Reverend Raphael Warnock made an Easter tweet that got a lot of attention, writing; “The meaning of Easter is more transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you are Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves.” The junior senator from Georgia deleted the tweet after it garnered many comments from famous Christians and ordinary people, the author of this article had only one word in response upon seeing it; anathema. This is heresy of the first order, and it should be called accursed amongst the faithful. The gospel has absolutely never been about saving ourselves. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so no one can boast.” I wish I could say that the senator was an anomaly, unfortunately he has a lot of fellow reverends and pastors who would take absolutely no issue with his tweet and the real issue is not one man who openly identified himself as a modern day Sadducee. Philosophies have infiltrated Christianity that are not just unbiblical they are clearly anti-scriptural. Black Liberation theology, Warnock’s professed school of thought is one such philosophy and the comparison is worth drawing and discussing.
The Sadducees of Jesus’ time were Jewish, priestly leaders who outwardly affirmed the moral and ritual laws found in the books of Moses, also commonly called the Pentateuch but did not believe in a future resurrection of people, spirits or angels and denied an afterlife. Third century Christian church father Origen held the Sadducees only acknowledged the Pentateuch as Scriptural. There is much wider agreement that they denied any oral prophecy. This would be most fitting since the prophetic tradition would have certainly set the prophets at odds with them over issues of money, leadership and loving status to name a few that we can hear echoes throughout Scriptures right into the gospels directed at the nation’s leaders. During the Second Temple period of Israel’s history (516 BC – 70 AD) the Sadducees served administrative roles in the Temple, and to varying degrees through those centuries political roles representing the nation and serving in the highest Jewish court, the Sanhedrin. They were infamous for their love of money and status, which was reinforced by their roles in the nation and they were commonly regarded as collaborators with the Greek Successor Kingdoms and eventually Romans who ruled over Israel. As collaborators who had an extremely earth bound philosophy the Sadducees found themselves at odds with the Pharisees, Essenes and the early Christians.
Now to today, and why it is fitting to see Raphael Warnock as a Sadducee. Raphael Warnock’s comments were not reflective of a sudden change in direction, his theological school is known as Black Liberation Theology. The senator is a graduate of Union Seminary, a school Dietrich Bonhoeffer characterized as ignorant of dogmatics (theology) before World War 2. It has maintained the tradition of being more interested in Liberation theology to this day, recently they held a confession session – to plants. No not a joke. To understand the current vein of black liberation theology one can look to James H Cone who is one of the original theologians of this particular movement believed that the message of Christ would be better understood as speaking to the here and now, about freedom from current temporal oppression and not focused on a future redemption. This is the first key point of comparison; the focus on this life, the here and now. To be sure Christianity does have much to teach us about oppression, dealing with it, casting it off and that God is indeed, “no respecter of persons.” It remains abundantly clear at the same time that the New Testament Scriptures clearly teach about the future Resurrection, and future redemption, (see I Corinthians 15 as a concise primer on this subject). With this understanding we can gather that Senator Warnock fully meant that the resurrection and some future promise of resurrection was not the miracle and hope people should cling to. Instead he sees the resurrection as a statement that people can hope to make today / tomorrow what they most want it to be against incredible odds. The fuller testimony of the Scriptures have been cast off for a more materialistic faith.
To be fair Some of the early advocates of Black Liberation Theology believed only in contextualizing the message of Christianity for American and Africans everywhere struggling for civil rights against legal oppression and vile racial hatred, but through the years those that focused only on contextualization trended towards evangelical orthodoxy while Black Liberation theologians focused on materialism and a mutual flirtation with neo-marxists began. This blending can be seen in the frequency of class warfare terminology and Marx’s concept of equity started appearing in the literature of BLT pastors. Gustavo Gutierrez’s 1971 A Theology of Liberation has been so influential in these circles that Cambridge University’s John Parratt wrote that; “Nevertheless, ever since Gustavo Gutierrez dropped the bombshell of ‘Liberation Theology’ on the playground of western theologians, it is clear that Marxism cannot be ignored in any relevant twentieth-century explication of the Christian faith.” Free extract from the fuller work available here Marxism, Black Theology, and the South African Dilemma | The Journal of Modern African Studies | Cambridge Core, the full work requires a paid subscription. Although Parratt definitely has South Africa as his main focus he rightly points out that Liberation Theology as a whole has become intertwined with the neo-marxist philosophy in such a manner that it is nearly impossible to analyze Christianity’s fuller shape now without some discussion about Marxism. . . both the embracing of some of its core principles, even to the forsaking of historical theology and the visceral reaction that many have had against it. Cone himself wrote in his book My Soul Looks Back, ““total reconstruction of society along the lines of democratic socialism.” Cone’s disgusting book replaces Marx’s hatred for everything bourgeois for everything white, stating openly that he doubts that white religionists can have a conceptualization of God until they learn to hate their whiteness. . . the reader should check out the filth that spilled forth from Cone’s pen and understand this is a highly influential man in African American studies, one Warnock called “a prophet.” Temporal focus is absolutely everything to the Black Liberation Theologian, and anyone who cannot embrace that is indeed a hopeless heretic. This is not a Christian belief, it is a philosophy given a Christian veneer.
