We Told You So (on Social Justice), and Why You Should Listen Next Time
I think we all knew an “I told you so” was obligatory. Nonetheless, we told you so. You can insert all the outrage you want about that, signal your own virtue, and claim that “I told you so” is uncouth, unchristian, or arrogant. But whatever; both we and you deserve it.
We are so incredibly happy to see so many men and women figure out that there is a sinister and wicked cancer spreading from a particular corner of evangelicalism. Some call that corner by different names. We know it comprises The Gospel Coalition and certain elements within Together for the Gospel. We know it comprises the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and that it’s taken over many seminaries. We know it comprises 9Marks and many other parachurch ministries. While everyone else is trying to figure out what to call this Axis of Social Gospel Evil, we gave it a name literally years ago…the Evangelical Intelligentsia.
We warned you. We warned you. We warned you.
We warned you about the specific actors involved on this particular issue years ago and repeatedly on an almost daily basis. We have chronicled its rise and propagation. We have been beaten over the head for it and told we were crazy. Now, we see our material being used (often without proper attribution) in complaints made in articles or blogs all over the world. And now it’s too late to do anything about the dangers of this movement because most didn’t listen until it was too late and until there were more people speaking out.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re thankful for men who’ve been vocal about the mission drift. Phil Johnson was among the first of the “famous guys” to speak up and accuse Thabiti Anyabwile of wandering from the mission. He’s been singing his clarion call on this topic for years. And now others are chiming in. Justin Peters, Mike Abendroth, Voddie Baucham, Brannon Howse, Janet Mefferd, James White, Todd Friel, Josh Buice and others are being bold. Still others, like Tom Ascol, are beginning to whisper a few concerns here and there, but aren’t quite recognizing the threat for what they should just yet (or at least, are still cowering to voice their concerns very loudly). Most of these guys haven’t been directly confrontational with some of the key figures in the Social Justice movement like Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan, and Mark Dever, but most at least are beginning to confront the parachurch ministries responsible (particularly the ERLC and The Gospel Coalition). Other lesser-known men have also been stalwart in at least calling out the problems and at least some of the problem-causers, like Darrell B. Harrison, David Miller, and Thomas Littleton. Other opponents of the Social Justice movement include Douglas Wilson, Jeff Durbin, Randy White, Jim Fletcher, Gabe Hughes, Andy Woods, Dan Phillips and Ken Ham. Some of those men, like Littleton and Harrison in particular, could write there own “I told you so” posts.
But for most, it seems, they discovered a hostile takeover of Gospel-centeredness yesterday. They’re now woke to being woke. And that’s a good thing, but I’m afraid it’s a day late and a dollar short.
The first time I wrote about Russell Moore’s progressivism I was contacted by Frank Turk, the old blogger at Pyromaniacs, and told that it would ruin me, that no one would ever believe Russell Moore was a leftist because he was a Calvinist. I was warned to leave Moore alone and that it was insane to believe a Calvinist could simultaneously be a liberal. That was going on five years ago, long before I’m aware of anyone criticizing Moore or calling him out for what most people today realize him to be. And yet despite my appreciation for Turk’s work, I know a duck when it walks like a duck and talks like a duck. And Moore’s a leftist-progressive, Democrat duck.
Likewise, when we launched the earth-shaking #the15 – a truly grass-roots social media uprising against these exact same Evangelical Intelligentsia men now propagating Rauschenbuschism (the Social Gospel) – the type and kind of uprising I haven’t seen since, Gabe Hughes of When We Understand The Text (WWUTT) wrote a blog explaining that #the15 was making much ado about nothing. Ed Stetzer and those receiving the bulk of #the15 criticism, Hughes argued, were harmless and meant well. I am 100% grateful to brother Hughes for now grasping the danger these exact same men pose. I’m slightly less grateful that over the last four or so years Hughes has repeatedly admonished Pulpit & Pen for our intensity and placed scare quotes around “discernment” only to go on and say the exact same things we have said and warn about the exact same things we have warned about, only to do so three or more years later when it’s too late to do anything about it. I think it’s true that if you want to know what WWUTT will write about today, just go look at what Pulpit & Pen warned you about four years ago.
