If you are struggling with the contradictions in capitalism this Christmas spare a thought for those of us on the left. We hate colonialism but subsidise immigration. We hate Australia day but can’t cope without running water. We believe in human rights except for the unborn. We hate racism and the Russians. We believe that ‘love is love’ but we reserve the right to bully and abuse anyone who dares to contradict us. We care about children, we just don’t think they have a right to a father. We hate Christianity because it is patriarchal and heteronormative, but we celebrate Islam. We believe that marriage is an oppressive patriarchal institution but we think homosexuals should have it. We stand up for minority rights, except for Christians. We think all races are equal but we don’t think white people should have children. We want gender diversity, but not thought diversity. We want gender equality but not for men. We oppose domestic violence and the objectification of women, but we think pornography is liberating. We think homosexuality is fixed but gender is fluid. We don’t believe gender or race is real but we define our politics around it. We believe in free sexual expression but not free verbal expression. We cannot cope with being offended, but we reserve the right to libel, mock and ridicule those who differ from us. We are violent but we are victims. We hate capitalism but we despise the working class. We oppose discrimination, but believe that everything bad in the world is somehow the fault of a white man somewhere. We think that to make things fair for everyone we have to control everything. Because we have the truth we have the right to impose it. Our love is conditional on your obedience. Now shut up and get in line.
- Erik Peacock
- The Author Erik’s family emigrated from Britain to the island State of Tasmania then lived in the woods. The family home schooled, helping to pioneer the home education movement in Australia. The Blog …explores ways to create a sustainable and just community. Explores how that community can be best protected at all levels including social policy/economics/ military. The Book Erik’s autobiography is a humorous read about serious things. It concerns living in the bush, wilderness, home education, spirituality, and activism. Finding Home is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and all good e-book sellers.
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Thursday, 23 November 2017
Cultural Marxism represents a concerted and sustained attempted to subvert and destroy Judeo Christianity and the Western civilisation that is in large part a product of Judeo Christianity. Its ultimate objective is cultural genocide and the marginalisation of indigenous European races. These are not my conclusions. Rather they are the stated aims of the founders, intellectual fathers, and key proponents of cultural Marxism.
The revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism. – Mark Horkheimer
The Western world has been thoroughly saturated with Christianity for 2000 years…any country grounded in Judaeo-Christian values cannot therefore be overthrown until those roots are cut…but to cut the roots, to change the culture – a Long March through the institutions is necessary. Only then will power fall into our laps like ripened fruit! – Antonio Gramsci
…to organise the intellectuals and use them to make Western civilisation stink. Only then, after they have corrupted all its values and made life impossible, can we impose a dictatorship of the proletariat. – Willi Munzenberg
Cultural Marxists believe that, congruent with Darwin’s theory of evolution, order arises spontaneously out of chaos. The destruction of the current organism, Western civilisation, is necessary for the future organism to emerge. The all powerful, all good, and all knowing State will arise from the ashes of our civilisation to shepherd humanity to the next stage of human social evolution – one which transcends and leaves behind outdated concepts such as gender, marriage, family, race, nation, faith, individuality, and capitalism. This belief has continued with minor variation from the early 20th century until now. It is represented in quotations in appendices one.
Importantly, cultural Marxism is not an odd historical relic but a very active political movement with many names operating on multiple fronts. At the time of writing the 10th International Critical Theory [aka cultural Marxism] Conference was taking place in Rome.
Cultural Marxism is the underlying force behind:
- parenting philosophies that remove the authority of parents
- various strands of radical feminism
- the radical abortion agenda
- the promotion of pornography
- transgenderism ideology
- the campaign to normalise aberrant lifestyles
- legalisation of drugs
- gay marriage
- extreme immigration/open border policies
- creation of politically motivated crimes such as ‘hate speech’ for expressing normal opinions
- academic censorship
- government censorship
- the anti-Russian agenda
- anti-male sexism
- anti-white racism
- the intrusion of the State into every aspect of life
‘Political Correctness’ is the shorthand term for different aspects of cultural Marxism. The purpose of these agendas is not the agendas themselves, but the tearing down of the existing order to make way for the new order. What the new order will look like is not entirely clear, but our best historical reference would be Mao’s cultural revolution in China which sought to destroy traditional Chinese culture and replace it with the infallible State. In that revolution an estimated 40 million people died as a result of State policies. Innumerable others were tortured, imprisoned, or exiled for simply being who they were.
