Knowing Your Cultural Marxism

Cultural Marxism is a complicated ideology and I’ve given a simple explanation, but here I’ll lay out several points by which you can identify this increasingly pervasive intellectual poison.

1. Humanity‘s deepest need is not economic (as the classical Marxists believe), but existential.

2. Every individual must be free to realize himself or herself, to be exactly what that person desires and wants above all else. “Self-actualization” is the great human need.

3. Any social barriers to that self-actualization must be redefined, marginalized, or destroyed. The leading ones are the family, the church, and business.

4. Social evolution from relatively worse to better necessitates incessant conflict. Progress cannot occur in peaceful, mutually beneficial ways as is assumed in classical liberalism — and Christianity. Conflict between humans is imperative.

5. That conflict in the modern world is always between oppressor and oppressed classes, not individuals as such. The chief examples are men versus women; heterosexuals versus homosexuals and transgendered; whites versus blacks, Hispanics, and Asians; First world citizens versus Third World immigrants; and business owners versus employees.

6. Nomenclature weaponized to advance Cultural Marxism includes: toxic masculinity, systemic racism, heteronormativity, white supremacy, intersectionality, neo-colonialism, Black Lives Matter, and cisgenderism.

7. The vast majority of the oppressed are not in a social position to defend themselves, so they require a highly educated, literate, capitalized, and prominent secular elite in education, politics, journalism, media and entertainment to champion their cause.

8. The stipulated goal is comprehensive equality, not so much economic equality, but ethical, moral, and relational equality. Every absolute must be demolished – except for the absolute that there must be no absolutes.

9. Because progress is never possible without conflict, and because progress is never ending, comprehensive equality can never be achieved.

10. Therefore, the conflict of Cultural Marxism must continue “to infinity and beyond,” and any successes are counted as temporary, demanding ever greater conflict.


Sexuality: Succinct and Secure, by Jeffery J. Ventrella, J.D., Ph.D.

Jeffery J. Ventrella, J.D., Ph.D., is Distinguished Fellow of Law and Culture at the Center for Cultural Leadership and Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs & Training for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Today’s world is awash with sexual confusion, clutter, and corrosion. Sexuality, though culturally ubiquitous, is often avoided by Christians and congregations, or if they do address it, they merely focus on one facet or symptom, often inadequately. Worse, compromise also decorates many Christians’ and congregational approaches to this crucial topic.

One thing needed to combat the clutter, confusion, and corrosion, is a secure conviction about how to think Christianly about sexuality. To that end, what follows are theses that tap into the Christian worldview and how that worldview understands sexuality: its meaning, purpose, and end.

• Sexual ethics is a subset of Marital Ethics — always; this requires expounding creational norms “from the beginning” (Matt. 19) and therefore the ethic is not properly confined to “Christian” practice, setting aside that some traditions consider marriage to be a sacrament

• These immutable creational norms require affirming and expounding the “sexed” and complementary nature of the human person, male and female

• Because marriage is a pre-political, foundational public social institution, the role of the State vis a vis marriage must be identified, and public policy — properly within the State’s jurisdiction — must protect and support this institution: marriage, family, parental rights and duties, etc.

• Sexual ethics may not rightly be reduced to biology, mechanics, or desire; rather, teleology lies at the foundation: “What mankind is for” must inform and precede “What mankind does” — accordingly, an informed anthropology is crucial, accounting for both mankind’s finitude and fallenness. This also means that a revelational epistemology comes into play at some point as one cannot fully comprehend anthropology, including human calling (cultural mandate) and Imago Dei, from other supportive philosophical tools such as natural law, new natural law, et al

• Sexual ethics presupposes a cosmology and the cosmology’s theology correlates to the cosmology’s ethics. Sexuality therefore rests not only on the embodied human person but also on the structure of “real reality” in which the human person lives

• Because “contrast is the mother of clarity” (Os Guinness frequently articulates this), competing cosmologies, theologies, philosophies, and ideologies, et al that impact or have influenced how sexuality is or has been both conceptualized and practiced ought to be understood and critiqued. This requires delving into intellectual history as well as engaging in cultural apologetics

Understanding and applying these theses and their implications deeply and well generates moral clarity, moral conviction, and moral courage for today and the future.

