NOTE: The following is protected by federal copyright law and is an excerpt from the book Marxianity written by Brannon Howse and is not to be published online. The footnotes that document the content in this article are found in the book Marxianity or the eBook.
As I pointed out in Chapter 1, Sigmund Freud believed that the only truly sane individuals were those who had rejected Christianity, and as a result, the teachings of Freud play ideally into the hands of cultural Marxists whose goal is to portray Christians as insane or at least mentally unstable. Christians are the ones with anti-social fears like Islamophobia and homophobia. The approach was refined by Herbert Marcuse in Eros and Civilization which set up the concept of a victim coalition comprised of people who were oppressed by white, Christian capitalists.
Fast-forward to today, and the cultural Marxists are having a heyday mainstreaming “victimization” into evangelicalism. And it is likely “coming to a church near you.” Let’s look first, though, at the biblical view of why this is such an incredible outrage.
Straight, from the Bible
The words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9 are bold and unmistakable:
[quote] Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. [end quote]
But the upbeat promise he makes two verses later is equally stark:
[quote] Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. [end quote]
Notice that Paul does not say, “and such are some of you.” He doesn’t suggest that “some of you” are adulterers. He doesn’t encourage anybody here to identify as a serial adulterer. Neither here nor anywhere else in Scripture does Paul allow that the church should include Christian philanderers, thieves, or murderers. The Apostle is clear in saying “such were some of you.” The clear implication is that their salvation caused them to stop living in the sinful ways they were living before being washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. Clearly, he assumes, those who are redeemed no longer practice a sinful lifestyle.
There’s a difference between someone who is tempted to sin and someone who jumps in with both feet. You can be tempted to steal something, but if you don’t steal it, you’re not a thief. So, we differentiate between those who are tempted with sin and those who practice it. In no case, though, are we to identify with the “old man.” The battle that goes on within us between the old flesh and the new mind is the sanctification process (see Romans 6-8). We can live a victorious Christian life, and we can die to ourselves because we were buried with Christ and resurrected with Him. In the process, we surrender to Christ daily, and we’re washed in the Spirit and the Word in ongoing sanctification, faithfulness, and obedience.
So yes, we all struggle with temptation. Some are tempted by pride. For others, it’s greed or anger. For still others, sexual sin is an ongoing temptation. But each born again Christian is a new creature in Christ. Old things pass away, but today, there are some in the church who want to identify as “gay Christians,” and it’s becoming disturbingly acceptable to do so even among formerly conservative evangelicals.
Mixed Orientation Churches?
Nate Collins, who was an instructor in New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for many years, champions this new way of looking at “old truth” in his book, All but Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender and Sexuality. In fact, Collins wrote this book while on staff at Al Mohler’s SBTS. The content description posted on the Amazon website explains Collins’ approach:
[quote] For many years, the intersection of gay identity and Christian identity in the United States was a virtual no-man’s land. In All but Invisible, author Nate Collins explores the cultural background of this claim and outlines a vision for Christian community in which straight and non-straight people might be reconciled, so they can flourish together in full awareness of their shared humanity. [quote]
Notice the words “shared humanity.” This is stated so as to imply that if you do not embrace the “gay Christian,” you’re somehow denying his or her humanity.
The book description also pours on the “oppression language”:
[quote] Collins addresses several questions clustered around the topic of LGBTQ and Christian experience, such as what is the relationship between biblical concepts like desire, lust and temptation, and modern constructs, like sexual attraction and orientation. [end quote]
The book slips in dismissive terms like “modern constructs” to suggest that “sexual attraction and orientation” are not based in physical reality. Collins and people of his perspective argue that these things are created by society, or just come out of nowhere. Yet, that idea is patently false. Marriage is not a modern construct. The concepts of masculinity, femininity, and the biblical roles of men and women are not modern constructs. They are “God constructs” that go back to Genesis.
Collins also does his part to recommend a transformation of churches, as noted by the Amazon summary:
[quote] [H]ow do you reconcile aspects of identity that are important to gender and sexual minorities with Christian faith identity? How might new forms of kinship, such as intentional community or celibate partnerships make the blessings of family life more accessible to gay people in traditional faith communities? [end quote]
Notice what Collins is suggesting here. He is talking about bringing the LGBTQ lifestyle right into the church and making those who practice it a part of the ongoing faith community.
