Our children are facing and will continue to face a turbulent and hostile culture. They are being exposed to anti-Christian thought and arguments (implicitly and overtly) everywhere they turn. I would submit that instead of focusing so much on the culture, we should focus on our children.
Many of you are well familiar with the Cultural Revolution in China from the mid-1960s – 70s. If you are not familiar, I would encourage you to read about it.
In order to direct public frustration with the lethal failures of his “Great Leap Forward” away from himself, Mao Zedong encouraged the university-aged population to “bombard the headquarters” of the Communist party. The students formed into “Red Guards,” which we would call “paramilitary organizations.” They set about destroying the “four olds:” (1) old customs, (2) old culture, (3) old habits, and (4) old ideas.
According to the historian Frank Dikötter, “Public monuments were assailed. In Shanghai, it took the Red Guards only a few days to demolish eighteen listed historical monuments, including the tomb of Xu Guangqi (1562-1633), the city’s first Christian convert, who had collaborated with the Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci. Longhua Pagoda, the oldest temple in Shanghai and a towering 44 metres in height, fell victim to the hammers and ropes of the Red Guard” (The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962—1976. NY: Bloomsbury, 2017, p. 84). The cemetery where Confucius and his family are buried was also vandalized.
Thankfully, millions are not being purged here as in China at that time; nevertheless, we are experiencing at least an attempted “cultural revolution” in the United States today. The desecration and tearing down of monuments began with those which memorialized the southern army in the War between the States; however, as many of us suspected, it did not stop there. Recently, a monument to Hans Christian Heg was destroyed in Madison, Wis., an immigrant to the U.S. who was an abolitionist and was killed in September 1863 while serving in the Union Army. Union General U.S. Grant’s statue has been pulled down in San Francisco. Now there is a movement to take down the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C., which was paid for in 1875 by freed slaves as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln.
This is an attempt at cultural revolution. Much like the cultural revolution in China fifty years ago, this revolution is being driven by Marxist. Patrisse Cullors, founder of Black Lives Matter, is on record saying, “We are trained Marxists.” (No, I am not attributing all – or even any – of the desecration or destruction of monuments to Black Lives Matter or any other organization.)
I sincerely hope that no one reading this would disagree with the simple statement that “Black lives matter.” If you think that the lives of any group of people do not matter, you are not a Christian and need to repent of your sin and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior before you read another sentence. The official organization known as “Black Lives Matter,” however, has turned those three words into a trojan horse full of modern “Red Guards.”
The BLM website has a section on, “What We Believe.” Among the tenets of “The Faith” listed there are these:
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).
What does this have to do with Black lives? Very little, indeed.
An even more relevant question is, “How are these values compatible with a biblical worldview?” They simply are not. The Lord Jesus, when asked about divorce, said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).
Notice that this teaches (1) what is referred to today as a “gender binary” perspective. God made the human race male and female. Every person is either one or the other. (2) Marriage is to be between one man and one woman (what Black Lives Matter calls “heteronormative thinking”). (3) The nuclear family is established in the man and the woman leaving their respective fathers and mothers and becoming one flesh. Black Lives Matter stands opposed to all these realities that God ordained and created.
A true Christian should do what he can to promote the life and well-being of all his fellowmen. This is enshrined in or doctrinal standards, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. Question & Answer 135 of the Westminster Larger Catechism states the following:
Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.
Moreover, the Scripture is clear that God “Made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).
Again, it is true that Christians should do what they can to promote the life and well-being of all their fellowmen. There are no ethnic boundaries to this obligation since God made every nation from one man, Adam. It is equally true that Christians cannot support a movement that seeks to overthrow the foundational order that God built into the fabric of the world from the very beginning.
Time and space preclude further analysis, but a few conclusions are in order:
- Do not be naïve. Do not assume that an organization or movement is actually what it markets itself to be. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
- Do not throw the baby out with the bath water. The fact that Black Lives Matter as an organization is Marxist and anti-Christian does not therefore mean that Black lives themselves do not matter. The fact that Marxists have highjacked a phrase does not make it less true. Our Catechism teaches us to “resist all thoughts” and “subdue all passions (e.g., racism)…which tend to the unjust taking away of the life of any” (including the lives of Blacks), as well as “just defense thereof against violence.
- Do not be afraid of slander. A friend of mine in ministry, who has worked hard to minister to at-risk Black youth in his community, was recently called a “white supremacist” when he said that Christians should not support Marxism. The charge was as asinine as the person who made it.
If you oppose the program of the cultural revolution, you will be branded a racist (mostly by psychologically deranged white people). Remember the words of Jesus: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12), and do not worry about what people say.
- Do not let the enemies of the cross define you. An anti-Christian organization has cleverly named itself “Black Lives Matter” so that it can define you as racist if you do not accept its whole package. Scripture, however, shows the only real way to overcome racism: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:28-29). Do you have any Christian friends of a different ethnicity from your own? Work on those relationships.
My grandfather was a minister who ran a relief agency in our town. He worked with Black and White Churches and took me with him to many of them. He took me to visit his Black friends, and they visited our home as well. He frequently spoke at funerals at Black churches in town and took me with him. This made a profound impression on me as a small child. I witnessed that a very conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical Southerner was far ahead of his time on race relations because of his beliefs, not despite them.
- Remember where your true citizenship belongs. Paul told citizens of Philippi: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Whatever comes of this cultural revolution, our true home is totally unaffected.
- Love your children. Paul said to Timothy, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty… Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:1, 12-15).”
Our children are facing and will continue to face a turbulent and hostile culture. They are being exposed to anti-Christian thought and arguments (implicitly and overtly) everywhere they turn. I would submit that instead of focusing so much on the culture, we should focus on our children. Timothy’s mother and grandmother could not change the culture, but they taught that boy the Word of God. If every family in our churches developed the same commitment to having their children in church under the teaching and preaching of the Word of God in Sunday School and worship; children’s classes and youth groups; and family worship, as they commit to sports and recreation, the church will become a powerhouse in a crumbling society. If not, we will crumble with it.
Mark Miller is a Minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and is Pastor of Clover ARP Church in Clover, S.C.