False teaching has entered the Church like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, masquerading as “Social Justice”, but bearing sharp teeth of division concealed behind puckered up lips. The wolf is intent to tear the Church apart, ripping and pulling wherever it can. It finds especially vulnerable tissue wherever worldly culture has Christians thinking wrongly. Those sensitive places will open up deadly wounds and sharp divides in the Church unless someone kicks the teeth out of the wolf. That’s what pastors need to do. Call us shepherds. This article is one pastor’s attempt to neutralize a wolf that has been wreaking havoc in the evangelical Church recently.
Let’s pull the mask off the wolf and see if we can recognize who’s under there. Who is it that always seeks to steal, kill, and destroy? We know that to be the devil. But what worldly philosophy did Satan use to kill upwards of one hundred million people in the last century? That would be called Marxism.
Marxism is, at the root, an attempt to divide the world between oppressed and oppressor (supposing to make things better for the oppressed), which, ironically, achieves its divisive end when those in power become the most oppressive force the world has ever seen. By God’s grace, America defeated Marxism last century. But Marxism never truly went away. It just stopped trying to overthrow our government from the outside. Now Marxism works its way into American culture to accomplish its ends more slowly. Call that “Cultural Marxism”.
Cultural Marxism “is a revolutionary leftist idea that traditional culture is the source of oppression in the modern world. Cultural Marxism is often linked to an insistence upon political correctness, multiculturalism, and perpetual attacks on the foundations of culture: the nuclear family, marriage, patriotism, traditional morality, law and order, etc.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/cultural-Marxism.html).
To understand Cultural Marxism, one must consider it’s progenitor—Marxism. The Marxist worldview is built upon two presuppositions, both of them wrong. First, Marxists assume that human beings are essentially morally neutral, born “tabula rosa” (blank slate). As Immanuel Kant theorized, bad behavior in humans is culturally conditioned, not innate to the human condition. Marx and his followers picked up on that. Therefore, they reasoned, if we could only transform society, then people would behave well and ultimately thrive, prosper, and be happy under the improved conditions. Second, Marxists assume that society as we know it (that is, Western capitalistic society) is fundamentally a class struggle between the rich oppressors and the poor oppressed. The Bourgeoisie own most of the wealth and means of production. They are the oppressors. The Proletariat lack those privileges. They are the oppressed. From these presuppositions (optimistic anthropology and victimology) rings forth the cry for Revolution.
Cultural Marxism keeps the presuppositions but lays the Marxist solution of Communist Revolution to the side. It still aims for more-evenly distributed economic outcomes. But it doesn’t seek to overthrow society in one fell swoop to make that happen. It is content to work along the edges, moving the boundary between rich and poor a little at a time. But the dichotomy between rich and poor remains. Never mind that wealth is an unbroken spectrum. To the Cultural Marxist, wherever the line between them is to be drawn, there is still a division between rich and poor, which is still characterized as a division between oppressor and oppressed. But the insidious genius of the Cultural Marxists is that they have taken their oppressor/oppressed presupposition outside of the confines of wealth and the means of production and recruited “allies” from across the spectrum of society. Wherever there are differences among people, the Cultural Marxists swoop in with their oppressor/oppressed construct and force that construct upon the differences, casting everything within this narrative of victimization.
So, Cultural Marxism is not limited to financial concerns. It is just as concerned, and probably more concerned, with issues of race, gender, sexuality, and government. The second presupposition of Marxism—the classification of people as either oppressed or oppressor—is now being applied more broadly by Cultural Marxists. The oppression that is keeping good people from utopia is no longer just the unfairness of capitalism whereby those who have wealth and the means of production are able to produce more and more wealth, while the have-nots are forced to work their tails off without the prospect of enjoying very much benefit from their hard work. Now, under Cultural Marxism, oppression is the unfairness of being black in a white world, female in a patriarchal world, an LGBTQ+ minority in a heterosexual world, an “undocumented” immigrant in a xenophobic world. Cultural Marxism marshals allies from a broad spectrum of society, wherever differences, especially minority status, could be called into question and the oppressor/oppressed construct forced upon the difference.
