Knowing the Times

            It was my privilege on March 23, 1977 to be able to go by the home and have a two hour visit with Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I was a young minister in my first year in the ministry and I was in Great Britain to attend the Banner of Truth’s Leicester Minister’s Conference the following week. The minister who was hosting me in London had often driven Lloyd-Jones to various churches since he never learned to drive himself. There were a number of things that I vividly remember about that conversation and visit, particularly his emphasis on the necessity of evangelicals to be joined together with one another and not to be in denominational union with progressives.

            The Banner of Truth published a book by Lloyd-Jones in 1989, Knowing the Times, which deals in detail with a lot of the issues involved in the matter of union with evangelicals and separation from progressives and liberals. He also deals with the false charge of schism that is lobbied against Protestants by Catholics and evangelicals by progressives. It is a book which I would encourage everyone on this email list to purchase and read. 

            Lloyd-Jones’ views on the necessity of the union of evangelicals and their separation from progressives were not always well-received even by those ministers who attended the various conferences in and around London. There was a very famous disagreement between Lloyd-Jones and John Stott at one such conference in the 1960’s. Stott took the position that it was the responsibility of evangelicals to remain in their denominations and work for revival from within. Lloyd-Jones took the position that evangelicals must leave unions with progressives because they are not united on the basics of the gospel. I was in a meeting a few years back with three men who all were British by birth and had attended that conference where this disagreement between Stott and Lloyd-Jones took place. One of the men had been a life-long friend of Stott. When I expressed my view in favor of Lloyd-Jones, I was surprised that all three of them disagreed with me.

            To me, that is the greatest danger for evangelicalism in 2021. About 70 years ago, Lloyd-Jones delivered a message in which he pointed out that the argument so many made for staying in denominations was that the real danger—Communism—was outside of the church as her enemy and, therefore, we should not be so worried about theological differences within the church. That argument was wrong then and it is wrong now. Communism or Marxism is no longer outside the church. It is in every major denomination in the United States at the present time and there is not a single denomination—no matter how many evangelicals that denomination has—that is strong enough to excommunicate those who are touting the Marxist rhetoric. I will go even further. Marxists are in control of the engines of power of every major Christian denomination in the US. Do I really need to list them one by one? My point is that the views of Marxism have been accepted as permissible in every major denomination because there has been no push back. Social justice—the message of Marxism—is touted as “the gospel” by these new liberals (who prefer to be called progressives). Critical Race Theory, a component of Critical Theory, is Marxist—unashamedly and openly. 

            Governors, legislatures, school boards, elected officials are speaking out against social justice, CRT, cancel culture, and Woke theology. What are the major Christian denominations in the US doing? Well, they are speaking in favor of CRT, social justice, etc. Every major denomination’s engines of power are under the control of those who support this neo-Marxism. Most of those who are on this email list are in denominations of which that is true. Marxism is the enemy of the gospel. They have always made Christianity their enemy. Solzhenitsyn wrote in the Gulag Archipelago that the problem with the Soviets is that they never could come to grips with the cross of Christ. I would add that Marxists hate the cross and fear Christ with a dread of their doom. That is why they persecute Christians. So, why are these Marxists inside the church if the church is their enemy? Why do they serve as stated clerks, moderators, denominational committee chairmen? Well, most of them are just ignorant of what they are doing. They do not realize they are just “useful idiots” as Lenin called them. But, some of them know what they are doing and they are there to destroy the church from within. 

            The real issue in Christianity today is not LGBTQ+. The real issue is not same-sex attraction. Winning battles, in reality or through false perception, against those enemies is not winning the war. Those battles are not the real battle. No, those are just the battles which Marxism uses to divide people so they can conquer them. The approach of communism has always been to divide and conquer. In the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, the Soviet Union gleefully pointed to racial tensions in the US and actively fomented those tensions in this country through their various agents and useful idiots. The same thing is happening today. And it is happening in the church. 

            So, the question is this: Can someone, anyone, give me a cogent, sane, and well-thought-out reason for evangelicals to remain in denominations which have been co-opted by Marxists? I have yet to hear or read a single evangelical make the case that union with Marxists is the right thing to do. Rather, what evangelicals do is totally ignore that question. They speak against CRT and social justice, but they refuse to make the case that those officers who hold to such views should be censured and, if necessary, excommunicated. Thus, they do exactly what Marxists want them to do. They spend all their efforts in fighting the battle which Marxism wants them to fight—a battle which is fodder for the progressive and Marxist propaganda that evangelicals are just bigots, racists, and homophobes—and do not fight the battle against the main enemy, godless Marxism. Such efforts will never win back a single denomination, but they will result in losing congregations to Marxism when their evangelical pastors move, retire, or pass away. And the real problem is that such evangelicals simply never understood the times in which they lived or the real issues. Knowing the times is very important. If we fail to know the times, we may very well fight the battles that our enemy wants us to fight and advance his cause rather than the cause of Christ. How sad that is and will be. When Marxism becomes even more predominant in the denominations in the US, then you will see the erosion of the gospel and evangelical doctrines to swiftly follow. Until then, these neo-Marxists will continue to give lip service to the Scripture and the gospel which they will gladly repudiate when they are firmly entrenched in power. Wait and see.  

Dewey Roberts, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Destin, FL and Moderator of Vanguard Presbytery   

Please send contributions to: Vanguard Presbytery, PO Box 1862, Destin, FL 32540.

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