There is a statue in front of the police department headquarters in my town that my wife and I pass by occasionally on our walks together. The statue is nothing historical or monumental; it is a depiction of a police officer defending a young boy. Yet every time I pass by it, it catches my attention. A number of factors converge to give the optical illusion that, although the officer is indeed defending the boy, when one looks on the statue from a certain angle, it actually looks like the officer is manhandling him.
Two people can be looking at the statue at the same time and see two very different narratives being communicated by it. One is the true, intended meaning; the other is an illusion. The same principle holds true in the realm of truth.
Postmodernism vs. Biblical Christianity
Postmodernism would try to explain this phenomenon as proof that there is no such thing as absolute truth; truth is nothing more than a web of relativity. We all see things differently from our perspectives, and therefore we cannot be certain about what is actually true. So, what is true for you is not true for me, and vice versa. Since this is the case, they say, neither one of us has the right to cast judgment upon one another’s version of truth: hence the mantra of tolerance in our present age.
We who hold a biblical worldview, however, have a less exciting, yet far more realistic explanation for why two people looking at the same truth can come to two extremely different conclusions. It is that there is indeed absolute truth, and therefore one of us is right and one of us is wrong. Those who persist in a narrative of facts that does not correspond to truth are either misled or simply lying.
“Postmodernism asserts that truth is nothing more than a web of relativity. We who hold a biblical worldview, however, have a less exciting, yet far more realistic explanation for why two people looking at the same truth can come to two extremely different conclusions.”
Of course, we who believe that the Bible is the word of God believe that it is the source of truth because it comes from God Himself, who is the embodiment of truth. We also understand that Satan is “the father of lies” who “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). But Satan’s standard modus operandi is to cloak his lies with a smokescreen of truth. As one preacher put it, “the devil likes to take the skin of the truth and stuff it with a lie.” We see this tactic at work in his temptation of our Lord Jesus (Matthew 4:1–11), and the apostle Paul spells it out clearly in his description of those he called “false apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:13–15).
Perhaps Satan’s most effective strategy is to use the same vocabulary, yet assign it different meaning. Take the Latter Day Saint movement, for example. They speak of “Jesus Christ,” the “Savior,” the “Father,” the “Holy Spirit,” etc. Yet, when one begins even a cursory examination of what they mean by these terms that are so familiar to Christians, it becomes evident that they have a far different understanding of them than orthodox Christianity. This is why Christians must develop and hone the spiritual discipline of discernment.
Discernment is the ability to identify truth from error, especially when it is not so easy to spot at first glance. Everyone needs discernment, and even unbelievers are capable of the art of discernment to a degree. But Christians must grow in spiritual discernment, which only comes from a diligent study and meditation upon God’s word and the constant practice of applying that truth to everything around them. In his book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, Tim Challies explains that it is just that–a discipline, “and like other disciplines such as prayer and reading the Bible, it is one that all Christians should seek to practice…deliberately” (p. 15).
“Christians must grow in spiritual discernment, which only comes from a diligent study and meditation upon God’s word and the constant practice of applying that truth to everything around them.”
As Christians, we typically focus our attention on discerning truth in the arena of religion, and rightly so. But we have the tendency to view everything outside the religious context in a broad category which we take more at face value. We expect the secular world to be godless and immoral. After all, Scripture says that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). But the place we go wrong is in thinking that Satan’s M.O. is different in the secular world than it is in the realm of the sacred. While there are certainly many aspects of the world that are blatantly sinful, there is a realm of ideas that are not so straightforward. And it is here that we find Satan up to his old tricks, especially using a different dictionary for common vocabulary.
Black Lives Matter: A Test Case for Discernment
The hot topic in our current culture is a perfect example of this. Black Lives Matter began as an organization in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin murder trial, and has since become the de facto face of a movement that has erupted in our society after the killing of George Floyd just months prior to this writing. As of today, virtually every corner of our society has jumped onto the BLM train.
Now, there is no denying that the United States has a history of racism, particularly focused upon black people. However, over the years, and especially since the civil rights movement, our nation has moved steadily away from this position. There are certainly pockets of America where racism still exists, but to say, as so many currently are, that America in 2020 is guilty of systemic racism is an egregious overstatement.