Cultural Marxism arose because of the evident falsehood of Marx’ prediction that the workers would rise up in a violent rebellion against the capitalist class in Europe and America. It was this cognitive dissonance that led thinkers such as Antonia Gramsci to re-think the Marxist dialectic. Rather than seeing the struggle in economic terms, Gramsci re-framed the struggle in social terms. In this mode of thinking, capitalism could not be overthrown until all the social relations which were considered beneficial towards capitalism, were overthrown. This demanded a complete tearing down of the existing social order; specifically gender relations, sexual norms, faith, trust in authority, and national sentiment. Gramsci was imprisoned by Mussolini and died in jail. His baton was taken up by philosophers of the ‘Frankfurt school’ at Frankfurt University in Germany in the 1930’s. Key thinkers included Theadore Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Mercuse. Their collective efforts are known today as ‘Critical Theory’. As atheist Jews, their continued existence at Frankfurt University became untenable and they moved to the United States. There they laid the groundwork for the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960’s in fulfilment of Gramisci’s original vision.
The significance of this short history is that the social unravelling that took shape as the post war generation was entering college was not coincidental; rather it was planned.
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left… it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as word. – Herbert Marcuse – from is essay Repressive Tolerance.
Based on communist writings of the 1920s and 1930s cultural Marxists adopted the following 13 specific strategies to demoralise and tear down the host society:
- Mass immigration and one-sided race offences to destroy identity and social cohesion
- Attacking love of nation or race as pathological and criminal
- Encouraging rebellion against any form of authority (except their own)
- Removal of parental authority
- Destruction of the family as being mother, father and children
- Encouraging promiscuity and aberrant lifestyles
- Teaching homosexuality and promiscuity to children
- Promoting drug and alcohol addiction
- Promoting militant atheism to marginalise faith
- Dumbing down state education
- Mass censorship
- Economic dependency on the State
- Dividing society along as many lines as possible – worker against employee, women against men, queer against straight, black against white, etc.
‘Political Correctness’ is a short hand term for these strategies. For an insight into tactical organisation and strategy see Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971.
Had this agenda been announced publicly to the world at large it would have been rejected in the 1950’s. Marxists therefore adopted an intergenerational strategy of cultural subversion focussed on capturing the minds of the post war generation. They presented their agenda as progressive academic theory. This is known as ‘critical theory’ because it relentlessly ‘criticises’ or deconstructs the existing order. Once the theory became accepted in Western academia it made its way rapidly into the liberal arts curriculum and into state schools. Once established in the minds of thought leaders of the post war generation it could then inform and animate a raft of social change movements. The ‘Safe Schools (sic) Program’ is the latest manifestation of cultural Marxism in public schools.
It would be easy to list reams of statistics from male suicide rates, to rates of STDs, to fatherlessness, that bear stark witness to the effectiveness of these strategies. However, this should already be well known since even a cursory examination of Western societies in 1950 compared to 2000 is sufficient. How could a small number of depressive atheist philosophers from Germany have so effectively damaged our civilisation in one lifetime?
The extant critical literature on cultural Marxism has failed to answer that question, but an answer is needed. Having spent 10 years working with activists on the social left the answer, to this author, is clear. Cultural Marxism succeeded because:
- It promises a messianic form of secular salvation
- It attracts fanatics
- It attaches itself to legitimate grievances
It gained a ‘foot in the door’ because the establishment church and conservatives of the 1950s and 1960s were disinterested in, or actively opposed to, several key social causes – gay rights, women’s rights, and worker’s rights. The establishment failed to denounce militarism, and could not advance a constructive sexual ethic for the post contraceptive generation. This created ‘space’ for cultural subversives to attach themselves to legitimate social grievances and aspirations and radicalise them. Having found this strategy to be effective, cultural subversives then infiltrated other social movements including the church, NGOs, and the civic institutions of society. Once subverted, otherwise legitimate social movements were used to engender social conflict. The outcome of each conflict would be a compromise that moved society further to the left. This is known as a ‘Hegelian dialectic’ because it was first described by the German philosopher Hegel. This strategy was adopted with great effectiveness by the gay liberation movement, which used it with remarkable cynicism. An analysis of their campaign is found here.
