Allow me to explain how the Marxist enemies of the gospel did it. This is what we should see if we are looking intelligently at the game film. And we are quite willing to look intelligently at the game film, are we not?
I want to provide you with this explanation because there was this two-dimensional movie-set Western town, see?, that we once thought to be a powerful evangelical establishment. Anyhow, that facade apparently had a couple of careening tumbleweed blow the wrong way into it, and it knocked the whole thing over.
And so here we all are, looking over a forlorn studio lot, where many Oscar-winning conferences were once held. The commitment to the gospel in those conferences, provided that commitment stayed immediately behind the lectern, was something to behold. The acting was superb, and the cinematography enchanting.
How The Bad Guys Did It
The first thing the bad guys did was limit themselves (and all the rest of us) to “the gospel.” They declared themselves beholden to “gospel issues” only, and so they insisted we be focused on the gospel, or truly centered on the gospel.
Hey. If I could, may I say just a few things about that word central? I would simply like to mention one thing in passing . . . every Christian heart loves to hear about the gospel being central, but there is another set of questions that really need to be raised and asked. Central to what? U.S. Central Command? Central how? Central Park? Central heating? Central in what ways? An axle with twelve or fourteen sturdy oak spokes attached to an equally sturdy rim is central, a decorative vase full of pansies is central to the coffee table, and a faculty lounge full of pansies is central to an historic Christian college. So what do you mean, my friend, when you say central? Are you referring to a connected center, or to a disconnected center? Are you referring to a supporting center, or to a decorative one?
Having established the pungency of the phrase “not a gospel issue,” they would then begin to chide conservative Christians for bringing up their issues of cultural concern—the kinds of things that are taught at those Christian worldview camps for high school seniors—because such things were not really gospel issues. What are you, a theonomist? What are you, a Trump supporter? That kind of mingling of politics with the gospel corrupts the gospel, or so the line went, and makes us a laughingstock before a lost, broken, and hurting world.
But then . . . once the views of conservative Christians were excluded from consideration by definition, the second step in this pretty simple dance move was to declare “justice” to be a genuine gospel issue. After all, remember the dikai- word group! But, as I have cautioned multiple times, our current cultural conflagration is a battle over who is to be appointed as the editorial director of the dictionary, not excluding Greek lexicons.
But it needs to be pointed out that if the dikai– word group, at least from the old lexicons, had a case of rabies, apparently it still hasn’t bitten any of these newer justice phrases.
It is true that real justice is a genuine gospel issue, and always has been, just so long as don’t allow “justice” to be defined by three drunk orangutans with an envious streak and time on their hands. Justice is precisely what we see manifested on the cross, where Christ died so that the sins of black race hustlers could be completely forgiven.
But justice, according to this new commie definition, one that insists on equality of outcome, has now been shoehorned into “the gospel.” And if you differ with any of this crap, you are a white supremacist, or a misogynist, or a plutocrat, and quite possibly all three at once.
Escape from the Struggle Sessions
At the grand level, Marxism is a Christian heresy. Critical theory, which in all its forms sprang from that Marxism, is therefore a bastard child of a bastard child. Marx interpreted history as being a history of economic oppression, which meant that the oppressors were the capitalists and the oppressed were the proletariat. You probably remember that much from school. But the basic grid was oppressor/oppressed, their heretical version of the reprobate and the elect.
What the gents of the Frankfurt School did was to take this oppressor/oppressed paradigm and retrofit it so that it could be applied to any number of other envious grievances—racial, or sexual, along with other intersectional combos.
In the meantime, the old economic envy has stuck around, but with a really odd twist. Now the economic envy is wielded downhill by affluent graduates of Ivy League schools, snarling at shade tree mechanics in rural west Texas—going on and on about the economic advantages conferred on them by their white privilege. I suspect the involvement of fairly large amounts of cannabis here.
And what does intersectionality mean? For example, you get grievance points if you are black, and if you are also homosexual you get extra grievance points because you belong to two oppressed groups. Stacking up your disadvantages brings quite the advantages so it is not long before we find ourselves taking up the cause of deaf alcoholic black homosexuals.
When you give a prize for every owie, you must not feign surprise at the proliferation of owies.
And obviously the lure of all this excitement has been more than a certain kind of white woman could bear, and so some of these women have resorted to identifying as black homosexual men themselves. Or, failing that, if they find that such a stance too implausible for their neighbors there in Arkansas, they simply take charge of awarding the intersectional points to everyone else.
It doesn’t matter what kind of party it is—this is just like high school, where the cute white girls plan all the parties. And then make you come to them.
A Brief Excursus on My Expertise on Critical Theory
What should I say to those who wish to backhand me by insisting that my expertise on Critical Theory is about as sharp as a bowl of tapioca pudding? I studied philosophy back in the pre-Cambrian, and have made no real effort at staying current, right? Wrong. Because I have kept my eyes open wide, and am now 68 years old, I have the life experience equivalent of 5 or 6 PhDs in Scottish common sense realism.
But if I were to lend a hand to these critics o’mine, all they would have to do in order to devastate my case is step in and make three basic points: 1. Critical Theory is not really “a thing,” you tyro, so you should get acquainted with the literature on this thing that doesn’t exist; 2. Nobody is propagating any version of Critical Theory anywhere, especially at SBTS, so quit looking; 3. Critical Theory is a wonderful thing, especially at SBTS, and ought to be in the curriculum everywhere, so you are a racist misogynist pig for being in any way dubious about it.
