Social Justice Gospel

The Social Justice Gospel is perhaps the most threatening teaching in the Evangelical church in present day. This doctrine is a parasite. Churches who partake in the parasite dwindle, and so the parasite must find a new church to infiltrate, for the Social Justice Gospel cannot survive in the world it wants to create within church confines. This doctrine is derivative of the teachings of secular academia, and they have trickled their way through corporate America, pop culture, government, and even sports. The pervasiveness of this false teaching may be God’s pruning of the church, in present day.

Definitions

In order to properly explain this doctrine, a glossary of definitions used needs to be first stated for reference. The order which the words are presented can help provide guidance in explaining how these terms relate to each other. We may define each word as follows:

  • Modernism – the belief that man can achieve his own enlightenment
  • Postmodernism – the denial of absolute truth in favor of personal experience
  • Marxism – the social, political, and economic philosophy named after Karl Marx, which examines the effect of capitalism on labor, productivity, and economic development and argues for a worker revolution to overturn capitalism in favor of communism. (Investopedia)
  • Critical Theory – a social, economic, political philosophy that applies the bourgeoise vs proletariat dynamic in Marxism to every cultural dynamic.
    • Synonymous: Cultural Marxism
  • Critical Race Theory – the application of Cultural Marxism as it relates to racial dynamics, disparities, whereby an oppressor vs victim relationship is created among racial or socially-constructed racial lines.
  • Intersectionality – the navigation of postmodernism where personal experience is given hierarchy depending on the lens of the individual. The more intersections of oppression, according to Critical Theory, an individual has, the clearer the more valuable their experience is.
  • Social Justice – the remedying of perceived oppressor versus victim dynamics according to Critical Theory
  • Standpoint Epistemology – the belief that a person is limited in their understanding of Scripture according to their Intersectionality

Postmodernism and Inerrancy

When mankind saw the failure of numerous utopian attempts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the reaction of this was a shift from strict empiricism to a higher emphasis on personal experiences, rather than a renewed belief in a higher power. Truth became more subjective and personal. In present day, we hear phrases like “your truth.” This denotes a denial in an objective standard of truth.

In previous decades and centuries, the Bible was called into question by people who denied the truth of what it claims. This was a pervasive and global.[1] Such examples of this include: the denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus and subsequent bodily return; the denial of the virgin birth; the denial of less explainable miracles; the denial of the biblical creation account. Many of these debates have faded away or become less prevalent. Yet during the modernist era, the words of Scripture were largely agreed upon. The Bible is clear about Mary being a virgin, but this would just be viewed as impossible therefore untrue. Therefore, theological liberals denied the inerrancy of Scripture where they believe an inaccuracy or covert metaphor.

However, in postmodernism the phenomenon is not far removed from its predecessor. The overt denial of the inerrancy of Scripture has anathematized many theologically liberal teachers from mainstream Christianity and seminary institutions. Postmodernism therefore grants theological liberals a new avenue to infiltrate Christian institutions: theoretical inerrancy. Still, prior to postmodernism, one could claim to believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, they could secretly oppose this belief. The Christian-in-name-only is a concept dating back to antiquity. Postmodernism, however, provides a more sophisticated cover for this same belief. Because postmodernism is opposed to absolute truth, it applies this principle to how we view Scripture. Our view of Scripture is personal; therefore, who is to say what is a correct interpretation. Postmodernism within the church is used to denounce an objective meaning to Scripture to obfuscate God’s instruction. This is reminiscent of Genesis 3:1, “did God really say?” This subtle tactic gave Satan a beachhead in the Garden of Eden. And likewise, postmodernism is the beachhead for which the Social Justice Gospel will infiltrate the church.

The denial of the objective meaning and or the ability for those empowered with the Holy Spirit to understand the meaning of Scripture, the authorial intent, is a denial of Scripture’s clarity and further sets up a dispute on the sufficiency of Scripture. Therefore, postmodernist can affirm the inerrancy of Scripture yet in acting on their deeper convictions render this affirmation void by teaching in a manner that is functionally liberal.