The following resources will benefit this task:

George, Girgis, and Anderson, What is Marriage?

Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

Anderson, When Harry Met Sally

Ayers, Christian Marriage – A Comprehensive Introduction

Sandlin, The Christian Sexual Worldview: God’s Order in an Age of Sexual Chaos

Snead, What It Means to be Human – The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics

Moschella, To Whom Do Children Belong? Parental Rights, Civic Education, and Children’s Autonomy

Morse, The Sexual State

West, Our Bodies Tell God’s Story

Reilly, Making Gay Okay – How Rationalizing Human Behavior is Changing Everything

Regnarus, Cheap Sex – The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy

Fortson and Grams, Unchanging Witness – The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition

Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice

DeYoung, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in the Light of the Bible and Other Ancient Literature and Law

Jones, The God of Sex: How Spirituality Defines Your Sexuality

Jones, Whose Rainbow? God’s Gift of Sexuality: A Divine Calling

Eberstadt, Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics

Bavinck, The Christian Family

Shrier, Irreversible Damage – The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters

Saul, Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West

Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self

Pearcy, Love Thy Body


Political Insurrection Versus Creational Insurrection

The January 6 Capitol breach by several hundred members at the massive Trump rally was instantly labelled an “insurrection” by the Washington Post and other Leftist mainstream news outlets and even by prominent conservatives. One suspects that Leftists and Democrats would have been less scandalized had Trump not been president and had they not been able to wield this event (to which his characteristically reckless language contributed, even though he likely did not envision such tragic developments) for their partisan impeachment purposes.

Still, by any objective standard, this was an insurrection, defined as “a violent uprising against an authority or government.” As of early March, 315 people have been charged (Insider, March 9, 2021) — justifiably charged. When you illegally breach a federal government building, threaten legislators and the vice president, and set up shop as a tinpot  invading force, whatever else you’re guilty of, insurrection is one of them.

The Bible on Insurrection

The Bible unreservedly condemns political insurrection. While Romans 13 is no manifesto for unconditional obedience to civil government, neither can it be erased from the Bible. Paul has been laying out proper order and submission to human authority, of which the civil magistrate (politics) is a prominent example.

Our Lord himself was obliged to combat the forces of political insurrection. A party of Jesus’ Jewish contemporaries known as Zealots were committed to the violent overthrow of the occupying Roman forces. These Jews tried to make Jesus king by force (Jn. 6:15), and he would have none of this insurrectionist impulse.

Jesus’ apostle Simon Zelotes (Mk. 3:18) was probably also originally a Zealot. Barabbas, pardoned by Pilate to make way for Jesus’ conviction and crucifixion, was almost certainly a Zealot (Jn. 18:40). The attitude of the NT is deeply anti-insurrectionist. It nowhere condones political evil or tyranny but suggests that tyranny is overcome by faith, prayer, obedience — and non-insurrectionist resistance (Ac. 4:18–20; 16:38; 1 Tim. 2:2).

I agree with John Calvin in the final chapter of his Institutes of the Christian Religion that armed resistance to political tyranny is justified only when undertaken by lower territorial magistrates (today: governors or mayors). Individuals may not take up arms against or violently oppose the state. Political tyranny must be met by lawful, ordered resistance.

Creational Insurrection

But this January 7 political insurrection, despite the loss of life it unleashed, pales before another insurrection in our society: creational insurrection. This insurrection has become a mainstay of Leftism and, increasingly, even many conservatives and faux Christians. What is creational insurrection? It is bald, highhanded rebellion against God’s created order, notably against his creational norms stated in Genesis 1–2: the Creator-creature distinction, humanity created in God’s image, man and woman equally human with inherent ontological distinctions, and the cultural mandate, among others. To attempt to reverse any of these norms is creational insurrection, war against God and his created order.   

The most graphic example today is the cluster of sexual assaults on creation: homosexual “marriage,” transgenderism, and radical feminism. The creational order of man and woman qua male and female designed to be only male and female and nothing different (as if there could in fact be anything different) collides with the guiding tenet of the contemporary world: radical human autonomy, summarized as: “I should be able to do anything I want and be anything I want as long as I don’t hurt anybody else.” If this means a male’s becoming a female, or a female becoming a male gorilla, or an androgynous being (sexless, or combined two sexes), nothing is permitted to stand in my way.

