September 20, 2018

Why I Signed The Statement on Social Justice And The Gospel

Recently drafted by concerned Christian leaders, “The Statement on Social Justice And The Gospel” is in keeping with the words of Jude to emphasize our “common salvation” and “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

While I believe that the specific wording of certain points of The Statement on Social Justice could have been better, I agree with the basic idea that all Christians should be aware of how the true gospel is being undermined by Marxist and Socialist principles. Even perhaps even more stunning: Many well-meaning Christians are unaware that "social justice" groups like BLM, that they are helping, are aiming for a Socialist revolutionary takeover. I'll give evidence of this.

Don't the Scriptures Support a Social Justice Gospel?

What does it mean when scripture states, 'Jesus came to set the captives free' (Luke 4:18) and how does this apply today? Was Jesus supporting 'oppressed peoples' in general or was He promoting 'sanctuary cities' specifically where hardened criminals as 'undocumented citizens' are free to rape and murder at will without the fear of ever being incarcerated? Well, according to the standard commentary on this verse, Jesus was actually referring to spiritual freedom and not physical freedom. Sadly, some pastors today use this same reference to claim that Jesus was a social justice warrior according to their own warped applications. Josh Buice, one of the key authors of The Statement on Social Justice, documents a film clip of a pastor teaching with this kind of example of sloppy exegesis linked in one of his articles: “Social Justice is an Attack on the Sufficiency of Scripture”

Christians are Supporting a Socialist-Marxist Revolutionary Takeover

Another example of misconstrued purpose is an article I saw by Sojourner Stephen Mattson titled "Social Justice Is a Christian Tradition — Not a Liberal Agenda" in which he lauds Black Lives Matter: "So saying “Black Lives Matter” and participating in a movement seeking justice, positive reform, and empowerment is one of the most Christ-like things we can do." The fact is, BLM is heavily promoting a radical Marxist agenda, not Christ's, as documented in detail at websites, The Federalist and The Berean Watch. Many Christians are promoting organizations like Black Lives Matter without realizing or caring that they are actually helping to support a radical Marxist-Socialist revolution. The same goes for Christians that support Antifa demonstrations. The Daily Wire outlines how Antifa actually uses fascist tactics of unprovoked violence and the opposition of free speech in support of their confused Marxist agenda.

A Staggering 72 Percent of African American Children are Raised in Homes With one Parent

The prime issue for the African American community is not social justice, it's family disintegration. A staggering 72 Percent of US black children are raised in single-parent homes. A home without a father often causes subtle resentment and rebellion in young boys. I know this because I felt these subtle feelings growing up without a father in my home. The NY Post outlines, "Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer."

Many Christian Leaders are Promoting Misguided Selective Outrage
The mainstream news increasingly offers selective outrage based on leftist and progressive 'social justice' issues, and this is often carried over into the church. A case in point is the apparent mechanical recycling of selective outrage against conservative Christians by Tim Keller regarding social justice issues in a 2017 article he wrote for New Yorker. The group often facing the most 'systemic oppression' is conservative Christians, and 'social justice' Christians are often helping in the attack and all the while unwittingly helping to remove their own religious conscience rights in the process. The Gospel Coalition was adamantly criticizing Donald Trump up to his election and even thereafter, with John Piper claiming the president was "unfit" upon his inauguration and undermining his authority, even as angry Democrats and anarchists were bloodying up random conservatives on the street. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Piper published a message back in 2015 titled "How Should Christians Think About Socialism?" that mistakenly associates Socialism only with Bernie Sanders, apparently unaware of the entrenched Socialism in the Democrat Party at large.

The Destructive Politics of Marxism and Socialism in the Democrat Party

Christian social justice warriors are often in denial regarding the many Marxist and Socialist principles and policies being enacted by the Democrat Party and this article on Christian social justice today would not be complete without pointing this out. A separate article addresses this specifically.

In the long run, history warns us that embracing the false precepts of secular-atheist Marxism will not only bring about confusion and destruction in society, it will also limit the freedom to proclaim the gospel in accordance with increasing governmental totalitarianism. I lived in Ukraine for 10 years and saw first hand the negative fruits of a socialist society.