If my critics were to argue that way, I would have nothing to say.
Limited Family Resemblance
Now as illegitimate progeny, cultural Marxism does bear a faint family resemblance to Christianity in some of what these false brothers are urging upon us. Some of their terms do borrow from Christian vocabulary, but the net effect of the whole thing is still dismal.
They say that their tied-up bundle of grievances is a “gospel issue,” but it is the kind of gospel that has had every trace of the good news wrung out of it. Real Christians preach law and then grace, condemnation followed by forgiveness. These people preach law and then throw more law on you. And then yet another layer of law, soggy and unforgiving, like a wet mattress.
Try to imagine a Calvinism without Christ, or fatalism without forgiveness, or sovereignty without a Father. Well, actually, you don’t have to imagine it. It is already here, now, yelling at you. A bony finger is wagging under your nose, telling you to repent of your ineradicable sins. You must repent, and you must keep on repenting, and there is never any forgiveness, never any closure, white boy.
You will always be a vile racist. You will always have toxic masculinity coursing through your veins. I’ll even bet that every night your kids go to bed warm and well-fed, you skunk.
The real Christian fights against remaining sin, true enough, but he does so with no condemnation written on his forehead. And the sins we fight against are sins that a defined by the Bible, and not by race hustlers, atheists, sob sisters, congressmen and banjo players. These people offer nothing but guilt, accusation, recrimination, and the eternal pushing of the great rock of your Sisyphean privilege up their hill of bitter envy.
Your elders tell you this, your HR department tells you this, your pastor tells you this, your president tells you this, and where are you to turn if you want to hear some actual gospel? Where indeed?
You are not going to get it from these false brothers. What you get from them is a flogging that raises white guilt blisters all over your back, and then they soak a wool blanket in the turpentine of hostile recrimination and throw it over your shoulders in that brotherly way they have. And if you agreed to listen to these people, even for a little bit, you kind of deserve what you are experiencing.
So stop repenting of your privilege. Your privileges are what Scripture calls blessings. Your privileges are what should make up a good portion of your prayers of gratitude this Thanksgiving. You know, in the old order, Christians would confess their sins and thank God for their blessings. These mountebanks have you confessing your blessings, and then thanking God for the preeminent sin of listening to these false brothers, and buying their books. Try confessing that.
Where the False Brothers Fit In
And yes, I said false brothers. And their falsehood is seen in the way that they made the gospel central.
Within the realm of evangelical Christianity, as we are considering the massive capitulation of many of our institutions in the face of this woke anti-gospel, there are three basic categories of people—the woke, the confused Christians, and the faithful Christians. Put another way, the bad guys, the chumps, and the good guys.
Those who are entirely woke are false brothers. They are professing Christians, so they should be considered apostate, meaning they have fallen from grace. In the middle are those Christians whose BS detector is busted. They would go to Heaven if they were to get hit by a truck, but they are not equipped to understand the controversy they are now in the middle of—and which they, by means of their over all chumpiness, have made possible. And the third category would be those faithful Christians who have been sounding the alarm over all of this, and who continue to sound the alarm.
If you want to understand these three categories, transfer this whole thing back to Galatia, and the first century circumcision controversy. You have the purveyors of the false gospel, the false brothers (Gal. 2:4; Acts 15:1), you have the muddled brothers, the people who should have known better (Gal 3:1), including at least one apostle for a short time (Gal. 2:11), and you have the brothers who stood fast in the grace of the gospel (Gal. 4:19-20), not giving way for a minute (Gal. 2:3-5).
We have the people who have bought into the woke way entirely, thinking it to be holy and righteous, and who are therefore to be reckoned among the unregenerate. They are lost, and apart from repentance, are headed for Hell. Then we have the regenerate who have kept the gospel “central” in foolish, contradictory, and compromised ways, and who therefore need to hear an apostolic rebuke. They really need to be brought up short. And then we have the Christians who have stood firm against all of this nonsense.
I know that we have all three categories with us today, but am not impudent enough to assign names to each of the first two categories. I cannot see hearts, and do not pretend to. God is the judge of all, and He will do right. So for example, we cannot always say whether a particular teacher is “all in” on the error, or merely inept in opposing it, or really inept in opposing it.
But because opposition to this false gospel is a public affair, we can all tell if someone is not in the third category. That is an objective thing. And so in any case, any Bible teacher or professor or Christian leader who is not in the third category needs to step aside until he gets life figured out.
At the same time, those in the third category need to guard against a fastidious perfectionism. If people in the second category come around, as some of them will do, and join the battle later on the right side, even if you once suspected they were in the first category, and you have your doubts even now, you still need to take what you can get. The battle is too important. Remember that two authors of Scripture were in the second category for a while—the apostle Peter and John Mark.
Today’s NQN Giveaway
The giveaway today is Ride, Sally, Ride in digital form. It would not really be possible for us to do giveaways in November, and then not give this book away. The link is here. In this work of fiction, I seek to follow in the satiric tradition of Jane Austen, only instead of using an embroidery needle, my instrument of choice was a canoe paddle, with which I laid about me with enthusiasm.