Not only should nothing stand in my way. The state should perceive as its chief role protecting and even financing my ability to do just that. This is an overarching tenet of Cultural Marxism: political engineering of the revolutionary erotic regime.

If today’s church wishes to bring many sinners to Jesus Christ, she must be eager first to challenge the creational insurrection that makes the reception of the gospel impossible.

When the Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County decided 6–3 that prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex in the 1964 Civil Rights Act now included “sexual orientation and gender identity,” the high court enshrined creational insurrection as U. S. law. The fact that it is U. S. law doesn’t make it any less the greatest act of insurrection possible: rebellion against the God of the universe.

Political and creational insurrection are both evil, but the latter is more depraved than the former, because while political insurrection is rebellion against God’s delegated order, creational insurrection is an attempted coup of his cosmic reality. This in fact is just what creational insurrection is: war on reality. 

The Failure of Creational Insurrection

This hints at why Christians need not despair over the current erotic regime and its exaltation of homosexual “marriage” and transgenderism and pervasive pornography. When you assault reality, you fight a foreordained losing battle. Reality bites back. Just as God’s cosmic physical laws (like gravity) govern our tangible realm, so his cosmic moral laws govern its ethical realm. And success in violations of the latter order is no more possible than in the former. If you leap from a 13-story building in trying to prove your autonomy, you’ll only end in proving the law of gravity. If you engage in transgenderism or legalize homosexual “marriage,” you’ll only end up destroying yourself and your culture — and proving God’s moral law.


A prime task of biblical Christians and Christian ministries today is to call the world back to reality, that is, to God’s creational order. The church is entrusted with the gospel, the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. But “the gospel makes sense only in a moral world,” and the moral world is the created world. To share the gospel to people for whom God’s world is not an unstated assumption is a fool’s errand. Nobody who believes that the world is self-generated, that there is no God, that there is no sin (except maybe sexism, racism, or homophobia), and that eternal judgment is a hell-fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist fairy tale can become a Christian. The gospel is not designed for a sort of world that man created and from which God is excluded.

Therefore, if today’s church wishes to bring many sinners to Jesus Christ, she must be eager first to challenge the creational insurrection that makes the reception of the gospel impossible.


David L. Bahnsen on Stimulus Bills, Covid Lockdowns, and Interest Rates

David L. Bahnsen is Senior Fellow of Economics and Finance for the Center for Cultural Leadership and Founder, Managing Partner, and Chief Investment Officer of The Bahnsen Group, a bi-coastal private wealth management firm managing over $2.8 billion in client assets. Here he addresses a few front-burner socioeconomic issues.

CCL: After the recent third stimulus bill, a handful of Democrats is pushing for yet another bill, which includes “recurring direct payments.” How are the latest stimulus packages likely to affect the economy?

DLB: Each of the three COVID spending bills carries its own unique issues.  By far the latest is the most problematic, if for no other reason that it is the least-COVID related.  Any bill that provides any sustained incentive to stay out of the work force is highly problematic. Transitory, emergency relief is one thing; structural incentives to not work do irreparable damage to the economy, and the soul.

CCL: There seems to be a growing conflict over states eager to reopen their economy, and the President and global health officials warning against a swift reopening. Who’s right, and why?

DLB: Free people wanting to make free decisions are right.  All else is just noise.  We know the identifiably COVID-vulnerable segment of the population.  There is a highly asymmetrical relationship now between the health risks of normalcy (slim to none), versus the economic risks of a normalcy (devastating).

CCL: The Fed is warning that it won’t keep interest rates low just so the government can finance its most recent increased debt. If and when the Fed does increase rates, what’s are likely economic results?

DLB: The Fed is saying that — you are correct.  13 years of post-financial crisis policy and 30 years of Japanese monetary policy leads me to, shall we say, question their commitment to such.  I believe the central bank will formulate monetary policy around the reality of federal debt, and I believe all of their policy rationalizations point to such.  At some point a higher Fed funds rate would help normalize activity in capital markets, help minimize distortions, and re-price assets to rational levels.  But I don’t believe the Fed can or will do any such thing, anytime soon.