The Longterm Harmful Effects of Socialism are Significant

The long-term harmful effects of Socialism are significant and result in decreased quality, decreased creativity, decreased civil freedoms, and a lowering of the standard of living due to the decreased freedoms of the marketplace. I saw an image on Facebook recently that summed up the condition well. It doesn't show made the image, but the question is poignant: "Ever noticed that you have never seen people fleeing capitalism to seek a better future in a socialist state? Never ever, not once...Think about that...Take all the time that you need."

Capitalism is not a perfect solution, but it is the preferred one. The word "Capitalism" was not in use until much later than the writing of the US Constitution. The protection of private property, free speech, and freedom of conscience from government abuse are based upon natural law. On the contrary, Marxism demands that all personal rights are subservient to the totalitarian state that holds absolute power. So if you are supporting Marxism in the US, you are actually supporting political tyranny against the Constitution and people of the US.

Problems occur in Capitalism mainly when the checks and balances are removed and there is corruption within the system, such as when lobbyists overly influence politicians with crony capitalism that causes unhealthy policies and products based on the greed of the politicians and corporate leaders.  But this is more a problem of the sin nature than the system itself.

Good Examples of Christian Help and Works Versus Christian Socialism

When the Good Samaritan saw the injured person on the street, he did not lobby for the government for a victim fund, he helped the victim himself (Luke 10:25-37). When the elderly widows in the early church were truly in need of basic things to live, there was not a petition to begin a government fund for this, the church helped those in need (1 Timothy 5:3-16).

The early church in Jerusalem was very passionate about giving away all of their possessions to help those in need (Acts 2:41-47), however, this was voluntary and not forced by the government. Also, when you look at the big picture, other churches later had to collect donations in order to help support the church in Jerusalem  (1 Cor 16:1–4; 2 Cor 8:1–9:15; Rom 15:14–32). The body os scripture implies that perhaps it was not wise for people in the church in Jerusalem to give away all of their possessions. In order to help others long term, it seems more advantageous to use private property as a means of production and a basis for help as opposed to giving all away and doing away with all private property.

Throughout history, Christians have helped against racism, with social needs, building orphanages, and other types of organized voluntary and positive action, and Jesus engaged in a type of political activism when he stood against the corruption of the local Jewish leaders that held both religious and political status. The minute we demand that the government be the provider of every single need and the great equalizer of wealth, however, then we are no longer following a biblical example. And if your Christian message is based more on a social justice gospel than on the central spiritual gospel, then it's off.

You mean you don't support the “oppressed” of society and you call yourself a Christian?

There are so many misguided and outright false precepts being promoted today in the name of 'true Christian' identity that it's hard to know where to begin. Here is a brief list of some types of misguided statements that I've seen:

"If you don't support kneeling for the US flag and anthem to protest social injustice, then you are a racist bigot and cannot be a true Christian.”

"If you question whether the acceptance of subjective gender fluidity should govern all of society as opposed to an opinion that objective biological gender is more reliable, then you hate the LGBT community."

"If you claim to be a Christian with conservative values, even though this identification can offend liberal democrats, then you support tribalism and you are out of touch."

"If you don't support unconditional open borders to any and all people that desire to come into your country, then you are not a real Christian."

There is an Extreme Lack of Discernment and Critical Thinking in the Church Today

I'll summarize some of these errors and urge the importance of discernment and critical thinking when listening to popular evangelical teachers by testing everything against the whole of scripture. The Apostle Paul praised Christians that were prone to “test all things” that were being taught against the body of scripture, even his own teachings. (Acts 17:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Regarding the flag and anthem kneeling begun by Colin Kaepernick, there are at least five reasons why his protests are illogical, including the fact that there is no measurable goal for his kneeling to obtain. When you closely examine Colin's website and specifically what he promotes, you see Marxism, Islam, Feminism, and other beliefs promoted, and you begin to understand that he is in a state of confusion with regard to the basis of ethics. While supporting 'all oppressed people' may sound wonderful, if you support both Islam and feminism this makes no sense because Sharia law requires types of extreme and excessive submission of women to men and this is diametrically opposed to feminism. Kaepernick's support of convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur only instills animosity from the police, which is counter-productive to his supposed cause of improving police relationships with the community. The true gospel emphasizes that human differences are negligible, that race is insignificant compared to our spiritual union in Christ (Galatians 3:28). However, to many in social justice gospel movement, perceived racism is a top priority.

