This is the Jesus the poor need: a sin bearing, atonement making,
guilt cleansing, living redeemer
Mez McConnel – Church in Hard Places
In 2020 when George Flloyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin it sparked significant protests around the world. The pictures of big George being held down by white policeman suddenly brought the Black Lives Matter into popular culture. We were told people were angry because there is white systemic and institutionalised racism, not only in America, but throughout the western world. Even in Sydney people held rallies for indigenous Australians. The implied suggestion that black lives might not matter, is preposterous because all lives matter. Human beings have been made in the image of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God shed his precious blood to save Jew and Gentile, man and woman, white and black alike.
On the surface, it would appear the Black Lives Matter is a movement in line with Christian thinking. So I was surprised to discover many respected Christian leaders speaking against the movement. This includes an African American pastor and theologian named Voddie Baucham who has significantly shaped my thinking in writing this paper. The evangelical Christian scholars who opposed Black Lives Matter were not doing it because they are racist. Nor was it because they were against the violence of the Black Lives Matter riots. The reason these Christian leaders were so vociferous was because there is an underlying, dangerous ideology that was in the process of going mainstream.
Karl Marx called Christianity the the opiate of the people. Similarly the Black Lives Matter movement believe that western, capitalistic Christian culture is a cancer or pathogen preventing secularism reaching its zenith. Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby called the Black Lives Movement cultural Marxism. But what does this mean and why is it a problem for regular everyday Christians in Australia?
In order to explain why so many Christian pastors opposed this movement we must understand that Black Lives Matter has been shaped by an ideology called critical race theory (CRT) and intersectionality. This ideology in turn was shaped by critical legal theory, critical theory, Antonio Gramsci and ultimately Karl Marx. Black Lives Matter has reframed Marxist ideology and is now encouraging disenfranchised people (in this instance black people, women, the LGBTIQA+ community and other minorities), to join together in revolution against the power brokers of western society (white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied, native-born, Christian men) in order to usher in true happiness. As Stephen McAlpine recently identified in “Being the Bad Guys” the secular world no longer views Christians as good. But cultural Marxism goes a step further and identifies the church as an oppressive hegemony that must now be overthrown.
Black Lives Matter insists that all the problems of the average person, has nothing to do with the sin that rules in human hearts. The problem for the average person is the western, capitalistic Christianized culture that keeps calling the shots. The average person is a victim. They do not need to repent. They do not need to change. They do not need a Saviour. The average person just needs to joins with other average people to overthrow once and for all their oppressor. According to Baucham (and others) the oppressor is now being identified in the intellectual institutions of the world as white, western, heterosexual, capitalistic and Christian men. Yes, the church is now the bad guys and a cultural marxism has us firmly in its sights.
Perhaps the reason this is happening now is that the Age of Enlightenment has failed to deliver to western society the utopia that liberalism; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised to deliver. The leading examples of liberal democracy are crumbling and the world now needs a viable alternative and/or a scapegoat.
The Enlightenment (C.17th-18th)
The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement that significantly changed western thinking in the C17th & 18th AD. In previous centuries the intellectual worldview of Christianity had fundamentally shaped humanity’s view of God, self, truth and the course of human history. Thomas Aquinas and others, created space in Christianity for human reason and scientific endeavour. But the Bible remained the primary means for truth, morality and good society, while human reason was secondary. This was the status quo throughout the Middle-Ages and into the Christian Reformation.
During the Enlightenment this began to change as biblical truth was gradually side-lined from primary, to secondary, to irrelevant. Philosophers began to argue that the whole purpose of man was life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Man did not exist for God’s glory, but to pursue and find his own happiness. The sovereignty of reason and scientific method then superseded everything (including Scripture) on how happiness should be pursued. Man was embarking on a journey guided by reason and science alone in pursuit of maximum individual and corporate happiness.
Given the loss of regard for God’s Word the belief that humans were sinful beings in need of a Saviour was also largely discarded. Humanity was no longer viewed as fatally flawed. The new discoveries of the Enlightenment and the first-fruits of the industrial revolution gave humanity a new confidence that they could chart their own course towards utopia, without God. Humanity had finally thrown off the shackles of religion and it was generally believed that guided by human reason we would eventually create our own heaven on earth. During this time there was also many arguments for greater separation between church and state, some from people who believed this was best for both church and state. Other arguments came from those who primarily wanted to keep the church out of the state. Although, it was still generally accepted that the church had something to offer, exactly what it offered was now seen as secondary, not primary. Reason had finally triumphed over faith and the secular state was born.
