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is protected by federal copyright law and is an excerpt from the book Marxianity written by Brannon Howse and is not to be published online.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.
Roman Catholic churches are into the multi-billion-dollar non-profit business, and much of their income flows from taxpayer-funded charity projects at all levels of government—local, state, and federal. It’s a model the Church of Rome has generated as a subcontractor for the government. In the process, churches are transformed into community service centers. The most disturbing part of this trend, though, is that it is no longer restricted just to Catholic churches. So-called evangelicals are beginning to eat at the government trough as well. And the impact on genuine outreach is profound. Acceptance of government money compromises the ability of these churches to evangelize, but church leaders seem to think it worthwhile in order to attract a new breed of members.
Mission to Millennials
Millennials have been leaving the church for years now, but the prospect of government money holds a two-pronged hope for declining congregations. First, government funds directly replace offerings that might have come from a growing congregation. And second, the very transformation of churches into centers of social justice stands to attract many millennials back into the church—along with their money.
This is important because when “churches” are transformed into community centers for social services, it means that once traditional Bible-teaching churches cease to teach Scripture faithfully. Even churches that have not initially wanted to join the social justice movement are now encouraged to do so because they’re losing members, baby boomers are dying off, and they need money.
Millennials themselves have articulated the social justice vision for churches and have written about how they are willing to show up, give money, and volunteer their time if churches adopt the social justice framework. In his article, “How Baby Boomers, Churches, and Entrepreneurs Can Transform Society,” the late Bob Buford offers the background for this phenomenon:
[quote] There are three major sectors in American society: the government, which ensures compliance with laws and allocates resources; the business sector, which provides jobs, fosters economic development; and the social sector, meaning churches and nonprofits, which addresses social and existential needs. All three sectors must do their part if we wish to create healthy, socially functioning communities in the twenty-first century. [end quote]
Bear in mind that Bob Buford was mentored by communitarian Peter Drucker who admitted that he is not a Christian. In fact, Drucker loved the writings of Fabian socialist and economist John Maynard Keynes, a Fabian socialist who gave us Keynesian economics.
Buford is describing the three-legged stool of communitarianism, and the highly influential pastor and author, Rick Warren, agrees with his approach. Maria Kefla’s February 5, 2018 article, “Pastor Argues Faith Is Missing Link,” cites a speech by Rick Warren in which he claims that the solution to the world’s greatest problems lie in what he called the “third partnership”—a coalition of faith communities, the government, and business. According to the article, Warren’s rationale for needing the three players together is that “if business and government were able to solve the world’s problems by themselves, they would have done it by now. A combination of the public, profit and parish is needed.”
A “Civilitas” Civilization
Richard Wurmbrand, one of the twentieth century’s great heroes of the Faith, suffered greatly as a pastor under communist oppression in Eastern Europe. From his perspective in the grip of communism, he could see then what many American Christians cannot see even now. In 1966 in Romania, he observed that there were already some 300,000 identifiably liberal clergy in the United States who could be counted on to support a masked form of communism. Wurmbrand could see what was coming when he said of the communists hoping to change America, “They can’t very well win them for communism, but they can win them for a leftwing Christianity which supports communism.” And that’s exactly what is underway now. A leftwing Christianity that supports communism is now influencing once-evangelical churches to do the same.
A document called “Civilitas” reveals what’s happening. Supported by a host of influential Christians including Richard Mouw, president emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, John Piper, Tim Keller, Rick Warren, Bono, and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, “Civilitas” describes the church as the largest “social entity” in the country. It views the 100 million church members in the United States as potential volunteers for community service and articulates “a simple model” to convene “civil conversations” in some of America’s most influential cities. Plans are underway to convene “conversations” in 25 American cities including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle, Chicago, and Boston. Civilitas plans to facilitate dinner meetings in which five or six Christian leaders meet with five or six cultural elites. In New York, for instance, this would likely include Tim Keller and (Roman Catholic) Cardinal Dolan. The cultural elite would be represented by journalists and officials like former presidential aide George Stephanopoulos and New York Times writer David Brookes.
