Marxism Offers a False Gospel That Is Appealing to Some Liberal Churches

God’s Word vs. Marx’s Word—Master Chart

by Patricia Engler and Bryan Osborne on July 6, 2024

A false gospel rooted in Marxism has gained massive popularity, placing increasing pressure on Christians. We sense this pressure in the rise of cancel culture, where Christians are being censored, fired, or arrested for upholding their biblical beliefs. We feel it in the prevalence of “woke” messages that label Christians as oppressors who must be silenced. We notice it in contemporary attacks on the family unit God designed. On every side, our culture’s open hostility toward anyone who dares to stand on truth is becoming unmistakable. Less obvious, perhaps, are the ways these cultural trends connect to the false gospel of Marxism.

This false gospel repackages the core beliefs of nineteenth-century philosopher Karl Marx, who viewed history as the story of conflict between oppressor and oppressed classes. Instead of recognizing sin as the core problem behind suffering, oppression, and alienation, Marx viewed certain socioeconomic conditions as the problem. The solution, he thought, was revolution: oppressed workers needed to revolt against wealthy business owners, take over the means of producing consumer goods, and establish a communist society.

When this revolution did not unfold the way Marx predicted, “Neo-Marxists” expanded on Marx’s ideas. Like Marx, Neo-Marxists believe that society consists of oppressors and the oppressed who must take power from their oppressors. While Marx labeled the wealthy as oppressors, Neo-Marxists extend this label to other social groups including Christians, males, light-skinned people, heterosexuals, able-bodied people, and individuals born in “colonialist” countries. Neo-Marxism prejudges people as oppressors based not on personal character, actions, or attitudes, but on group identity traits including gender, income, and skin tone. Any means of disempowering people who possess these traits can count, in Neo-Marxist thinking, as “social justice.”

Because Neo-Marxism hijacks, redefines, and repurposes biblical terms like justice, certain Neo-Marxist messages have effectively infiltrated church circles. Christians need to understand how these messages rest on a false gospel. What are the main tenets of this false gospel, and how do they contradict God’s Word?

Because Neo-Marxism hijacks, redefines, and repurposes biblical terms like justice, certain Neo-Marxist messages have effectively infiltrated church circles.

The chart below offers quick answers to these vital questions. For further details and references, stay tuned for two upcoming books that provided the information for this chart: Woke Justice by Bryan Osborne (Master Books, 2024) and Modern Marxism by Patricia Engler (Answers in Genesis, 2024). To stay updated about when these books become available, you can also subscribe to Answers in Genesis’ Latest Answers Newsletter here.

Be encouraged: as the pressure against Christians increases, God’s Word gives us answers to stand on his truth rather than compromise with false teaching.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Seven Major Conflicts Between God’s Word and Marxism

Worldview Topic Biblical View Marxist (or Neo-Marxist) View
Human origins God supernaturally created humans in his image (Genesis 1:26–27). Humans arose through natural processes.
Human nature Humans are created (Genesis 2:7, 21–23; Psalm 100:3). Humans are primarily creators.
Identity Identity primarily defined by and rooted in Christ (Galatians 3:28). Identity primarily defined by and rooted in certain traits (gender, income, skin tone, etc.).
Human marriage and family God ordained marriage between a husband and wife as part of his very good design for creation and as the basis for raising and discipling children. The family is the foundational unit of society (Deuteronomy 6:7; Matthew 19:4–5). Marriage and family are pillars of an oppressive social system and need to be redefined, manipulated, or abolished.
Humanity’s core problem The problem comes down to sin (Genesis 2:17 and 3:1–24; Romans 5:12). The problem comes down to economic or cultural conditions.
Guilt Guilt is based on sin against God. All people are guilty by nature before God, apart from Christ (Psalm 53:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:10). Guilt is based on identity. People with “oppressor” identities are automatically guilty and cannot help being evil; people with “oppressed” identities are automatically innocent and can do no evil.
Humanity’s hope of redemption Salvation is found only in Jesus (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9). Salvation is found only through continual revolution.

Additional Differences

Topic Biblical View Marxist (or Neo-Marxist) View
Truth Truth is objective. God is the source of and authority for truth (John 14:6, 17:17). Truth is subjective. The feelings and lived experience of the oppressed are the authority for truth.
Morality The standard and foundation for morality is God’s character. Morals can be known through God’s Word and God’s law written on our consciousness (Psalm 119:68; Romans 2:15). The standard for morality is whatever tilts the power balance in favor of the oppressed.
Oppression Oppression is a matter of committing wrongful actions against other image bearers—especially vulnerable groups, including widows, orphans, and the poor (Jeremiah 22:3–5; Isaiah 1:17, 10:1–3; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5). Oppression is a matter of belonging to an identity group with more or less power and privilege. People with “privileged” traits are oppressive by definition.
Justice Justice is primarily a matter of actions, attitudes, and personal character that accord with God’s Word and nature. God is a just God who performs just actions. Biblical justice insists upon impartiality, righteousness in legal judgments, honest dealings, and the defense of the needy (Leviticus 19:15; Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 11:1, 31:9; Isaiah 1:17; Amos 5:15). Justice is primarily a matter of disempowering the oppressors and empowering the oppressed.
Liberation Freedom means being liberated from sin and its effects (John 8:34–36; Romans 8:2). Freedom means being liberated from social conditions that are oppressive (by the Marxist definition of oppressive).
Knowledge God reveals truth through his Word and gave humans faculties for finding out, knowing, and reasoning about facts (Psalm 119:66; Proverbs 2:6,18:15; James 1:5). The oppressed, as the authority for truth, are the authority for knowledge. The oppressed reveal knowledge which oppressors cannot otherwise learn.
Human effort Good works (as defined by God) are an indispensable reflection of lives transformed by Jesus. However, our good works don’t save us and cannot ultimately redeem the world from its fallenness (James 2:14–17; Ephesians 2:8–10). Good works are defined as actions which help empower the oppressed or disempower oppressors. By bringing about the revolution, such works will ultimately redeem humanity from its problems.
Racism There is only one human race (Acts 17:26). All forms of prejudice are evil (James 2:1), including ethnic prejudice (racism). Individuals are accountable for their own evil actions or attitudes (Ezekiel 1:1–20; 2 Kings 14:6; Matthew 16:27). The ultimate cause for prejudice is sin; the ultimate solution is the gospel. According to critical race theory, people are either oppressors or oppressed based on “race.” Only prejudice against oppressed “races” is evil. Individuals are automatically guilty or innocent based on their “racial” identity. “Racism” is systemic, pervading all social systems. Oppressor “races” benefit from these systems, so cannot help being racist, and members of an “oppressed” race cannot be racist by definition. The only solution is revolution.
Gender and sexuality God made humans male and female (Genesis 1:26; Mark 10:6–9). These two genders are distinct, complementary, and equally image God. Biological sex and gender are equivalent and inseparable. Gender and sexuality are good gifts from our Creator for human flourishing, when applied according to his design. As self-creators, humans define their own gender. Biological sex does not necessarily determine gender or sexual orientation. Gender binaries are artificial and oppressive. According to critical gender theory, “cis-gender heterosexual maleness” is oppressive and must be overthrown.


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