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The False Gospel

of Cultural Marxism

By Christian McShaffrey

This material originally was written for a men’s conference in Spring 2020. It was afterward reformatted as a series of short articles for the Aquila Report in the Autumn of 2021.

Galatians 1:6-10

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

In these verses, the Apostle Paul alerts us to the fact that there is such a thing as a false gospel. It is not another gospel as in an alternative, but a counterfeit of the real gospel that leaves people accursed. Some in the churches of Galatia were being troubled by such a counterfeit and others had already been removed by it (i.e., fallen away from Christ), so Paul here pleads with those who had not yet fallen away to recognize the falseness of that so-called gospel and to reject it (along with those who were preaching it):

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (vv. 8-9).

Paul’s epistle to the Galatians was written to a specific church at a specific time and the fake gospel they were dealing with was also very specific: Judaizing. Notice, however, that Paul does not say, “this other gospel.” He rather refers to any other gospel. This, I believe, invites us to apply his warning to any counterfeit that competes with or threatens to displace the true Christian gospel.

This true gospel has been believed and confessed in nearly every nation, but for the purpose of this essay, we shall focus primarily upon its influence in the United States of America. Our society was originally founded and built by Christians and for Christians. Sadly, in these last days, our nation has adopted and established a new religion: Cultural Marxism. The purpose of this essay is to help you understand what that is, so that you can recognize it and reject it.

Defining Cultural Marxism is, admittedly, not the easiest thing to do because it is as slippery a doctrine as that subtle serpent which lied to our first parents in the Garden of Eden. An added difficulty is that it involves a lot of history and philosophy. Some people like such topics and others do not, but most Christians enjoy the study of religion, so that shall be our approach: exposing Cultural Marxism as the false religion it truly is.

It has all the elements you would expect of a religion. It has a prophet, a god, apostles, a promise, a doctrine of sin, and a supposed gospel. It also has ministers, a form of witnessing, and even inquisitors to enforce compliance. We will first introduce the preeminent “prophet” of Cultural Marxism.

The Prophet of Marxism

Cultural Marxism is a modern adaptation of the social and political theories of Karl Marx. That is why it is sometimes referred to as Neo-marxism. Marx lived over a century ago, so a brief historical orientation may prove helpful here. The industrial revolution changed everything in the nineteenth century. With the development of technology, the invention of machines, and the building factories, millions of people moved away from the country and into the cities to work.

Those who owned the machines and factories quickly became wealthy as everyone else worked long hours with low pay. Remember, there were no unions back then and OSHA did not yet exist. Life as a worker was hard.

Deep bitterness set into the heart of many workers and they began to despise the rich. This is called envy. The sin of envy is more than discontentment and even more than jealousy. It is when you see what another man has and feel the need to destroy it.

The entire worldview of Karl Marx was built upon the idea of destruction. He saw world history as cycle of conflict between two classes: the oppressors and the oppressed (originally, the bourgeois and proletariat); and believed that this conflict would someday lead to a Utopia called Communism (i.e., a state in which there is no private property, where men share all things in common, and where the workers own the means of production, thus having equal share in all the products). This was Marx’s dream, his hope, his eschatology, and he honestly believed that it would eventually come to pass.

Another prophetic voice of communism was Vladimir Lenin and he agreed with Marx on all but one thing. Rejecting the concept of eventuality, he began a violent revolution. The blood of the rich and powerful flowed. Even the blood of poor farmers soaked the soil as some refused to surrender their land rights to Lenin’s Bolshevik army.

Others, like Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong took the same bloody approach in an attempt to realize their communist eschatology. To date, over one hundred million people have been killed in the name of Marxism or Communism and while the Christian might well grieve over such numbers, the Marxist does not because this is his means of grace. This, in fact, is his god.

The God of Marxism

Karl Marx was a professed atheist, but I do not believe in atheists and neither should you. Whatever a man lives for, whatever a man is willing to die for, whatever a man is willing to kill for; that, I say, is his god.