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Karl Marx was a German educated lawyer and philosopher raised in the intellectual millieu of the Enlightenment. He is best known for his 1848 pamphlet “The Communist Manifesto” and his later work “Das Kapital.” Marx accepted the guiding principles of the Enlightenment and understood the pressing question: in the absence of God or absolute truth, how could humanity discern truth and pursue happiness. Some, like John Stuart Mill proposed principles of western liberalism, suggesting greater individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise were the best path to utopia. But Karl Marx and others believed the whole existing system of western capitalism needed to first be overthrown and replaced with what he called socialism if happiness for all was the new objective.
Marx believed that the normal capitalist means of production in western society lends itself to a class conflict. The bourgeoise (think wealthy, power-holders of society) who control the capitalist systems of production, exploit the proletariet (think poor, working class) by forcing them to sell their labour for less-than fair wages. In Marx opinion this was an exploitative system that advantaged the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Further Marx believed that the Christian religion was the opiate of this exploitative system. He believed that Christianity was like a drug peddled by members of the borgeoise to the proletariet to keep them working in a hazy stupor as they waited for a promised heaven that would never come. The protestant work ethic was not in the best interests of the proletariet, but the bourgeoise. Capiltalism was the problem, but it was aided and abetted by Christian values and beliefs.
Marx, drawing on the dialectic method of Hegel, believed the conflict between the bourgeousie and proletariet must eventually result in something entirely new. Hegel suggested that in the absence of truth man could pursue truth through a series of steps called thesis – antithesis – synthesis. First a thesis would be proposed on a subject or idea. The thesis then needed to be critically tested by an antithesis, an opposing idea or proposition. The tension or conflict between thesis and antithesis, would then lead to a synthesis that in some measure reflected a higher, better truth.
Marx took Hegel’s dialectic method and applied it to the real, material world. In Marx’s view, the material world had a dialectical nature that was evident in the class struggle between the bourgeoise, (a kind of thesis) and the proletariat (a kind of antithesis) seeking a higher synthesis. Marx believed this dialectical class struggle would inevitably result in a synthesis of something like socialism. Society’s means of production, distribution, and the exchange of goods would be owned not by a few, but by the community as a whole. All profits from production could then be fairly and equitably shared among all members of the society. Marx realised that as these socialist principles were implemented it would inevitably lead towards a communist state, which is necessary to manage the collectivist principles albeit imperfectly.
Marx critical view of established western order and its need to be changed through revolution introduced the academic concept of critical theory. According to Horkheimer of Stanford University a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human “emancipation from slavery”, acts as a “liberating … influence”, and works “to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of” human beings. This means critical theory is framed by the assumption that there is a fundamental oppressive problem in the prevailing system that needs to be identified, called-out and then overthrown through revolution in order to usher in something better.
Christians would generally agree that Marx’s critical view of society is partially correct. The world is fallen and the system is undoubtedly broken because of sin. The solution however is not the uprising of a people, but the return of King Jesus who will usher in a completely new system of government – Christocracy. The Bible says, then “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev.21:4). Jesus’ return and the kingdom to follow is the true hope of redemption that all minorities, downtrodden and socially disadvantaged need. But it will only be found in Christ’s kingdom, everything else is a lie. Marx did not encourage people to turn to Jesus in repentance and faith and wait for their Saviour who is to come from heaven. Instead, he promoted an ideology that claimed a similar utopian end could be achieved through revolution, without the Lord Jesus Christ.
Marx was extremely confident that because exploitation was so fundamental in capitalism, it must eventually lead the proletariet to revolt as they demanded an equal share in the profits from their labour. The problem for Marx is that the socialist revolution never really came. There were some short and messy experiments in socialism and communism around the world. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is perhaps the best example, albeit with ever growing concerns that those who govern the socialist machine still have enormous scope to exploit the people. But the great revolution and uprising that Marx believed would inevitably sweep through western civilization never came. In the century following Marx the question for those committed to socialism was why? What thwarted the revolution?
Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)
Antonio Gramsci was an Italian philosopher and Marxist. He was also a founding member of the Communist party in Italy. Gramsci took it upon himself to explain why the socialist revolution predicted by Marx never came to mainstream western society. His answer was “cultural hegemony” and for this term he is famous. Hegemony means dominance and control of one group, by another group. “Cultural” hegemony means dominance and control through control through cultural norms, practices and expectations.
