With protests concerning racism at the forefront in the news, it’s time for all Christians to become educated about the worldviews at work behind the scenes. This article is designed to serve as a starting point for members of our church who wish to understand the issue from a Christian perspective. With the Word of God, Christians are equipped better than anyone to understand why lives matter, and to offer the only solution to social problems that actually changes hearts – the Gospel. But often, before we can get involved in meaningful gospel conversations, we need be equipped with the knowledge of the topic at hand.
I have gathered here some resources I have found very helpful even though I cannot agree with 100% of the content. As Christians, we must be able to engage with content contrary to our views in a reasoned and compassionate way in order to connect everyone with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
First the disclaimers: This article is intended for Christian audiences with a certain amount of background knowledge required to fully understand it. This article is in no way a denial that there are problems of racial discrimination in our nation. This article is also not intended to ‘take sides’ on any particular instance of apparent injustice. True Bible-believing Christians believe in equality of value for all people, and the necessity for just governance of those people.
Here is a video that can quickly educate a Christian on the main points. It’s important to note that many of those who are using Critical Race Theory (CRT) and intersectionality (IS) in their thinking have no grasp of its origins nor its implications. Many may not even be familiar with these terms. This video is designed for a Christian audience to define the terms of the conversation, and contrast it with the gospel. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=227059245235540 Based on this piece, how does CRT evaluate people? How does that compare to how Christians should evaluate people?
Here’s Dr. Voddie Baucham talking about racial reconciliation within the church using an exposition of Ephesians 2:10-11. Ephesians chapters 2-4 have a great deal to say about Christian unity, and the nature of the body of Christ. In Christ, God tore down the distinctions between Jews and Gentiles – a distinction which God himself originally established – to bring them together in unity in a single body. The implication is there shall be no racial distinctions among the people of God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoJGYCc7EUg [Racial Reconciliation – Ephesians 2:10-11 | Dr. Voddie Baucham, 54:03] Based on this piece, should there be racial division in the church? Is there room for CRT and IS in the church? What is the basis of Christian unity within the church?
CRT, IS, and the Southern Baptist Convention
Did you know that at the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention, a resolution was adopted concerning Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality? You can read it here. The resolution is very cautious, and even states that CRT and IS “should only be employed as analytical tools subordinate to Scripture.” However, that these can be used as tools to glean any useful information at all at least partially legitimizes them as working social theories.
This resolution of course faced great opposition. Tom Ascol of Founders Ministries represents many who opposed the measure as it appears to open the door letting CRT and IS into the convention. You can read a very helpful article by Tom Ascol on the issue here. The first few paragraphs of the article contain links to many other helpful resources on the issue. What is obvious from the passing of this resolution is that the majority of delegates present at the convention were mostly ignorant of the dangers of this way of thinking, and indeed of the topic as a whole.
Where CRT and IS Fail
Hopefully, you can begin to detect this kind of thinking as you hear the rhetoric of politicians and read the materials of popular organizations such as Black Lives Matter.
A Narrow View of Humanity: CRT and IS forces its adherents to view people through a very narrow lens of power structures – social, economic, and political. It divides people into categories based upon these power structures as either oppressor or oppressed. Then people become ranked according to their membership in a group, and their conformance (or non-conformance) to mainstream values. But, Failing to see the whole person has a dehumanizing affect. Ironically, the evaluation of human beings by CRT and IS is akin to the worst forms of racism.
A Value System Based on Blind Rejection: The result of this thinking is a blanket rejection of the values of groups seen as oppressors. A revolution of values is taking place, and the value system of the revolutionaries is being defined simply as denials of those things perceived as valuable to the “oppressor” classes today. This can be seen clearly for instance in the original text from the Black Lives Matter website, from their section, “What We Believe.” Here is the original text:
We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location. We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence. We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered. We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts. We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work. We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable. We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).From https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/, accessed September 22, 2020 at 10:53 AM EDT.
The text of this section of their website has since been changed to present a less radical statement perhaps to appeal to a broader audience in the election season. The current statement can be found here. As you can see, the original statment rejects all mainstream societal norms in terms of sexuality and even family structure. The error here is of course connecting the root of the problem of racism to every facet of modern society. It is an error akin to tearing down an entire house to rid it of an infestation.
Misdiagnosing the problem: The problems of our society such as inequality, injustice, poverty, crime, etc. are the result of the sin of mankind. None of these problems existed before sin (Genesis 1-3) and none of these problems will exist in the New Heaven and the New Earth (Revelation 21-22).
This misdiagnosis stems from a more general problem with the humanist worldview. Since humanism sees mankind as the ultimate authority, it assigns the cause of every problem to existing human beings and their societal structures rather than the true cause – human sinfulness. This explains the general unrest of younger generations and their resulting rejection and mistrust of adults. They enter into a world with a host of problems, and assign blame for all these problems to existing authorities (oppressors.) For this reason, they call for radical change rejecting all present structures.