The key to Collins’ openness to such an approach likely resides in his own background. The book summary explains the author’s perspective:
[quote] Speaking from his own experiences as a gay man in a mixed orientation marriage, Collins is committed to helping faith communities include LGBT people in the family life of the church. He writes for believers who have a traditional sexual ethic and provide their renewed vision of gospel flourishing for gay, lesbian and other same sex attracted individuals. (emphases mine) [end quote]
And what, exactly, is a mixed orientation marriage? It means he’s married to someone of the opposite sex, but he still calls himself a gay man. And “gospel flourishing?” What is that about? It’s a masking term like those used by cultural Marxists. They “purify” their aberrant concepts by attaching the word “gospel” to them as if that makes it all okay. So, Collins talks about gospel flourishing in the context of the LGBT community: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender. (Notice that the “Q” is left off of the reference because they do not want to identify as “Queer” or questioning.)
In a USA Today article we read:
[quote] Q can mean either 'questioning' or 'queer,' Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that lobbies for LGBT rights, told USA TODAY Network. Either interpretation is accepted, he said. [end quote]
As in so many cases of this sort of infusion of cultural Marxism, the connections of Collins to other “evangelical” sources of influence are significant. According to Collins’ All But Invisible website, he has co-written a paper entitled “Gender Identity and Multiplicity” that Abilene Christian University Press is publishing.
You may be surprised to know that Abilene Christian would support such a document, but, frankly, it doesn’t surprise me after an experience I had several years ago. I wanted to hold a Worldview Weekend conference in the auditorium at Abilene Christian University, but after the school sent us a contract and we began promoting it, someone in the administration found out just how conservative we are, and they pulled the plug on us. Strange, isn’t it, that those of us teaching a biblical worldview are too controversial for a Christian college, but publishing a book by a man promoting the concept of being a “Gay Christian” is not?
The LGBT promotion motive runs deep with Collins, and you don’t have to accept just the Amazon book description’s word about Nate Collins’ background. He has presented on video the same views, as you can see from this excerpt:
[quote] Growing up as a gay person, conservative Christianity was a source of blessing and discouragement. On the one hand, I had a father and mother that I knew loved me and were proud of me, but I also knew that I had intense shame, guilt about part of me that I couldn’t change. When I was in youth group and my friends would joke about gay people, I couldn’t help but feel that they were laughing at me. [end quote]
You can see the LGBTQ talking points in action here. Collins claims to have experienced “intense shame” and guilt over the fact that he couldn’t change. But what about the power of the gospel to change lives? We’re being set up to think that’s a non-issue. And notice, too, the victim set-up. When Collins’ youth group friends joked about gay people, he wondered if they were joking about him. The LGBTQ agenda preps gays and lesbians to see themselves as victims whenever someone opposes their agenda. You can see how genuine, conservative evangelical Christians could then be characterized as the victim oppressors.
In his video presentation, Collins furthers this way of thinking as he explains All But Invisible:
[quote] This is a book about an invisible people. It’s about gay people who grew up in Christian homes and conservative churches that did not find a place to belong there, because they did not feel like they were understood.
Gay people in our churches are doubly invisible because they don’t belong in the culture, because they’re Christians, and they don’t belong in their churches, because they’re not straight. In my book, we’re going to look at the ways that gay people experience life. We’re going to look at the ways they experience desire; the search for intimacy, desires for love and acceptance.
We’re going to look at their identity, we’re going to look at their Christian identity, how gay people have to understand how their gay identity is informed by their Christian identity and shaped and transformed and redeemed. [en quote]
This structure of argument is nothing more than the third way, the Hegelian Dialectic process. Collins presents a thesis and antithesis, idea and opposite idea, and then a merger of the two.
We’ve seen how Tim Keller and others like him use this in economics, and now we see it applied in the arena of sexual orientation. Collins claims that many people like him are not accepted in the church because they’re gay, but they’re also not accepted in the culture because they’re Christian. So, the third way applies. These people will still identify as LGBT, but they’re also going to insist that they can identify as Christian, too.
Yet, if Collins and those who follow his ways have been born again, why do they need to maintain a gay identity? Paul would say, “as such were some of you, but not anymore.” Some will argue that these “LGBT Christians” want to live celibate lives. They want to be sanctified Christians who acknowledge that they still struggle with temptation. That doesn’t mean, though, that they have to identify as LGBT. Why not simply identify as a believer in Christ, a called-out one, a disciple of Christ, and leave it at that? Collins doesn’t seem to see simply identifying as “Christian” as a desirable option. He has other plans for the church:
[quote] We’re going to find ways how the church can make the Christian journey livable for the gay people in our pews. So, join me as we’re turning forward together and find ways to bring the gay people in our congregations out of invisibility so we can walk forward together into our faith communities. [end quote]
Collins wants to bring the gay community out of the shadows and “walk forward” as a New Testament church.
