Today Christians must wake up to what is probably the greatest current threat to our witness to the World.
It is the unseen force that is behind the current explosion in the areas of political correctness, 'victim groups', the 'nany state', 'naming and blaming' and issues of gender, race and religion.It has also made inroads into the Western Church and it goes by the name of Cultural Marxism. In this ground-breaking book the author will answer the following questions:
What is it? Where does it come from? What are the spiritual implications? What does the Bible say about it? How can Christians engage with it?
Should there be new strategies for Christians in the 21st Century? Do we need to rethink the way that we engage with the World? Perhaps this is a much needed wake-up call for us to get our act together and fulfill the Great Commission in the barren spiritual climate of the Western World?
Steve Maltz has performed a valuable service to the collective church in the UK. Whilst his book certainly deserves a wider readership – certainly in the English-speaking world, it is clear that Maltz writes for a specifically UK audience, as his frequent UK colloquialisms demonstrate (e.g. reference to Private Frazer and “we’re all doomed” plainly will have resonance only in the UK!).
“Into the Lion’s Den” concerns the interaction of Church and State, and Believer and non-Believer, in today’s decidedly post-Christian culture. Not since David Holloway’s “Church and State in the New Millennuim” have we seen such a rounded critique of the cultural set up and Christian-Societal interactions (or possibly John Stott’s “Issues Facing Christians Today”). Yet Maltz delves far more than these worthy predecessors into the very heart of the matter, as he reveals to us, and then explores, the undoubted triumph of Cultural Marxism. If you have not heard of Cultural Marxism, then this is the book for you.
Maltz’s book is divided into three unequal sections. Part 1 he calls “How Did the World Go Mad?” Today we live in a world which has awarded itself at least fourteen different “genders” (with numerous sub-groups), and is on a never ending search for new “victim” groups to “protect”. Today everyone walks in a legal minefield where just about anyone can “take offence” at just about anything (unless, of course, they are Christians) – and this is the fruit of what must be declared the modern religion of political correctness. Maltz explores precisely how we reached this point. His researches are surprising and revealing. They also give us a clear sense of social trajectory going forward from here-on. In short, Maltz finds that where political and economic Marxism failed (and failed spectacularly), so Cultural Marxism has been universally triumphant in the developed world (and now increasingly in much of the developing world too). The meta-narrative of Cultural Marxism is based on that of traditional Marxism – yet where once the ‘proletariat’ were oppressed by the ‘bourgeois’, the developing narrative today is that the whole of society is oppressed, by a relatively few who happen to be, largely, the upholders of the Judeo-Christian meta-narrative.
In Part 1 of his book, Maltz names names and exposes connections between “social anarchists (my term, not Maltz’s) down through the past 100 years. Not surprisingly, he detects a diabolical steering hand behind all these developments. Yet Part 1 of Maltz’s book is largely a secular critique and does not major heavily on the scriptural or theological.
In Part 2 of the book (the shortest, by far, and titled “What Is This Madness?”) Maltz draws some threads together from Part 1 to name “this madness” as being the temporal child of the likes of Alice Bailey (Theosophist) and her ilk. Her ilk encompassed The Frankfurt School of philosophy which, despite its Germanic title, gained most of its fundamental successes in the USA – and especially through American academe. Maltz also identifies the new and popular meta-narrative (Cultural Marxism) as the obvious spiritual child of Gnosticism.
In Part 3 of the book (“Dealing With The Madness”) Maltz turns to specifically Christian responses to this “brave new world” that our generation has created for itself, and he opines that Christian witness and evangelism need to adjust to the reality of mission in a post-Christian context and to a post-Christian culture. In fact the challenges today are reminiscent of the world of the First Century proto-church, and perhaps our witnessing will need to mirror that of the saints of the past. As Maltz says, megaphone public “preaching” and the shouting out of Bible verses is today inappropriate (if ever it was appropriate in the first place!). Maltz instead proffers a strategy that encompasses six key points:
Accepting Jesus as our model
· Demonstrating Jesus living inside us
· Not just reflecting Jesus, but honouring God and engaging with the Holy Spirit
· Showing godly wisdom in our decision making
· Seeking to honour others and working for the benefit of others
Demonstrating our role in God’s kingdom
At first sight, this might all appear rather obvious when listed as bullet points above, but Maltz unpacks what this means at a far more foundational level, and summarises it in one idea; that we should be “Hebraic” in our Christian life, recognising Jesus as our Hebrew Saviour. Maltz goes on to say that being “Hebraic” is to be “Biblical”. Whilst one can see that this is true, in fact Maltz paints a far more colourful and multi-dimensional picture than the rather dour, monotone idea of “Bible Thumping” which is what ‘being Biblical’ means – to at least some Christians!