Gramsci’s theory emphasized the importance of the culture in both maintaining, and fracturing the prevailing capitalistic system. The prevailing western capitalistic system was undergirded by a Christian culture, that made it resistant to revolution. According to Gramsci Christian principles like the protestant work ethic, submission to those in authority and encouraging contentment in this fallen world, helped to keep the proletariat compliant and accepting of the prevailing status quo.
Gramsci identified that the “robes” of western society shaped this resistant culture. Gramsci explained that “the robes of society” were generally the intellegentisia (who literally wore robes in society) and tended to shape the attitudes of the masses. The robes included lawyers, academics and clergy. These people disproportionately shaped public opinion and popular culture to the advantage of the bourgeoisie. Gramsci said that if you wanted the revolution to come you needed to change the culture and in order to change the culture you needed to change the robes of culture. Gramsci proposed that “organic” intellectuals (counter-cultural intellectuals) who identified with the proletariet needed to help the proleteriet articulate their feelings of oppression that they didn’t recognize and couldn’t express for themselves. Then, helping the proletariet, articulate their feelings and experiences of oppression, they would then recognize for themselves en masse that revolution was necessary.
Gramsci believed that cultural hegemonic values primarily came from folklore, tradition, popular ideas and religion. These elements needed to be questioned, challenged and gradually dismantled by the new robes in order to create an alternate culture, within the prevailing culture. Then when the subaltern culture reached critical mass, it would naturally overthrow the prevailing culture, the western capitalist system. But Gramsci also recognized a further problem. The Christian Reformation demonstrated that religion itself had great power that was able to mobilise and energise the working classes. Gramsci realised that if Marxism was really to supersede religion it needed to somehow meet people’s perceived spiritual needs, perhaps by appealing to stories of human experience and life journey.
The Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt school was an intellectual academy that focussed on Marxist philosophy and critical theory that began at Goethe University in Germany. It was comprised of intellectuals, academics, and political dissidents who were dissatisfied with the contemporary socio-economic systems (capitalist, fascist, communist) of the 1930s. Following Karl Marx and Antonio Gramsci the Frankfurt school concerned themselves with the economic, social and political conditions necessary to promote social change. Particularly, they were interested in the role rational social institutions played in preserving and promoting change. This study of the ‘rational social institutions” that shape culture was building on Gramsci’s idea of robes and a subaltern intellegentsia.
The Frankfurt school introduced a critical approach to everything, including themselves. Accepting that Gramsci was correct and that the robes of western society were hindering the revolution they started to think that everything was prejudiced in favour of western capitalism. They argued that all interpretations of social experience in life are filtered through biases in the researcher’s mind. But the researcher does not understand that he or she operates within an historical and ideological context that is already predisposed to arrive at certain conclusions.
The Frankfurt school then began to commit intellectual suicide as they turned critical theory in on themselves. They accepted that they themselves were part of the cultural hegemony of western society. Recognizing that in order to be true to critical theory they had to critique themselves, they started critiquing themselves, which led to critiquing the way they critiqued themselves and found themselves spiralling down a path that was something akin to cultural and objective nihilism. If they themselves were part of the ruling intellectual bourgeoisie, how could they critically assess their own positions with any real objectivity. This resulted in a kind of postmodern view that that there is no absolute truth in the social sciences. Consequently, objectivity in critical thinking was replaced by an elevation of human experience, story and perception. The convictions of critical theory remained (there was an oppressor who needed to be overthrown), but the science of critical theory was swallowed by suspicion, intuition and the vibe of the thing. If there was no objective way to critique the wrongness or rightness of social experience or story, all that was left was the social experience and story as something resembling a truth of sorts.
Now at this point it would appear that the assumption of critical theory that 1) the prevailing system is fatally flawed, 2) but cannot be objectively critiqued by anyone within it, 3) creates real problems for the social sciences. In The Theory of the Novel (1971), Georg Lukacs criticized the Frankfurt School saying they inhabit “a beautiful hotel, equipped with every comfort, on the edge of an abyss, of nothingness, of absurdity. And the daily contemplation of the abyss, between excellent meals or artistic entertainments, can only heighten the enjoyment of the subtle comforts offered.“
In 1933, the Nazis forced the closure of the Frankfurt School, and the Institute was moved to the United States where it was welcomed by the Columbia University in New York City. The non-objectivity of critical theory was subsequently questioned and re-examined with various conclusions reached. However, the Frankfurt school continued to promote that if social sciences are to change western hegemonic culture they needed to control and leverage the universities, communication and media (the robes) – encouraging political correctness, multiculturalism, feminism and sexual rights.