The god of Marx was the act of revolution because that was the only thing that could bring about his imagined Utopia. A revolution in the Marxist mind is very much like Christ’s second coming to the Christian in terms of its function, yet the theology upon which it rests is demonstrably contrary to scripture.

First of all, the entire worldview of the Marxist is inescapably materialistic. Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

Elsewhere he said, “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:30-33).

Marxist ideology teaches the exact opposite. It teaches that life does consist in the things we have (or do not have). It has no kingdom of heaven. Everything is earth-bound and inescapably materialistic.

Further, the very concept of revolution is entirely unbiblical. Another word for revolution is “rebellion” and scripture condemns it in no uncertain terms, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” and “An evil man seeketh only rebellion” (1 Samuel 15:23, Proverbs 17:11).

Such scriptures may cause some Americans to squirm in the pew a bit (because we love and therefore tend to excuse our own little rebellion), but adopting rebellion as a way of life, or as a means of grace, yea even as a god, is what you call Marxism. We must reject this false god and also the pseudo-apostles which preach in its name.

The Apostles of Marxism   

The twelve apostles were essential to the spread of Christianity throughout the world and the architects of communism seem to have mimicked the approach. As previously considered, Marx and Lenin served as something of the equivalent of Moses and the Prophets (i.e., as they represented the root of their unholy religion), but the history of communism, not unlike that of Christianity, also involved a second or “new” chapter.

After the devastation of the Bolshevik Revolution and that of the First World War, a group of men in Germany (they were not Germans, but Jews), developed a new theory of communism called: The Frankfort School. Rather than continuing to stir up envy and violence in factories, they believed the best way to advance the communist ideal was to engage with the academy, artists, media, and the increasingly influential film industry. They also stopped focusing exclusively upon economics; realizing that most people in the world preferred capitalism to classic communism.

The goal of the Frankfort School (like that Marx and Lenin) was to have communism spread world-wide, but they adapted the message so that it would appeal more to different cultures. You can probably imagine the challenge they faced, “How do we get Americans to worship the god of revolution? They will certainly not give up their private property. They might, however, give themselves over to immorality and pornography. Yes, that’s it, let’s make films for them!”

The first experiment with this new approach was conducted in Germany and it resulted in the infamously decadent Weimar Republic and, as we know from history, the experiment was not a success because whenever you end up with a Weimar, people begin longing for a Reich.

The rise of Hitler’s Germany led the leaders of the Frankfort School to seek sanctuary in America and they were welcomed with open arms. New York City, Hollywood, and a host of left-wing universities had already been infected with communist theory, but now they had actual intellectuals on site to lead the re-designed revolution.

These men of the Frankfort School can be likened to apostles because they delivered the core message of communism to the entire world. While the Christian church continued to spread its message through missionary efforts, the Neo-marxists did it through what we call “the slow march through the institutions” and herein was their genius: they were still preaching the false god of revolution, but it no longer sounded like revolution. It actually sounded something like good news.

The Good News of Marxism

Most of our readers probably hold this truth to be self-evident: “That all men are created equal.” Every professed Christian can affirm that statement from the Declaration of Independence because the Bible teaches that all men are made in the image of God. As such, all men can know God, all men should worship God, and all men should be compelled to believe the gospel. Those who do will be saved and those who do not, shall be damned. Christians believe in that kind of equality, but they do not (or at least should not) believe in Egalitarianism because that is a distinctly Marxist doctrine.

The great difference between Equality and Egalitarianism can be demonstrated by establishing a very important distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.

This essential distinction can, first of all, be observed in the gospel itself. All men, without distinction, should be invited to believe the gospel. That is equality of opportunity. Nevertheless, the Bible clearly teaches that not all men will be saved and that is a clear proof of inequality of outcome.

Classical Marxism is about economics and Frankfort School Neo-marxism is about culture, so let us now apply this distinction to both of those areas.

