To the Church: Join, or die
This past weekend, we surprised our kids with a weekend trip to see the Grammy-nominated Christian music band MercyMe at the Red Rocks amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. MercyMe rose to fame in the early 2000s with their crossover single "I Can Only Imagine," which, for most of the non-Christian world, is the only exposure they've had to the band. Since then, they have become one of the most prolific Christian music bands in history and even had an acclaimed biopic made about the life of their lead singer, Bart Millard.
At the concert, the band were promoting the release of their latest album, Always Only Jesus, which was a response to the chaos of the past three or four years and a call for the Church to unite around the common denominator of Christianity: Jesus Christ. Millard spoke of broken friendships and hard-line positions taken in the Church with little room for grace. He didn't delve into specifics of any particular issue that he may be referencing but merely stated that differences of opinion had inexplicably severed personal relationships.
I can attest to one recent schism in the Church, having lost a longstanding friendship based not on any particular action I had taken, but on a refusal to adopt the activism of the anti-racists. A dear friend from childhood, in whose wedding I had been a groomsman, inexplicably disappeared from my contacts online. I reached out to him to inquire why he had unfriended me, and he stated that we were too far apart on ideas about the world and that I needed to do my homework with a suggested list of anti-racist texts. Does this sound familiar? "Do your homework," "do your research," or simply "do the work" are common tropes of anti-racists.
This anti-racist ideology, with a stated goal of reconciling people on race matters, actually creates division. This is by design. In his book Race Marxism, postmodern critic Dr. James Lindsay notes the goal of Critical Race Theory to shift leftist politics away from economic concerns and the plight of labor to the politics of identity. Lindsay cites Critical Theorist Herbert Marcuse, who, in the 1960s, argued that the success of capitalism had created a content working class that had lost its revolutionary spirit. According to Marcuse, future success demanded a new class for the revolutionary spirit, which he found in the ghettos — namely, the black liberation movement. This ideology, which many well-intentioned Church members had adopted with good intent, was created by its progenitors for classification and division.
Division in the Church is not limited to matters of racial identity. Much like the rest of society, the Church finds policy division down lines of gender ideology and abortion, and more. Increasingly, rather than the Church imparting a biblical worldview and response to these issues, the world is imparting its ideas on these matters to the Church. According to the world, our racial reconciliation with one another is found not in Ephesians, but in the anti-racist works promoted by Ibram X. Kendi. Our ideas on the beginning of life come from the Talmud instead of the Psalms. Our ideas about gender come from Dr. John Money instead of Genesis.
Christian church denominations exist because of disagreements on doctrine and what Scripture demands of us as a church body in response. Often these disagreements are based on the wheres, the whats, the whys, and the hows of Christianity. What we all hold in common, however, is the Who. Central to all things, Christianity is Christ, and we are called to love Him first, love others in kind, and despise evil in response.
Is anything more evil than looking at our brothers and sisters in Christ and assigning subconscious hate and ill intent? Is anything more evil than mutilating the bodies of our children? Is anything more evil than dehumanizing and killing the least of these among us? Is there room for compassion for the unwed teenage mother and the unborn alike?
The Church, and resultingly the country, is on a dark and unforgiving path because our foundations are eroding and being supplanted by postmodernism. Even non-Christian scholars have noted that Christianity is the only Western institution powerful enough to stop the advancement of postmodernism. If we are to escape intact, we must coalesce around Him who binds and recommit His word to our hearts. We don't have to agree on how we're baptized, on what day we practice the Sabbath, on intercessory prayer, or on venerating saints. We must agree on loving Christ, loving others, and despising the wickedness that drove Him to a redemptive death.
Brian Parsons is a paleoconservative columnist in Idaho, a proud husband and father, and saved by Grace. You can follow him at WithdrawConsent.org or find his columns at the American Thinker, in the Idaho State Journal, or in other regional publications. Email | Gab