Civilitas seeks to engage a national network of Christian leaders and cultural elites in networks and dialogues that identify issues for “the common good of our culture.” Notice the key term, “common good.” It’s communitarian-speak for social justice, human flourishing, and sustainable development—all of which are collectivist, globalist concepts. Theirs is an astounding grab for influence.
The document enumerates the targeted issues: the welfare of children, the public school crisis, the prevalence of violence in our society, the breakdown of families, community life, and cultural cohesion. It even purports to manage our “future democracy” in an increasingly diverse population. Here’s how Civilitas will proceed:
[quote] “Civilitas” will then seek to connect the best minds and the most creative entities in the country to work on our most intractable challenges in pursuit of solutions for the common good. This will include churches, colleges and seminaries, mission leaders and social entrepreneurs, together with Christians who have earned trust and exerted influence in every sector of society to collaborate in pursuit of the common good. (emphases mine) [end quote]
Notice the term “social entrepreneurs.” It’s simply a masking term for “community organizer.” In my books Grave Influence and The Coming Religious Reich, I detail the dark side of this concept—an idea crafted by Saul Alinsky and developed by Michelle and Barack Obama before they found their way to the White House.
The document outlines a shared vision and strategy for collaborative initiatives to deal with the most pressing social and cultural challenges in each city, and it explains who the churches will be working with. A key organization is the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. The connection is troubling because the website of the institute states clearly where its perspective comes from: the Frankfurt School. And now they’re getting hold of churches through “Civilitas” to carry out cultural Marxism. Instead of fighting churches like old school communists have done, they simply bring them in as willing participants in the introduction of cultural Marxism.
“Civilitas” also claims to be working with the Trinity Forum, an organization whose corporate slogan is “Contributing to the transformation and renewal of society through the transformation and renewal of leaders.” Notice the code words “transformation . . . society.” Key players at the Trinity Forum include New Age ecumenist Dallas Willard. The organization also promotes its connection—through an evening “conversation”—with Bio Logos, an organization that supports teachings about theistic evolution. And Bio Logos itself exists, thanks to a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Templeton’s goal was to create a world religion that did not rely upon any sacred text. He wanted a one-world religion.
Another “Civilitas” partner is the Center for Public Justice, an organization that boasts of Ron Sider as one of its key advisors and consultants. Sider is the president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action. A 2007 article by David Noebel entitled, “National Association of Evangelicals Pro Communist” is an open letter to Ron Sider in which Noebel points out a claim of Sider’s:
[quote] The Christian right thus has far achieved few of its policy goals, an experience common to the anti-evolution and anti-communist movements. The latter movements failed in part because they did not mobilize very many people and in part because of their relevant negativity. Here the anti-communist movement is notable. It was largely an exercise in destruction. [end quote]
Sider does not like the anti-communist movement, because he’s a Neo-Marxist himself.
In another article the next year, Noebel calls out Sider again, along with the NEA:
[quote] Lest you think that this is just ancient history, I direct your attention to the National Association of Evangelicals’, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy. That was the name of the book, published by Baker Books in 2005 and copyrighted by Ron Sider and Diane Knippers. Its first chapter, entitled, “Seeking a Place,” makes it very clear that anticommunism, “was largely an exercise of destruction.” And that Jim Wallis of Sojourners is where the true Christian action consists. And this despite the fact that Wallis was pro Vietcong during the Vietnam War. Wallis actually referred to those seeking to escape from the ravages of communist Vietnam after the war as persons bent on feeding “their consumer habits in other lands.”
Wallis’s response to the Cambodian communist slaughter of 2 million men, women and children was to deny the bloodbath. Compassion for the poor and oppressed brought on by communism does not enter into the leftist playbook. Leftists have compassion for the poor and oppressed only when they can, however implausibly, blame capitalist America. Shame on the National Association of Evangelicals. [end quote]
The upshot of “Civilitas” is to create an unbelievably insidious version of the Fabian wolf in sheep’s clothing. Leaders build a power structure of false churches—using government money—and then guilt people into servitude. And who seems to be most vulnerable to this guilt trip? Millennials. They’re begging for just such an opportunity of servitude. But they’re working for a false church.
