The John Perkins Perspective

NOTE: The following is protected by federal copyright law and is an excerpt from the book Marxianity written by Brannon Howse and is not to be published online. The footnotes that document the content in this article are found in the book Marxianity or the eBook.

Rather than focusing on individual transformation, purveyors of social justice want nothing less than to have churches become a community organizing collective. One of the key influencers for this transformation is John M. Perkins, a leading civil rights activist from Mississippi. Perkins has been promoting social justice and redistribution of wealth for years, openly bragging about what he calls his three Rs—one of which is redistribution of wealth.

An example of how seriously he believes in this, a document called “The New Evangelical Social Engagement” recounts that “John Perkins argues that ‘God meant for equality to be expressed in terms of economics’.”

Perkins also explained his perspective on redistribution of wealth in a publication by Intervarsity Press. When the interviewer observed that Perkins’ third R “sounds like communism,” Perkins responded by saying, “God never gives ownership. He gives stewardship for the human good.” He also added that redistribution “should be carried out by the church.”

Perkins, Keller, Warren, and others in their camp are ultimately promoting the three-legged stool of communitarianism, and the churches that get involved can qualify for government money and will receive money from globalist foundations. It’s just the sort of socialism wrapped in twisted theology Perkins has been pushing for decades, but in the past few years, he has found ways to mainstream his message.

John MacArthur, of Grace Community Church and Grace To You, affirms Perkins as his “good friend.” A video taken at MacArthur’s church on November 30, 2014 shows MacArthur extolling Perkins’ work in Mississippi, saying that “God has continued to bless the ministry there.” And in an August 13, 2018 blog, MacArthur referred to the Mississippi activist as “my good friend John Perkins, a well-known black evangelical leader.”

Perkins is anything but evangelical, and ironically, in the August 2018 article, MacArthur bemoans the rise of social justice within evangelicalism:

[quote] Evangelicalism’s newfound obsession with the notion of “social justice” is a significant shift—and I’m convinced it’s a shift that is moving many people (including some key evangelical leaders) off message, and onto a trajectory that many other movements and denominations have taken before, always with spiritually disastrous results. [end quote]


If John is so worried about the rise of social justice within evangelicalism, though, why is he aiding its ascension by praising social justice warriors like John Perkins? Why would he laud Perkins in an article condemning social justice?

For MacArthur to take both sides in the same article, I can only shake my head and wonder if he is simply ignorant of Perkins’ real worldview. Apparently, he doesn’t grasp the real philosophy behind the men like Perkins that he keeps putting on his church platform, but who are leaders of the cultural Marxist Gospel Coalition. The Gospel Coalition has spent years promoting John Perkins on its website and inviting him to speak at events, so it would seem that MacArthur and the Gospel Coalition are united in their affirmation of Perkins’ radical version of social justice. Unfortunately, MacArthur’s influence greatly assists Perkins.

Within a few days of MacArthur’s article on social justice, another author used MacArthur’s praise of John Perkins to bolster his own radical social justice position. Columnist Brad Mason published an article on August 13, 2018 entitled, “John MacArthur Enters the Fray on Racial Reconciliation” in which he refers to “John Perkins, one of the original group of pastors championing the Christian approach to reconciliation (and good friend of John MacArthur).” Yet, if MacArthur is so burdened by the rise of social justice within evangelicalism, then why has he continued to bring Gospel Coalition members such as Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, and H. B. Charles to speak at his annual Shepherds’ Conference?

Thankfully, people are picking up on the oddity of this. I have received numerous emails from former MacArthur donors explaining that they have ceased supporting Grace to You because of MacArthur’s refusal to stop promoting, praising, and putting on the platform men from the Gospel Coalition. Others say they have stopped supporting MacArthur financially because of his defense of James White’s interfaith dialogue with a Jew-hating, holocaust-denying, Hitler-defending, Jihadi-preaching Imam.

