The Social Justice Movement in the Evangelical Church. By Joe Harper. Reformed Truther Ministries.
Updated: Sep 30, 2022
The evangelical church is experiencing massive turmoil today as a result of the social justice movement. This movement is very broad in scope and has many points of advocacy under its banner. Despite this almost all of the ideas of the social justice flow from a neo Marxist perspective and worldview. This is not incidental but an intentional working of the cultural Marxist agenda. The social justice movement in the evangelical church is merely an outgrowth of the cultural Marxist agenda. This does not mean that all individuals who advocate social justice beliefs are Marxists. Many professing Christians and even some true Christians have come to be influenced by worldly ideologies. However, this does change the fact that there is a Marxist agenda at work in the united states and many individuals who are working to advance it. The agenda that has been at work in secular society and in many professing Christian denominations is now entering the evangelical church.
The many components of social justice make it a movement with wide barometers and at times makes it difficult to define. Social Justice is the idea of implementing justice on a societal level and righting the wrongs of the “oppressed.” The term justice is often used differently than how it is defined scripturally. Social Justice is often used to advocate wealth distribution, reparations for historically oppressed peoples and the advocacy of the “rights” of marginalized groups. These ideas are essentially socialist in nature. The broad stream of social justice could be divided into three major tributaries. These divisions are race, gender roles, and homosexuality. The ideas of social justice are not new to our society and did not emerge in evangelicalism. Social Justice has been taught in our country for some time through the means of academia and media. The ideas have also been present in non-evangelical denominations for some time. We are now seeing these trends enter evangelicalism at an alarming rate.
The ideas of social justice are now very prominent in evangelical churches, seminaries and denominations. Race, gender roles and homosexuality are all parts of the social justice movement in evangelicalism. For example, in 2018 the Gospel Coalition put on the MLK 50 conference. At this prominent evangelical conference there were multiple speakers who spoke on critical race theory. Critical race theory is an offshoot of the older critical theory, and examines the relationship between the “oppressed” and “oppressors” through the lens of race. Critical theory has always been a neo Marxist concept. Critical race theory is therefore also essentially Marxist in its thinking. Timothy Keller one of the founders of the Gospel Coalition has pushed many Marxist ideas throughout his many books. He himself admits in his book The Reason for God that he was heavily influenced by the Frankfurt School and critical theory. The Gospel Coalition is an extremely prominent evangelical organization and is pushing Marxist ideology.
The Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest evangelical denomination has also been host to critical race theory. In 2019 the convention passed resolution 9 which called critical race theory an “analytical tool” for the assessment of ideologies. This resolution affirmed critical race theory as a valuable tool and therefore gave it legitimacy in the eyes of many. This shows how prominent these racial ideas have become in evangelicalism.
The overthrow of traditional gender roles has also become prominent in evangelical churches. Today there is an increasing call for female leadership in the Church and for women pastors in particular. The teacher Beth Moore is one example what is going on today. Beth Moore has walked a tight rope by at times claiming to affirm traditional teaching on gender roles (complementarianism) while at the same time acting in a manner which overthrows these teachings. She has preached in churches on Mother’s Day and tweeted about it. This says much about her convictions since there are times when she thinks it is appropriate for women to speak publicly during church services. She also recommended a pamphlet by Roy Honeycutt which pushed for women preachers. Beth Moore has also partnered with woman “Pastor Joyce Meyer which shows she does not have an issue with Joyce Meyer claiming to be a pastor. Another example is Kathy Keller, the wife of the pastor Timothy Keller. In her book Jesus, Justice, and Gender roles she says that anything an unordained man can do a woman can do also. This type of teaching has been called soft complementarianism. It is very deceptive and is a trojan horse of gradual change.
There has also been a call for increased tolerance for homosexuals in evangelical circles as well. Movements such as the spiritual friendship movement and gay Christian movement have become more prominent. The idea that someone can be both a homosexual and a Christian has become more acceptable. There has also been increased demand for compassion and tolerance towards homosexuals. The call for change in evangelical thinking in regards to homosexuality is another deceptive trojan horse.
All of these ideas are can be traced back to cultural Marxism. Cultural Marxism can be traced back to the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci and the German intellectuals of the Frankfurt school. Men such as Max Horkheimer, Eric Fromm, Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse were German intellectuals from the nineteen thirties who came over to America and established what became known as the Frankfurt School. These thinkers believed that Marxism would not be brought forth by a violent revolution but by the overthrow of traditional ideas and thinking in non-communist societies. They advocated the freedom from traditional sexual morals, the elimination of gender roles, the promotion of homosexuality and the promotion of the idea of oppressed and oppressors. The idea of critical theory which examines society through the lens of “oppressed group” was formulated by the Frankfurt school. These ideas line up exactly with what we see going on in evangelicalism today. They promoted the entering of established institutions such as universities, churches, and seminaries and promoting their ideas from within. They knew that this process would take decades if not longer to accomplish so they were willing to patiently take the long road toward the accomplishment of their plans.
In recent times we have seen a gradual promotion of these ideas. They have been taught in our academic institutions for some time now. We have also been bombarded with cultural Marxism on our T.V. sets. Melvin Tinker in his book That Hideous Strength: How the West was Lost Tinker lays out how homosexuals in particular have had a huge influence in the entertainment industry and have pushed their ideas through our sitcoms and dramas. In the mainline protestant denominations, there has been already been acceptance of women pastors and homosexual church members. What is now being pushed in evangelical churches was pushed in the mainline denominations decades ago. The Anglican Church and the Presbyterian Church USA are examples of this. In the Roman Catholic Church there has been for decades the promotion of liberation theology. Liberation theology is the redefinition of the gospel by claiming Christ came to liberate the oppressed. Liberation theology has been used to support socialism and communism all over the world. It has historically been very prominent in Latin America. Catholic priests have been instrumental in the promotion of liberation theology throughout the world. liberation theology has been present in protestant circles as well. It is now entering into evangelicalism as a part of the social justice movement.
These examples of cultural Marxist thinking both in the evangelical and non-evangelical worlds are but the tip of the iceberg for the amount of evidence that could be brought forward. It is evident that what has been progressing in society in general is now entering evangelicalism. It is important to recognize that this is not an organic progression of ideas but an intentional push for change. The difficulty is we do not know who is intentionally pushing the agenda and who is merely deceived. Although the Church must be both compassionate and discerning it must stand for the truth and throw out the ideologies of the world.