David Noebel continues to unravel the network of those involved and explains more about the background of Jim Wallis:
[quote] First, Jim Wallis has had relationships with the communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). Second, his “Witness for Peace” was an attempt to defend the Nicaraguan Sandinistas! Wallis, together with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, (Obama’s former pastor of 20 years), “rallied support for the communist Nicaraguan regime and protested actions by the United States which supported the anti-communist Contra rebels.” [end quote]
And in an article on the Worldview Weekend website, Noebel says:
[quote] The ugly truth is Wallis wishes to see the destruction of the United States as a nation and in its place “a radical, nonconformist community” patterned after the progressive, socialist commune he established in Washington, DC in 1971. . .
And yes, Wallis portrays the evangelical right, that happens to be pro-American and anti-communist, “as members of the forces of darkness.” For Wallis, a good Christian is someone who is pro-communist and socialist, while a bad Christian is someone who is anti-communist and pro-capitalist. The cry of the Sojourners crowd is, social justice for the poor and downtrodden, social justice being code for socialism/communism. [end quote]
Yet, another organization working with Civilitas is the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities. And what is their revealing slogan? “Advancing faith and intellect for the common good” (emphasis mine). An organization of colleges is certainly in a position to brainwash a lot of young people—a.k.a., millennials.
As for those who sit on the board for Civilitas, the presence of Tim Keller certainly says a great deal. Not only has Keller falsely claimed that the Bible instructs Christians to give as much of our money as possible to the poor, he has been openly hostile to fellow Christians who don’t buy the social justice concept. In his article, “Deconstructing Defeater Beliefs,” Keller says “that the most fervent Christians are the most condemning, exclusive and intolerant. The church has a history of supporting injustices, of destroying culture, of oppression.” According to Keller, other Christians (presumably those who are “less enlightened” than Keller and his ilk) are intolerant, narrow-minded, bigoted, stuck in the mud, fundamentalists who, in their “ignorance,” oppose communism.
Another important board member for Civilitas is Katherine Olsdorf. She works with Tim Keller and is one of the thought leaders at the Oikonomia Network. Oikonomia is funded by the Kern Family Foundation, an organization also committed to the principles of cultural Marxism.
The Chicago Tribune reported that:
[quote] Greg Forster will lead the faith, work, and economics initiative. Forster is currently the director of the Oikonomia Network, which the Foundation has operated since its beginning in 2010. The new Center will also work closely with Made to Flourish, a national network of pastors led by Trinity Board member Tom Nelson that helps pastors and churches nourish human flourishing and further the common good. [end quote]
There’s an amazing amount of cross pollination among these people. And what is the ultimate goal? To garner philanthropic dollars for religious community organizations. Civilitas claims to harbor a foundational commitment to “strengthen the influence of the Bible and the role of the church as a means of bringing healing and cohesion to our fragmenting society,” but it promises nothing about teaching biblical truth, the true gospel, or expounding on the Bible in context. They may say they’re doing this for the gospel, for God, for Jesus, or for the church, but they’re not. And their foundation is not really the Bible. They use these terms merely to convince gullible people that they are the good guys.
Apparently to make sure no one “looks behind the curtain,” the big money people from The Templeton Foundation are supporting the creation of a new Christian “catechism,” to be based on the writings of Tim Keller. Do you suppose there might be just a little bit of leaning in the direction of a social justice interpretation of scriptural “truths?” The curriculum they have planned will take advantage of the credibility of the Gospel Coalition among evangelical church leaders. Yet, I caution you to beware of what they come up with. You won’t want to pass it along to your children!
One other spurious connection warrants a mention as well. The National Immigration Forum is the driving force behind the so-called Evangelical Immigration Table, but it is actually a front group for left-wing influencers, including billionaire George Soros and the Ford Foundation. It’s altogether shocking that these people are now wielding such powerful influence in what was once the solidly evangelical church.