So that you won’t make the same mistake as John MacArthur in understanding Perkin’s worldview, here’s an excerpt from a Perkins video in which he explains—albeit laced with double-speak—his views of redistribution:

[quote] Now this one gets controversial . . . relocation confronts our pride, it confronts our upward mobility, and it’s the one that people would rather not have. But then we come to the reality of the one that they really resist, and that’s redistribution. . . People have tried to get us to change it because it sounds so communistic. It sounds so much like communism. It sounds so much like holding everything in common in life, and it sounds like, then, you gonna take all the money from the rich and give it to the poor …  and I always say that that’s not the first thing in redistribution. I think the first thing in redistribution is . . . believing in the inherited dignity of people, in believing that people are creative, and with the right information, the right understanding, people can create well. [emphasis mine] [end quote]


When Perkins says his approach is about “taking all the money from the rich and give it to the poor” and that “the first thing in redistribution is ideas,” Perkins is not denying that taking from the rich and giving to the poor is part of his plan of redistribution; he just says, “I think the first thing in redistribution is ideas” (emphasis mine).

This is consistent with messaging from the Gospel Coalition which goes even farther at times. Notorious for its Marxianity, the Gospel Coalition published an article on its website on July 8, 2014 entitled, “Is There a Case for Racial Reparations,” in which Alan Noble presented his reactions to an article in The Atlantic about “The Case for Reparations.” Nobel said:


[quote] [A]fter reading Coate’s powerful and enlightening piece, it’s hard for me to imagine not demanding reparations of some kind or another for the hundreds of years of government sanctioned abuse suffered by blacks in our country. [end quote]


But black conservative Walter Williams reveals the foolishness of the concept of reparations:

[quote] During slavery, some free blacks purchased other blacks as a means to free family members. But other blacks owned slaves for the same reason whites owned slaves—to work farms or plantations. Are descendants of these slaveholding blacks eligible for and deserving of reparations?


When African slavery began, there was no way Europeans could have enslaved millions of Africans. They had no immunity from diseases that flourished in tropical Africa. Capturing Africans to sell into slavery was done by Arabs and black Africans. Would reparations advocates demand that citizens of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and several Muslim states tax themselves to make reparation payments to progeny of people whom their ancestors helped to enslave?


Reparations advocates make the foolish unchallenged argument that the United States became rich on the backs of free black labor. That’s nonsense that cannot be supported by fact. Slavery doesn’t have a very good record of producing wealth. Slavery was all over the South, and it was outlawed in most of the North. Buying into the reparations argument about the riches of slavery, one would conclude that the antebellum South was rich and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth of the matter is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our nation were places where slavery flourished—Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia—while the richest states and regions were those where slavery was absent: Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.


One of the most ignored facts about slavery’s tragic history—and it’s virtually a secret today—is that slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years. It did not become a moral issue until the 18th century. Plus, the moral crusade against slavery started in the West, most notably England.


I think the call for slavery reparations is simply another hustle. Advocates are not demanding that government send checks to individual black people. They want taxpayer money to be put into some kind of reparations fund from which black leaders decide who receives how much and for what purpose.” [end quote]


Nevertheless, an article entitled, “Reparations or Reconciliation,” quotes John Perkins:

[quote] “I don’t think you can call it reparations now, because that word has been demonized,” says Perkins. “But I think we need leadership in the black community at a national conference to create a plan for redevelopment of urban communities, and then come up with a plan of how the evangelical church could strongly participate in missions to bring this about, and to tie it to reconciliation.” [end quote]


According to the article, Perkins bases the need on “a terrible wrong” done in the past:

[quote] “I think if we would acknowledge that we have done a terrible wrong, it would begin the possibility of a healing process,” says Perkins. “That has happened in South Africa. You have to bring a dispute to an end, and unless you do that you can’t get healing—it just lingers on.” [end quote]


Has America not acknowledged the sin of slavery and sought to advance black Americans through countless government programs that have cost billions in taxpayer funds? And South Africa’s solution to the reparations issue is hardly a model. Its “reparations” have opened the door for the communists to beat, torture, rape, and kill countless white, capitalist, Christian farmers. Laws are being changed by communists in South Africa, so they can steal land from white farmers while claiming that such theft is legal. Columnist Steve Byas documents this abhorrent reality:

[quote] Under an openly racist redistributionist policy announced by South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, land will be taken away from whites and given to black South Africans—all without any compensation.


In an address to the parliament meeting in Cape Town a few days ago, Ramaphosa said, “The expropriation of land without compensation is envisaged as one of the measures that we will use to accelerate redistribution of land to black South Africans.” [end quote]


Yet, a National Review article reveals that: “White South Africans have been native for more than 350 years; whites were farming South Africa before Newton discovered gravity.”