Say whatever you want about P&P, but we repeatedly demonstrate that discernment trumps modern “prophecy” every time when it comes to predicting the future. Most discernment, which should be trained with constant practice (Hebrews 5), is learnable and is done mostly by observation. In other words, just by observing trends today you can predict the future (fallibly, of course) tomorrow. In the case of the Social Gospel movement, we have warned you in literally hundreds upon hundreds of posts about these issues going back far enough in time that some of the newly woke-against-woke opponents were the ones calling us crazy. Now they see it. That’s awesome, but it’s too late.
If you think there’s any stopping the Social Justice beast, you’re wrong. The latte mafia controls the IMB, NAMB, ERLC, SBTS, SEBTS, Midwestern, TGC, T4G, the Baptist Press, 9Marks, Lifeway, most of the PCA, RTS, Acts29, and lots of complicit accomplices in the press, like the Washington Post or wherever Jonathan Merritt is busy meeting men in the workplace. You can’t defeat that. Even if they abandoned their hell-bent pursuit of Egalitarianism, or their doubling-down on Critical Race Theory, or their next step to celebrate “sexual minorities” in the church, they would drift away from the Gospel in some other way, focusing on spaying and neutering pets or gluten allergy awareness or perhaps “creation care.” All of the principal figures in this movement, including Russell Moore, Ligon Duncan and Mark Dever, are receiving cash influsions to their institutions by Clinton globalist financier James Riady and Democrat billionaire, George Soros. When Riady is giving millions to RTS and Westminster Philadelphia do you really think they’re going to stop pushing for the dismantling of immigration law? When these figures give dark money to Mohler through SBTS do you really think he’s going to do a complete 180 on his good longtime Democrat friend, Russell Moore?
Our great hope is that John MacArthur will rise up like David and kill Goliath, or like Perseus, he will kill Medusa, or like Hercules, he will kill the Nemean lion. But I’m afraid a single “Strange Justice” conference isn’t going to do the trick this time around (even though I’m on board with the awesomeness of that idea). I’m afraid – and dare I say it – John MacArthur isn’t going to be enough. Can our elder brother really stop the ShepCon speaking roster of Mohler, Duncan and Dever all by himself? While the list of woke-anti-woke people is growing, our side pales in comparison to theirs. They have spent a decade laying the groundwork to control major denominations and their entities, along with the vast majority of popular parachurch ministries and their conferences. People, it’s not going to happen. We’re going to have to live through this Social Justice (you notice I use the term interchangeably with Social Gospel; that is on purpose) fad and live through to the other side. We have to ride it out and survive it because there’s no stopping it.
If people would have actually listened to all the warnings a half-decade ago, we could have stopped it. But many now who are aware of the dangers presented us were the same ones bolstering the credibility of Russell Moore and The Gospel Coalition while we were warning everyone they weren’t to be trusted. They’ve lent their own credibility to the very ones who have now amassed that power and are (without God) indestructible. When we began to warn about Karen Swallow Prior nearly three years ago, we lost contributors due to the public outrage and – again – people called us nuts. Now, these same folks are now warning about Prior, after they helped grow her fame and popularity and rigorously attacked us for being mean to that “dear Christian woman.” They made the beast, and now are unsure what to do about it.
This “we told you so” is done for the sake of discernment. One day, this fad will be gone and the devil will be off to a new strategy (and because you can only kill monsters with silver bullets and wooden spikes to the heart, that crisis will probably also include Karen Swallow Prior). Be of good cheer, Jesus will wipe this movement into the dustbin of history, just like he did the Emergent Church (although this movement will not die so easily) and the only ones left standing will be those of us who are now being called fundamentalists. The people called “fundamentalists” are always the last ones left standing, by the way, and it has something to do with the foundation of our house not being built on sand. God gives people within his Body discernment for its edification, but if people with this spiritual gifting are treated as lepers or pariahs, the Body will suffer. You may not like discernment ministries, but they’re here for a reason.
The saddest part of all of this is that it could have been prevented if people would have just listened. So, let’s just all thank God that He is sovereign and trust that he’s got it handled.
[Editor’s Note: Contributed by JD Hall. Do you want to see “I told you so” in person? Just use our website’s search function, and you’ll see our predictions and warnings for yourself]