Critical Legal Studies, Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality
In 1930 Derrick Bell became the first tenured African American professor at Harvard university. Bell was a charismatic and much-loved professor. He brought with him critical thought and applied it to traditional civil rights discourse. He began to challenge the dominant liberal and conservative position on what constituted civil rights, race and law. The American legal system started to be identified as part of the cultural hegemony that favoured some, at the expense of many.
Kimberle’ Crenshaw (a student of Derick Bell) is an American lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher and a leading scholar of critical race theory and intersectionality. She is now a full-time professor at the Columbia School of Law specialising in race and gender issues. Critical race theory (CRT) is an academic movement that critically examines U.S Law as it intersects with issues of race, in order to challenge the American liberal hegemony on what it believes is racial inequality.
The core idea of Critical Race Theory is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. A good example is that in the 1930’s American government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks often explicitly due to the racial composition of its inhabitants. Black people were identified as poor financial risks. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to black people in those areas, and elsewhere.
Critical race theory emerged out of postmodernist thought, which tends to be sceptical of the idea of universal values, objective knowledge, individual merit, Enlightenment rationalism, and liberalism—tenets that conservatives tend to hold dear. Conservatives often claim that Critical Race Theory advocates discriminating against white people in order to achieve equity for others. This is a reasonable conclusion when Ibram Kendi, director for anti-racist research at Boston University and advocate of critical race theory writes in “How to be an Antiracist”; “discrimination that is designed to create equity should not be considered racism”.
But it gets more confusing, yet. Although racism can still mean an individual’s prejudice against a particular group of people, you can now be called racist if you simply belong to the prevailing cultural hegemony. The prevailing cultural hegemony identified by Voddie Baucham is white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, able bodied, capitalistic, native-born, Judaeo-Christian males (or something similar). If you fit into this hegemonic culture that controls the western world it is right to call you racist, even though you may not be doing anything obviously prejudicial to another people group. You are racist simply because you belong to the class of people who controls the hegemonic culture. But simultaneously, critical theory says you probably won’t recognize this racism in yourself because (as the Frankfurt school proved) critiquing yourself in your hegemonic bubble ends in a nihilistic puddle. So sorry, you just have to accept the stories and experience of others who say your very existence perpetuates racism.
This means objective facts or incidents often don’t matter. If cultural hegemony exists (and critical race theory says it does) then our hearts should automatically be with the oppressed irrespective of the personal details. The minute you start talking about the facts of the case – for instance how many policemen are shot by African American youth every year – this is racism, because you are not automatically siding with the victims.
Crenshaw is also now the leading proponent of intersectionality. Grasping hold of what is meant by intersectionality is difficult because proponents of the idea are naturally cautious to define who exactly is included in the cultural hegemony. Nonetheless, intersectionality says the degree to which you experience discrimination is directly proportional to the distance you are removed from the prevailing cultural hegemony. Voddie Baucham says the prevailing cultural hegemony identified (but often left unspoken) by critical race theory is: white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied, native-born, capitalistic, Judaeo-Christian males. Intersectionality states that the degree to which you do not fit in this group is the degree to which you are discriminated. If you are a white cis-gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied, native-born, capitalistic Judaeo-Christian woman – then the intersections of discrimination are low and you have probably only experienced a little discrimination in your life. But if you are a black, transgendered, bisexual, paraplegic, socialistic, Buddhist woman then the intersections of discrimination are high and you win as the best victim on earth. Even if you are a crack-selling, lying, thieving, narcisist, who shot a policeman you have the right to our sympathy and support. Intersectionality is a wonderful tool by which we can work out who is the biggest victim?!
Tragically, Critical Race Theory is now pushing to have the education program changed in K-12 of the United States school system. This means re-writing the whole course of history in terms of the Marx oppressed and oppressor seeking synthesis worldview. It means challenging anything in the economics course or legal studies that perpetuates the white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, able bodied, native-born, capitalistic, Judaeo Christian, male hegemony that exists. Remember, Gramsci said that if you want to usher in a revolution you must begin by changing the robes of society. School education is one of the most significant influencers and shapers of people if you want to change the hegemonic culture (that may or may not exist).