And it gets worse. Marxist Julius Malema, a leader within the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in South Africa, stated in 2016, that he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people—at least for now” (emphasis mine). And in a 2018 speech, Malema declared, “Go after a white man… We are cutting the throat of whiteness.”

Reporter Alex Newman has been investigating the communist, white privilege propaganda that led to the murder of capitalists and Christian farmers and now to the confiscation of their lands that officially began in August of 2018. He reports:


[quote] South Africa had many different options during the 1980s and 1990s about how to dismantle apartheid, but the “media and the Western establishment” demanded an immediate surrender of power to the communists and the terrorists. [end quote]


“There were a lot of black groups and white groups who said, no, this is a terrible idea, let’s think about this a little bit before we hand all power to this Soviet-backed militant organization that has been murdering people, that has been putting tires around black people’s necks and setting them on fire for opposing their policies,” explained Newman. “But no, the media had to have it their way … and so now we see the fruits of it, and no one wants to look at it.”

Could some form of what is happening in South Africa come to America? Newman thinks so:

[quote] “What’s happening to the Afrikaner minority in South Africa is a microcosm in my view of what’s coming, or at least what the globalists and the establishment hope is coming, to what remains of the Christian West,” he said.

“I think people need to realize that we’re moving toward this global system,” he warned. “The U.N. is now constantly declaring itself to be the global government. The last secretary general said the U.N. is the ‘parliament of humanity.’ So, what’s going to happen to what remains of the Christian West, under this system that they’re talking about imposing on us? Well, we’ll be a tiny, outnumbered minority with no ability to control our own destiny, no ability to control our own schools and our own education and our own institutions. “I think what’s happening to the Afrikaner community in South Africa is essentially a sneak preview of what will come to the remnant of the Christian West if we allow this all to continue.” [end quote]


A quick search online renders numerous videos and articles on communist groups in America calling for violence against Christians and capitalists, and the liberal media is without a doubt agitating for such civil unrest.

Falling in line, John Perkins intones against the situation in the United States in front of audiences in other countries. In fall 2014, for instance, he spoke at the opening of the International Perkins Centre in Hamilton, Canada. I found his almost hour-long rant on Youtube, and I could write pages about the economic and biblical fallacies presented in this one speech, but I’ll detail here just a few of the more shocking proclamations. At one point, he declared:


[quote] [I]t’s difficult for them [Christians in America] to help people because they’re over-conservative. They see . . . every one of you Canadians as liberal. . . We Christians, we don’t like that at all, because if we give it all to those who don’t have it, we won’t have enough. And so, it’s best for us to not give it to them so we can make sure we got enough. That’s America, and that is perpetuated by the best of the Christians in America, the so-called evangelicals. That’s what I am, I’m one of them. I’m one of those. Now, what I’m trying to do is to see some sense of renewal within it. I really would wish we could redeem evangelical Christianity in America. . . On the other side of that, our good liberals, they have tried it and they have failed. They have tried it and bankrupted our society and they have failed. So that puts us in a pretty bad situation in America. [end quote]


So, if the conservative right has failed and the liberal left has failed, then what is John Perkins offering? A third way, of course. Perkins offers communitarianism. He is a huge fan of public-private partnerships—the three-legged stool promoted by Peter Drucker, Bob Buford, Tim Keller, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, the Acton Institute, and others of the same ilk.

Perkins has written a book bemoaning charity as compared to justice. Apparently, charity is too voluntary whereas real justice, according to John Perkins, is mandated redistribution of wealth. Again, in his Canada speech, Perkins uses convoluted verbiage to arrive at his definition of justice:


[quote] [I]njustice, to me, is a stewardship issue, is how we steward society. Injustice, then, is depriving other people from open access to all of God’s resources in society. The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness… so justice, then, is really an economic issue. It’s how we utilize the world’s resources—how we process them—and how we keep too much of it for ourselves and deprive the poor of that same access. That’s what injustice is all about. So, it’s beyond charity, although we should be charitable. [end quote]


To demonstrate Perkins’ flawed reasoning, let me offer an analogy. When someone goes to a bank, there is no obligation in a free market system for the bank to guarantee that person a loan. If someone does not have sufficient income, good credit, a job, or sufficient collateral, then he or she will not be approved for a loan. Just because someone is denied access to funds from the bank does not mean the person has been deprived of justice. A bank is not a charity. It’s a business created when founders pool their capital to make loans to individuals and companies they deem to be reasonable risks, and from whom they expect a return on investment. A bank has a moral and legal responsibility to conduct business in a manner beneficial to and protective of the bank’s investors, as well as those who have funds on deposit.