The classical Marxist is concerned mostly with equality of outcome. By abolishing private property and with workers in charge of production, everyone theoretically ends up with the same number of eggs in the fridge at the end of the week. That, of course, is an absolute impossibly because of man’s inherent greed and avarice. Some, as the old allegory reminds us, always end up “more equal” than others.

Again, the cultural Marxist broadens this ideal of economic egalitarianism to all areas of life, expecting not just equality of opportunity, but also that of outcome. So, if there happens to be more men than women on a board of directors, that’s injustice. If there happens to be more whites than blacks in management, that’s injustice. This is the kind of thinking that led to Affirmative Action policies in the 1960’s.

Here, however, is the vital question: Is observed “inequality” actually injustice? The holy scriptures offer a very clear answer: No.

As Moses argued with God about his qualifications for office, the Lord said, “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11). Think about what that means in terms of equality of opportunity. Should a blind man have equal opportunity for employment as an airline pilot? Should a mute man be called as a preacher in the church? No one truly believes in absolute equality of opportunity.

Consider also the scriptural example of Mephibosheth: “He was five years old… and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame” (cf. 2 Samuel 4:1-4). Being crippled from childhood, should David have offered Mephibosheth a position as a horseman in his army? That would certainly be equality of opportunity! No, he rather showed him “the kindness of God” by caring for him as a cripple.

The inescapable tension between what God says and what the cultural Marxists say is even more obvious when we consider the other kind of equality. To expect absolute equality of outcome in any area of life is absolute madness. Do you expect a woman to bench press the same amount of weight as a man? Do you expect a man with an IQ of eighty to earn the same amount of money as a man with an IQ of one hundred and twenty? Actually, what we may or may not expect, is a secondary consideration as the scriptures speak very clearly to this matter.

Hannah, for example, acknowledged in prayer, “The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich” (1 Samuel 2:7). Do you actually believe that? Do you believe that each man’s level of wealth has been ordained, personally, by God himself? If so, then you cannot believe in equality of outcome and you cannot therefore be a Neo-marxist. Inequality exists under the sovereign appointment of our only-wise God.

Consider also the Fifth Commandment, “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12). This commandment, at least as explained in the Reformed tradition, presupposes that three classes of men exist in this world: Superiors, Equals, and Inferiors. We simply cannot relate properly one-to-another without acknowledging essential or functional inequalities and then adapting our behavior accordingly.

Egalitarianism, then, is entirely unbiblical and also laughably unrealistic. Yet still, it is set forth as the empty promise of the Neo-marxists and, because they see it as good news, anyone who opposes it is inherently evil.

The Sin of Marxism

A religion’s doctrine of sin seeks to explain what went wrong, or what is wrong, with the world. The Christian believes that sin began in the Garden of Eden and consisted in Adam’s disobedience to the revealed will of God. Since then, all men are born in sin (i.e., inheriting the guilt of original sin and also being infected by the corruption of it).

The Cultural Marxist also has a doctrine of original or inherited sin and it is summed up in the single word: Privilege.

This is easily understood if you remember Marx’s fundamental view of the world. Essential to it was the conflict between the oppressed and the oppressor. This is one of the main tenets of Marxism that has not been revised. Those who are born with privilege are the oppressor class and those born without it, are the oppressed. Further, since “privilege” can be defined differently in different cultures, we see, once again, the perfect adaptability of Neo-marxism.

For example, if you were born to the chief in some undiscovered tribe in the Amazon forest, your privilege would be based on kinship. Everyone else would be inferior, and feel inferior, to you because your father was the chief. Simple enough, but we don’t live in the Amazon, so let us consider how privilege works here in America.

Historically speaking, the most basic privilege in our society has been being born male rather than female. For the first century of our nation’s existence, simply being a man afforded a person unequal enjoyment of both opportunity and outcome in America. Hence, the Neo-marxist revolution of Feminism.

According to Marxist theory, there is something even more oppressive than being a man in America and that is being a white man. Again, historically speaking, men of European descent have enjoyed inequality of both opportunity and income in America. Hence, the Neo-marxist revolution of Civil Rights.