Pertaining to the LGBT community and Socialism, there is a definite connection: "The connection between left-leaning ideologies and LGBT rights struggles has a long and mixed history. Prominent socialists who were involved in early struggles for LGBT rights include Edward Carpenter, Oscar Wilde, Harry Hay, Bayard Rustin, Emma Goldman and Daniel Guérin among others." LGBT rights and secular Socialism, in general, both share a common relativist basis for ethics. This is not in agreement with Theism, that holds to an objective basis of ethics in the person of God and His unchanging nature as the ultimate moral anchor. Conservative Christians that understand the true basis of ethics and why a close interpretation of God's word are important do not “hate” the LGBT community when affirming the words of Jesus when He stated that marriage was intended to be between one man and one woman. There are at least 10 myths associated with LGBT issues and Christianity.

Our True Identity and Values as Christians are Defined in Scripture

The identity we embrace as Christians should not be based on how we feel, how we want others to perceive us, or materialist values for the 'highest good' of society, rather, our identity should be based mainly on how God defines us in scripture. Scripture repeatedly affirms our primary Christian identity as covenant children of God (Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:26, 1 John 3:2, Ephesians 1:5) Not only is our primary identity critical, the Bible shows that our main “high calling” is a “holy calling” to be conformed more and more into the nature of Christ as we abide in a dynamic personal relationship with Christ and share the truth of the gospel. (Philippians 3:14-21, 2 Timothy 1:9, 2 Peter 3:18, Philippians 3:8)
Identified in the comments at the Christianity Tomorrow website, in a sermon titled, “Cultural Renewal” Tim Keller stated that, ‘the primary purpose of salvation is – cultural renewal – to make this world a better place’. This mp3 sermon has since been deleted, but here is the original link:

It appears that a similar teaching has been removed, per the original link at Gospel Masquerade. In 2006 at an “Entrepreneur’s Forum” sponsored by Redeemer, Keller implied that he is not a conservative Christian and that the purpose of salvation is not personal or spiritual, it's to “renew creation” supposedly:
“Conservative churches say ‘this world is not our home — it’s gonna burn up eventually and what really matters is saving souls… so evangelism and discipleship and saving souls are what is important’.  And we try to say that it’s the other way around almost. That the purpose of salvation is to renew creation. That this world is a good in itself…  And if you see it that way, then the old paradigm if you’re going to put your money and your time and your effort as a Christian into doing God’s work in the world, you wanna save souls which means the only purpose of your ministry and your effort is to increase the tribe, increase the number of Christians..."

The disturbing thing about these types of heretical comments that Keller makes, and heretical comments that other popular evangelical teachers make, is that they reappear in similar forms and whether or not opinions have changed is not clear because the teachers don't seem to ever renounce them or specifically address objections to them. When you look deeply into these problems you'll see that the common denominator of many false teachings is an overly humanistic approach to God, elevating human desires and human goals above the prime and absolute authority of Christ.

When the Apostle Paul became "all things to all people" in order to "save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22) his goal was salvation, not cultural renewal, and he was starting with the foundation the gospel and using language and actions that were appealing in order to describe the essential aspects of the gospel to listeners. To embrace Marxist ideas as ideologically valid as the basis and then to try to adapt this to Christianity is altogether a different approach that compromises the gospel.

