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is protected by federal copyright law and is an excerpt from the book Marxianity written by Brannon Howse and is not to be published online.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.
Whether espoused by Huxley, Marcuse, or Hegel himself, I contend that Satan loves the Hegelian dialectic process. Scripture even supplies evidence that this is the case.
One day while studying Acts 16, I suddenly saw the story of the demonic girl speaking truth in a new light. Here’s what happened in Acts 16:16-18:
Now it happened as we went to prayer that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune telling. This girl followed Paul and us and cried out saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.
As I read the account, I thought to myself, that is a perfect example of the Hegelian dialectic process. Her words were true—Paul was a servant of the Most High God—yet, she was mocking them, trying to create a conflict. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that perhaps the Hegelian dialectic process is one of Satan’s primary tools for deception.
Although the girl in Acts 16 was speaking forth truth, the source was from Satan’s demonic realm. It’s a use of thesis and antithesis, idea and opposite idea, light and darkness, merging. Truth and error are mixed.
Perhaps Satan’s greatest strategy for deception is the mixing of truth and error. People more readily believe something that is almost true or sounds like it could be true. That’s why Scripture repeatedly warns us to avoid false teachers and to reject false doctrine. We are even to be aware of men rising from within the church to draw away disciples into falsehoods. Second Corinthians 6:14-17 tells why: “What fellowship does light have with darkness? The things of God with the things of Baal?” The answer, of course, is nothing. There is no fellowship to be had between light and darkness.
The Bible is clear: don’t be involved in the Hegelian dialectic process of mixing truth and error. But notice why someone like the slave girl in Acts 16 would use that technique. It offered her the chance to gain credibility because she could see that people were beginning to accept Paul’s teaching.
This incident happened very early in the life of the church. And I believe Satan sees it as his chance to infiltrate the new church by proclaiming some truth—and gaining some credibility—then undermining the gospel and the foundation of this New Testament church with demonic lies.
I’ve spoken about this extensively in my broadcasts and written about it in my book, What Every Christian Should Know. The mixture is a form of white magic in which the things of Satan or of the occult are wrapped in a Christian veneer. It takes on the appearance of light and what is good. The tactic uses Christian terminology debased from its true meaning. The names of God or Jesus are misused, or Scripture twisted to sound like truth when it isn’t.
Acts 16 points out that Paul was greatly annoyed by this young woman because he saw her words and actions as the deception they were. Unfortunately, though, many Christians these days do not have the same measure of discernment. A friend of mine told me once that he had shared with his pastor and fellow elders about his concern that their church was promoting neo-Calvinists like Tim Keller, Matt Chandler, and David Platt, and lending credence to their teaching about the social gospel.
He told his fellow church leaders, “You know, Brannon Howse has written a lot on this and has been doing a lot of radio and television exposing these neo-Calvinists.”
Another elder agreed, saying, “I’ve been to some of his Worldview Weekends.”
But the senior pastor’s only response was, “Oh, I know who he is. He has a bad attitude. He has a bad attitude.”
That strikes me as an odd interpretation of my message, but I suspect that he confuses my zeal for truth, my passion, and my conviction with a bad attitude. Or perhaps he simply wanted to do what many do: instead of refuting the truth of what I proclaim, they attack the messenger. Does that mean Paul had a bad attitude when he was “greatly annoyed” with the demonic girl? No. He was calling out the truth, but Satan would have people believe Paul—and others who are annoyed with those who don’t speak truth—should be shut down for having a “bad attitude.”
Redefining the Faith
Maybe you, too, contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, and people who can’t refute you begin to attack you personally. You’re cast as being divisive, unloving, or hateful. All kinds of adjectives are thrown out to try to shame the Bereans.
It’s crucial, of course, to contend earnestly for the faith with a good attitude and in love, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be annoyed or be intolerant of false teaching and things that are contrary to the word of God. Of course, we’re intolerant of that. Of course, we’re annoyed. Of course, we’re not going to accept false teaching. I hope you’re annoyed by the mixing of truth and error that is intended to deceive as many as possible. This dialectical deception is a distortion of traditional Christianity.
Those who want to mix Christianity with Marxism must redefine Jesus and turn Him into a social justice warrior. They have to proclaim that Jesus was more concerned with the natural world than the spiritual world—more passionate about the external than the internal, the heart. Yet, in the Sermon on the Mount, the main theme was the issue of the heart, because if the heart is right, then everything else falls into place.
The “Marxians” also must redefine the mission and purpose of the church. Rather than pursue the Great Commission, for instance, now, it’s the “great consensus,” the building of a social justice kingdom of God on earth—even though Jesus said in John 18:36 that “My kingdom is not of this world.” These people must also recast the gospel away from a biblical gospel of individual salvation through faith and repentance to a collective salvation that says we must all unite in group consensus to heal the wrongs in the world and to create a “just” society that eliminates poverty and injustice. Our work together will build a kingdom of God on earth—a heaven on earth brought about through collective salvation.
Yet, that’s not what the Bible teaches at all. Jesus said the poor “will always be with you.” Injustice will not end until the Righteous Judge comes and reigns. We long for that day and are called to pray for that day—“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” But it’s not here yet, and will not happen until He sets up His kingdom. We don’t set it up. We don’t build God’s kingdom. God brings His kingdom as described in Daniel 2.
One of the original re-definers of the gospel was a man by the name of Walter Rauschenbusch, a Fabian socialist and father of the social gospel movement. He said, “The only power that can make socialism succeed, if it is to be established, is religion. It cannot work in an irreligious country.” He apparently believed that religion could be used as the opiate of the people Karl Marx talked about. Rauschenbusch also acknowledged the difference in the socialist use of religion with this observation:
"We differ from many Christian men and women who believe that if only men are partially converted, wrong and injustice will gradually disappear from the construction of society. It does not appear such to us."
According to Rauschenbusch, if people set aside their own individual convictions and come to group consensus, then we can heal the world. The concept is reminiscent (and probably not coincidentally) of the popular song by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson: “We are the World. We are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving.” Set aside your individuality, set aside your fundamentalism, set aside your narrow thinking, and come together with consensus through compromise. That’s the Hegelian dialectic process while New Agers call collective salvation “a harmonic convergence.” Either way, if you’re not willing to compromise, you’re labeled intolerant, hateful, bigoted, narrow-minded, and divisive.
The true gospel, of course, teaches that people come to salvation individually through faith and repentance, and that, through Christ alone. His righteous life is imputed, or credited, to our personal accounts, not by works lest any man should boast. We are individually saved simply through faith.
“Remodelers” of Christianity, Walter Rauschenbusch and Harry F. Ward, founded the Federal Council of Churches, now known as the National Council of Churches. Ward was also known as “Harry the Red Ward” because he was communist. At the time, he couldn’t admit that openly, so he contented himself by associating with Fabian socialists like Rauschenbusch. But Harry F. Ward was forthright about his intentions with religion. He called for “a changed attitude on the part of many church members concerning the purpose and function both of the church and Christianity.” He wanted to change the mission and purpose of the church.