by Rob Lundberg
With all the issues going on the in culture, with denominations embracing critical race theory and intersectionality, along with critical theory, we are seeing an ideology I never would have thought would be entering into the church. Many churches, parachurch groups, and even denominations passing resolutions which in turn to an ideology that does not line up with the historical Christian faith. The picture that we are seeing emerging with this progressive kind of Christianity is no longer a “gospel alone” message, but one that professes the “gospel plus economics.” The ideology that we are seeing making a comeback is known as cultural Marxism.
What is Marxism? Who started it and why does it fail in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ? I hope to answer these questions in this post. You might recall that I wrote a post some time ago on the incompatibility of socialism with historical Christianity. This post will coincide with that piece.
A Quick History
Since the 1900’s one would be thinking that Marxism was dying in America and the world. But with all the things that are happening socially and politically, we are seeing the ghost of Karl Marx surfacing. During the twentieth century, Marxist theory has been travelling the globe, spreading revolution wherever it planted its ugly talons. Marxist philosophy is a form of atheistic materialism applied to economic theory, and believes that history is determined by the struggle between social classes.
The name of this ideology comes from Karl Marx (1818-1883), who was a German thinker born into a Jewish family that converted to Christianity when he was a boy. Initially serious about Christianity, his spiritual passion faded, and Marx became an atheist before college. After being exiled from Germany for radical political activities, he traveled to Paris and then settled in London. He spent the rest of his life studying and writing, publishing what is known as the Communist Manifesto in 1848 (along with Frederick Engels, whom he met in Paris) and Das Kapital in 1867.
Marx’ Biggest Issue
Everybody has a worldview, and if you ever want to know what makes one tick, look at the worldview that they hold. Karl Marx rejected any notion of a Creator or transcendent Being we know as God. In Marx’ mind the universe started and sustained itself and required no outside force. He also believed that man created God and religion in our image in order to meet our needs. His thoughts on the question of origin was that that matter was the highest reality.
What Does Marxism Espouse?
Since no transcendent Lawgiver exist, Marxism rejects moral absolutes. It considers mankind the highest good, but believes in evil, described as economic inequity and the ensuing abuse of power. Human injustice results from class conflict between the haves and the have nots. Private property amplifies greed, leading to the social ills that we see around us. These social ills must be corrected by what is considered to be a revolution with the goal of replacing the old economic structures with new ones. (Is anyone paying any attention to what is going on around us yet?) Therefore the ends justify the means as long as those means promote the communist society that Marxism seeks.
Marxists maintain a clear goal for history that is predictable, according to set economic laws. Human suffering will be eliminated by creating an ideal society. Capitalism will grow, increasing the wealth of property owners and the number of poor workers until the latter revolt and institute communism. This new society then will have no wages, no money, or social classes, and not state. With all this the end game pursuit is Utopia.
Why and Where Does Marxism Fail?
Over the years as being involved in systematic and contemporary theology, I have noticed that the ideology has not gone away. How so? If you think of the ultimate goal of being “saved” from the oppressive system, there are theological strains that have kept the ghost of Marxism alive. We see it in liberation theology, feminist theology, gay theology and liberal theology. With the current trends in our social structure we see it emerging in many many arenas. But with this resurrection of a Marxist ideology, we see the shambles that it has left in Western civilization; and wherever it rears its ugly head trying to gain a foothold, it will still be doomed to failure. How so? Let me share with you several thoughts.
1. How we see its failure in its affect on people and economic structures. Individual and society are more than economic. To suggest that a change of economic order can lead to an ideal world is foolish and naive. It is a too simplistic response that is rife with complex problems.
2. As I mentioned earlier, the damage done by Marxism, we can see the dismal failure record all throughout history. The nearly universal breakdown of Marxism throughout the world since the early 1990’s led to its collapse as a viable theory. It has been repeatedly found tried and found wanting. It simply does not work socially, philosophically, and economically.
3. Thinking on the human need, Marxism does not fulfill the human need that it promises to meet. People under communism, over the years, generally have not found it liberating and satisfying. Instead it has been found to be oppressive and intolerable. The so-called classless society of the former Soviet Union included two classes: the ruling elite and the masses. The first controlled the life with an iron fist and brutalized the other. Wherever Marxism has been tried, its path has been strewn with illegal arrests, forced labor camps, torture, and mass executions.
While the dream of an ideal society is admirably the desire of many, the reality is that the Christian worldview is the only system that is able to answer the questions Marxism seeks and cannot answer. As Christians holding to a non-syncretistic worldview, we believe it will come one day. But while revolution is the goal for relieving the oppression by the elite, the true revolution is in the human heart and not on the city streets. As for a classless society being the goal, you never really see one, unless you can see the level ground at the foot of the cross at Calvary. And while the goal of Marxism is Utopia, it will never be achieved by communist polizei or tanks rolling over defenseless countries. It will only be when Christ returns to rule with real truth and real justice.
Thank you for indulging this post. If you have any questions, we would love to dialogue with you. You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
 If you spend time doing campus ministry and engage students, you can discern a shift toward a cultural Marxism influence coming from the professorial lecterns. Did you know that there essentially 45 goals that based on communism that have been plugged in to areas of our society, there are websites out there speaking into this issue. Here is one of them: https://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/watchwomanonthewall/2011/04/the-45-communist-goals-as-read-into-the-congressional-record-1963.html
 Karl Marx had an atheistic view on religion. To Marx, religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
 We see traces of this happening on campuses and in denominations embracing critical race theory where parachurch groups are encouraging the embracing of classes in culture. Their talks are on how those class struggles are evil.
Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a chaotic, “brave new world.”
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