On August 24, Pastor Eric Mason of Epiphany Fellowship Church preached a sermon supporting slavery reparations for black Americans. Some of the measures he called for included “public repentance” for slavery, “covering tuition for descendants of slaves, and funding historically black colleges and universities.”
Though Mason’s preaching is no doubt well-intentioned, it is highly damaging to Christian unity and serves as a useful example of how cultural Marxism has corrupted mainstream evangelical Christianity. This sort of teaching, which emphasizes leftist talking points at the expense of Christian truth, is a Trojan Horse at the heart of our faith: It dilutes the central gospel message, unnecessarily divides the body of Christ along racial lines, and transforms Christian churches into little more than platforms for the Democratic Party.
Paul tells us that we must not “be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), so what message does it send to other Christians, and to non-believers, when Christian pastors sound less like the Bible and more like White Fragility?
What place does talk of racial reparations, a highly polarizing political issue with no basis in Scripture, have within the church? A sermon should be a direct and simple exposition of the gospel, namely, the message that Jesus died to save sinners, and that salvation comes from faith alone in Christ’s sacrifice. Where do reparations figure in? If Mason can use his sermons to advocate for leftist social policies, should conservative pastors start preaching about the need for lower taxes, increased spending on missile defense, and a crackdown on illegal immigration?
The Bible says that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). No true Christian would deny that racism is a grievous sin, and that slavery and the Jim Crow era were horrendous stains on our nation’s history. Racism is sinful precisely because it denies our common unity as human beings who are made in the image of God, so the best antidote to such prejudice is to emphasize our unity in Christ, as Paul does.
Yet Mason’s preaching, whether or not he admits it to himself, tells us that there is indeed Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, and that they should all pursue their mutual complaints against each other. What would such a liberal pastor tell a Coptic Christian oppressed by Egyptian Muslims, or a Uyghur languishing in a Chinese concentration camp, or a Kurd living under Turkish domination? “Hate your enemies and don’t pray for those who persecute you”?
Had this sort of racialist philosophy been introduced into the early church, Christianity would have been strangled in its cradle. The Jews suffered under the Greeks during the time of Antiochus IV, the Romans fought back constant German raids across the Rhine, and basically every single ethnic group across the Mediterranean had grievances against the Roman Empire which conquered them all. How should have these realities affected the nascent Christian church? Should all the early Christians have emphasized their respective historical grievances, instead of uniting around their common faith in Christ? The answer is clear.
Sadly, Mason is not the only Christian to buy into this Marxist propaganda. Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile of Anacostia River Church in Washington DC tweeted this May that black Americans “can’t afford” to underline unity in Christ, but “have to choose Black solidarity [before Christian solidarity]” in order to survive. Earlier in June, megachurch pastor Matt Chandler condemned the American church for “refusing to participate” on race issues. And this August, Pastor Jemar Tisby tweeted that churches should not go back to their “regularly scheduled programming,” but instead maintain the deluge of political propaganda from the pulpit.
You have to wonder why any Bible-centered church would ever abandon its “regularly scheduled programming,” which presumably involves preaching the gospel.
Christians must beware of any preaching that emphasizes politics at the expense of the gospel, division at the expense of Christian unity, and grievances at the expense of forgiveness. What’s tragic about this situation is that men like Mason and Anyabwile are well intentioned pastors who truly believe they are helping their flocks, but they are unwittingly causing damage and division, and facilitating a toxic Marxist movement that is completely antithetical to Christianity. If Marxism triumphs in America, these pastors will be forced to turn completely leftist on issues such as gay marriage and transgenderism, or they will be completely ostracized, maybe even taxed out of existence.
Pastors like Mason are, wittingly or unwittingly, eroding Christianity from within, day by day and sermon by sermon, and they must be called out and hopefully brought back into the fold before it’s too late.