Thus for example, campaigns for women’s rights became an attack on fatherhood. The personal and social difficulties experienced by a very small number of genuinely transgender individuals became a reason to teach primary school children that there is no such thing as gender. The desire of some homosexual people to have their relationships recognised became a ‘no-holds barred’ assault on religious freedom. Environmental concerns became a reason to advocate de-industrialisation, one world government and the abolition of private property. In this way, legitimate issues and concerns are subverted as tools to divide and weaken society.
In this, cultural Marxists were greatly assisted by the Soviet Union. It is not widely understood today that 85 per cent of the budget of the KGB was spent, not on traditional espionage, but on cultural subversion. While differing in ideology, cultural Marxists and the KGB shared a common goal of bringing Western societies to a state of ‘demoralisation’ or chaos as a precursor to the creation of a Marxist society. Social ‘progressives’ were (and are) animated by a woolly notion of a fairer and better society in which patriarchy and capitalism would be tamed or extinguished. The KGB regarded ‘progressives’ as “useful idiots” who would be shot once a Marxist-Leninist state was established. Either way, by the time the Russian people finally overthrew the Soviet Union and sacked the KGB, the process of demoralisation in the West had begun in earnest. The students of Marcuse and Adorno and their disciples were now in key positions in government, the media, and academia, with deep roots in the social democratic parties of the West. Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama were personally mentored by cultural Marxist activists, and implemented much of their 13 point plan when in office.
Thus, when a normal citizen wakes up and finds that their young children are being taught homosexuality in school, their suburbs have been taken over by another race that is culturally incompatible, political parties are hostile or indifferent to their values, and stating evident truths is illegal, they should not be surprised. This is merely the opening stages of the processes of demoralisation which was described by critical theory and weaponised by the KGB.
2017 saw the spectacle of white American feminists protesting Trump’s alleged misogyny by wearing ‘pussy hats’ while kneeling in the street to an Islamic recitation in solidarity with legal and illegal Muslim migrants. To the uninitiated this defies all logic. However, logic has nothing to do with social Marxism which deconstructs logic anyway. Let me explain. While Marxists and radical Islamists might appear to be natural enemies, they have three important things in common:
- A desire to infiltrate and ultimately overthrow the current society, government and constitution
- A pathological hatred of Christians and Jews, and of Judeo Christian culture
- A doctrine of deception which considers anything moral that advances the cause
For leftists who believe their own propaganda, all people are innately good, thus all Muslims are innately good, therefore terrorism, mass rape or other criminal conduct must be the fault of the host society. For their part, Muslims are simply using the left as ‘useful idiots’ to provide political and legal cover for mass immigration and Islamisation. How leftists are treaded in Muslim countries today is a clear indication of their future should demographic trends reach a tipping point. While leftists seem unable to make the obvious connections, true Marxists believe that radical Islam can be both weaponised and contained.
While most people see the nexus between the left and Muslim migrants as a case of the naive helping the opportunistic, there is a deeper geopolitical aspect. The relationship between Islamist organisations and the US and British secret services date from the 1950’s. The Bush family has had a close relationship with Islamic terrorists since the 1980’s and the Clinton’s have had a close relationship with Islamic terrorists since at least the 1990’s. Islamisation in Europe is a direct and intentional outcome of Hillary Clinton’s policy in Libya and Syria. When the current President tried to moderate this policy, elements within the security establishment began actively working against him using assets within the media. The entire Western security apparatus has failed to stop the Gulen network, which is legal, public, and seeks to create Islamic governments across the world. The network operates and benefits from hundreds of educational institutions and businesses across 110 countries, and is a major donor to the US Democratic Party. It has enormous power within Turkey, which, as a NATO member, is the open door for the Islamic invasion of Europe. It is likely in the near future, that cultural Marxists will ally with Islamists to physically supress or eliminate patriotic elements within Western societies.
Political Islam and Marxism are both totalitarian creeds and both see their future opportunity for power arising from the ashes of a broken and demoralised West. The current marriage of convenience therefore makes sense on the basis that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, the enemy in this instance being normal patriotic citizens with traditional cultural values.
Following is a quote from Mr Gulen. Note the similarity to the previous quotes from Marxists:
You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria … like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it … You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions…
It follows that pushing back against cultural Marxism ipso facto weakens the hands of the Islamists.
The flip side of mass Islamic immigration is that many migrants have conservative social values and completely reject cultural Marxism. This reached the state of high farce in Australia where the Islamic community allied with the Christian right and voted against homosexual marriage en mass to such an extent that the ‘no’ vote was 75 per cent in Muslim dominated electorates in Western Sydney. Left leaning journalists (of the ABC) were terminally incapable of admitting that ‘their’ migrants had voted against ‘their’ gay rights policy and tried to blame the result on private schooling.