Finding the Wrong Solution: Having misdiagnosed the problem, it is no surprise that those following Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality find the wrong solutions. The failure is in the worldview. In the humanist worldview, human beings should be able to solve human problems. In our contemporary context, many are turning to various versions of Marxism to try to bring about societal and economic equality. This is seen in the driving philosophies of Black Lives Matter, whose founding members claim to be “trained Marxists.” (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgEUbSzOTZ8, about 1:15)
However, all attempts at the redistribution of wealth and power using Marxist principles in the past have produced societies that not only retain the same problems they were trying to solve, but have the additional burden of a large and oppressive centralized governing authority. It is these kinds of governing authorities that often produce oppression that dwarfs the oppression they were attempting to solve. This is illustrated in the plight of the animals in the book Animal Farm by George Orwell. In the story, farm animals overthrow their human oppressors only to replace them with the pigs (the smartest among them) who by the end of the novel, bear an eerie resemblance to men.
The Gospel Solution
The right solution is of course the gospel because it can actually change hearts. The Gospel offers repentance, forgiveness, and true unity in Jesus Christ for all who believe regardless of race, gender, or social status. See http://whitesrun.org/blog/race-and-racism/ for a biblical explanation of the true problem and the true solution.
The gospel is superior to Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality because:
- It is offered equally to all people. All human beings are guilty of sin, and under the condemnation of God, but any who repent and believe will be saved. (John 3:16-18) The gospel was commanded to be brought to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Rev. 5:9, 7:9; Genesis 12:3;) according to God’s design from the very beginning.
- It has a truly authoritative basis for the equality of human beings. God created all people equal in His image. (Genesis 1:27-28) Without reference to God, it is impossible to apply an authoritative and objective standard to anything. Critical Race Theory can appeal to nothing but opinion, consensus, or law, all of which have a failing track record in human history.
- It offers true forgiveness and redemption. CRT can only shift authority and oppression from one group to another. In the gospel, all are made new and unified in the church. Reparations are not sought by those who have been forgiven themselves.
- It offers abundant life to people in any socio-economic situation. Those who are in Christ overcome the world. Peace with God, joy, salvation, purpose, hope, and love are all superior to material success in the world. Injustice and inequality
How Do We Those Who Subscribe to These Ideologies?
- In General, try these three steps:
- Find a point of connection or agreement.
- Ask questions about their view to properly learn the basis for their beliefs. Ask “by what standard?” or “on what basis?” do they believe what they believe.
- Offer to provide an alternative explanation centered on the intrinsic value of people – the Gospel.
- The Word of God is what God uses to save people. Sometimes we need to find a point of connection with people like Paul did in Athens in Acts 17. But from there, we must take the conversation to the gospel – the Word of God. It’s important that we do not get distracted with mere surface issues like politics, religion, and race. Instead, we show the superiority of the gospel in valuing and redeeming people.
- Embrace the common ground of the value of human life. This connection point should be obvious: Obviously black lives matter. We can agree on that issue without affirming the Marxist basis of the group Black Lives Matter. Then try to find the basis for the value of human life. (Hint: Without God, we can find no objective value ascribed to human life.)
- Make people evaluate how CRT measures a person. The Gospel ascribes equal value to all people because they are made in the image of God. CRT diminishes human value to socio-economic terms. In fact, materialism/humanism/naturalism have no firm basis for finding value or meaning in anything because they evaluate life in material terms like money, status, etc. Ask, is someone’s income or social status the most important thing about them?
- Point out the gospel’s universal offers of eternal life, renewed relationship with God, and the power of God for a changed heart. CRT only proposes political and economic programs that cannot change the heart of people.
- Point out the superiority of unified hearts and common values in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is uniting all people in His Church to be a diverse living unity in Him. CRT perpetuates labels and divisions.
- Always be polite – put these in your own words and sincerely listen to answers. The only unsuccessful encounters are those in which we learn nothing.
- Some sample questions: I agree all people should be treated equally, but by what standard do you believe all people to be equal? How does this movement bring about equality? Will laws solve the problems we have? Aren’t there already laws concerning this? What is the role of cultural values? Are there any other factors that affect the quality of a person’s life? What responsibility does an individual have? How is it that some people seem to overcome the place in life they are born into? How do we determine what aspects of our culture are good or bad? Do you think cultures can be blind to their own faults? So, how can we be proactive in solving these problems? Could I shed some light on the issue from a biblical perspective? Is assuming the role of oppressed, and demanding fair treatment sufficient to move a life forward?
- As you ask questions, come from a sincere position of trying to understand, and clarify your intention if necessary.