In the syncretic adoption of neo-marxism by Raphael Warnock and those of his school the example of the Sadducees can be seen. In Warnock’s book The Divided Mind he penned, “To be sure, the Marxist critique has much to teach the black church. Indeed, it has played an important role in the maturation of black theology as an intellectual discipline, deepened black theology’s apprehension of the interconnectivity of racial and class oppression and provided critical tools for a black church that has yet to awaken to a substantive third world consciousness.” It is in that light that his comment, The senator and those who hold his particular beliefs are kowtowing to the dominant cultures of their times for power and influence much as the Sadducees did. To be certain Warnock has ridden the class warfare rhetoric and policies of a dominant force in the democratic party – the Wokeists, who have applied Marx’s analytical methods to race and blended class warfare ideology to race. Christianity is antithetical to the godless ideology of Marx, Marx saw Christianity as a primary obstacle to a classless society – not just its practice but it’s beliefs on whole. Marx penned; “The first requisite of the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion” (“A Criticism of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right,” 1844). Elsewhere he writes “The social principles of Christianity place the Consistorial Counsellor’s compensation for all infamies in heaven, and thereby justify the continuation of these infamies on earth.” “The social principles of Christianity declare all the vile acts of the oppressors against the oppressed to be either a just punishment for original sin and other sins, or trials which the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, ordains for the redeemed.” “The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submissiveness and humbleness, in short, all the qualities of the rabble, and the proletariat, which will not permit itself to be treated as rabble, needs its courage, its self-confidence, its pride and its sense of independence even more than its bread.” It is not just a philosophy that does not have much use for Christianity, it is nakedly about self-confidence, pride, the abolition of religion, the focus on the temporal, a standard of judgment that is grounded in material measurements. Being a Reverend who openly espouses learning from the Marxists is like being a priest of the Temple who encourages the people of Israel to learn the ideology of the Romans.
It would be no surprise to many then that the senator has endorsed the LGBTQ movement with gusto during his campaign. LGBTQ+: Equality for LGBTQ+ Communities - Warnock for Georgia. That’s actually not that surprising, as this has also been one of his consistent beliefs through the years. Warnock’s stands on justice also include seeing abortion as an issue of justice. That sounds remarkably orthodox, till you discover his perception is that the right to kill your baby in the womb is his conceptualization of “reproductive justice.” A perspective Benjamin Watson had an orthodox response to in the Washington Times: Benjamin Watson, former NFL star, blasts Raphael Warnock's 'reproductive justice' platform - Washington Times. Warnock’s views only make sense inside of an anti-biblical philosophy. Warnock sees the LGBTQ community as oppressed, not just by acts of violence but by non-affirming belief systems. The senator is well inside the system constructed by Foucault and those who followed him who helped to recast virtually all of traditional sexual morality as oppression. His views on abortion likewise point to a materialistic worldview, where abortion is defensible because the babies’ lives are held to be without defensible worth on their own.
Raphael Warnock moved from academia to a highly influential religious post to being one of the most powerful people in our government. For a Sadducee his resume is top tier. As a reverend of the Christian faith his resume does not evidence any experience. His Easter tweet was only a surprise who are unfamiliar with the senator and his school of theology, which has far more association with the utopian philosopher who birthed the single deadliest ideology in human history, Karl Marx than the Biblical witness and work of Jesus Christ.