For Perkins to believe all people should have equal access to resources is not only foolish, it is actually dangerous. When a nation no longer has economic freedom, it no longer has political or religious freedom, either. Besides, when Perkins declares of our resources that “we keep too much of it for ourselves,” who is he to make that determination? Is Perkins in favor of mandatory minimum incomes as well as mandatory maximum incomes, a strategy advocated by socialists?

Perkins defenders will claim that I simply misunderstand the man. They believe John Perkins is well-meaning and sincere. Preaching and teaching a class warfare of taking from one and giving to another and passing it off as a form of Christianity, however, is not nice, moral, or biblical. Nothing lays this bare with more clarity than his Canada speech. This quote from it will leave you stunned by what this man preaches:


[quote] Now you’ve gotta be a little radical. Our wealth and prosperity stops us from doing anything radically, because it will rock somebody’s boat, and we want to be accepted before people. And so that’s the question today I’m having is I can’t find nobody is concerned enough, passionate enough to do anything about the problem they see in society and taking some responsibility for them. And that’s what leadership is. Leadership is taking personal responsibility for some big problem that you can’t do alone, and you need some other people there if you do it. But taking responsibility for it. And that’s the problem. We take a charitable approach. We take a little approach and it’s too little and you’re too late for the problem. All change comes because people decide that this is almost worth dying for, and then things change. Today people are too light and they’re coming to it with too little and not ready to put something into it enough sufficiently, intelligently, or whatever it is. There’s a reason people aren’t liking Bill Gates and other people, I’m talking about successful people, revolutionaries in the world, I’m talking about Fidel Castro… I’m talking about Mandela, I’m talking about anybody, and I’m talking about Chuck Colson, or anybody who makin’ a change in society throw the wholeness of themselves into it. And today we just got a little “charitable approach” to everything. [end quote]


Yes, you read that right. Perkins praises the examples of “successful people, revolutionaries in the world” like Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela. Both men were murderous, communistic, sexually deviant terrorists, but John Perkins ranks them as successful examples of who we should follow.

This follows from Perkins’ long-standing opposition to free market capitalism, as revealed in a 2005 interview. He declared:

[quote] I think capitalism has become a system in the hands of wicked people, fallen humanity. And I think, possibly, it can more easily—the strong can more easily exploit the weak in capitalism…So it’s hard—but I think unless we can bring some kind of a discipline to it, then that’s where it becomes deadly; and I think most people who control it don’t want any discipline in it. So I think they over exploit—you know, we were held as slaves, as black people within the capitalistic system—you understand what I’m saying—but on the other hand, just totally condemning that system: that system could be used and good people then would be able to develop it and care for each other…And again, I’m saying capitalism would need discipline, that socialism would need discipline…and any other economic system would need some kind of accountability or discipline in it, you know. So, I don’t think we have arrived at an alternative apart from community. That’s what I’m saying. I think we could practice this capitalistic system within the context of community. The person who has been so exploited by capitalism, if he says that capitalism is bad in the sense that media has ruined it, it’s to the media’s advantage to destroy that person…so just railing against it without us thinking about some form of alternative to it—at least some form of alternative in terms of how we can form some kind of an alternative that helps people. Again, I think good-thinking people would say that it’s hard to do that within the context of a capitalistic system. [end quote]


Perkins is calling for a mixture of socialism with capitalism, and we’re back to the three-legged stool.

In his speech in Canada, Perkins even bemoans laws related to homosexuality and abortion. He explains that he is “not one of these going around fighting about pro-life.” Perkins rants about capitalism and equal access to resources but has no time for the civil rights of the unborn child.