Today, we have yet another level of oppression that apparently needs to be addressed because the only thing more evil than being a white man in America is being a straight white man (the Marxists call it cis for some reason). Hence, the current Neo-marxist revolution of LGBTQ Rights.

Do you see how it works? Our culture was built by straight wealthy men of European descent and it has therefore worked best for them. That, according to the Cultural Marxist, identifies them the oppressor class. Privilege is their doctrine of sin and, just like any other religion, the Neo-marxists are happy to offer the penitent some hope. They call it getting “woke” and we will now turn to a brief consideration of this strange doctrine.

The Gospel of Wokeness

The good news of the Christian gospel is that a man can be born again or regenerated by the Spirit of God. When this happens, a man’s eyes are opened to see the love of God in Christ for the very first time.

The Neo-marxists have a perverted version of this kind of experience. Eyes are indeed opened, but not to behold any good thing. To becomes “woke” means that your eyes have been opened to see all the privilege and injustice that exists in the world.

For a person like me (i.e., a wealthy cisgender male of European descent), becoming woke would require that I recognize myself as a natural born member of the oppressor class. After such a recognition, I would then have to bow before the god of revolution and, ultimately, die (because my very existence hurts others).

Short of voluntary death, is supposedly the option of becoming an “ally” to the oppressed classes, which is only a longer path toward death because it involves a conscious working against my own interests in society until I am eventually replaced.

A corollary doctrine to that of Wokeness is Intersectionality. Just as the oppressor can have different levels of evil attached to them, the oppressed have different levels of good attached to them.

For example, and returning to the previously explored areas of inequality in America, if women have historically been the largest oppressed group, then I should champion women’s rights. Yes, even to the detriment of my own.

Further, if a woman happens also to be black, we now have an “intersection” of two identities that have suffered oppression. Recognizing this, I should also champion black women’s rights. Yes, and again, even to the detriment of my own.

We can take it yet another step forward in light of our current cultural revolution. The only thing more oppressive than being a black woman in American society is being a queer black woman, so again, having become woke, I should now champion queer black women’s rights. Yes, again and always, even to the detriment of my own.

Finally, do not forget about the Marxist’s historical obsession with economics. If you add poor to any of the oppressed classes previously mentioned, their experience of oppression only increases and, therefore, my woke duty to champion their cause only increases.

As we conclude this brief treatment of wokeness and intersectionality, it can be acknowledged that most Christians might find this content of this essay a bit too blunt. The Neo-marxists do not hesitate to use words like white, black, cis, queer, etc., so why is that today’s Christians experience such unease? The answer, it seems, is fear.

The fear of being called as a misogynist, or a racist, or a fascist causes most polite Christians simply to avoid the topics of wokeness and intersectionality. Many more (especially in mainline evangelicalism) actually over-correct in their speech patterns. This proves that the institutional church was not exempted from the long march of the Neo-marxists.

Listen closely to American preaching and you will hear it. The church no longer bears witness to the simple message of Christ and him crucified. Rather, the churches have added other emphases to their message in an effort to appear as “allies” to the oppressed (e.g., injustice, inequity, abuse, etc.).

The Witness of Marxism

All the most popular preachers in America are now woke. They betray this sad fact in their frequent mention of the plight of the oppressed and also of our obligation as oppressors to make atonement for our historical sins. Remember, our “sin” in not something we actually did, but something we inherited from our fathers.

These types of preachers were originally called Social Justice Warriors, but the time has come time to assign them a more honest label. They are, in all actuality, hate preachers. No, they do not call for acts of violence against anyone, but they are constantly calling people like me (i.e., straight, white, cis, males) to hate ourselves and to hate how our very existence oppresses others. This has caused psychological and spiritual trauma to millions of evangelical Christians and you can hear it in the strange way they now talk: Virtue Signalling.