Intersectionality and Standpoint Epistemology

The immediate problem presented with postmodernism is that if absolute truth is unobtainable or nonexistent, then how do we navigate situations where Person A’s truth contradicts Person B’s truth? The ability of individuals to perceive truth is limited to the lens of their own experience. The postmodern framework creates a gridlock where otherwise a pursuit of truth would occur through debate or investigation. This is where the practice of Intersectionality and Critical Theory factor into the worldview of the postmodernist as an alternative to classical methods. As defined above, Critical Theory applies the Marxist dynamic to an extensive list of demographic attributes. Some of these attributes are twentieth century inventions, like the invention of gender identity. Intersectionality resolves the dispute between Person A and Person B by measuring their lenses according to the number and severity of their victimhood classes. If Person B is a member of three victim groups and Person A is a member of only one, then Person B’s truth prevails.

Unfortunately, there is no stable chart or accurate diagram for Intersectionality. It is abundantly clear that straight white males are at the bottom. If they are Christian, they are even less credible. As for non-white, it appears that black is the highest of the races, while Asians are just above whites. Indians, from India, are a mystery in this hierarchy. Native Americans, and Hispanics[2] are all in between Asians and Blacks. It is unclear where Jews stand. Among homosexuals,[3] the TERF War[4] demonstrates that lesbians are the lowest among this stratum. Gay men are at the top, despite the fact that women are generally above men. Somewhere in this stratum are self identifying “nonbinary people.” Above homosexuals are transvestites. It is clear that male transvestites pretending to be women have priority over females pretending to be men. The heavy push to protect “black trans women” indicates that a black man pretending to be a woman has the most supreme lens according to Intersectionality.

While Christianity is a negative factor in this framework, it is unclear how other religions factor into the Intersectional hierarchy. The church is limited in this framework due to its unwillingness to affirm homosexuality and transgenderism. Therefore, no matter how much Christians or Evangelical leaders embrace Intersectionality, they will never clean their lenses enough to have large societal influence.

Intersectionality within the church ultimately formulates as an attack against Scripture. The most banal of infiltrations is the rise of Bible studies that apply a postmodern hermeneutic to Scripture. Questions that ask the participants “what does this passage mean to you?” Less innocuous, in recent years there has been a push for the multiethnic church model. It may sound desirable for the local church to look like the church in heaven. However, for many reasons this will never be a reality on earth. For instance, more ethnically homogenous areas are incapable of accomplishing this goal. Furthermore, the universal church consists of every tribe, every tongue, every nation, so even our earthy attempts will ridiculously fall short. There are good reasons why different cultures or better suited to different local church environments. For instance, a community with multiple languages spoken May have multiple churches so that someone who speaks English can go to an English church and someone who speaks Spanish can go to a Spanish speaking church. There is nothing wrong with this. It is merely practical. Not every church is equipped to be bilingual. And oftentimes we see in the United States minorities live in urban areas and white people live in Suburbs and rural areas. What this would mean, in order to create a multiethnic church, Local churches what essentially have to practice busing. This was a disastrous policy in education, and there is little reason to think that this won’t be a distraction to the Great Commission.

The problems with this approach leads the Christian to question why this movement is being pushed so hard. The first answer seems to have something to do with affirmative action: that white pastors preach in black churches and black pastors preach in white churches. But more often than not, what is pushed for white churches to have black pastors. There are numerous ecclesiastical problems with this application of secular public policy. The process of hiring a pastor is time consuming. It should always undergo thorough vetting and abundant prayer. The race of the applicants or candidates should not be a factor whatsoever. Churches should be following God, being led by the Holy Spirit in this process. Furthermore, there are practical restraints on the laity that would limit their involvement in churches that are not directly in their community.

