Martin Luther King Jr. was a thought leader, a civil rights activist, and an icon. King, although articulate and pivotal, was not necessarily essential to the Civil Rights Movement even though he was central to it. Others came before him and stood beside him to free mankind from the tyranny of discrimination and remnants of an age of slavery gone by. While countless others preached the same message – some white and some black – King became emblematic of the movement, a banner, a legend in his own time, larger than life and much bigger in myth than in person. But he was, there is no doubt, the signage and signpost of an important ideological movement.
King understood people, and in a highly religious society where 73% of Americans attended church (compared to 17.7% today), King frequently cited the Bible. He was, after all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. King was ordained by the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on February 18th, 1948.
In spite of King’s ordination and his theological education at Crozer Theological Seminary (or perhaps because of it), King never embraced the religion of Jesus. While at Crozer, he became enamored with the teachings of Walter Rauschenbusch, who is arguably the founder of the Social Gospel, which he said, “left an indelible imprint on my thinking.”
Although like Rauschenbusch, King used Christianity as a means for social change, King never embraced Christ’s theology. King denied the Virgin Birth, denied Scriptural inerrancy, and denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus. King often referenced these things in civil rights speeches, but only in a metaphorical sense. This can be easily researched by yourself, however, here’s a paper from King denying the Virgin Birth and calling the Resurrection “historically and philosophically untenable.” From start to finish, King denied the fundamentals of Christianity, practicing a liberation and social-gospel theology.
Surely that paper from King on the subject (hyperlinked above) should suffice as a primary source in King’s own words of his Socinian-like denials of all the doctrinal fundamentals of Christianity.
In 1985, Coretta Scott King asked Stanford professor Clayborne Carson to become the head of The King Papers Project, tasked to publish fourteen volumes of King’s papers to preserve his work. The papers’ dates range from 1948 to 1963. Around 1996, Mrs. King gave Carson a box with papers that affirmed King’s doubts about whether the Bible was literally true: “King didn’t believe the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale was true, for example, or that John the Baptist actually met Jesus, according to texts detailed in the King papers book. King once referred to the Bible as ‘mythological’ and also doubted whether Jesus was born to a virgin, Carson said.”
In addition to not being a Christian (if by that term we mean someone who is converted and born-again), King was morally destitute on a personal level.
Aside from his work often being filled with plagiarism (according to the New York Times) – including the dissertation in which he denied Jesus – King was a sexual libertine.
It was reported by many people (even supporters and fellow pastors) surrounding King that he was a grossly sexually immoral man. The recent JFK Files released by the National Archives from an FBI dossier indicates that King had many sexual trysts outside of marriage and likely fathered a “love child” (according to the New York Daily News). Some sources indicate as much as four long-term affairs.
However, aside from ‘affairs,’ King also engaged in prostitution and orgies with both men and women. The Washington Examiner reports the FBI dossier says that King engaged in ‘orgies,’ including at least one two-day orgy in Washington D.C. with members of both
Some are hesitant to believe a U.S. Intelligence Agency
When the FBI dossier was released, however, it surprised no biographers of King who well-knew his penchant for adultery.
King’s close confidant and best of friends, Ralph Abernathy, wrote a tell-all book in 1989 entitled And the Walls came Falling Down in which he explained King’s sexual immorality and proclivity for adultery. The only push-back from King historians to Abernathy’s book seems to be mostly related to his claim that King slept with white women as well as black women (which seems an odd hang-up to have).
Other documents, including audio recordings that demonstrate King’s sexual immorality, are set to be released in the year 2027. Judge John Lewis Smith, when he became aware of the tapes and their contents in 1977, declared that they be sealed for 50 years. Many attempts have been made over the years to get around the judge’s order (including U.S. Senators who are aware of their contents) but have thus far been unable.
In spite of the fact that King denied all the fundamentals of Christian doctrine and in spite of the fact that he failed at following some of the fundamentals of Christian virtues, King assisted an important ideological movement that would enshrine in U.S. law the full legal protection of all citizens.
I recently compared MLK to Jordan Peterson in my post, “The Gospel Coalition Attacks Jordan Peterson.” My comment was:
Peterson, who calls himself a “pragmatic Christian,” claims to follow the teachings of Jesus as best he understands them and holds that the First Century rabbi’s moral philosophy forms a superior and worthy ethos to live a virtuous life. Peterson, however, denies the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the resurrection (in other words, he’s no more a Christian than was Martin Luther King, Jr). Friends of mine who are close to Peterson believe he is open to the religion of Jesus, but as of yet he has only embraced the ethics of Jesus.
Some were incensed that I compared the openly secular philosophy of Jordan Peterson to the theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. On the fundamentals of the faith, however, they are identical. Neither affirm the plenary inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, or the resurrection.
Peterson, however, seems to be a morally upright man and has taken to the virtues of the Christian religion far better than the adulterer, King.
Unfortunately for Peterson, we are saved by grace through faith and not grace through virtues.
Peterson, similar to MLK, leads another important ideological movement. Jordan Peterson, who The Social Gospel Coalition snidely referred to as a High Priest for our Secular Age is a thought-leader with a meteoric rise just as sudden as Martin Luther King when he first became noticed on the national scene in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Peterson is a clinical psychologist from Canada who was born in 1962, the same year King met with President John F. Kennedy in the White House. Peterson is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life and his Youtube channel has over a million subscribers. Even evangelicals are finding it hard to ignore Peterson, who does not premise his philosophies upon the Bible, but yet frequently cites the Good Book as frequently as did Dr. King (see here, here, here, here, here, and an HT to Joe Carter for the links). Even The Social Gospel Coalition – although not likening Peterson to King, who they venerate – have likened him to Francis Shaeffer, one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th Century.
Peterson’s movement is not altogether unlike Martin Luther King’s. The intellectual work of both men assert innate equality of all men. Both believe that men should be ultimately free to think and speak the content of their conscience. Both men were vilified during their times for doing little more than espousing their convictions.
In fact, Martin Luther King would have stood united against the Social Justice Warriors today who practice Critical Race Theory. Both men
In this respect, Peterson is far closer to Dr. King on how we are to view ethnicity than ‘woke’ evangelicals who spoke recently at the MLK50 event, who have metaphorically defecated upon the grave of King by insisting that people be viewed in respect to their race.
Peterson, like King, is focused upon the liberation and freedom of humankind. King, who was arrested numerous times for exercising his First Amendment liberties, surely would have agreed with Peterson’s words in the video below.
Peterson and King both share the same battle; human liberation from oppression of thought and the protection of human rights.
Ultimately, little is different between the two men.
Both men have used the Bible to make their arguments, while denying its inspiration. Both deny essential Christian doctrines. Both have used their life work to fight for human equality and liberty.
However, only one of these men is venerated by the evangelical left, and it happens to be the one who was a whoremonger.
[Contributed by JD Hall]