Many Christians, especially young Christians, have been persuaded by constant media pressure and some Christian leaders to embrace ‘social justice’ as the outworking of the Christian faith. They may be sincere, but such Christians fail to realise they’re importing into the church a corrosive ideology destructive of biblical Christianity. Despite a surface similarity, social justice is diametrically opposed to biblical justice.
Christ’s Call To Justice Christ’s followers are called to confront evil, to care for the vulnerable and to make right that which is wrong. This is no cultural fad: throughout the Old and New Testaments, God’s call that we do justice is consistent. Psalm 82:2, Proverbs 3:27-28, Isaiah 1:17, Micah 6:8, Zechariah 7:8-10, Luke 11:42, 1 John 3:17; this message appears again and again.
The tectonic plates have shifted, and when that happens chaotic destruction follows.
It is becoming ever more apparent how far progressives are prepared to go in their relentless search for ‘freedom’ from the restrictions of the created order. It is not only the woke media and academia who push the boundaries: there are arms of the state which find the Bible, and with it God, too threatening to be let loose in the public square.
In England and Wales criminal prosecutions are brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Describing their function, the CPS say: ‘Our duty is to make sure that the right person is prosecuted for the right offence, and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible.’ Their criteria for prosecuting include a need to be satisfied ‘that prosecuting is in the public interest’.
In November 2020, 55 year old former Special Forces soldier John Dunn was preaching in the open air on Swindon High Street, as he had been doing for 15 years despite losing his voice box due to throat cancer. In conversation with two women who said they were in a same-sex marriage, Dunn told them: ‘It says in the Bible that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.’ Dunn claims his motivation was concern for the women and those passers-by who were listening.
We live in a Lewis Carroll world. Brian Nguyen, 19, an overweight young man, can compete against attractive young women in a beauty pageant in the USA and win. In doing so he/she scooped a scholarship designed specifically for young women. Nguyen was described as ‘iconic’, ‘brave’ and a ‘history maker’. The business management student will go on to compete for the title Miss New Hampshire; we can only hope that the swimsuit round will be omitted.
Men who have failed to make an impact in sport can say they are women and compete in women’s events and become the winners they have always wanted to be. ‘Comedian’ Eddie Izzard can sometimes be in ‘boy mode’ and sometimes in ‘girl mode’, often depending on the height of his heels. He is a possible Labour candidate for Sheffield Central in the next general election.
A duchess can lay out differing versions of ‘my truth’ which are contradicted by the facts and still be admired and followed by millions because it is ‘her truth’. The Archbishop of Canterbury can say that there was no ‘secret’ wedding before Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, and that not only would he refuse to do such a thing, he couldn’t as it would be unlawful. Nevertheless, ‘my truth’ reigns.
Those of us who cry out that the emperor has no clothes are either silenced or ignored by the holders of power in the media, academia and politics because in today’s society truth is subordinate to feelings. Ours is a society without anchor, adrift in a chaotic complex of competing claims to ‘my truth’, every one of which must be respected; if we feel something is true then it is true for us.
Who Is Responsible?
The 19th century grandfather of today’s post-modernism, Friedrich Nietzsche, the pastor’s son who killed God and buried good and evil at His side, said that ultimately the only authority we can appeal to is ourselves. ‘May each man, or woman, be only his or her true disciple,’ he wrote in 1878. We can see that post-modern philosophy has spread the anti-gospel of Nietzsche throughout the universities and colleges and into the schools and media until a generation is indoctrinated.
The Frankfurt School and the proponents of Cultural Marxism, following the lead of Antonio Gramsci, have also played their part in successfully altering society fundamentally, not by violent overthrow but by infiltration. Those who have deliberately sought to change the culture and destroy the legacy of the Enlightenment by banishing reason have won.
While they are responsible for the present state of cultural confusion, just as responsible are those who should have resisted them and failed to do so. The watchmen who failed to raise the alarm are as responsible as the cultural despoilers. Chief amongst the failed watchmen is the mainstream church.
Western culture, our values and ways of thinking, our achievements and advances stem ultimately from the Christian worldview. Whether or not the individuals who pioneered our scientific and cultural advances shared the faith (and the great majority of them did) they all operated within the parameters of a Christian worldview. Today’s mainstream church has failed to defend what has been built on a biblical foundation.
Writing in the Times on the way in which our culture has been degraded, Melanie Phillips said: ‘Crucial to that process has been the absence of any concerted opposition. Institutions such as the Church of England, which might have produced a counter-narrative, have instead been among its principal cheerleaders.’
Dare to Be Different
This cheerleading tendency is exemplified by Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, who thinks the Church of England should conduct same-sex marriages. He has been joined by the Bishops of Worcester, Dudley, Buckingham, Reading and Dorchester. So eager is Dr Croft to accommodate LGBTQ+ sensibilities that he is willing to split his denomination apart by setting up a separate episcopal structure for conservative priests and congregations.
His reason for rejecting the teaching of the Bible and two thousand years of church tradition is that the CofE’s claim to serve the whole of society is at stake because its present stance ‘is leading to a radical dislocation between the Church of England and the culture and society we are intending to serve’.
Dr Croft, and those like him, labour under the illusion that the Church reaches the world only when it is no different from the world. Why should unbelievers consider the claims of Christ if there is little discernible difference between being a Christian and being a member of the Green Party? No wonder many think the mainstream church is more concerned with saving whales than saving souls. Dr Croft has added an extra vow to the confirmation service, affirming care for the environment. In Oxford you must follow Christ and St Greta of Thunberg.