At the end of the day, Perkins is not really interested in civil rights for everyone but simply in the radical socialist movement. Apparently, it doesn’t matter to him that Planned Parenthood was founded by racist Margaret Sanger who wanted to eliminate black people through eugenics. Perkins, though, can’t seem to say enough bad about his country of origin, even in front of the people of Canada:


[quote] I’m sure you Canadians are far above that. I’m probably talking about stuff that’s so “kindygarten,” but I come from this great religious society where we have been tied in the ideology of boxes: socialism, communism, liberalism, all that stuff. People are tied and gets their identity from those little boxes, and those boxes are too tight, too tight. And what people are doing is reflecting that little box in which they come from: abortion, homosexuality, we tied too tight in these little boxes. Our vision of God ought to be bigger than those issues, I always said, but I’m pro-life wishing I was pro-choice. I wish that we would not have to have a television camera of the judges in the bedroom. I would wish that we would not have to make laws like that. I was wishin’ that people could have enough sanity to make their own decisions.


You know what I’m sayin’? So I’m not one of these who are welcoming, not one of these going around fighting about pro-life—I am pro-life—but I believe we should educate people to the fact that they could have enough sense to make some decision and that we don’t have to make everything legal, you know what I’m sayin’—or illegal—I think we’re going to over-criminalize our society. It burdens me now that we’re trying to criminalize hispanic people in this country—in my country—trying to criminalize. We’re trying to criminalize everything we can criminalize, you know what I’m sayin’? I think there ought to be some things left to conscience. There ought to be some things that we can live with in our society. I would hate for somebody, a girl, to come to my church on Sunday morning who had an abortion five years ago and now feel the pain of that and I would hate for somebody to tell her she was a murderer before I told her God loved her. You get that here? You see the kind of boxes we’re in and that we can’t really express the depth of God’s love to us because we are so much in such a tight little box and we’re gonna define people in relationship to how they relate to our box in life. [end quote]


An internet search shows that Perkins and his organizations have signed on to numerous initiatives, consistent with this thinking, in which he aligns himself with other socialist radicals such as Jim Wallis and Ron Sider. Along with some members of the Gospel Coalition, he has signed on to the Evangelical Immigration Table, funded by Fabian socialist and globalist George Soros.

It’s frightening to see how far evangelicalism has sunk when a man like John Perkins is lifted up as a hero, a reformer, and leader within mainstream evangelicalism. And it’s sad to see men such as John MacArthur lack the discernment, common sense, and understanding to recognize John Perkins for what he is.


The “Christian” Community Organization


The John Perkins’ model of socialism begins with churches that are transformed into community service centers, and as I said earlier, churches that do this get in line for government funding. According to the website of the United States Justice Department, churches can get government money as long as they don’t use it for proselytization. In other words, they can’t pass out Bible tracts, can’t preach the gospel, and can’t give away Bibles. They can’t be involved in any Great Commission work at all. It appears, now, that instead of persecuting the church, the Marxists will simply purchase the church. Through government contracts, churches become middlemen for government social programs, and in the process, become completely impotent in preaching the gospel.

This subcontracting concept is already working in the area of immigration. A billion-dollar refuge settlement program promulgated by the Obama administration poured money into nonprofit, evangelical organizations to resettle immigrants—including unvetted Muslims–in the United States. These organizations were literally government contractors, but in return, they had to agree not to be involved in any promotion of a biblical worldview or the true gospel.

The allure of government funding and the accompanying aura of public respectability is a remarkably seductive opportunity to ambitious young pastors. Many want huge buildings, multi-campus sites, a mega staff, and a giant audience to hear them preach. They aspire to be the CEO of a major organization. So, you appeal to the flesh of the pastor who wants a lot of people in his church. If you turn his church into a social service center, folks will show up to get the goods. But the price for this kind of success is the silencing of the gospel.

This doesn’t mean that globalists and Marxists won’t persecute the real church. Believe me, they will. The false dominant church will say of the true church:


  • “Those people are the problem.”
  • “They’re the ones keeping us from global unity.”
  • “Those people are the ones benefitting from white privilege.”
  • “They aren’t involved in racial reconciliation because they oppose things like redistribution of wealth, reparations, and mandatory minimum incomes.”


Sound familiar? You’ve probably already heard many of those charges. False pastors, hirelings, and false teachers will say, “The government rightfully should prosecute those Christians for hate crimes, hate speech, and discrimination. Their nonprofit status should be taken away.”

The false dominant church will redefine Christianity, open church doors to non-believers, and justify the persecution of the real church. For the churches that have succumbed to this, notice that no one had to persecute them into submission. As the old saying goes, “Everyone has their price.” Apparently, it applies even to many in the church.


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