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That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost

By Melvin Tinker
September 2019 | Review by Chris Hand
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 1783972408
  • Pages: 130
  • Price: £6.99
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Book Review

A book offering to tell us ‘how the West was lost’ has set itself a very ambitious target. Perhaps it needs a few more pages to quite hit that target. But it succeeds admirably in drawing our attention to a dangerous intellectual and spiritual current of our time: ‘cultural Marxism’.

That Hideous Strength is actually the title of the third book in a sci-fi trilogy by C. S. Lewis, published in 1945, describing the misguided efforts of a group of deluded and dangerous utopians to fashion a new efficient world order with the help of evil alien life forms. These intellectual elitists and their extra-terrestrial collaborators seek to win over the public to their programme with a mixture of violence and propaganda.

Much of it is C. S. Lewis at his prescient best and it supplies Mr Tinker with an allegory for our time, as he spotlights the hugely influential role today of cultural Marxism in its drive to conform public attitudes to a godless agenda by stealth and alarming streaks of totalitarianism.

The other main point of reference to understand our times is the Tower of Babel. This is perhaps overall a more helpful and straightforward way in to the main theme. Likewise our minds might have been kept a little freer to absorb the important main contention of the book with fewer quotes from other authorities and more in the author’s own words.

But you really should read this book. Young people, students, Christians trying to make sense of the world that we are living in and seeking to evangelise — you really should read this book.

Do not be put off by the terminology. If trying to understand postmodernism left you fazed and vowing never again, please stay the course.

The ‘cultural Marxism’ hashtag is shorthand for the revolutionary intent of modern times that seeks to turn society upside down, not through straightforward economic class action as advocated by old school Marxists, but through changing cultural norms about who we are and how we should live.

Melvin Tinker names the names and shows how their stated desire has been to destroy church, family, morally acceptable expressions of human sexuality and God’s standards in general. His chapters on the ‘The gender agenda’ and ‘Barbarians through the gates’ show the impact of pro-gay lifestyle propaganda on wider culture and the church, and are eloquent testimony to the power, pervasiveness and sheer determination of the cultural Marxists.

But our author also has a very valuable chapter calling us to Christ-centredness, courageous refusal, courageous refutation and true Christian community, living for God’s glory, not our own. It is very stirring and captures something of the essence of true discipleship.

Tinker writes toward the end of his book, ‘The political will of the opponents of Christianity is strong and unrelenting. The church by and large appears confused and compromised. The stakes are incredibly high; nothing less than the survival of a civilization and the eternal well-being of countless souls’. (p.116). I think he is right. Read this book.

Chris Hand

Crich

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