What does the Bible say about today’s culture? Christ Meets Culture is a reoccurring series of commentary articles, exclusive to The Western Journal, examining that question.
If Jesus Christ returned today, would he march alongside the Black Lives Matter movement?
As Black Lives Matter continues to further dominate the cultural conversation, an increasing number of churches across the country seem to think so, with many of them taking on a more progressive interpretation of Scripture.
They believe the cause of Black Lives Matter — forwarding “social justice” — is compatible with a Christian worldview.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
In defense of BLM, many such Christians have offered up the parable of the lost sheep.
He called on us to be the good samaritan, he called on us to leave the 99 to find the one lost sheep.
Why do we think we are not called to help our brothers and sisters that are marginalized, that are brutalized, that are terrorized? #BLM
— slacey (@seanlacey) June 5, 2020
Franklin, the best analogy I’ve heard regarding BLM is the Parable of the Lost Sheep. The shepherd leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep in order to find the one which is lost. I am sure you get this and why BLM IS this story.
— Larry Carhartt: MasterDATA (@masterdata) August 1, 2020
Of course all lives matter, but not all lives are in danger, so belittling BLM in that manner shows a total lack of understanding about why the movement arose. Maybe read the parable of the lost sheep Luke 15 1/2
— Laurie Joyce (@loz_obi) January 12, 2021
It is certainly the case that the black community suffers many unique problems in today’s America. It is also true the Christian community should respond in kind by tending to these communities’ unique needs.
Despite this, Black Lives Matter stands for much more than simply looking after the lost sheep among us.
“They Will Turn Their Ears Away from the Truth and Turn Aside to Myths”
A movement crafted by Marxist organizers, BLM forwards a comprehensive religious worldview rooted in social justice, known in academic circles as the critical theories, including critical race theory, intersectional feminism and gender theory, among others.
By taking up these ideologies, progressive Christians have introduced false doctrines into the church.
This will inevitably corrupt man’s most divine institution.
In a letter to his protege Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote a letter warning of such dangers the church would inevitably face.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths,” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 reads.
Paul understood the seductive nature of false doctrines.
Born out of the traditions of man, they’re often catered towards giving men’s “itching ears” exactly what they want to hear.
Social justice does this by offering men unearned moral superiority.
But how, exactly, is social justice incompatible with Scripture? Aren’t social justice movements, like Black Lives Matter, centered around aiding the poor, fighting for the oppressed and striving for equality?
How could these ideals be anti-Christian?
These goals aren’t the problem — it’s the method itself that runs counter to biblical doctrine.
It is important to note — many of these social justice warrior Christians may deny believing in these presuppositions.
As Christian philosopher Dallas Willard notes in his book, “Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge,” whether or not an individual is conscious of his or her worldview is irrelevant because worldviews often “lie outside our consciousness in the moment of action.”
“It radiates through our life as background assumptions, in thoughts too deep for words,” Willard wrote.
“But most people do not recognize that they have a worldview, and usually it is one that is borrowed, in bits and pieces, from the social environment in which we are reared.”
Whether these individuals realize it or not, it is the following beliefs, embedded in social justice ideology — all of which run counter to the word of God — that undergird the very ideas they espouse.
“All Have Sinned and Fall Short of the Glory of God”
According to the social justice worldview, the church’s purpose should be rooted in deconstructing traditional systems and structures (often the church itself is roped in as one such example) thought to be “oppressive” toward minority groups.
This goal is to be accomplished through a redistribution of wealth, resources and — most importantly — power.
In other words, unbalanced power dynamics are the problem, society is the cause and a social/political revolution is the solution.
It is certainly true that oppressive systems and institutions exist in the world — they always have and always will. It is also the case that social change is necessary.
Nevertheless, the social justice solution, deconstructing the social order, is where this philosophy departs from the word of Christ.
The source of evil isn’t found in institutions, structures or systems.
Evil originates within every human heart.
Extinguishing this evil and reforming society cannot start at an institutional level — such change must begin within the heart of each and every man and woman.
If we were truly to follow the example of Jesus Christ, this is where we would concentrate our focus — changing hearts, not destroying institutions.
Ironically, just as the progressive Christians of today believe that Christ calls us to restructure society, the believers of Christ’s time — including his most trusted disciples — also expected him to install a new social order.
They saw him as a political revolutionary who had come to establish an earthly kingdom.
When Christ did come, they were sorely disappointed.
For Christ did not come to save the world from the oppression of societal structures — he came to save man from the oppression of sin, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
If you truly wish to enact social change and aid the oppressed, there is one powerful solution available to you — sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Recognize No One According to the Flesh”
Embedded within the social justice ideology of Black Lives Matter are many other assumptions which run counter to the teachings of Scripture.
One such example is the oft-repeated Marxist idea that all human beings can be neatly categorized into groups of “oppressors” and “oppressed.”
This sentiment can be seen when progressives blindly attribute “privilege” to individuals based on their immutable characteristics.
Every person is judged by their group identity.
If a group is overly represented in terms of economic or social success, this disparity must be due to the group benefiting from the oppressive nature of society’s supposedly corrupt institutions (again, the church itself is often used as one such example).
Also, if members of those privileged groups committed sins against minorities in the past (slavery, Jim Crow, etc.), social justice calls those individuals to atone for their ancestors’ past wrongs.
Of course, every Christian seeking to echo the humbleness of Christ should acknowledge their many privileges.
However, the Bible tells us that while the consequences of sin can be passed down through the generations, sin is individual. Furthermore, no one is responsible for group guilt or past injustices committed by their ancestors.
“The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them,” Ezekiel 18:20 reads.
Ascribing sin based solely on the nature of flesh and blood is utterly anti-Christian.
God commands us to do the opposite.
As a dogma, Critical Race Theory is contrary to 2 Corinthians 5:16a: “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh.” CRT promotes the divisive idea that human beings regard one another ‘according to the flesh’ (melanin) rather than the imago Dei (Gen. 1:27).
— Darrell B. Harrison (@D_B_Harrison) May 4, 2021
“Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh,” 2 Corinthians 5:16 reads.
It is certainly true that we are all influenced by our groups.
What culture you grew up in, whether you’re male or female, all of these things change our behavior in significant ways.
However, while those identities may very well help shape us, they do not define us.
I encourage all progressive Christians to remember Galatians 3. There is “neither Jew nor Greek.”
We are all one in Christ Jesus.
So would Jesus be marching in the streets with Black Lives Matter? Would he be calling to defund the police? Would Christ be educating the public about the supposed prevalence of “systemic racism”?
Instead, he would be tending to the hearts of every man and woman, black and white, privileged and underprivileged.
This is the true and living way, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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