Liberation theology is a movement in Christian theology, developed mainly by Latin American Roman Catholics, that emphasizes liberation from social, political, and economic oppression as an anticipation of ultimate salvation (Oxford Word Dictionary).
Liberation theology developed as a result of legitimate problems regarding how Christians should to deal with poverty and abuses against the poor who have few means by which they can defend themselves against the abuses of the wealthy and more powerful in their communities and nations. The communist agitators seen this as an opportunity to insert themselves into this situation and make their appeals to the populations that were, in many cases, being abused. The major problem with this movement was its acceptance of using the government to address the problems in what ever manner was available. The solutions should have come from Christian leaders with more of a focus on using the church members to solve the problems in the community rather than government coercion. The early churches were an example of how this was done correctly. They met the needs of the poor and took care of the downtrodden at a time when the Caesars persecuted the church. In time, their witness under persecution won over the Roman population as more of the people began to observe and identify with their just causes and Christian solutions. As the Roman Empire fell apart, due to its own moral rot, Christianity arose to fill the cultural void. (The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark)
Today we see a similar movement occurring in America. Marxist elements have seen an opportunity to meet a need that should have been addressed earlier by the Christian community. Because of past social and welfare programs, instituted by the socialist Democrat Party, blacks have been held prisoners in a welfare state that keeps them in poverty. The welfare programs instituted by President Johnson and Democrats in the past destroyed the black family unit. Black fathers were encouraged to not marry their partner in order for their mates to be eligible to collect welfare. The results of that policy can be seen today as 70% of black babies are born to women who are not married. These children will be raised in a one-parent home under poverty conditions with little to no discipline by a father. The public school systems in their neighborhoods are failed and have become sites of increasing violence, drug abuse and crime. Black Americans are trapped in a system that keeps them in conditions leading to failure and poverty. We cannot ignore this problem because it has given communist agitators, like Black Lives Matter, an open door to appeal to Black Americans and follow their lead in overthrowing the system that keeps them enslaved in poverty.
Mixing a Marxist justification of violence with Christianity produces a deadly mix which leads to deadly results. A Jesus who is presented as a social justice warrior carrying an AK-47 to administer justice against the oppressors distorts the Gospel message. Rather than opposing this message many evangelical leaders are buying into the Marxist ideology as they proudly claim to be "woke" to the issues of the poor caused by systemic racism. Communist agitators use race to divide and conquer nations. America is especially vulnerable because of its past racial strife. The riots and arson which have impacted American cities recently are only the beginning. Christian leaders must address this threat with a holistic Gospel that addresses these problems from a Christian perspective. If not, we will lose the nation to Marxist ideologues.
In a world that is "woke," how many Christians are actually awake? This short, theologically sound primer is a resource for pastors, ministry leaders, community leaders, and other thinking Christians that explains carefully and clearly what Critical Race Theory and wokeness truly are, what the Bible teaches about race and ethnicity, why wokeness is distinct from Christianity and should be rejected, and how the church can work for unity based in the gospel of grace.
Owen Strachan is a respected Reformed theologian and thought leader who can help Christians: