Identify Politics Finding Its Way into Church
One definition of identity politics is: “Political attitudes or positions that focus on the concerns of social groups identified mainly on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”
In reality, Identity Politics is part and parcel of Cultural Marxism.
The goal and design of Cultural Marxism was very intentionally thought-out by its intellectual progenitors in order to undermine both Western Civilization and Christianity. While Cultural Marxism may seem like a purely political ideology, like Classical Marxism, it has deep consequences for the realm of Christendom.
By viewing everything through the lens of ethnicity, Cultural Marxism is actually the enemy of true and authentic, Gospel-centered racial reconciliation, which is based upon the premise of Galatians 3:28. Cultural Marxism seeks to dis-unify, rather than unify the Church (although it is practiced under the veiled disguise of racial harmony).
It is not uncommon to hear evangelical leaders today use the term ‘racial justice,’ a term that is steeped in (and directly derives from) Cultural Marxism. Certain evangelical leaders seeking to bring ethnic harmony to the church are actually and inadvertently falling into the century-old game plan of Cultural Marxists when they insist on seeing culture through the lens of race (and more liberal denominations may do this with gender as well, which is equally as dis-unifying).
The person who uses identity politics as their focal point and the way in which they see and/or relate to society determines much about them, their views, and how they comport themselves within that society. Unfortunately, identity politics often causes individuals to focus on self. It is simply another way people learn to oppress others by emphasizing their own culture, gender, or standing in life.
Identity politics has come to the fore due to the rise of Neo-Marxism among the Left. So-called “Millennials” have made this their calling card and it heavily dictates attitudes among student and intellectual leftists. In effect, identity politics continues to divide people by race, gender, or lifestyle (often including, but not limited to, sexual orientation). Because of this, there is a lack of cohesive unity within society today and the chasms are increasing.
While we might expect this within secular society (because of the groundwork laid in the 1960’s “revolution”), it is increasingly becoming part of Christendom as well. It is now in vogue to hear more and more leaders of what once were more conservative denominations taking on leadership roles that push churches to discuss, focus on, and teach about the difficulties faced by certain societal groups. The church then is expected to move congregations and individual Christians in the “right” direction by taking a direct look at the problems faced within society, to determine what should be corrected. The Bible is often used to prop up these arguments.
Many of the leaders espousing a cold, hard look at race relations, sexual orientation (the homosexual/lesbian/transgender lifestyle), and what the church’s approach to these groups and their respective issues should be. People like Russell Moore (who heads up the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention), are looked up to and expected to determine policy for the entire denomination.
What happens when trustees and the entity heads they supervise come from the swamp of Washington, D.C.? You get racialized politics from Southern Baptist pastors and your Southern Baptist Ethics and Religions Liberty Commission (ERLC) promoting immigration policies that benefit the wealthy. It was revealed earlier this week that the pro-open door immigration Russell Moore is supervised by ERLC trustee chairman Ken Barbic who earns his living promoting cheap immigrant labor for western farmers. Now, we find out the trustee’s church advocates racial identity politics.
The sad truth here is that no form of “identity politics” has any place in the Church and I’m talking about Christ’s Body, His Church, His Bride. This is made abundantly clear from Scripture yet it is ignored today by Social Justice Warriors (SJW), who believe that before people can gain salvation, white people (and others in power) have some ‘splainin’ to do regarding the alleged harmful polices of capitalism. This is ridiculous and disingenuous.
Throughout history, every culture group has evidenced some sort of bias against other culture groups. There have been a multitude of ethnic cleansings from the time of the fall until now. This fact is often ignored by SJWs today because of what they consider to be the problem at hand.
It is all based on some purported “privilege” that is alleged to exist in society, especially with white people. Many black leaders within Christendom are taking their cues from people like the aforementioned Russell Moore who intone in a very nuanced way that privilege needs to go and we must do what is necessary to eliminate privilege in every form (my paraphrase). This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not what He came and died to bring about.
Identity politics is simply one of the branches of Cultural Marxism that has served to weaken western civilization and Christianity itself by setting the plain gospel aside in favor of catering to certain groups based on their culture or identity. Galatians 3:28 makes this truth patently clear.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female–for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (NET)
What this means should be plain for everyone. Unfortunately, it is not, with its meaning often darkened by unnecessary redirection and obfuscation. In Galatians, Paul notes that IN Christ, all distinctions between male, female, and culture are fully eradicated. In Christ, those distinctions no longer exist because of salvation which is the great equalizer for all people.
People will often take this verse and twist it into something it is not, trying to force their interpretation onto it (eisegesis), making it mean something it does not mean. Feminists will take this verse as “proof” that if there are no longer any distinctions between men and women, then women should certainly be able to become ministers and teach men. This is not what the verse is saying and Paul clarifies this later in letters to Timothy. Paul relegates this to the area of salvation and in doing so, he states that all can equally come to Christ for that very same salvation, without respect to culture, gender, or station in life. No one has to stand in line and wait “their turn” to receive salvation. All can come freely to Jesus any time and He will grant that salvation through faith from the penitent. That is all that Paul means by this verse.
