The Conservative Baptist Network (CBN), an association within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has been promoting a film entitled “Enemies Within the Church.” In the trailer of the film, which the CBN shared in a tweet, various interviewees claim that Christian educational institutions and churches have been brainwashed by Marxism, including some within its own denomination.
On the film’s website, the makers of “Enemies Within the Church” offer a fourfold plan to “save America.” These steps include watching the film, repenting of your sins, building a biblical worldview, and confronting evil. Terms like “sin” and “evil” are framed within the context of the film’s thesis that the Church’s involvement with issues of social justice is inherently godless.
Many Christian leaders have responded negatively to the film’s trailer, drawing attention to the misleading nature of the film’s claims. Some are calling for a formal rebuke of the CBN by the SBC for promoting the film.
“Enemies Within the Church” Trailer
The opening shot of the film’s trailer features the inside of a church, with the camera panning across pews. Over this image, the narrator poses a question: “What happened to the Church — to the living, powerful, transformative, nation-shaking Christianity?” As the camera pans to a crucifix at the front of the church, it changes into an image of Jesus hanging on a hammer and sickle.
One interviewee asked, “How do you break down American Christianity?” The trailer then showed newspaper clippings with terms like “systemic racism,” “profiling,” “discrimination,” and “injustice.”
“I think the problem today in our culture is that many of our words have been co-opted and stolen, and dumbed down, and reversed,” another interviewee said. “When you preach victimization, it always leads to vengeance and vice — us against them, me against you. I want my pound of flesh.”
Ironically, the next shot of the trailer framed educational institutions and many congregations as an enemy to the Church. “American churches today are where the universities were 10 years ago — pretty heavily Marxist…Many of the seminaries and Bible colleges are definitely already there,” one voice said, as the trailer showed footage from what appeared to be Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). Notably, SWBTS belongs to the same denomination as the CBN.
A graphic then flashed across the screen with the statement, “Pastors are being brainwashed.” The trailer featured images of pastors the film believes are brainwashed by Marxist ideas, including Eric Mason and Matt Chandler. Chandler’s church is affiliated with the SBC.
“That message that they’re going out and taking to the world is not, ‘You need to repent of your sin, receive Christ,” said another interviewee. “Instead, the message you actually have is, ‘They are under the weight of racism, or sexism, or homophobia.’”