The Dangers of the Institution
Dr Croft fears that ‘we are seen to inhabit a different moral universe’. The truth is that Christians do inhabit a different moral universe. The church is called to follow Christ, and that includes defending the teaching of Scripture including the unpopular bits, even ‘if the world hate you’ (John 15:18,19).
The mainstream church has morphed into just another social institution. Institutions begin with a vision and the passion to carry it through. A necessary structure develops to serve those who do the work of furthering the vision. However, every structure carries the danger of seeing itself as important; what can follow is a gradual shift from maintaining the vision to maintaining the structure.
There are members who maintain a gospel vision but increasingly the institution sees the function of the organic church, the living stones, being to serve and preserve the institution rather than the institution being there to serve and further the organic church.
Ezekiel 33:1-6 reminds us that the watchman who fails will be held responsible by God. Without doubt the mainstream church has failed to sound the alarm and has gone over to the invader. As we needed a Reformation five centuries ago, we need a Reformation today.
A return after a long rest. There is just too much insanity in the world to remain silent.
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In a comment on The Transgender Cult Cannuck210 who has experience of China, compared the Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution to the SJWs of today’s West, pointing out that ‘the resemblance is quite close’. This view is shared by John Gray, former Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and one of Britain’s few public intellectuals. Gray warns that what we are witnessing today ‘is strikingly reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which convulsed communist China from 1966-1976 and wrecked much of what remained of the country’s ancient civilisation’.
Parallels between one historical epoch and today can go only so far – ‘history rhymes but does not repeat itself’ – but parallels do exist and should act as warnings. The cultural revolution the West is undergoing today has many parallels with China’s decade of destruction. This should be of concern to Christians.
Will they ever stop? Whenever radicals claim another victory in dismantling social norms such as celebrating homosexual behaviour, imposing same sex marriage and coercing us to take pride in the latest milestone, individuals of a more traditional bent think this time they’ve gone too far. And we have always been wrong. After every victory those who are intent on dismantling Western culture move on to the next battlefront.
Is it possible that the transgender movement is a push too far, as some hope? I doubt it. It is apparent that the transgender movement has the characteristics of a cult which will not stop until it is forced to stop.
In the West today, the debate over the abstract term ‘gender’ is about as toxic as it gets.
On one side there are women, keenly aware that many hard-won rights and entitlements are grounded in biological sex. Feminists who have campaigned for women’s equality have generally affirmed conventional definitions of the terms sex and gender.
On the other side are trans activists who subscribe to more fluid ideas about sex and gender. They hold that people have an innate ‘gender identity’ which can differ from the sex they were ‘assigned’ at birth. Trans activists believe that men who identify as women and women who identify as men should have access to the rights and entitlements of the ‘gender’ they affiliate with, even if their biological characteristics would forbid such access.
We naturally resist the idea of governments censoring what we may hear, read or say. This is something which happens only in totalitarian countries such as communist states, where what can be circulated is tightly controlled so that only the official standpoint is allowed public exposure. Totalitarian regimes find censorship essential. If people are exposed to contrary ideas they may start thinking for themselves and reject the officially approved line.
We read of Christian heroes who under great pressure have defied the odds, obeyed God and achieved great things for Him, and we rightly admire them. But this can become a trap. We often think, ‘I wish I could do that, but I know I never could.’ Instead of being encouraged, we condemn ourselves, our confidence shrinks and we do nothing.
Few can be a Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Gladys Aylward or Richard Wurmbrand. But God does not ask us to become a Bonhoeffer, Aylward or Wurmbrand. God asks that we become ourselves, as fully and truly as we can. To do that in the midst of an unbelieving generation means getting on with what God has placed before us. Don’t wait for the ‘right time’ or the best opportunity, get on with what is before us today.
During the lockdown many are concerned about isolation. There are those who feel it doubly.
Bible-believing Christians who express reservations about, or even opposition to, the way in which society is moving are increasingly vilified and labelled hate-filled bigots; crushed into silence by a liberal-minded elite who seek to suppress any dissent. Stranded within an unbelieving society and too often the lone dissident within the congregations in which we worship, it is easy to feel with Elijah that we alone are left (I Kings 19:14).
We have decided that whatever the cost we are going to follow Christ in the midst of an unbelieving and increasingly intolerant society. How do we go about being part of God’s Awkward Squad? We Christian dissenters begin with ourselves.
Get In Training Recognise that we are in this for the long haul. Unless the Lord intervenes drastically, change in society will not come overnight but is going to take decades. We work for the world in which our children and grandchildren will live. Any athlete wishing to succeed in a marathon trains hard for the event. To be useful in facing an unbelieving and increasingly belligerent world, training in God-honouring living (I Timothy 4:7f) is essential.
In previous posts it has been pointed out that, small as we are, the only group able truly to resist the onslaught on Christian values are biblical Christians. In the next few posts I wish to outline how biblical Christians can exist and be useful in the conditions of the soft intolerance we shall increasingly face.
Realise the Importance of Christian Distinctiveness
We must first grasp the significance, personally and socially, of not going with the progressive flow. To allow our Christian faith to be increasingly diluted to accommodate unbelieving standards is to turn our backs on Christ. Only consistent Christians are able to maintain the standards upon which our society is built; if we are not clear the West as we know it is lost.