Others are on the bandwagon with Collins. Single Gay Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity is a book by Greg Coles, endorsed by D. A. Carson, co-founder and president of the Gospel Coalition, and by Ron Sider. Here’s what Carson has to say about the Coles book:
[quote] To say this book is important is a painful understatement. It is the candid, moving, intensely personal story of a gay young man who wants to live his life under the authority of King Jesus, and who refuses to accept the comforting answers proffered by different parts of the culture. [end quote]
On the blog set up to promote the book by Collins, one blogger could not contain their glee that a “conservative” like D. A. Carson, of the Gospel Coalition, had endorsed the book by Collins and actually used the term “Gay Christian.”
[quote] Carson's endorsement, in particular stands out for two reasons. First, he is a premier Biblical scholar and theologian, as well as the president of The Gospel Coalition, one of the most respected conservative national Christian organizations in North America. But second, Carson actually refers to Coles as gay in his endorsement. To my knowledge, this is the first time a TGC author has gone on record with using LGBT terminology to refer to a self-identified gay Christian. [end quote]
Carson’s favor to Coles furthers the information operations, of course, to what The Gospel Coalition is really about—and it’s not about being a conservative organization. An organization is not conservative when its president endorses “Gay Christians.” It’s not conservative when one of the founders (Keller) is a cultural Marxist, theistic evolutionist, social justice advocate.
What we’re seeing is phase one of bringing in the LGBT community into the evangelical church. Eventually, the LGBT lifestyle will be openly practiced, and anyone who doesn’t go along with it will be viewed as haters, homophobic, and bigots.
To make this happen, there has to be a culture war in which victims—the poor, minorities, immigrants, feminists, and sexual liberationists—are set up to become the new normal. Those in opposition are automatically the oppressors. Ron Sider’s endorsement of Coles’ book does a great job of setting up the victim status:
[quote] Simply fabulous. Wonderfully honest. Superbly written. Deeply inspiring in its powerful portrayal of one person’s struggle to choose Jesus above all. I learned so much from this fantastic story of Greg’s both agonizing and exhilarating journey in faith. This is a book every Christian―especially heterosexual evangelicals―must read if we are to learn to love our LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and Christian brothers and sisters the way Jesus does. [end quote]
Obviously, “especially heterosexual evangelicals” should read the book in order to discover the truth about their own oppression of LGBTQ “neighbors, friends, and Christian brothers and sisters.” Give me a break with the victimization and created offenses.
Greg Coles also facilitates the victim positioning. In a video about Single Gay Christian, Coles explains his qualifications to be at the forefront of this movement:
[quote] Growing up in the church, I knew of about three options for somebody who was gay and calling themselves a Christian. I had heard that maybe you could become an ex-gay, that if you just prayed hard enough, long enough, trusted Jesus enough, then you would become straight.
And I also knew of some people who would read the Bible a little bit differently and conclude that it was okay to pursue a same sex relationship; and then I knew of people who just fell out of love with Jesus because they were gay, and growing up. I sort of tested each of those narratives at one point or another to see if that would be the story that I would live into, and none of them—none of them—were.
I spent a lot of my growing up years through middle school and high school, and college, just praying and wanting and trying to be straight, to be what I thought I was supposed to be, in order to follow Jesus. And then when that didn’t work, I wrestled with some of my other options: can I understand the Bible differently? Do I need to just stop following Jesus? And I found that I couldn’t do any of those things, and so I began to try to navigate a new space for myself in which I remained gay, and yet, I remained totally in love with Jesus and willing to do whatever he called me to do. [end quote]
As with Collins, Coles’ theme is the third way: Do I want to be gay, or do I want to be Christian; how about both? Employing the dialectic as a tool to discover a new and legitimate lifestyle is simply another application of Satan’s strategy for co-opting the truth. He creates a toxic mixture of truth and error.
Please understand that I’m not passing judgment on the motives of Nate Collins or Greg Coles. Yet, I seriously disagree with their teaching. And I certainly think there’s a problem when an evangelical seminary, like the one headed by Al Mohler, allowed Collins to teach there.
In truth, I feel sorry for Collins, Coles, and those like them. What they most need is someone to lovingly explain that they are confused and need to come to a clearer understanding of who they are in Christ. Meanwhile, they do not need to be teaching at major seminaries and publishing books with key Christian publishing houses. I also feel sorry for them because, instead of being cared for, they are being used. These same seminaries and publishers are pushing a cultural Marxist agenda and are using people like Coles and Collins for their end game. This is the ultimate agenda being pushed by big foundations we’ve already talked about.