Since the Islamic community is diverse and complex there will be multiple contradictions, and alliances between both the left and the right.
The deep flaw in social Marxism is that it attacks a foundational human need – the need for identity, and replaces it with alienation. This is unsurprising since Marx himself was a deeply alienated individual. He wrote about alienation and projected his personal dissonance onto capitalism. Indeed, only a deeply alienated individual could seek to destroy the society that birthed and nurtured them. Social Marxism at best offers a temporary and conditional social belonging that is predicated entirely on group hostility toward ‘the other’. Cultural Marxism both creates and feeds off alienation. The cycle of hatred and alienation is unending, dividing society into ever smaller hostile groups. So for example, when fatherhood is marginalised a generation is alienated. An alienated generation is more easily recruited to the cause. A generation lacking connection is also more easily provoked to political violence. Thus, while cultural Marxism offers liberation, it delivers only conflict and misery. It will ultimately fail. The only issue is whether it will cause the West to fail too.
Editor Comments: Saul Alinsky was a community organiser and life-long friend of and mentor to Hillary Rodham Clinton. He was a social democrat whose book Rules for Radicals is a seminal and amoral technical account of how to get power for the ‘have-nots’. The following are quotes.
Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.
"Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people [Ed - ‘demoralisation’ in KGB parlance’]. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system…"
"Men will act when they are convinced that their cause is 100 per cent on the side of the angels and that the opposition are 100 per cent on the side of the devil. He knows that there can be no action until issues are polarized to this degree."
"To attempt to operate on a good-will rather than on a power basis would be to attempt something that the world has not yet experienced."
"The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it" [Ed - as with the current attacks on President Trump].
Editor Comments: Foster, a hard core communist, sets out the stages of revolution from socialist to capitalist, to the gradual destruction of the culture, to the subversion of democracy, and then the creation of a totalitarian State. In the new State, faith is no longer tolerated and “reactionary classes” such as Christians and business owners are “eliminated”. Finally, the State itself is taken-over by a global dictatorship that sees all nations destroyed and humanity as a single polyglot. In Foster’s progression, we are now at the stage of destruction of the culture and subversion of democracy. Note the approach to education, sex and religion.
Between capitalist and Communist society there lies a period of revolutionary transformation from the former to the latter.
At this lower stage Communist society only just emerges from capitalist society and bears all the economic, ethical and intellectual birthmarks it has inherited from the society from whose womb it is just emerging… Being the product of a definite level of productive forces, they will disappear as rapidly … the dictatorship of the proletariat will produce a whole series of restrictions of liberty in the case of the oppressors, exploiters and capitalists…Only then will be possible and will be realized a really full democracy, a democracy without any exceptions. And only then will democracy itself begin to wither away…
In the U.S.S.R., as part of the general cultural revolution, religion is being liquidated. Religion, which Marx called, “the opium of the people,” has been a basic part of every system of exploitation that has afflicted humanity… Religion is the sworn enemy of liberty, education, science.
Such a monstrous system of dupery and exploitation is totally foreign to a Socialist society; firstly, because there is no exploited class to be demoralized by religion; secondly, because its childish tissue of superstition is impossible in a society founded upon Marxian materialism; and thirdly, because its slavish moral system is out of place, the new Communist moral code developing naturally upon the basis of the new modes of production and exchange.
Religion is now in deep crisis throughout the capitalist world. The quarrels between “modernists” and “fundamentalists” in American churches are one form of this crisis. Religion, born in a primitive world, finds it extremely difficult to survive in a world of industry and great cities… In the U.S.S.R., as it must be in any Socialist country, religion dies out in the midst of the growing culture. As the factories and schools open the churches close.
Among the elementary measures the American Soviet government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following; the schools, colleges and universities will be coordinated and grouped under the National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology. The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society. Present obsolete methods of teaching will be superseded by a scientific pedagogy.
The churches will remain free to continue their services, but their special tax and other privileges will be liquidated. Their buildings will revert to the State. Religious schools will be abolished and organized religious training for minors prohibited. Freedom will be established for anti-religious propaganda.
The whole basis and organization of capitalist science will be revolutionized. Science will become materialistic, hence truly scientific; God will be banished from the laboratories as well as from the schools.
