By Bill Itzel
One of the most stunning confrontations in scripture comes in Galatians 2:11-14, where Paul confronted and challenged the Apostle Peter to his face: “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
At first glance, we see Peter’s hypocrisy and legalism, but is such a small act, a seemingly trivial move from one table to another, worth this public confrontation? What was behind Paul’s outrage? Was it Peter’s change of food, or his substitution of friends. Is that enough to say he “stood condemned”? Peter’s seemingly insignificant action said much more to those around him than that he wanted to not cause strife with the “Circumcision party from James”. It actually said that the work of Christ was incomplete, the words of Christ were incorrect, and the worth of Christ’s sacrifice was insufficient.
Christ died to redeem a bride, given to Him by the Father from before the foundation of the world and He would lose none of them (John 6:37-39). This bride is made up of people from every tongue, tribe and nation. In the church, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, and it is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone that one enters the Kingdom. Peter was, through this one seemingly minor response, saying that the work of Christ was both wrong and wanting in His redemptive plan…and that is worth Paul’s use of the language, “Standing condemned”.
But that has been the plan of Satan all along. Yes, Satan, just like God has a plan, Satan has a plan to always make the word and work of God insufficient. From the Roman church that says you need Christ plus works to the prosperity gospel that says you need Christ plus miracles, we see this lie of the devil propagated everywhere in much of what is called “Christian” today. Even in the “Attractional Church Movement”, we see the need to, in the words of Paul Washer, dress up the Queen like a prostitute in order to make her attractive to carnal men when the King has given us clear instructions as to how to steward His bride. Why do we think we can improve on the King’s decrees? While our motives may not be so sinister, the implication and ramification is applauded by arch-enemy of Christ.
Today, we are seeing in our culture another work of Satan to divide and cause chaos, even within the people of God. It is the infusing of Critical Race Theory into the teachings and practices of the church. I want to be clear…Critical race theory is the doctrine of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). It is not exegeted from scripture, although some do parachute into the bible to pull verses out of context to “proof-text” their false ideology. Instead, this theory has its roots in Marxism. While classical Marxism divides the haves and the have nots, this new mutation divides the “Oppressors” and the “Oppressed”. The only division the Bible makes between people is the saved and the lost.
Critical theory and its spawn, the “Social gospel” is another gospel and the Bible is clear as to what we are to do as Christians with another gospel. Galatians 1:8 says, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!” Sadly, many churches and denominations are partnering with this satanic philosophy, using it as an analytical tool, but we are not to stand with it or use it no matter how politically correct it may be to do so. It is discouraging to see well-meaning Christians sucked into being unequally yoked together (2 Corinthians 6:14) because of a desire for solidarity without discernment.
“Social Justice” is not only a false and unbiblical justice with no hope, or even desire for reconciliation, but it is a pathetically weak substitute for biblical justice. We expect the world to fall prey to the lies of the “Roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), for they hear their master’s voice and follow along as sheep led to the slaughter. However, as Christians, we must not compromise what we know to be right. Sadly, many Christians don’t know what this movement teaches. They see the phrase “Black Lives matter” and either join in blindly without doing any research on the movement, or gullibly believe they can stand with the movement, without actually standing with the movement. While I, along with every true Christian, believe THAT black lives matter. I do not believe IN “Black Lives Matter”. One only needs to go to the “Doctrinal statement” on their website to see what they truly are fighting for and see that it has nothing to do with the Biblical gospel, Biblical justice, or Biblical truth.
Instead of the Biblical view of depravity through original sin, it makes whiteness the original and unpardonable sin. Even if you have never personally had a racist thought, the theory of Systemic racism has been used to teach that the color of your skin alone causes guilt by proxy. This is nowhere found in the Bible. Each one of us was born into the ethnicity and with the amount of melanin that God intended. To call this a sin is not only the very height of racism, but makes God the author of evil. We are responsible before God for our own thoughts, words, and deeds of rebellion against His law (Ezekiel 18, Deuteronomy 24:16). But not only is the definition of “Sin” turned on its head, the real danger is that it distorts the only gospel that saves.
Instead of the redemption bought from Christ on the cross it seeks to buy redemption through works (reparations). It spits at the image of a Savior bearing the wrath of God for the sins of the world on the cross, and instead idolizes the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas to betray Christ. “Works-salvation” is the very lie that every false religion has told from the beginning. It seeks to divide while the true gospel seeks to unite. It seeks to exploit while the true gospel seeks to redeem. It stands on the foundation of hate whereas the true gospel stands on the foundation of God’s love. It makes the work of Christ to be of no effect when the Bible says that the work of Christ by grace through faith is completely sufficient. It says the very thing that Peter was saying when Paul withstood him to the face.
I know this sounds harsh, and there are many well-meaning people who are caught up in this. Some are our brothers and sisters, and some are our mission field, but someone needs to stand up as the watchman on the wall. Ezekiel 33 says, “the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and DOES NOT BLOW THE TRUMPET, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.” Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus command His church to protest or cause division. Instead, we are consistently told to walk humbly, live peaceably, obey the governing authorities ordained by God, and bear up under persecution, knowing that it is not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us (1 Peter 5:6, Romans 12:18, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Romans 8:18)
Our mission is not to change this world’s systems. Satan is the ruler of this world and complete justice will never come until the King of kings comes and destroys all other kingdoms. Our charge as the church, is to preach the gospel and make disciples. The message that we are dead in trespasses and sins, that Jesus, the God-man came to earth to redeem us through His perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection, and that through repentance and faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord we can become children of God, is a glorious message worth preaching. Why would we contaminate such a pure gospel with Satan’s lies?
So Christian, do your research before you join hands with a movement of the world, before you take up an earthly weapon to fight the spiritual warfare, and before you choose this day whom you will serve. In 2020, the choice is between Jesus and Marx.