To Label The Great Commission as a Form of Outdated Tribalism is Not Acceptable

For Christians to label a desire to increase the body of saved believers, also known as The Great Commission, as a negative form of outdated tribalism runs counter to the body of scripture. This is simply heretical. Tim Keller's assertion, “That this world is a good in itself” is not true. The world is not good in itself without God. The person of God is the standard of all meaning and value and also the source of all goodness. I've not seen more pronounced support for Christian social justice than in Keller's writings, and that is why I've pointed them out. It's nothing personal.

One of the key aspects of spiritual salvation is what Jesus described as being 'born again' by the Holy Spirit when He spoke to Nicodemus. Jesus did not downplay this subject but he emphasized that it is necessary: "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3 KJV). This was a very difficult subject for Nicodemus to grasp, and it's also hard for many people today to grasp as well. However, because it is an essential "must" of salvation, we should not be ashamed of this subject. In chapter 4 of his book, Reason for God, Keller suggests that Christians should avoid the phrase 'born again' because it seems radical and people can have negative associations with it:

“Perhaps the biggest deterrent to Christianity for the average person today is not so much [the church’s history of] violence and warfare but the shadow of fanaticism. Many non-believers have friends or relatives who have become ‘born-again’ and seem to have gone off the deep end.”

The fact is, being born again by the Spirit is indeed a radical aspect of new life in Christ. It's something that I'm grateful for and not ashamed of as though it is nothing more than a "shadow of fanaticism" based on secular perceptions. Even as Jesus brought this subject up with Nicodemus, it's a beautiful spiritual subject that is helpful for non-Christians in understanding the true essence and nature of Christianity. Even as nature dies and is reborn every year with the winter snow and spring rain in the seasons of nature, God has displayed the wonder of regeneration for all of us to see.

Keller's humanistic approach is similar to the strategy of Joel Osteen, who loves to discuss "prosperity" but avoids the word "sin" in his sermons because it is not a "positive" subject, even though it is an essential aspect of redemption and salvation, as outlined in a discussion with Katie Couric. For Keller to downplay the necessities of spiritual salvation and to claim that the real purpose of salvation is 'cultural renewal' suggests that he is pushing his social gospel a bit too far.

A Deeper Look at Keller's Marxist Gospel

A deeper analysis of Keller's Marxism by Timothy Kauffman was outlined at the New Calvinists website:

"Timothy Kauffman has examined Keller’s claim that God’s radical plan is that ‘we are to work together to make the world a better place, to help each other, and to find purpose for our lives’, and demonstrated that it does not come from biblical wisdom, as Keller wants us to believe, but from a Marxist worldview. To convince his readers of ‘God’s radical plan’, Keller quotes from the writings of three Marxists, Robert Bellah, Gustavo Gutierrez and Reinhold Niebuhr, without mentioning their political affiliation. In effect, Keller has surreptitiously replaced the gospel of Christ with the utopian ideology of Marx, and presented it as biblical truth. The importance of Kauffman’s analysis is that it demonstrates how Marxist ideology can masquerade as Christian truth.

Marxism’s Opposition to Scripture

"But more importantly, the fundamental problem with Marxism is that it rests solidly upon a notion of reality that is in every respect utterly opposed to Scripture, and from which springs false understandings of the nature of man, his purpose in life, the cause of his problems, the solution to his problems and the understanding of history and progress. It is not sufficient to state that Marxism doesn’t ‘work’, has a history of tyranny, or proposes a radical re-construction of western society. The problem with Marxism is much more fundamental, more Satanic than even its disastrous effects. The problem with Marxism is that it is a false gospel, offering man false understandings, false solutions and false hope. When professing Christians advocate ideas and practices similar to those of Marxist ideology they are advocating more than Marxism—they are embracing a false gospel. They are in every scriptural sense of the word, false teachers."

Judging from the teachings of popular evangelicals, "The long march through the institutions," apparently, has included a long march through popular seminaries as well. The long march through the institutions is a slogan coined by student activist Rudi Dutschke to describe his strategy for establishing the conditions for a social, cultural, and governmental revolution by infiltrating and subverting academic institutions with Marxist and socialist ideologies.