The future Communist society will be Stateless. With private property in industry and land abolished (but, of course, not in articles of personal use), with exploitation of the toilers ended, and with the capitalist class finally defeated and all classes liquidated, there will then be no further need for the State.
A Communist world will be a unified, organized world. …. In such a society there will be no tariffs or the many other barriers erected by capitalism against a free world interchange of goods. The raw material supplies of the world will be at the disposition of the peoples of the world.
Politically, the world will be organized. There will be no colonies, no “spheres of influence,” no hypocritical “open doors.”
Once the power of the bourgeoisie is broken internationally and its States destroyed, the world Soviet Union will develop towards a scientific administration of things, as Engels describes. There will be no place for the present narrow patriotism, the bigoted nationalist chauvinism that serves so well the capitalist war makers.
 President Putin has publicly rejected cultural Marxism and official Russian policies reflect this. This is one of the key reasons for the current propaganda hate campaign directed towards Russia in general and Mr Putin in particular.
 This is my summation. A more comprehensive list is included in appendices one.
 A co-founder the program in Australia is Roz Ward who is on record as stated that the program “is not about bullying” (https://youtu.be/egefPQOppl4) and that gender identity is a product of capitalism (http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/miranda-devine-marxist-agenda-a-red-flag-for-not-so-safe-schools/news-story/7e1ee74bd8b682f188333828ce5e374e.) Ms Ward received an honourable mention in the 2016 annual report of Equal Opportunity Tasmania.
 Note that they were not opposed to environmental causes or to civil rights. Ground breaking reforms such as removal of segregation, the US Wilderness Act, and creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, occurred with bi-partisan support in the three decades after 1950.
 See further: Liberation Theology
 The ‘Promise Keepers’ movement has been described as ‘The greatest threat to women’s rights in America’
 See further the ‘Safe Schools Program’.
 See further: ‘Agenda 21’ and the ‘Lima Declaration’
 The current Critical Theory Conference refers to the “third generation” of cultural Marxists.
 Saul Alinsky was a lifelong friend and mentor to Hillary Clinton. Alinsky trained activists trained a young Barack Obama. See further: http://www.discovery.org/a/24921 Obama’s personal and family connections included an extensive network of Communists of Communist sympathisers. See further: http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/obamas-top-adviser-valerie-jarrett-her-dad-maternal-grandpa-and-father-law
 The Gulen network is an example of this. Mr Gulen is an Islamist who operates a global network focussed on Turkey. He resides in the United States and backed Hillary Clinton for President.
 They have this in common with the Western security establishment and the Neo Conservative network which engineered the current catastrophe in Syria and Libya and the refugee crisis in Europe.
 Notably the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN – also known as the Clinton News Network. See further: http://3ptraining.com.au/infowars/us-psychological-operations-now-and-then/
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Having gone to the trouble of writing a 3500 word post graduate essay in applied theology I thought I may as well share it on my blog so more than three people can read it. With minor changes here 'tis. If this sort if thing isn't your cup of tea there's plenty of other interesting stuff on this blog.
Identify personal elements in your life and critically reflect on how they contribute to the formation of your theology of ministry
Graduate Certificate in Ministry
My three siblings are passionately opposed to aspects of Biblical Christianity. Their criticisms have forced me to develop a theology that works robustly in society not just in church.
From 14 to 24 I made it my task to develop a practical theology for the wider world, particularly in the context of the environmental challenge. In this, I succeeded but charismatic puritanism/Gnosticism (Peacock 2016) failed me and I was forced to re-examine the fundamentalist approach to life.
In this paper, I argue that the missio Dei is the outworking of God’s will and ways in each and every aspect of society, extending beyond individual soul salvation to the redemption and restoration of human society. In so doing I aim to provide a practical road map that can be used reverse the current catastrophic decline of Christianity in the Western World.
Fundamentalism vs Practical Theology
I was born a Seventh Day Adventist and thus come from a legalistic faith tradition– the Bible is true, literal, and should be followed. My grandparents believed that ‘Sunday keepers’ were not saved since the ten commandments require a day of rest on Saturday. As a young person I rejected that kind of fundamentalism because of its patent absurdity and wild inconsistency e.g. tithing is mandatory but its OK to work on weekends. However I continued to believe in pacifism and celibacy before marriage. Two events forced me to reconsider. The first was my time in Ambon province in Indonesia where I lived for two months. Ambon is (or was) the only majority Christian province but was invaded my Jihadists who forced conversions and slaughtered Christians. The official death toll is around ten thousand (Schulze 2002, pp 57-69). In that context, pacifism results in genocide. The second was a relationship failure in which the church’s teaching was particularly unhelpful.