While the stated reason of the multiethnic church model is for the local church to resemble the universal church, there is often an underlying belief in the insufficiency of one demographic and their ability to understand Scripture. The idea is that the more diverse the backgrounds are the great the ability for the congregation or small groups to understand Scripture. In corporate America, it is believed that diversity improves performance of teams. However, this denotes that there is not an objective way to understand Scripture; rather, our backgrounds contribute. This is maybe true if one grew up speaking Kione Greek or ancient Hebrew. This would allow for a superior grammatical understanding of the original manuscripts. Furthermore, if one’s background is from a culture not far removed from biblical times, he may better understand the cultural nuances at play in the Bible. But the vast majority of us live in cultures far removed from antiquity.

The belief that one’s background lends understanding to Scripture would also indicate that one’s background inhibits understanding of Scripture. Because of these limitations, this view posits that if there were three teams of two, the combinations of black and white Christians, the view of diversity increasing biblical understanding suggests that the team with a black and white Christian would come to a better understanding of Scripture than the all white team and the all black team.

But the belief that diversity is an independent variable that can increase our understanding of Scripture is not a biblical view of understanding Scripture. This work is not intended to teach a hermeneutical framework, but it must be said that there is an objectively right way to interpret Scripture; therefore, there is an objectively wrong way to interpret Scripture. The goal of interpreting Scripture should be to understand the authorial intent and the Authorial intent. Because God uses human authors, there exist a dual component to authorial intent that do not contradict. But understanding the meaning of a particular passage is far different that understanding the application of a certain passage. A passage that has one meaning can have numerous applications and misapplications.

Standpoint Epistemology believes that we bring our backgrounds into the Bible and cannot separate this from our own interpretation. This is part of the Marxist academic movement alongside Critical Theory. Imagine the Bible is a globe on a table. You and I are sitting on opposite sides of the table. Our individual views limit in our understanding of the globe while our collective views increase it. But the Bible is not a spectacle that differing races contribute to our understanding. The Bible can be understood through Holy Spirit guided reading comprehension. Reading comprehension is not a skill dependent on our diversity status.

Furthermore, standpoint epistemology is interwoven with Critical Theory and Intersectionality. The example above about the team exercise does not factor in the postmodern concept of lenses. Intersectionality posits that the more victim statuses you can claim the superior your lenses are. Therefore, in applying this ideology to the Bible not everyone’s standpoint will be equal. White males will have difficulty. Standpoint epistemology is one of the nefarious elements of the multiethnic church movement.

Critical Race Theory

While standpoint epistemology is an underlying threat to teachings about understanding Scripture, the most prevalent prong of Cultural Marxism is Critical Race Theory. It is from Critical Race Theory where we get the notion of white privilege, white fragility, and the unbiblical application of racial reconciliation. Certain denomination, like the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) have embraced it. Others like in the Southern Baptist Convention have promoted the uses of Critical Race Theory as an analytical tool. The problem with viewing Critical Race Theory as an analytical tool is that the Bible provides a framework from which to see the world. The Christian worldview demonstrates that there is a God, human nature is basically evil (total depravity), among other frameworks explains the world around us quite well. The Christian can easily explain the presence of evil in this world (Genesis 3). And in acknowledging sin, the Christian is ahead of the pagan when tasked with solving the world’s issues. The problems in the world stem from Original Sin. But Critical Theory does not believe in total depravity. It instead argues that the original sin is privilege. In the case of Critical Race Theory, this is white privilege. The problems with differing races are a problem dating back to Genesis 9, the Tower of Babel. God split the people of the earth into different cultures to prevent them from uniting, because the only thing that could unite mankind is opposition to God. The Gospel is the redemption of the Tower of Babel. The Gospel allows for positive unity across racial and ethnic lines. This is the racial reconciliation Christians should seek.

