Christians have been caught off guard. The current revolution sweeping society today was largely unexpected by most believers. That’s understandable in one sense. Who knows what new philosophy will capture the culture’s attention?
But in another sense, it is our fault that so many believers have embraced a false philosophy—critical theory—and are attempting to parrot it back into the church. There’s a simple reason why: lack of training.
Few Christians even knew what critical theory was before it came crashing on the scene, nor that it’s a philosophy that is at odds with the Christian worldview. Instead of teaching that humans are valuable creatures made in God’s image, it says we are defined by our classification in groups: sex, race, class, and gender identity, to name a few. Instead of the main problem being sin—breaking God’s laws—it says the main problem is the oppression of others. Instead of the solution being divine (and human) forgiveness, it says the solution is activism to overthrow those in power and correct the inequality. Instead of the ultimate goal being a restored relationship with God, it says the goal is liberation from oppression.
Though critical theory differs from Christianity in fundamental ways, far too many Christians embraced it. Why? They didn’t recognize its ideas before they became mainstream. Instead, they became intrigued by its novelty and syncretized it with their faith.
That’s why we need to be ready for the next false philosophy—in a year, in five years, or in a decade—that will spawn the next cultural revolution. Here are two ways to be ready—to prevent Christian defectors, and answer the challenge when it arrives:
FIRST, inoculate, don’t isolate. Christians will be exposed to false ideas. It isn’t a matter of if, but when. The problem with the current approach—isolating believers from false ideas—is that such a strategy only works for so long. In the case of critical theory, we’ve known about it for decades but mostly ignored it. When it showed up on our streets and in our churches, Christians were caught flat-footed, and consequently, many believers succumbed to it.
The better approach is to inoculate. We protect our bodies against a virus by taking an attenuated (weakened, but alive) virus—a vaccine—to trigger our immune system to produce antibodies, killer cells to destroy that virus when exposed to it. Your immune system isn’t caught off-guard.
The same is true with false ideas. We need to teach believers false ideas and philosophies, why people believe them, and what’s wrong with those reasons. That way, when they come across those ideas in the future, they can identify them (Col. 2:8) and destroy them (2 Cor. 10:4–5). Had we taken this approach with critical theory, we would have had fewer Christians advocating its ideas within the church.
SECOND teach worldviews. One of the best ways to inoculate against false ideas is to equip believers in worldview training. Once a person has studied worldviews, it makes spotting false philosophies easier. If you see an idea being played out in society and know it flows from a false worldview, then you can immediately determine whether it’s wise to adopt or reject it. It makes the task of discerning truth from error achievable.
Had believers studied worldviews, they would have recognized that critical theory is embedded in naturalism, a false ideology that denies the foundations of the Christian faith. Once we know the importance of worldview training, we can prepare for the next cultural revolution.
Helping you and others be ready—inoculated against error—is why STR exists. But it’s only possible because of good friends like you. Your much-needed generosity gives believers crucial training to safeguard them against false ideas—and answer them with courage and clarity.
Would you make a generous gift now to equip you and others for next cultural revolution?
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