Style and Content
What can we say of writing style here? Maltz has a reputation of light delivery and the judicious use of (British) humour to put his point across. That is reflected in this latest book. He has deliberately chosen some controversial sources in his analysis of the “post truth” culture that we now inhabit. This is refreshing because not only are his sources non-Christian (indicating Maltz’s willingness to engage seriously with those “outside the camp”) but they are outspoken and unafraid to ruffle feathers. For a generation cosseted in feather lined duvets (more than once Maltz speaks of the “snowflake” generation) the ruffling of feathers and the puncturing of shibboleths is absolutely essential if this rising generation is to survive at all. Maltz’s controversial sources pull no punches and have yet to be proven wrong in some of their dire projections, which seem to draw ever closer. Rather than recognise these realities the MSM (mainstream media) would prefer to pull the duvet over its collective eyes and wish these evident problems away). Maltz’s point is simple – and we all know it to be true – the MSM – especially of the broadcast variety – will not confront controversial issues because of political correctness. (How much more time has the BBC spent in examining Donald Trump rather than the Rotheram sex abuse of 1,400 vulnerable British girls – some as young as nine years)?
Maltz takes us through some thoroughly complex and historically diverse characters, currents and movements at a thorough gallop! He does not over-burden his book with quotations and supplementary supporting evidences. Had he done so the book would have been a mass of quotations and references, to the detriment of the arguments being advanced. Often we do not need to know who said what! Maltz’s editorial decision is wise. In fact the evidences offered in “Into the Lion’s Den” do, very much, speak for themselves. Maltz does in fact list both his controversial and his conventional sources of information in the Appendix to the book, and invites his readers to make their own further investigations. These further sources demonstrate that Maltz is widely read, thoroughly up to speed, and keeps his finger on the pulse.
Summary and Verdict
This book is a necessary antidote to the malaise in which much of the Institutional Church finds itself today. In the absence of clear leadership and analysis from too much of the institutional church hierarchies, it really is now, today, down to the individual Believer to unpack what is going on, understand where things are headed and what are their specific personal responsibilities before the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob! Maltz wisely speaks about the Kingdom far more than he does about “the Church” – we are called to be citizens of the former, not the latter – and indeed there is a keen difference between the two.
“Into the Lion’s Den”, as its title suggests, is equipping us to survive in a hostile place and providing strategies so to do. We cannot make hostility – even persecution – go away. The Bible indicates strongly that in the end times there will be specific analogies with the times of the proto church – for all Believers. Jesus warned of the “cost” of being His disciple. Maltz’s book is an essential contribution to the individual Christian, and the author reminds us that we need to put on spiritual armour. There is, here, something essential for the Christian “soldier” about “know your enemy” – a basic prerequisite for survival on any battlefield! In this book Maltz unmasks the enemy and demonstrates both cultural and spiritual antecedents leading directly to today’s societal malaise. But Maltz also offers a hope that even in today’s hostile environment, the Jesus Kingdom can grow and expand – and surely that’s what it is all about! Highly recommended, Five-Star ranking.
Peter Sammons (Writer and Publisher)
When a prolific author such as Steve Maltz claims that his latest book is his ‘most important ever’, it is worth considering why. Certainly it is a timely book and its message vital, both in its socio-political analysis (parts 1 and 2) and its Christian response (part 3, which occupies just over half the book).
The title alludes to Daniel being tested in the lion's den. Christians today face a different den, but an equal threat: Western culture is our lion's den. In recent decades our enemy the devil has been prowling round seeking to devour (1 Pet 5:8), and has succeeded in changing our society dramatically.
In this eye-opening book, Maltz examines satan’s chosen method in the West – the unseen force behind the current explosion of political correctness, identity politics and blame culture – which goes by the name of Cultural Marxism.
Dismantling Society’s Building Blocks
Maltz has done some detailed research on the origins of our current social scene and its threat to Christian witness, presenting it in his usual readable style. He also provides a full and clear response to the threat of Cultural Marxism, drawing largely on his previous writings (Hebraic Church, Livin’ the Life) which in retrospect can be seen as preparatory to this book.
Maltz explains how Cultural Marxism took the failed ideas of economic and political Marxism and repackaged them in subtler, cultural terms, using techniques from other academic disciplines. The result was a “covert cultural infiltration, hidden in plain sight” (p8) that has made massive inroads into undermining the Judeo-Christian foundations of modern Western society.
satan’s chosen method to devour the West is Cultural Marxism.