Collins and Coles have gained the attention of a major voice for the LGBTQ movement in the form of Revoice, a major conference on sexual identity in the church. On the Revoice website, they’re promoted as speakers at the conference where people can “gather together with other gender and sexual minorities, and those who love them and experience a new kind of gospel community.” But I caution you that anytime someone wants to put another word in front of the gospel—the social gospel, prosperity gospel, new gospel, cultural gospel—we have a problem. There is no new fill-in-the-blank gospel. The only true gospel is thousands of years old, and it’s not a blend of the dialectical process between culture and Christianity. Nevertheless, the Revoice Facebook page delves into this very approach to creating a cultural Christianity as it explains the Revoice vision for the church:
[quote] We envision a future Christianity where LGBT people can be open and transparent in their faith communities about their orientation and/or experience of gender dysphoria without feeling inferior to their straight gender brothers and sisters; where churches not only utilize but also celebrate the unique opportunities that lifelong celibate LGBT people have to serve others. [end quote]
[quote] celebrate unique opportunities and lifelong celibate LGBT people have to serve others where Christian leaders boast about the faith of LGBT people who are living a sacrificial obedience for the sake of the kingdom and where LGBT people are welcomed into families, so they too can experience the joys, challenges and benefits of kinship. [end quote]
So for now, we’re called to embrace them as they remain celibate, but next, we’ll be asked to support the LGBT lifestyle when acted out.
Sadly, we’re already on the brink of phase two, when we’re expected to accept active gay relationships in the church. Two men who have been prominent in evangelical circles are great examples of how this is happening. One is Jonathan Merritt, a writer for the Religious News Service (funded by the Templeton Foundation), and who has been popular among Southern Baptists. The other is Ed Stetzer, formerly with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, who also actively promotes the Emergent Church.
As reported by the Baptist News Global on July 27, 2012, Jonathan Merritt admitted to having a gay relationship, and subsequently, Ed Stetzer produced a video interview with Jonathan Merritt in which Merritt presented his view of how Christians should embrace LGBTQ “brothers and sisters”:
[quote] [O]bviously, there are issues like sexuality that are rapidly changing, and I think some of them are sort of like the half-baked cookie. It’s like, what is this going to look like and taste like when it comes out of the oven?
We all know it’s in the oven. We can see it rising. We don’t know what it’s going to look like. I think if you look at the last 30 years of the debate when it comes to same sex issues (I’ve never shared this before), but the way I think about it, when I look at the generation I was born into, the 1980’s, homosexuality was seen largely as a curse.
It was a fallenness, it was gross, it was repugnant, it was abomination. You were not born with it. You made a cognitive decision. It was sort of like a light switch. It was something you turned on and off.
As an extension of that, we talked about things like AIDS and HIV as also a curse, a curse on the gay community; sort of a really strange thing, particularly when you consider that lesbians, for example, aren’t afflicted with AIDS quite in the same way or the same number. So, it’s sort of weird when you actually are informed on the issue, but it was—these were prevalent ideas.
So, you can say from a pulpit in 1988 that AIDS is the judgment of God on gay communities, and people say, “yeah.” So, then there was this shift that went on, and somebody maybe needs to write a dissertation on this or something, but there was a shift that went on from homosexuality as a curse to homosexuality as a cross.
And it’s sort of like this is a part of our fallenness and brokenness. It’s complicated and maybe you chose it, maybe not. Maybe it’s some mixture of nature and nurture, and we don’t really understand it, and there’s a mystery here, but we know that we all have crosses that we’re supposed to bear, and we’re told to take up our crosses, and we all have our own temptations, and this is your cross. So just take it up and follow Jesus and embrace of some of the complexities of the issue and at the same time, still a call to sort of a biblical sexual ethic.
And I think now we’re entering into a third phase . . . that if we, for example if we allow homosexuals to become members of our church, that we learn something about what it means to love or to be marginalized, all the way to the left that you might find with like a liberal Episcopalian, that would be that homosexuality is a crown; that it’s a gift and that these should be—these people should be given special treatment in the church.
