A specter is haunting American conservatism. It is the specter of cultural Marxism.
1. a visible incorporeal spirit, especially one of a terrifying nature; ghost; phantom; apparition.
2. some object or source of terror or dread: the specter of disease or famine.
CONFESSION, INFILTRATION, AND SEPARATION
Let me start with a scenario. A group of theologians inside a Protestant denomination begin to preach the doctrine that Christianity is true, except for two doctrines: first, Jesus was not divine in any way, and second, the Bible is not literally true. What would you say about the orthodoxy of these people?
The West began to hear these arguments in state-funded German universities in the early 1800’s, but this basic approach for interpreting Christianity and the Bible had begun in the middle of the 17th century in England: the Tew Circle. This is not generally recognized in academia, but historically it was the case. The historical background was presented in a comprehensive form over 30 years ago in a book titled The Authority of the Bible, by H. G. Reventlow. The book and its author are virtually unknown to scholars, but the book is a masterful monograph.
This outlook began to be accepted more widely in American Protestant academic circles about 1875. It spread very rapidly. It became known as theological modernism, and by 1930, it had captured most mainline American Protestant churches above the Mason-Dixon line. The main exception was Missouri Synod Lutheranism, in which the battle continues.
Those who were members of non-mainline churches regarded this outlook as anti-Christianity. The most famous manifesto against it was J. Gresham [GRESSum] Machen’s [MAYchen] book, Christianity and Liberalism (1923). He was correct.
The non-mainline churches began to grow. Growth in the mainline denominations slowed after 1925. Sometime around 1960, the year John D. Rockefeller, Jr. died, they began to shrink. Rockefeller more than anyone else had funded theological modernism after 1920, as we read in Shenkel’s book, The Rich Man and the Kingdom (1996). This shrinking process continues.
A similar infiltration/separation process occurred inside Marxism.
Marxists in the USSR in 1960 regarded the movement known as cultural Marxism with the same degree of skepticism that Bible-believing Christians regarded theological modernism. In other words, they denied that it was Marxism at all.
When you abandon the fundamental tenets of a particular ideology, and yet you attempt to retain that ideology’s name, because there are lots of adherents to that ideology, you will be regarded as an invader by the defenders of the original ideology.
Cultural Marxism is to Marxism what modernism is to Christianity. Anyone who regards cultural Marxism as Marxism has not understood Marxism. Yet it is common in conservative circles to do this. This is a strategic mistake because it is a conceptual mistake.
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