In June 2021, the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Christian denomination in the U.S) decided to accept Critical Race Theory as a useful tool for Christian thought. But it may yet divide the Convention. Voddie Baucham, John MacArthur and John Piper (significant names in the SBC) are vehemently against this because they believe it is not a tool, but an ideology. That ideology is antithesis to the Christian worldview. Yet, others like Matt Chandler believe that it is a useful tool and framework that Christians should accept.
Matt Chandler (The Village Church in Dallas) says he doesn’t endorse critical race theory, because it “has no vision for the future”, but he believes it’s “really helpful in helping Christians understand how we got where we are. It helps us make sense of the past.” But John MacArthur states that; “without a doubt the social justice agenda (in Critical Race Theory) is more dangerous than any other controversy he has faced in his lifetime and perhaps in the last 100 years of the church.”
Voddie Baucham illustrates the danger by pointing to one of the primary text books used for educating teachers in universities across the United States. The company who produces the book states; “Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice” has been the definitive sourcebook of theoretical foundations and curricular frameworks for social justice teaching practice. The thoroughly revised third edition continues to provide teachers and facilitators with an accessible pedagogical approach to issues of oppression in classrooms.
However, numerous examples in this definitive sourcebook identify Christianity as the problem, the pathogen and the bulwark of the oppressive hegemony. For instance, two quotes from the book include;
The significance of Christianity in US life and the challenges it poses for minority religions is a social justice issue that requires the kind of historical knowledge and structural, cultural analysis we use to understand other forms of oppression that stand in the way of social justice…
…The term Christian hegemony may startle readers who are not aware of the pervasive cultural position of normative Christianity in every day life within US schools, neighbourhoods and the workplace. Hegemony is another way for describing cultural and societal levels of oppression and cultural imperialism as a form of oppression.
Marx language of oppressed and oppressor, Gramsci’s hegemony and critical race theory has now clearly identified Christianity as the problem that needs to be removed. The church is not just the bad guys. It is a cancer. The opiate of the people must now be removed if society is to advance, perhaps through revolution, into the secular utopia. Could this one day be accomplished by an antichrist figure?
South Sydney Anglican Church & Social Justice
South Sydney Anglican Church is placed on the doorstep of one of the largest social housing areas in Australia. The air we breathe reeks of pot, alcohol and urine. The area screams for social justice. The danger South Sydney Anglican Church now faces as Critical Race Theory goes mainstream is that we lose the gospel, we turn sinners into victims, and we find ourselves strangely drawn to an ideology of helping the poor that also identifies Christianity as the enemy.
Critical Race Theory has Marxist, Socialist and Communist roots. We need to be careful that our response is not to endorse traditional liberal, democratic, capitalistic values at the expense of the gospel. Marx, Gramsci, the Frankfurt School and Critical Race Theory say that the church is an opiate, a hegemony, a pathogen and an oppressive influence that must be removed for the greater good. The fight is coming and our tendency will be to defend the liberal democratic values we love because at least in principle there is freedom of religion within that system. But western, liberal, democracy is not the gospel.
Liberalism and the principles of secular liberalism are also a dead end. The founding fathers of America and philosophers like John Stuart Mill advocated that life, liberty and happiness was the path to utopia. Greater and greater liberalism expressed in doing whatever made you happy, so long as it didn’t impinge on anyone else’s happiness, was meant to give us all the greatest happiness. But it is a lie. The pursuit of happiness (without God and His Word) has fractured the nuclear family, confused the sexes, paved the path to late-term abortions, and numerous other calamities. It appears that western society is now on the verge of collapse under the weight of its own immorality. Whether it even has the resiliance to emerge properly from the coronavirus pandemic waits to be seen.
Evangelical Christians need to remember the Christian gospel is NOT about a return to the good old days of liberal, democratic values. The Christian gospel of Jesus Christ crucified, resurrected and returning on the clouds is the answer. Secular liberalism and cultural Marxism is looking for utopia in anything but Jesus. The church’s response must still be Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The words of Mez McConnel are timely words for such a time as this;
This is the Jesus the poor need: a sin bearing, atonement making,
guilt cleansing, living redeemer.
Mez McConnel – Church in Hard Places
What does this mean for Christians
Be aware that in many social movements that might seem to be good, evil is afoot. Satan is masquerading as an angel of light and the unwise are being tricked.
Be aware that while many people in this world are victims and have experienced racism, they are still sinners who need to accept responsibility for their own actions. There is no one righteous not even one. We are all gulty of rebellion against God. People need to recognize that while the world is fallen and there is racism, we are all still sinners in need of a Saviour.