I don’t know how it’s going to shake out, but my sense is that this dish of cookies has been put back in the oven and at some time, and it could be three years, five years, ten years, we’re all going to hear that ding and it’s going to come out, and at that moment we’re going to be in, I think, in a new phase of evangelical thinking on the issue. [end quote]
Did you notice what he said? We’re going to take the traditional and the liberal, and we’re going to merge them together for a third phase, or a third way. Merritt sees the LGBT issue as a half-baked cookie. Obviously, cookies are a good thing we await expectantly for. The analogy is not accidental. I dare say it’s intended to raise our thinking from where it was “in the 1980’s” when homosexuality was seen as a curse, fallenness, gross, an abomination, and a choice. But notice where we’re going, according to Merritt. Homosexuality could be considered a crown or a gift warranting special treatment within the church community.
This movement also has its “leading ladies.” Rosaria Butterfield is a former lesbian who is now married to a (male) pastor. Although she has many things to say that are biblically correct, even she buys into the victimization routine in which Bible-believing Christians are vilified as mean, bigoted, and intolerant people. By doing so, she plays into the hands of cultural Marxists. In a video interview, she sets up Christians as the oppressors:
[quote] Interviewer: In your previous life as a lesbian, you said that you largely experienced born again Christians as ungracious people, almost fanatical in temperament. Largely—I didn’t say entirely—but that was largely your experience. Let me ask, that was quite a while ago and more than 15 years ago. Do you think that’s changing?
Butterfield: Well, that’s a hard question because it says a lot about point of view, but I was a professor at the time, and my experience with Christians was that, for the most part, they were fearful people. They used the Bible as a punctuation mark to end a conversation, rather than deepen it, and if I had any questions, “thus sayeth the Lord” ended the question, and so I’m not—I didn’t understand if they obeyed such a holy and great God, why they were motivated by so much fear . . . the other context that I really interfaced with Christians with were Gay Pride marches. Let’s face it, the raising of the political placards was not always the friendliest of exchanges. So, you know, I would see the placard with the “I’m going to hell” and then a friend of mine put together a placard that said, “If AIDS is God’s curse on homosexuals, then Lesbians must be God’s chosen people.” . . . that is probably not the best opportunity for dialogs. [end quote]
The idea of describing Christians as fearful and who use the Bible as a punctuation mark fits the LGBT agenda playbook. And the idea of Christians picketing Gay Pride parades strikes me as a straw man. They certainly aren’t the norm among conservative Christians.
To have Butterfield play this up is troubling because it goes with the narrative in which Bible-believing Christians are the bad guys. Butterfield also legitimizes the LGBTQ in churches when she says this:
[quote] [T]he Gay and Lesbian Community is a real community and you know what, the Christian church has a lot to learn, not about theology, not about salvation, not about poor, but about standing [with] the disempowered, accompany suffering, and being good company for the suffering.
Now I can’t imagine the gay community when AIDS had just unleashed itself and we didn’t know what it was, and that is hard. That is a very hard thing but one of the things that is true, and it is just universally true, standing with the disempowered is a necessary thing. I often speak to parents who have felt like they have lost covenantal children to the gay community, and what I will say to them is you will have to work very hard to love your son and daughter better than the gay community does. I’m sorry to say that. I know that’s shocking. I know that’s scandalous . . . But I am telling you that you will have to work very hard. [end quote]
It’s shocking that she says the church has a lot to learn about community from the LGBTQ community. It’s a travesty to suggest that Christians should learn about caring for one another from the LGBTQ community because community comes through the truth of God’s Word. We unite around a common doctrine and the Holy Spirit who indwells us. The LGBTQ doesn’t care about solid biblical doctrine, nor do they have the Holy Spirit.
It’s also astounding that Butterfield would suggest that parents of gay children have to work hard to love them as much as the gay community does. The idea begs the question of whether or not the gay community is even demonstrating true love by drawing others into their deceived lifestyle. But certainly, there is no love to compare with the parent who has given birth, changed diapers, walked the floor, and raised them in a caring environment. Parents like that don’t cease loving children when they “come out of the closet.” They may be heartbroken, but that itself is an indicator of love from the parents who know the child has chosen a self-destructive path.
The gay community hardly has a corner on love. Despite what advocates of same-sex marriage would have you believe, the average homosexual man has multiple partners during his lifetime. It is not a model of committed love. If people in the LGBTQ community really had an unselfish love for any of these young people, they would tell them to reject the lifestyle and its worldview because of the miserable consequences it brings. Instead, the LGBTQ community recruits children to reinforce its contention that their errant lifestyle is legitimate.
Sadly, many in the church are buying this nonsense. If it comes your way, though, at least you now know how to recognize when it shows up—and reject it out of hand.