So widespread is the use of the victimization construct that individuals actually begin to categorize the ways (that’s plural) they are victims, ranking them and weighing them against the victimization of others! This concept is called “intersectionality”. The question becomes how the interplay of multiple layers of oppression affect a person. So, white, male, heterosexual, wealthy, American citizens get zero oppression points. Their oppressor ranking is necessarily very high. Conversely, a black, female, gay, poor, immigrant gets off-the-charts oppression points. Her oppression status is a multiplier—victim to the fifth power. She would be an uber-victim, deserving of uber-rights and uber-reparations.
Now, if proponents of intersectionality were rational and sincere, they would realize that there are literally as many ways to divide humanity as there are people on the planet (they would arrive at the individualism upon which Western civilization is based!). The relative privileges of any individual born into this world involves too many factors to calculate. For example, what if our white male above is devastatingly ugly. How will that affect his ability to get jobs, or get married? What if our black female is born with an incredibly high IQ of 190? How will that affect her ability to get jobs, or get married? What if one or the other of them is extremely tall or short? What if one has Bipolar Disorder? What if the other is predisposed to pancreatic cancer? What if one is lactose intolerant? What if one has an abusive father? What if one has a loving father and a loving mother, who spend time with them in the home and who raise them to love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love their neighbor as themselves? How will those factors affect the outcomes of their lives? What we are given, and what we are not, is—in fact—determined by God, who is both just and free.
The problem that our culture and our churches are encountering nowadays in the areas of race, gender, sexuality, wealth, and government are not as the Cultural Marxists presuppose. There is not widespread implicit bias. There are not micro-aggressions constantly being perpetrated by the dominant race, dominant gender, dominant sexuality, dominant financial class, and dominant American citizen.
There are not even two identifiable groupings by race, sexuality, wealth, or nationality. Gender is a God-ordained binary, but the others are not. All of these other classifications involve spectrums, not binaries. For example, contra the assertions of Critical Race Theory, there is no such thing as “black” and “white” people. If there were, then Barak Obama would be as much “white” as he is “black”, since his mom was one and his dad was the other. But to maintain the binary, Critical Race Theory makes the ridiculous assertion that anyone having even one drop of blood with African descent makes a person “black”. And, of course, the Cultural Marxists go on to assert that “whites” are oppressing “blacks”. Such thinking is not biblical. It is Marxist. The problem is not “implicit bias” whereby two groups always exist and the dominant always oppresses the sub-dominant. In truth, the problem is called “Cultural Marxism”, and it has an ugly offspring called “intersectionality”.
It has been sad to watch how successful Cultural Marxism has been in American culture. Sadder still is the reality that it is working its way into the Church. Amazingly, even some of our best teachers don’t seem to recognize it. But listen to their conferences, read their books, hear their sermons, and the sad reality will soon be seen. Well-dressed in sheep’s clothing, a wolf called Marxism has entered our building. Let’s unmask this wolf and clear the Church of it the way Jesus cleared the Temple.
This is a call to all Christians, but especially to the shepherds—commissioned to protect the sheep. Pastors, warn your flock about Cultural Marxism. Take to the pulpit and take up the pen. Kick a tooth out of the Marxist wolf. If enough of us do that, the wolf will lose its bite. If we are silent, then the blood of the sheep is on our hands (Ezekiel 3:17-18). Feed the sheep the good food of God’s Word (Ezekiel 34:1-2). That includes a biblical anthropology (Romans 3:9-20) and a biblical prescription for how to have unity in the Church (Colossians 3:11). It also includes a robust defense of the truth when wolves in sheep’s clothing arrive on the scene (Acts 20:17-28, Hebrews 5:14, Titus 1:9, Matthew 7:15-20). Cultural Marxism is running rampant in the evangelical church. Let’s do what shepherds do.