example, the AND Campaign, an organization notoriously touting “third way” social and political activism, claims it doesn’t like abortion. However, instead of a hard-left “pro-abortion” or hard-right “anti-abortion” stance, it presents a “third way” that they claim Jesus would “approve” that argues that instead of making abortion illegal, we should keep it legal but support heavy and expensive welfare programs to essentially bribe mothers into keeping their children. Here, they get to say that they’re against abortion while still advocating for two extremely leftist positions: legal abortion and socialism. And sadly, many Christians fall for it.
This theological sleight of hand isn’t just a harmless flirtation with nuance, it’s a tactical maneuver designed to reshape the Church’s stance on pivotal issues. The goal is not merely academic debate but social and political transformation, particularly in areas like abortion, sexual ethics, and other topics of grave moral import. By slyly maneuvering Jesus into the “centrist” camp, they aim to deaden the consciences of professing believers against these morally bankrupt positions. The ultimate prize? To infiltrate the ranks of the Church and even influence the ballot box, shifting what should be a stalwart community of faith into another cog in the progressive machine.
So, let us be clear: The stakes are high, and the strategy is nothing short of a calculated attempt to co-opt the Church into becoming a breeding ground for progressivism. This is not merely a battle for the pulpit, it’s a battle for the very soul of the Church. It is a Trojan Horse that we must be able to see and recognize for what it is. We’re not called to dilute the Gospel for the sake of ephemeral cultural trends. Rather we’re called to uphold it, in its untainted glory, as the exclusive, transformative truth that it is.
Consider the hot-button issues of our time, each one championed by progressive circles and increasingly accommodated by churches seeking relevance. Whether it’s the LGBTQ movement, which directly contradicts the Biblical understanding of sexuality, the pro-choice stance on abortion, which flies in the face of the Scriptural affirmation of life, the tenets of radical feminism, which often seek to upend the natural order of family as described in the Bible, or the promotion of socialist or Marxist ideologies, which undermine personal responsibility and incentivize sloth—none of these align with Christ’s teachings or the broader Biblical narrative.
In this climate, the appeal to Jesus as a centrist can seem like an easy out—a way to avoid tough conversations and keep the peace. But remember, Christ Himself said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). The real Jesus doesn’t fit into our neat political boxes. He does transcend them, but if leftists knew just how far to the right Jesus really was, they would think twice about bringing His name into the mix. Yet it isn’t our conservative political box that Jesus aligns Himself with, but rather the conservative political box that should strive to remain aligned with Christ.
There is no valid argument that can be made that Jesus falls somewhere between conservatism and progressivism, nor is there a case that can be made that both are equally flawed. Yes, both are flawed in this fallen world, but by its very nature and grounding, true conservatism is far more closely aligned with Christ than anything progressivism has to offer. By nature, progressivism “progresses” away from the only objective standard of morality that exists—the Word of God. As Christians, our role isn’t to broker peace between “both sides” based on compromise. Our calling is to stand firm in the truth, even when it grates against the grain of contemporary culture. It’s not about reconciling differences of opinion; it’s about aligning ourselves with the unchanging Word of God.