Sexuality

The sexuality front is not new. Denominations like the PCUSA have split over homosexuality, while denominations like the United Methodist Church are about to. The push to for homosexuality and transgenderism on the church has been a full-frontal assault for the last several years. Every church that has embraced homosexuality and transgenderism has fully embraced Cultural Marxism. These are different thrusts of the same attack, similar to Hitler’s three attack waves as part of Operation Barbarossa. The Bible is exceedingly clear on these issues. So, this thrust is a direct attack against Scripture.

Homosexuality and transgenderism are inescapably connected to Cultural Marxism. While homosexuality predates Marxism, the cultural push in the western world over the last fifty years is largely associated with every other leftist policy push and social justice cause. This signifies the coherence of the anti-biblical worldview.

Moreover, there is an element of Cultural Marxism called “Queer Theory” where the power dynamic between heterosexuals and homosexuals is analyzed. Traditionally, Marxism was opposed to homosexuality[5], however, its rebirth with Critical Theory has upended this historic trend. Even though in America, the homosexual lobby is one of the most powerful and lucrative political forces, homosexuals are still viewed as oppressed according to Cultural Marxists. This dynamic has appeal with Woke Evangelicals who believe that Christians should be championing the homosexual agenda.[6] Furthermore, under this pressure, many Christian institutions have capitulated. Ultimately what this amounts to is a rejection of the Christian definition of sin and a capitulation towards Satan.

While many in the so called “gay Christianity” movement have been denounced for their affirmation of sin, names such as Matthew Vines, Rachel Held Evans, and Jen Hatmaker, others have taken a more subtle and slippery route to the same objective as the aforementioned names. There exists a debate within this middle ground camp as to whether the label “gay-Christian” is legitimate for a Christian to hold. This middle ground asserts that homosexuality is a behavior and the Christian is not in sin so long as he does not act on his feelings. However, this deviates from the historic theological understanding of sin. The Christian understanding of sin entails not just our actions but also our attitudes and motivations.[7] For instance, if we look at the 10 commandments, thou shall not murder is an action. But thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife is an attitude. When Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount, he speaks often of motivations. This middle ground asserts that you can harbor abominable attitudes and inclinations and not be in sin. Furthermore, homosexuality is viewed in this middle ground as a cross to bear as this view advocates celibacy. But taking up your cross is falsely interpreted as repenting of sin as opposed to suffering for following Christ. For one cannot take up their sin while following Jesus. Much of this was the ideology presented at Revoice.

The movement of transgenderism is an offshoot of homosexuality, even clinging to the same acronym. Though a mental illness, the lifestyle is still sinful and enslaves the sinner in ways far less reversable than other sins. There is an element of transgenderism that seek to abuse children. This movement must also be rejected at its premise, and the Christian must affirm the biological nature of gender and the immutability as well.

Egalitarianism and Feminism

This issue is not new in the church. The Southern Baptist Convention fought hard to maintain complementarianism, while many denominations went egalitarian. The problem with egalitarianism is that it views men and women as interchangeable. Biology dictates that this is not the case. The Bible also has more defined roles for men and women within the church (1 Timothy). Feminism, especially the third and the possible fourth[8] waves are a direct result of Critical Theory, and therefore well connected to the other two thrusts.

Most churches that have embraced egalitarianism and feminism have also gone onto embrace the other two thrusts. Certain Pentecostal denominations seem the most resilient.

Reductive Christology

Those who care about the race of Jesus are reducing Jesus to their image of him. Jesus was a Jew. It is not a sin for later cultural depictions of Jesus to reflect the culture that is depicting Jesus. Furthermore, the depiction of Buddha as a morbidly obese Chinese man is a more inaccurate depiction of a religious figure, yet these depictions are commonplace, receiving no criticism from the same people.

Human Nature and Original Sin

One of the oddities of Cultural Marxists is that they believe human nature is basically good. Robin DiAngelo asserts numerous times in White Fragility that being a racist does not make you a bad person. With Cultural Marxism, it is systems that are evil, not people. White people are “socialized” to be racist, according to Critical Race Theory. This nurturing makes otherwise good people oppress certain groups.