Brian G. Mattson on Classical Theism, Critical Race Theory, and N. T. Wright

Brian G. Mattson is a public theologian, Senior Scholar of Public Theology for the Center for Cultural Leadership as well as Adjunct Professor of Systematic and Public Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen, has written several books, and lectures on theology and culture.

CCL: One of the hot theological topics the last few years among conservatives has been over the traditional attributes of God. All conservatives are classical theists in the broad sense, but some are convinced that a few attributes need “tweaked” to bring them more into like with the Bible’s picture of God. Example: “hard impassibility” (God’s creatures cannot affect him) or “soft impassibility” (man can affect God but not overthrew his will). What’s your general impression of this debate?

BGM: My impression is that this debate always exists; it may subside for a time, but then flares up with varying degrees of urgency. Talking about how an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable God (as the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it) interfaces and interacts with a finite, temporal, and changeable world is bound to be a mysterious subject matter, in the very nature of the case. How can God be and act in space, time, and change without this being at the expense of his very nature?

On the one hand, I am sympathetic to the concerns of the “hard” classical theists, as you describe them. Many modern attempts at expressing the God/world relation have sacrificed God’s transcendent Lordship in the interests of a more “involved” and/or “relational” Deity. I have in mind the basically pantheistic (or panentheistic) approaches of process theology, Open Theism, the Emergent movement, etc., which essentially deny that God is a se, “of himself,” having “a life and existence of his own” (Bavinck). God needs his creation in order to be God!

But pantheism is not the only danger. We must be careful that, stepping back from the pit of pantheism, we don’t stumble backward into the ditch of Deism, in which God is so transcendent and removed from the finite and temporal world that he is entirely “above it all.” I worry that some recent advocates of the classical view are veering into this territory when, for example, they understand “anthropomorphism”—God’s appearing to act in “human” ways (e.g., angered, grieved, relented, repented, etc.)—to mean mere appearance. It only looks like God was angry one moment and merciful the next. In fact, what happens in history—say, a sinner repenting—doesn’t affect God in any way at all! This strikes me as losing altogether the relationship between God and the world, in an (over)reaction to blurring the distinction between them. This is the Epicurean answer to the Stoics, and I fear that if it is carried out consistently to its logical conclusion we will lose much else of greatest importance. Who, exactly, suffered and died on the cross? To attempt an answer to that question is to realize that this stuff really does matter.

The Christian answer must be to get our understanding of what “transcendence” means and what “immanence” means from the Bible, not principles of pagan philosophy. It is paganism that constantly vacillates between a pseudo-transcendence or a pseudo-immanence, Deism or pantheism, Parmenides or Heraclitus, Epicureans or the Stoics. We ought to submit to how the Bible describes God’s transcendent Lordship of space and time and how he can—precisely because of that sovereignty—engage fully in his own story without sacrificing that Lordship. That is, it seems to me, the very uniqueness of the Christian message, over against all other philosophies and religions that vacillate on these very questions. The Word who was in the beginning, and who was with God, and who was God, became flesh and dwelt among us. And it is real.

CCL: Another big topic is whether the church can incorporate helpful aspects of Critical Race Theory without buying into its atheistic presuppositions. Your thoughts?

BMG: My thoughts begin with despair that this topic can be addressed with any light instead of heat. I am only barely kidding. Tim Keller wrote 40+ thousand thoughtful, nuanced, and often brilliant words on the topic and was instantly shuffled into whatever preconceived box people had already prepared for him—even when he didn’t belong in any of the boxes. So I’m not exactly hopeful that I can say anything helpful.

From the earliest centuries the Christian church has recognized that even pagans have great and beneficial insights, and the contemporary challenge with CRT is just our latest opportunity to wrestle again with that fact. How can an atheistic philosophy like Marxism (which is, in fact, the seedbed of CRT) have anything useful to teach Christians? There are a limited number of answers to this question.

         1) Marxism, actually, is great (so let’s listen and learn!)

         2) Marxism is godless philosophy (so let’s not listen and learn!)

         3) Marxism is a unstable mixture of good and bad (so let’s discern!)