Inadequate Sexual Ethic
While the teaching I received in sexual matters was Biblical in a narrow puritan sense it was taught as a matter of geography rather than relationship or consequence, and there was no flexibility – the location of my private parts being the primary issue of concern. The inadequacy of this teaching is the primary reason why my generation rejected Christianity. It did me great harm.
Destroyed for lack of knowledge
After three decades of church attendance in traditional, charismatic and Pentecostal churches the only message I have heard that addressed apologetics was preached by me. I have heard no systematic world-view teaching, training in how to interpret the Bible, or systematic theology. For example, I was never told why I should not have sex with my girlfriend or why I should believe the Bible. Yet many Christians send their children to school for 12 years of indoctrination into anti-Biblical world view and expect them to be Christians.
Church vs Kingdom
Being in Tasmania the environmental conflict was unavoidable. This forced me to consider what the Bible had to say beyond soul salvation, which in turn expanded my theological horizons beyond church culture. I became an environmental activist (see further Gee 2001, and Peacock 2012), studied environmental thought at post-graduate level which included grappling with a well-developed anti-Christian critique (White, 1974 and Hay, 2002, pp. 100-106), and sought to bring the gospel to that movement. I was the only Christian in my city at that time who did. Many in the church saw my involvement as a distraction from ‘the gospel’.
These inadequacies are writ large in the church. They are a core part of the secular/pagan polemic against Christianity which society and my siblings largely adopted, and are the main reason why we are currently losing the third generation since the 1950’s.
A workable theology of ministry therefore requires that evidence based policy sit alongside theology. This in fact is what the Bible does. Rather than hand down a set of rules God reveals Himself progressively to the cultures of Bible times first as creator (Elohim), as Holy and sovereign (to Job), then as the covenant keeping God (Jehovah), then as a husband to Israel, and on to the establishment of the tabernacle, to the law and the prophets, the establishment of Israel as a testimony and a blessing to ‘all nations’, then to the Messiah and the marriage of Christ to his bride the church.
In each context the practical outworking of God’s revelation was culturally specific to the practical situation, be it polygamy (Matt 22:24 TCRB NIV), gleanings (Leviticus 19:9 TCRB NIV), or ‘wives’ captured in war (Deut 21:11-13 TCRB NIV). While God will not change, the application of His character to our problems will change. This approach to ministry and mission does not require that we abandon the creeds, but rather that we navigate a passage between the twin errors of legalism and licence (Tyra, G 2014 pp. 40, 132). As the Bible puts it, ‘whoever fears God will avoid all extremes’ (Eccl 7:18 TCRB NIV) and ‘do not be over-righteous…why destroy yourself?’ (Eccl 7:16 TCRB NIV). For example, if the Sabbath were sexuality, what would Jesus say about it?
Personal Understanding of Mission
My understanding of mission has grown mainly in detail since I was 17. The mission flows out of God’s delight in the world and in the lives of believers and unbelievers. Genesis declares the creation ‘good’, while the book of Jonah reveals that God is as passionately interested in unbelievers as in believers. John 3:16 affirms this in Christs mission to the ‘kosmos’ (Interlinear Greek – English New Testament, Authorised KJF), and Revelation 11:15 confirms it. The Lord’s prayer says: ‘your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. Since war, poverty, structural injustice, disease etc do not exist in heaven the mission Dei encompasses seeking to minimise them on earth. These are the ‘works of the Devil’ which Jesus came to eliminate (1 John 3:8 TCRB NIV) and which forms part of our mission (John 20:21 TCRB NIV). While this allows room for a separation of church and state at an institutional level it leaves no room for a separation of faith, values, and public policy. It is for this reason that Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible into English led to the world’s first documented socialist revolution, the ‘peasant’s revolt’ in 1381 on specifically theological grounds: ‘When Adam delved and Eve span, who then was the gentleman?’ (Alderman 1974). This took place because the notion that ultimate authority lies outside government and the church and places intrinsic and equal value on those at the bottom, was and is revolutionary (see further (Black Jr, G 2014, p.8). As Brown notes (2011 p. 6), when David and his descendants were appointed human kings over God’s people, they were subordinate kings under God and ruled as His “sons” over His kingdom.