Virtue signalling is when you modify your normal way of speaking in order to signal, or send a message, to others that you are sufficiently woke. For example, a normal person might say, “Hey, I was having dinner last night with a friend and he said the funniest thing…”

Add a little wokeness to that conversation, and you end up with a virtue signal, “I was having dinner with a friend last night, who happens to be black, and he said the funniest thing…” The signalled virtue is obvious: I have dinner with black people, so I am obviously not a racist.

If you add even more wokeness to the conversation, you end up with even more signalling, “I was having dinner with a friend last night, who happens to black, and he said the funniest thing about his boyfriend…” Now the signalled virtue is twofold: I have dinner with gay black people, so I am obviously not a racist or a homophobe.

There is, actually, no end to the virtue that clever wokesters can manage to signal, “I was having dinner with a friend last night, who happens to black, and he said the funniest thing about his boyfriend who’s running for a democratic seat in the Senate…” The signal is now threefold: I have dinner with gay black democrats. Notice, however, that the joke has not even been told! What was the funny thing that he said? It doesn’t ultimately matter, because sufficient virtue has been signalled.

Listen for this kind of talk and you will be surprised by how prevalent it truly is. Virtue signalling is the Neo-marxist’s twisted version of personal holiness or witnessing and if you do not learn to do it, you are doomed.

I am probably doomed, by the way, for writing this essay, but I do not care and cannot care because of a solemn vow I took on the day of my ordination, “Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the gospel and the purity, the peace, and the unity of the church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise unto you on that account?” 

I said, “Yes” to that vow. I plan on keeping it until the day I die and that makes me most willing to face the wrath of the Neo-marxists and, yes, there is true wrath.

The Inquisitors of Marxism

Every false religion needs inquisitors because they are false religions. There is no light in them and lies do not draw people.

The original Marxists employed snitches to find and punish dissenters. During the Bolshevik revolution, dissenters were actually killed; but the Neo-marxists rarely draw blood. They are just as content to drain the bank accounts of perceived oppressors.

The previously mentioned Social Justice Warriors are one kind of inquisitor and they are always listening for infractions to Cultural Marxist orthodoxy. When they hear one, they scream (actually, they usually just send out a tweet with a sufficiently virtue-signalling hashtag attached). This how Cultural Marxism is being advanced and enforced inside the church: Social Justice Warriors in both pulpit and pew who snitch on the un-woke.

When it comes to enforcing Neo-marxism outside the church, we have ANTIFA. This “Anti-Fascist” movement is a nationwide network of Cultural Marxists who are mysteriously able to mobilize on a moment’s notice and who, upon arrival, begin breaking things, burning things, throwing bricks and bodily fluids, etc.

One of their more subtle methods of punishing oppressors is a dirty little thing called “doxing.” This involves spying upon “right-wing events, discovering the identity of those who attended, contacting their employer, and getting them fired for being “haters” of some kind. This tactic is actually very old, but it has become increasingly easy in our day due to cell phones, facial recognition technology, and social media.

Such risks serve as a good reminder that persecution comes in many different forms, but it will always come to those who are faithful to the gospel: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Are you ready to suffer persecution? You must be, because a false religion has been established in our land. It has a prophet and his name is Karl Marx. It has a god and it incarnates in revolution. It has apostles, like the violent Vladimir Lenin and the non-violent elites of the Frankfort School. It holds forth the empty promise of equity (i.e., absolute equality of opportunity and outcome).

This false gospel, as we have seen, has a doctrine of sin, and that is the very existence of people like me. My only hope under this new religious regime is to become woke to my status as an oppressor and learn to hate my very existence. If I refuse, or at very least fail to begin signalling some woke virtue, I will face the scrutiny of its pseudo-ministers in the church and perhaps even the wrath of its inquisitors without.

What, then shall we do? I am honestly not sure there is anything we can do, other than to affirm what scripture says, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:9). A more colloquial rendering of that final phrase would be: To hell with them.

Christian McShaffrey is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and would be happy to any questions you might have about this essay. Please use the form below to contact him.

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