Number (1) essentially denies the antithesis between faith and unbelief and devolves into worldliness. Number (2) emphasizes the antithesis, but knows nothing of “common grace” and devolves into otherworldliness (no unbeliever can say anything true!). Number (3) is the consensus approach in Christendom, but that isn’t saying very much because we need to discern what constitutes “good” and “bad,” and we need to figure out what roots are producing what fruits and why. Moreover, whether the fruits really do come from the stated roots, or whether they’re “borrowed capital” from elsewhere—i.e., “borrowing” a Christian fruit (e.g., racism is wrong) and transplanting it into foreign intellectual soil. This is all going to take both deep biblical reflection as well as worldview thinking. Both of which are in extremely short supply.

I think CRT makes at least one reasonable and biblical point: sinners (including those whose sin is racism) can construct systems that benefit themselves at the expense of others. What was the Jim Crow south but systemic racism? It was codified in law! So far, so good. Where we’ve been complacent about such systemic sins, we ought to repent of it and rectify matters (as we did with Jim Crow, for example, at gunpoint from the 101st Airborne, in one instance) no matter who brings the charge, Marxists or otherwise.

However, along with that legitimate observation comes a whole worldview that goes way beyond anything Christians can affirm. As far as I can see, CRT as a school of thought is fatalist, unfalsifiable, divisive, ungrateful, uncharitable, unforgiving, unsatisfied, often slanderous, often empirically wrong, apocalyptic, utopian, and bears all the hallmarks of a new kind of Gnosticism. Read Galatians 5 and you won’t see these characteristics in Paul’s list of the fruits of the Spirit.

My main long-term worry about churches in particular is that our massively sentimental age uniquely exposes us to manipulation. Because we (rightly) know our own sin and sinful propensities, because we want to be quick to repent and respond in humility, we tend to lean heavily toward niceness and empathy. We affirm, affirm, and affirm, and rarely, if ever, call the Marxist worldview to account for its destructive, conscience-searing, soul-crushing spiritual and intellectual totalitarianism. I’m all for compassionate hearts. But they’re useless without spines.

Oh, and read Tim Keller’s work. I think you’ll find it helpful.

CCL: You were deeply impressed by N. T. Wright’s History and Eschatology: Jesus and the Promise of Natural Theology. Why?

Because I discovered that the subtitle is misleading.

Yes, really. When I picked up the book I expected a renewed defense of “natural theology,” the idea that if people just reflect on the created order they can somehow reason their way up to God—well, “god,” at least, and then later supplement with some Bible stuff to really get to “God.”

This book is the published version of Wright’s 2018 Gifford Lectures, a luminous endowed lecture series held at Scottish Universities. The last New Testament scholar before Wright to give the Giffords was Rudolf Bultmann, a half-century ago. The series was endowed by Lord Gifford in the 19th century to explore the topic of Natural Theology, and Wright rather boldly and winsomely took his opportunity to undermine the whole project down to the roots. Natural Theology, as it has been practiced since the Enlightenment, is, he argues, a revived form of Epicureanism, a sort of Deism where God is far off, way up there, unconcerned and inaccessible to the way down-here realm of history, science, and fact. Our job is to intellectually work ourselves up to him as best we can using our enlightened intellectual tools.

But what if our intellectual tools aren’t enlightened? What if Lessing, Schweitzer, et. al. just blithely and wrongly assumed Epicureanism to be true at the outset? What if the world isn’t like that at all? What if God really is involved in history (see your first question!)? What if God, in Jesus Christ, has radically intervened in human affairs, died and risen again, and inaugurated a new kingdom that gives us new eyes to see?

I am not the only one to recognize that Wright isn’t engaged in “Natural Theology” at all. That’s why the lectures and the book got very little academic attention. He’s actually drilling down and demolishing the entire edifice of what “Natural Theology” means. Instead of rigging the intellectual rules with Epicureanism, why not instead step inside a biblical worldview, take a look around in the Jewish world of Jesus, where heaven and earth were meant to interlock and meet (Temple) and eternity and time to co-inhere (Sabbath)? Why not look at Jesus again, as if for the first time, and see that he is the true Temple and that he brings the eschatological Sabbath by his resurrection from the dead?

The book is a workout. I’m not entirely without criticism, but it is a tour de force. If I were to pithily summarize: only by humbly presupposing the truth of the biblical record can we see it for what it really is, and not by subjecting it to the acid of Enlightenment skepticism. And only by immersing ourselves in that story can we see everything else rightly. It’s a presuppositional argument, start to finish, and it made my heart sing and my mind rejoice.