But people tend to focus on this verse (and others like it), to mean that all barriers, all roles, all genders are gone in the here and now. This is simply not true. Moreover, SJWs completely invert the meaning of Galatians 3:28 to indict an entire race or gender of individuals in order to prop up their sham of identity politics.
What people – especially so-called Christians – need to understand is that this world is evil. It is controlled by Satan as the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and the ruler of this age (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Because of this, his specialty is turning people against one another (and all against God). One of the best ways to accomplish this is by using Cultural Marxism because it pits black against white, female against male, and rich against poor by focusing on differences. Yet, according to Paul and others in the New Testament, Christians are to be above this because positionally we are above it (Ephesians 2:6).
Does this mean we should not point out problems in society? Does it mean we should ignore issues? Not at all, but we must guard ourselves against being devoured by those issues or problems so that is all we see. It is the same with politics in general as stated numerous times before. If all we do as Christians is involve ourselves in one political issue after another, we are not serving Christ to the best of our ability. Our primary purpose and focus should be on introducing others who are lost to Jesus so that they might gain salvation if God chooses to open their eyes to the truth.
Identity politics forces people to focus on external differences between cultures, genders, and stations in life as compared to the person seeing those differences. However, people continue to die every day throughout this world. What is to be done for them if our main concern is righting all alleged wrongs (based on often artificial differences), in society under the guise of identity politics? If that is the focus, we have been drawn seriously off track. In the end, we are doing the devil’s work, not God’s. Satan tears apart. God unites.
A black person who is a Christian has the exact same standing as a white person who is a Christian has before God in Christ. There is no difference. At the same time, there are different roles that people play within God’s Kingdom in this life, isn’t there? I will never have the authority of one of the 12 apostles (including Paul), will I? I will never have the same authority as one of the prophets of old. I will never have the authority that Jesus had and has because of His vaunted position in the Trinity. While I can act in His Name in certain situations, I do not have His authority in all things.
There are many who will be ahead of me when the Lord returns because they will have served the Lord more faithfully than I. There are many who have given up their own lives in service to the Master and I may never have to do that. Because of it, shouldn’t their reward be far greater than mine?
Paul discusses this in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NET).
For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Just prior to this, Paul compared himself to Apollos and it resulted in him saying that in the end, God is the One who does it all, whether planting a seed, watering it, or harvesting it. It’s all God. We are merely the vessels through which He will work if we submit ourselves to Him.
Ultimately, identity politics is the antithesis of humility. A person cannot be humbly serving the Lord if they are mainly concerned about themselves, their race, their gender, or their standing in life. That is not how it works! Identity politics is another form of “Me-ism.” It focuses on and caters to SELF, which has no place in God’s coming Kingdom.
Those who persist in glorifying Self through identity politics do a great disservice to the Lord because they become seriously sidetracked from the Great Commission, which is all about introducing others to Jesus for salvation.
In his short letter to Philemon, Paul takes pains to bring the runaway slave Onesimus to the fore. Paul goes to bat for Onesimus as he pleads with Philemon to take Onesimus back as a brother in Christ. It appears as though Onesimus ran away from Philemon into the arms of Paul and because of it became a recipient of the same salvation that both Philemon and Paul possessed! This was such good news and Paul wanted to be sure that Philemon knew of it. But does his new identity in Jesus mean Onesimus is no longer a slave or does not need to work for Philemon? Not at all and Paul makes that clear as well.
I am appealing to you concerning my child, whose spiritual father I have become during my imprisonment, that is, Onesimus, 11 who was formerly useless to you, but is now useful to you and me. – Philemon 1:10-11 NET
Clearly there has been a major change in Onesimus. His new birth in Christ has turned out to be eternally sure as well as favorable to Philemon. Paul implores him to receive Onesimus back as someone who is now very useful because of the new direction the slave has in life. He would probably be a better worker because ultimately he sees himself working for Jesus and doing all for Him.
Notice that Paul did not condemn the practice of slavery here. In Roman times, it was often a way for people to pay off their debts. Many slaves would actually “indenture” themselves to their “masters” even after their debt had been fully paid because of being treated fairly. It is difficult for us to understand because of the ravages of America’s slave issue.
Paul’s life – as well as many others in Scripture – is a testament to the fact that they learned submission and to be content with their circumstances.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13 NET
We see the exact opposite of this within Christendom today. The emphasis has turned from being God-centered to being man-centered. Too many Christians believe the lie that identity politics is part and parcel of Christianity and all Christians should work to expose it and correct it wherever possible. I don’t care how Russell Moore and others care to nuance it to make it sound biblical and important. The fact remains that our one, true calling is to bring the gospel of Jesus to every person on earth, teaching them the truth about eternity.
Jesus was not worried about identity politics. His job was to reach out to the lost sheep of Israel because of their high calling to be a light to all nations. God’s plan of redemption was clearly delineated in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. All who will come to Him may do so if they want salvation. It does not matter their gender, their culture, or their station in life. Salvation is freely given to all who come in faith.
I have salvation not because of my gender or culture, but because of my faith in Jesus and what He accomplished for me on Calvary’s cross.
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