The secular world promotes education for all and social justice for all as a supposed means to world peace. However, scripture shows that true world peace will not be possible on earth until Christ reigns and true inner peace comes only through a relationship with Christ and spiritual regeneration. This is the basis of the true gospel.

If anyone supports the various forms popular Christian social justice being lauded today, I'd welcome comments and constructive dialogue here at my blog. Sadly, The Gospel Coalition blogs, where there is a need for a discussion on this subject, do not allow for any comments. I noticed that Thabiti Anyabwile says about Twitter, "it’s generally my habit to respond when I can" --but that 's hardly a good venue considering the limited words allowed, and so Christians are mostly talking past one another on this subject with articles and editorials. Both Jesus and Socrates emphasized the importance of dialogue and asking questions in order to come to a knowledge of the truth. When Christian leaders avoid meaningful interactive dialogues and questions, this is a red flag.

In attempting some type of dialogue on this issue, I posted a comment at Thabiti Anyabwile's Twitter home page under the following statement by J.A. Medders:

"If you believe in Total Depravity but deny systemic injustice and racism—you don't believe in Total Depravity."

My reply:

"Question for @Mrmedders and @ThabitiAnyabwil:

If 'SYSTEMIC INJUSTICE' is based on the sin nature and there is no measurable goal to the NFL KNEELING, then the kneeling should never end, right?

Thanks in advance for your replies."

So far, there's been no reply from either one. I get the sense that Thabiti Anyabwil and others at TGC are not interested in an interactive dialogue on social justice because deep down on some level they perceive that they cannot defend their views. In the meantime, if matters of culture and social justice are exalted over and above the importance of spiritual salvation and joining in a personal relationship with God, then a different gospel is being preached, which is a serious matter.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8

Good works, helping the poor, and promoting justice are all good things, but these can never replace the core value of life in Christ as the ultimate good to share with the world. Pray for an epiphany for Christian SJWs who undermine our freedoms and rights as Christians to share the gospel and pray for protection for president Trump who faces more opposition than any president in modern history, despite all of the positive gains he's made in politics.

John MacArthur encourages politics in the "voting booth" only: "America’s moral decline is a spiritual problem, not a political one, and its solution is the gospel, not partisan politics." Personally, I believe it's incorrect to make a blanket statement on whether or not a Christian should be involved in politics. Wayne Grudem outlines why a "political influence" is a valid calling for many Christians and in his understanding, the "correct view" is for a “significant Christian influence on government.”

The basis of the New Testament is a personal relationship with God, and this suggests that God can guide us through our conscience, by reading scripture, by prayer, and even through dreams, as a means towards showing us as individuals what God would like us to focus on. In contrast to MacArthur, WND highlights that James Dobson urges Christians to spread the word and warn against totalitarianism:

“Shame on them all! Don’t they know that tyranny for us and our children is only one generation, or even one election, away? “We must vote, vote, vote to elect leaders who will defend what has been purchased with the blood of patriots who died to protect our liberty. We owe it to the memory of their sacrifice to preserve what they did for us. We must not fritter it away on our watch!”

Though I agree with MacArthur's help in defending the true gospel against Marxist values and priorities, I do not see conservative Christian positions as threatening the gospel in such a serious manner. On the contrary, defending the US Constitution politically allows the right of free speech to share the gospel, while totalitarian Socialism does not. An example to consider is China: "Christians in Shanghai, China, are "outraged and helpless" after Communist authorities wrote "Socialism's Core Values" on a church building."
Twitter backlink:

Note: It's interesting that on October 4, 2018, Timothy Keller announced on Twitter that he is not officially a Marxist. We guessed that he is not officially a Marxist. The problem, however, is that his ideas and opinions are steeped in Marxist precepts.

Tags: what is The Statement on Social Justice And The Gospel? examples of Christian social justice today, why is the social justice gospel harmful? What is Christian Socialism? Christian Socialism of Thabiti Anyabwil, J.A. Medders, Stephen Mattson, John Piper, Tim Keller revealed, Christians should resist totalitarianism

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