So in the mission Dei the salvation of human souls, the transformation of human character, and the building of the church as an organism, works in parallel with the redemption of the public sphere. As theologian John Baille has said, ‘In proportion as a society relaxes its hold upon the eternal, it ensures the corruption of the temporal’. Thus ‘…we live in our temporal setting with a firm grasp of God’s eternal claims while we transform the culture he has entrusted to us’ (Solomon Undated, pp.2-3). In this I favour the fifth view in Richard Neibuhr’s classification being ‘Christ the transformer of culture’ (ibid, pp. 2-4), but in so doing I recognise that all elements of his classification will be relevant in different contexts. There will be times when Christ is against culture, for example ‘raunch culture’ (Levy 2005, p.74). There will be times when Christ will join with culture as the apostle Paul did, becoming ‘all things to all people’ (1 Cor 9:19-22 TCRB NIV). However Christ is ultimately above culture (Daniel 7:27 TCRB NIV) and calls his people to ‘come out and be separate’ (Rev 18:4 TCRB NIV), for example regarding homosexual indoctrination in schools; and there will be times when Christ and culture exist in tension, for example, during war time.
Hesselgrave and others (Shantz 2009, p. 10) have noted that culture is directed by those who influence the ‘seven mountains’ of business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family, and religion. Others add science and technology. I suggest that the environmental challenge presents another mountain. Hesselgrave notes:
‘It takes less than 3-5 per cent of those operating at the tops of a cultural mountain to actually shift the values represented on that mountain. Mountains are controlled by a small percentage of leaders and networks….In sum, between 150 and 3000 people (a tiny fraction of the roughly 23 billion people living between 600 B.C. and A.D. 1900) framed the major contours of all world civilisations. Clearly, the transformations were top-down’, (Hesselgrave 1995, pp. 7-8).
It is by capturing this high ground that we fulfil the great commission to ‘disciple all nations’ per Matt 28:18-20. This transformation of culture is part of the outflowing impetus of God’s grace (Arthur, E 2009 pp.3-5) since, as Linda Cope has observed (ibid p. 20) God is:
- King of kings – the Lord of justice
- Jehovah Jireh – Lord of economics
- Father – Lord of the family
- Creator God – Lord of science and technology
- Living Word – Lord of communication
- Potter – Lord of the arts and beauty
- Great Teacher – Lord of education
In this way Jesus reconciles all things to himself (Col 1:19-20 TCRB NIV).
It will be the task of practical theologians to do the intellectual work in solving the real problems that confront all seven plus mountains because it is by solving those problems that the high ground will be taken (Johnson 2013, p.33). The change in my understanding of mission is that where I once saw changing culture as an uncompromising stand for righteousness in terms similar to the call of Samuel (Siqueira 2012, pp. 364-365 and 373) I now see that the practical application of the gospel usually requires a middle path between extremes. This has grown out of my professional experience as a policy analyst and my Christian experience.
Contribution to effective ministry in lived experience
In my experience the most effective ministry occurred in the developing world where I encountered easy conversation about spiritual things, rapid and sustained church growth, and openness to the gospel. The reason for this is because those cultures are closer to the cultures of Bible times, so the gospel naturally achieves comparable results.
In Australia I found effective ministry when it:
- focussed on genuine discipleship; and
- understood that it was engaged in cross cultural mission.
In the discipleship context this meant singles of the same sex living together in shared rental accommodation, and in YWAM people living on-base. It included daily corporate prayer, and regular group evangelistic activity. This aligned with the practice of the early church and with Jesus’ command and example to make disciples.
In the cultural context successful evangelism occurred when people were engaged at a point of connection or commonality, the gospel was contextualised, and then they were trained at the level of core values/worldview in a way that merged evangelism with discipleship. This reflected an intuitive understanding of the meaning of culture as a matrix of shared beliefs, values, assumptions, and patterns of behaviour (Kraft 1999, pp. 1-3) and the contextualisation of the gospel in the context of that matrix (Hesselgrave 1995, pp. 1-3). However, it also included acculturation into a Christian culture, the adoption of a new Christian identity, and a ‘leaving behind’ of parts of the old scene since it is necessary to divorce the world before marrying Christ.
This is the anthropological revelation of the Kingdom of God (unpublished lecture notes, 2017), which at an individual level is about forming a church ‘family culture’ where a person’s identity and beliefs will be distinct to varying degrees but within the boundaries of the shared core values and behaviours (Spencer-Oatey 2012, pp. 9-10) since ‘Ultimately beliefs lead to behaviour’ (Hollinger Undated, p. 3).