When Jesus returns only those who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour and Lord will be ushered into the real utopia. Both liberalism and marxism will fail to deliver. People do not need an ideology. They do not need Critical Race Theory and they do not need a revolution. People need a perfect King. Jesus proved he was the perfect King who did usher in utopia by dying on the cross and rising again. He accepted there was a penalty for sin – pain, suffering and death. That is why the world will never grasp utopia without God. Without God we keep reaping the consequences of our sin which is pain, suffering and death. But Jesus took the penalty of the world’s sin upon himself as he died on the cross. He died to take the punishment for our sin, so that all who repent and believe in him will receive eternal life. Christians love and obey Jesus because he died for us. In faith Christians now live for Jesus and when he returns they alone will hear the words “well done good and faithful servant”. The Bible is clear that only those who have accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord will enter into God’s utopia (Jn.3:36).
Be aware that in cultural Marxism there are many people claiming to have real care, concern and compassion for the downtrodden. Everyone is a social warrior fighting for social justice for some minority. But be aware that much “virtue-signalling” is taking place for personal gain and recognition. There is a woke sainthood. But within this sainthood helping the poor is not really about getting down in the mess to help the poor like Jesus did. It is not usually about feeding them, clothing them or befriending them. It is usually about campaigning to change structures that may or may not really make a difference.
Be aware that when intersectionality provides a tool for establishing how big a victim you are the potentiality to blame others for wrongs and not accept responsibility for your personal sin is extraordinary. Any system that is turning people into victims instead of agents responsible for their actions is contrary to the gospel.
Be aware that when intersectionality creates victims, who identify themselves as victims it also robs them of all hope apart from the overthrow of the hegemony. Yet, the Bible says we are more than conquerors through Jesus who gave himself for us. The Bible also says we can do all things through him who gives us strength. Christianity is about personal renewal through faith in Jesus, not cultural renewal by overthrowing hegemonic institutions. Personal renewal through faith in Jesus is what brings real change.
Be aware that utopia will not be found in this world whether we are white, black or rainbow flavoured trans-somethings. (That used to be called humour. Now it is politically incorrect hegemonic cultural racism). But nonetheless, Christians have been called to do good to all people and especially the household of faith. Christians must continue to do good in Jesus name and not social justice per se. We do good for goodness sake and we do good for the sake of gospel opportunity. We do not do social justice. We wait for God’s justice to be ushered in by Jesus.
Be aware that no ideology or revolution can bring real justice for people before Jesus sits on the great throne of judgment. Christians do not believe in social justice. We believe in the justice of penal substitutionary atonement found at the cross of Calvary, and we believe in full life redeeming retributive justice at Christ’s return. We must call people to hold out for the justice that really is justice, rather than sell-out to a social justice that will be devoid of real justice.
Be aware Christians are likely to divide and be divided on this issue. Many secularists who have rejected God are looking for a cause or purpose bigger than themselves to give meaning to their non-God existence. Social justice (and critical race theory) gives a kind of religiousness to secularism that mimics true religion. James writes; “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (Jam.1:27)
The western Christian church has often selfishly overlooked the poor and down-trodden, in favor of ministering to the more socially acceptable middle-class. Many of these churches probably have adopted and adapted to the prevailing secular aspirations of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this world. For Christians stuck in such worldly churches that are doing little actual good for the world, there may be an attraction to movements like Black Lives Matter. At least it seems like they are doing something for the poor and downtrodden. Perhaps, but not usually in a real, practical sense of help and definitely not in an eternal sense of help.
Be aware that the real enemy is Satan and the spiritual slavery he brings to those caught in persistent, habitual sin. The enemy is not white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied, native-born, capitalistic, Judaeo-Christian males in particular. We are all sinners in need of Jesus and washed by his blood. Yet, cultural marxism is now painting the above demographic as an enemy. They are cultivating and justifying a prejudice against a particular demographic and that is sin.
Be aware that in writing this paper and wrestling with the subject matter at hand I am more inclined to side with John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham and John Piper on this issue, than Matt Chandler. Critical Race Theory (CRT) is not just an intellectual tool for analysing history or culture or sociology. It is an ideology that has the agenda to paint “a cultural hegemony in the west” that includes Christianity as part of the problem that needs to be removed. This is not just a separation of church and state. It is now the removal of the church, for the good of the state.
Let those who have ears to hear, hear.