The great majority of Americans, if asked if black lives matter, would almost certainly say “yes.” Any rightly-informed Christian would most certainly answer in the affirmative because we understand that every person, regardless of race or skin color, or any other factor for that matter, is just as equally valuable as any other because each of us is made in the image of God. Furthermore, our country’s Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal.” Therefore, everyone in America should be able to stand together in agreement that black lives matter. Of course black lives matter.
But is that what Black Lives Matter the organization is all about?
The answer to that question is “Yes” and “No.” I say “Yes” because BLM’s primary focus is on black people. On a page entitled “What We Believe” on their official website, they state that “We are unapologetically Black in our positioning.” But it’s not that simple…not at all. One of the BLM co-founders, Patrisse Cullors, has stated that she and her colleagues are “trained Marxists.” This is very alarming for many reasons. Most conservatives will point to the fact that Marxism is diametrically opposed to so much of what we enjoy in our republican democracy with its free market capitalism. While this should indeed trouble Christians, we must go deeper in our evaluations. We must allow the word of God—not Rush Limbaugh or Ben Shapiro—to shape our opinions.
As we evaluate BLM and its Marxist leanings, we must recognize that Marxism is not merely a threat to our political structure or our economy, it is a threat to the kingdom of God.
Marxism is rooted in atheism, and because of this, it discounts all biblical truth. Unlike the Bible’s explanation of mankind as inherently sinful and selfish, in danger of mutual destruction in the absence of safeguards, Marxism teaches that, given the right environment, men will thrive, and thus a “utopia” is possible, where justice and equality reigns. This environment is said to flow from various forms of socialism or communism in which all goods and services are distributed equally among the people.
This may sound nice in theory, but it has been tried and shown to be a complete disaster at every level, in every context. Because it turns a blind eye to man’s sinfulness, people in a socialist/communistic society fail to take personal responsibility because there is no incentive to do so, and those who control the distribution of wealth become corrupt. As Lord Acton rightly said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Because Marxism denies the existence of God and holds to an evolutionary understanding of origins, human life is devalued and a survival of the fittest ensues which, as history records, has been used as a justification for genocide. In fact, if BLM really believed that all black lives matter, they would not allow Planned Parenthood, which was founded as a Marxist-leaning experiment of eugenics, to continue the routine extermination of black babies at a higher rate than any other ethnicity in the United States.
Black Lives Matter vs. the Family
Furthermore, Marxism seeks to create a communal society in which the family no longer comprises the basic unit of human societies. One of BLM’s statements of belief unashamedly announces that:
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”
But the nuclear family is not just a “Western-prescribed” idea, it is a God-prescribed reality naturally undergirding all societies at all times and in all places, and without which society will crumble (Genesis 2:24).
Black Lives Matter & the Sexual Revolution
Along with this “disruption” of the nuclear family, BLM promotes the totality of the LGBTQ agenda, making multiple statements, not only supporting, but championing these causes. This is perhaps the most sinister agenda of BLM because it is the quintessential example of intersectionality, which is an ideology that seeks to combine various social categories, such as age, race, and ethnicity to create varying degrees of disadvantage and discrimination. Intersectionality creates a tangled web of identity politics, and intentionally confuses the basic biblical distinctions in the categories it combines. Comparing someone’s ethnicity or age with their “sexual orientation” or “gender identification” is comparing apples to oranges. It is comparing characteristics of virtue and dignity with confusion and immorality.
Discernment is Our Responsibility
I whole-heartedly affirm that all black lives matter–even those still in the womb. But I cannot affirm Black Lives Matter as an organization for the reasons numerated above.
BLM is an entry in the devil’s dictionary. It is an attempt to use language that everyone should affirm in order to entangle our culture in a trap. Individuals, businesses, sports organizations, and even churches are swallowing it, hook, line, and sinker every day. But Christians must apply spiritual discernment, and then we must articulate the truth in a way that is uncompromising, yet gracious.
This is just one example in our culture among the many with which we are currently being bombarded…and don’t think the issues will stop coming. We live in volatile times and we cannot–we dare not–bury our heads in the sand.