Effective ministry has thus involved three things:
- contextualisation - evangelism
- enculturation – discipleship
- world view formation – growth and sanctification
This cross cultural approach to mission faces all the challenges identified of cross cultural mission but presents the only effective model I know. It fairly closely resembles Hesselgrave’s three culture model (Hesselgrave 1995, pp. 116-117).
As “Director of Calling, Discernment and Achievement” (Black Jr, G 2014, p.12) it is the role of ordained ministers to equip the saints for ‘every good work’ (2 Tim 3:17). That necessarily includes a redemptive engagement with every aspect of culture (Wallnau & Johnson, 2013) by finding God’s remaining redemptive analogies within it (Richardson, 1981), and a constructive relationship with the natural world. This builds upon and does not replace the foundation truths of personal salvation and sanctification.
However, in reality, the contemporary Western culture, when understood as the ‘shared basic and learned assumptions and values of a people’ (Solomon J, Undated pp. 4, 13) has been more effective at evangelising the church than visa-versa. Consequently Western Christianity is dying a slow demographic death and has been since the 1950’s. According to respected research firm Ipsos Mori approximately 15 per cent of people in Britain hold definitional Christian beliefs
(MORI 2011, see also UK Office of National Statistics 2011). Significantly, many of those who do hold definitional beliefs are old. The next two decades will see a massive die-off of Christians as the ‘greatest generation’ and the ‘baby boomers’ pass and their children are not saved. Church attendance is on schedule to drop off a cliff (Dickerson JS 2013, pp.12 - 20) and with it our influence and our witness in society. Already in the United States for every 1000 churches that open 4000 close and even megachurches are in decline. In a decades long survey of 1000 churches in the USA Dr Richard J. Krejcir identified a lack of genuine discipleship and Biblical teaching as the core reason for decline and conversely found that discipleship and Biblical teaching were keys to church growth (Dr Krejcir, 2007). This and his other findings correspond to my own experience over three decades but leave substantial gaps since he focuses only on church attendees not the children of church goers who reject the faith, or the unchurched.
In my experience the genuine reasons for rejecting Christianity are:
- Christianity has nothing useful or helpful to say about sex and sexuality
- Christianity is good on helping the poor but has nothing useful or helpful to say about the big issues – war, the economy, economic justice, and the environment
- Christianity makes extraordinary truth claims that are not backed by anything other than tradition
- Science and secularism provide better explanations about reality and solutions to real world problems than the church does
Effective mission cannot occur without effective ministry because without ministry you will not have people to conduct mission. Therefore if our mission is to succeed, our ministry must comprehensively address these objections, first to those who are still attending church, and then to the wider world. This will require a degree of training of both leaders and laity that is unprecedented in church history.
While I do not doubt Dr Krejcir’s observations, he does not address these issues, though I have elsewhere (Peacock 2017). Answering secular objections and solving the problems confronting the seven plus mountains is not impossibly difficult (I do it for fun), but it does require that we deal with the evidence then work back to our theology/ideology. In my experience this usually means charting a middle path on contentious issues such as economics, sustainability, immigration, sexual issues etc. (That said, the middle path can appear radical when society leans in a radically ungodly direction). This is, I believe, critically important if we are to engage, foster and promote future opportunities for ministry and mission.
Effective mission is founded on effective ministry. In the current context effective ministry builds on the foundational Christian disciplines of prayer, study, praise, discipleship, service, and corporate fellowship. As we connect with who God is, we are caught in the creative outflowing of His grace to rescue and redeem those and that which is lost. In doing so the church is divided between those who feel it imperative to be faithful to the literal word of God as we look forward to heaven, and those who seek a practical theology by applying Biblical principles to real world problems. In that context I note that neither David, Solomon, or any of the Patriarchs before Moses would have met the character requirements for this course, (see for example Genesis 38: 13-26) and many of the secular criticisms of the church (though not of God) are correct.
In the Bible, God’s progressive revelation always deals with the world as it is in all its messiness and confusion. God and the Bible are big enough to deal with, for example, war, terrorism, slavery, sexual confusion and environmental collapse. The principles are there, but there is no formula. The effectual application of God’s ways to our circumstances will require intellectual courage, Spirit led guidance and doctrinal flexibility, but it is the only way forward. Jehovah is big enough. Is the church?
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