Thus, Original Sin in the Social Justice Gospel is white privilege, male privilege, heteronormative privilege, so on and so forth. Therefore, the more intersectionality a person has, the more enlightened they are and thus free of the new Original Sin.

The nature of Original Sin is heretically altered in that one must atone for the sin of previous generations. According to Critical Race Theory, white people benefit from the oppression of black people. However, even if this were true, we are guilty because of Adam’s sin and we are guilty of our actual sin. We are not guilty of sins our forefathers committed. If this were true, we would be in sin for vaccinating children[9], flying on jets,[10] or inheriting land. But this has never been how the Bible or church views sin and repentance.

Woke Legalism

The Social Justice Gospel actually a grand form of legalism. For instance, when racial reconciliation is referred to as a gospel issue[11], this has dire theological implication. A gospel issue is a belief that adherence to or rejection of has implications on how one’s status of salvation should be viewed. If someone is a modalist, they should not be viewed as saved. Therefore, according to the erroneous statement that racial reconciliation is a gospel issue, one who disagrees, is not saved. This statement is erroneous. In simplistic terminology, legalism is adding to Scripture. Some legalism is damnable, while other variations are not, though incorrect. Calling something so ill-defined as “racial reconciliation” a gospel issue is legalism.

Furthermore, calls to participate in the social justice are also legalistic in nature. There is a lot of claims as to what Christians must do. For instance, repenting of racism that we do not commit, or paying reparations for past wrongs. Both of these are legalistic applications.

Woke Gnosticism

Intersectionality asserts that some lenses are able to see more truth than others. Gnosticism is one of the earliest heresies in church history. Gnosis means special knowledge. The idea asserted by Intersectionality is that the more oppression intersections one has, the more understanding they have of the world. This is a gnostic framework that is incompatible with Scripture. To adopt a gnostic worldview has troublesome implications on one’s salvation.

Woke Antinomianism

Antinomianism is the rejection of biblical law or morals. To be free and continue sinning is an antinomian worldview. The Social Justice Gospel is most clearly antinomian when it comes to homosexuality.

Woke Missiology

The mission of the church is the Great Commission. Social ministry has been around since the establishment of the deacons as officers of the church, but its focus in the New Testament was not upending society, rather it was to take care of church members and their neighbors. The Social Justice Gospel views government as a means of fulfilling the Great Commission but places no emphasis on evangelism or baptizing believers and making disciples. Instead its missiology is more focused on the social programs, not necessarily social ministry.

What makes the Social Justice Gospel truly religious is its jihad[12] to redeem worldly institutions. While there are some biblical actions Christians should take, these largely reflect implementing laws that are more closely aligned with biblical morals. However social justice is the correction of the oppressor versus victim dynamic in society. It is not the pursuit of the application of God’s moral law. This pursuit has involved recognizing homosexual marriage, pushing for reparations, universal basic income, and a host of other socialist policies. Pursuing biblical justice in the law would be criminalizing abortion, as this would align with the biblical prescription for sin. As a matter of public policy there is no biblical prescription for universal basic income. Pursuits of this kind should apply the principles and teachings of the Old Testament, and even the New Testament and apply them to the current legal context. Pursuits of Social Justice on the other hand distract from the Great Commission.

 

 

[1] In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, considered to be Jesus’ most profound miracle, is used as a litmus test for genuine belief.

[2] Hispanic is a pan-ethnicity, not an actual race

[3] As Christians, we should not soften sins with acronyms.

[4] Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. Many TERFs have been deplatformed from major social media sites.

[5] See Che Guevara

[6] JD Greear

[7] Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology

[8] Second wave feminism is synonymous with egalitarianism. Third wave feminism is anti-men. The fourth wave is women should be entitled to privileges like not having to do work.

[9] This is the argument of vaccine skeptic Christians because of aborted fetuses used to invent vaccines.

[10] Nazis

[11] JD Greear

[12] I dare not say crusade