He starts with Alice Bailey’s ten-point plan (first formulated in 1948) to wrench society away from its Christian roots, and shows how this was then built upon by others, in particular Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno, whose writings were very influential in the 1950s. This eventually led to the creation of the Frankfurt School and the development of Critical Theory in which everything is to be deconstructed, the aim being to ‘liberate’ those who have been oppressed for so long by Christianity and its associated institutions.
In Cultural Marxist thinking, points of previous stability such as the family, or the notion of two genders, are re-interpreted as inherently oppressive. The notion of objective truth is also considered tyrannical - relativism must become the norm. Truth is whatever you want it to be.
The Bible in particular, previously the ultimate arbiter of truth, is to be continually re-interpreted to support these new ideas, rather than read to bring us to a saving knowledge of God.
Victims vs Oppressors
Cultural Marxism divides society into oppressors - those clinging to a biblical framework - and oppressed: so-called ‘victim groups’, who need to be liberated from the ‘repressive’ norms of traditional Christianity. Today’s victim culture is the direct creation of Critical Theory which “began to roll out a series of ‘causes’, centring on those deemed to be ‘victims’” (p46).
The law of Cultural Marxism, which is ultimately as authoritarian as its political predecessor, is that these causes represent true freedom, and so must be upheld by everyone. To oppose or even question them is unacceptable, and so warrants derisive, shut-down treatment (e.g. labels such as ‘homophobic’, ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘fascist’). Only Christians can never be considered as victims - after all, they are the oppressors, who have held the upper hand for so long!
Meanwhile we now have a whole range of potential ‘micro-aggressions’, anything that can be deemed to cause offence to victims’ feelings, ranging from casual comments to displaying biblical texts, wearing a cross or offering to pray for someone.
Cultural Marxism divides society into oppressors - those clinging to a biblical framework - and oppressed: victims who need to be liberated from the ‘repressive’ norms of traditional Christianity.
Cultural Marxism is seen as a progressive movement, helping us turn away from old superstitions, outdated morality and the restrictions of the past. Maltz has illuminated all these trends in a way that is easy to understand. We see how for decades Cultural Marxists, first in academia and then outward into politics and the media, have been pulling the strings behind the scenes in a war for hearts, minds and, ultimately, souls.
Dealing with the Madness
He concludes there “is no real hope for our society if Cultural Marxism is allowed to continue unchecked” (p71).
However, he does not finish there. In Part 3, ‘Dealing with the madness’, he offers a way for Christians not only to survive in this new culture but also to engage with it for the sake of the Gospel.
His starting point is that “we are not called to fix the Kingdom of the World, instead our role should be in the execution of the Great Commission, in helping to rescue people from this Kingdom by guiding them into the Kingdom of God” (p93).
This has always been our role, but now there is a greater urgency, as well as a greater difficulty. Yet there is also a greater opportunity. Despite the dangers of Cultural Marxism, the Gospel is not fettered and God remains sovereign. Perhaps he has allowed all this to shake us out of complacency and force us to re-evaluate our effectiveness? Cultural Marxism may have done us a favour if it results in a more authentic Christianity, one that is more Hebraic, more ‘first century’.
By exploring this possibility and how to achieve it, Into the Lion's Den is an exciting book, not a depressing one.
Has God allowed Cultural Marxism to proliferate to shake the Church out of its complacency?
Encouragement to Live Distinctively
Maltz takes Titus 2:11-15 as our mission statement for these times, using it to show how we can begin ‘Reaching a World gone mad’ (the book’s subtitle). He also draws on the main points of his previous book, Livin’ the Life, about honouring God, reflecting Jesus and engaging with the Spirit, arguing that Christians need to live distinctively.
He asserts that “our best weapon” in dealing with Cultural Marxism (p139) is understanding the difference between function and form. We must function as Christians, not just have the outward form. If we can’t talk about or quote Jesus without being criminalised, then we must become living examples of God’s word.
Towards the end of the book Maltz makes a vital point when he says that “Reaching a World gone mad is going to require more Godly Wisdom, rather than relying on our own powers of articulation or knowledge or experience” (p195). The book contains some real life examples of Christians (from all walks of life) being grilled in TV interviews, as good illustrations for us to learn from. When we speak up, God’s wisdom is needed. But if we ask him and listen, he will give us the words.
Over a long period, Cultural Marxism has been a creeping threat. We may not have seen it coming, but now we can see it clearly at work. But many may still be puzzled as to how our society arrived in its current state, how we got to this particular kind of madness, and how to respond. This book addresses these issues and should be read and then read again until we have absorbed its vital message.
How important the book will be only time will tell, but it deserves to be widely read and discussed.