The Black Lives Matter is becoming a popular movement but is it another gospel? The question become more about their doctrine, their teaching and their mission than just their three word phrase.
Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia saying,
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ….As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Gal. 1:6-9)
The question becomes is the message of Black Lives Matter really another “good news?” Is it different than the gospel of Jesus Christ?
To answer this question, we have to look at the teaching of Jesus and the early leaders of the faith in contrast to some of the teachings of people within the BLM and those who they glean theology from. The ideals of the movement go back before even Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Patrisse Cullors were even born.
Gospel of Black Lives Matter is not new
Charles Oliver Brown first used the idea in 1879 in a response to Herny George’s writing, Progress and Poverty. It was a religious response to extreme poverty in urban slums. They pushed the churches to fight for public health and educational reforms in make live for the poor more comfortable. (Does this sound like 2020 just a little bit?)
Washington Gladden was another leader within this movement of the late 19th century. He believed that “Christian law covers every relation of life.” I am not sure what exactly is “Christian law” but I am sure glad we live under grace, not law. His book, The Christian Way: Whither It Leads and How to Go On (1877) was a call for the churches to become more engaged in politics and social issues.
However, the brains of the movement had to be Walter Rauschenbusch. He was the theologian of the bunch. Out of his influence came the “Brotherhood of the Kingdom.” In the book, Christianity and the Social Crisis, he rallied against Capitalism calling it “selfishness” and demanded the establishment of labor unions and “labor unions and cooperative economics” (not sure what that really is)
Thankfully, every major preachers in that era lined up to condemn this including D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, William Booth, Mordecai Ham and Oswald Chambers. They saw the false gospel for what it was, another gospel. They preached against it and condemn its ideals.
Sadly, the gospel of Black Lives Matter, or the social gospel had a revival in the 1960’s through the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr and John Lewis. It was not new to King or Lewis, they were just using the thoughts of Rauschenbusch and revisiting them for a different era.
Solomon was right: there is nothing new under the sun!
Walter Rauschenbusch vs Jesus Christ
The next thing we need to do is look at some quotes of the early leaders of the social gospel to see what they laid as a foundation for those who preach this message as gospel truth.
The first one is from the theologian of the group, Walter Rauschenbusch,
In a few years all our restless and angry hearts will be quiet in death, but those who come after us will live in the world which our sins have blighted or which our love of right has redeemed.
Most people that are reading this article probably have never heard of this man until they read this. However, they have heard about the people that he labeled as “angry hearts.” These would include D.L. Moody and Billy Sunday. The one that was really quieted in death was the Marxist thinkers that proclaimed their social gospel.
What did he mean by that our sins would be blighted? The word is not commonly used today but it means, “a thing that spoils or damages something.” Was he saying that if we did not receive his gospel that we would live in a world that was damaged or spoiled by social “sins?”
The Lord seems to address the spiritual condition of a man. In Matthew 24 and 25, He gives the Olivet discourse. The context of it that while the world around them will go through severe crisis socially and use of military force; they are to flee the influence and draw closer to the Holy Spirit in those days. In other words, we are to live as this world is not our home but we are just passing through.
Cracked foundations, Weak Structures
As you can see, the theological roots of the Black Lives Matters is cracked. It has major issues. This is why people like D.L. Moody and even William Booth (that has a great ministry to the poor) condemned it from the start. However, some people such as Martin Luther King Jr build on these foundations and today, we are left with nothing but weak structures that any test of sound doctrine destroy them.
This is why D.L. Moody believe that the only cure to every problem facing the nation in those days was to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and wholesale revival. It is still the only answer to the world’s problem. Social ills change with time but the true gospel is timeless.
If you had a son that wouldn’t obey you, you would not expect him to prosper, and wouldn’t be anxious that he should, because prosperity in wickedness would be an injury to him.
The message of the Black Lives Matter movement is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord did not come to make social changes; He came to seek and to save that which is lost. (Luke 19:10) If all we desire is more comfortable living and better racial relations; we are just allowing people to enjoy some air conditioning on their way to the fires of hell.
Note: This is part of a series on the Gospel of Black Lives Matters : Make you to grab the other articles as they are released. The Gospel of Al Sharpton was the first one.