Over the next few posts, I would like to dig into a topic that has become the center of many conversations. Both within the Church and in the greater culture in which the Church exists. More specifically, I will be outlining and identifying some of the basic tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) to show how it is not what it appears to be or is what it is being portrayed to be. While this conversation will not be comfortable, the poisonous nature of this theoretical framework and the dangerous implications of its application have been and will continue to be hazardous for the Church. Who we understand ourselves to be as disciples of Christ must only be shaped by what God says, and not by what the world thinks about who we are supposed to be.
I will not make any attempts in this series to engage directly with in the more “justice” questions that have been used to justify the usage of CRT. The primary reason is that the definitions of justice being used by the world are not applicable to a biblical definition. And secondly, because there is no “justice” in the world when it is grounded in any system or philosophy other than the character of God.
My responsibility as a bishop in the Lord Jesus Christ’s Church is not to defend the world. I will only defend the Church. With this in mind, I want to offer an introduction to what I have come to believe is the destructive philosophy of Critical Race Theory (CRT). In future posts, I will share the underlying foundational beliefs of CRT, and offer a biblically informed, Christian response.
Based on the many discussions and articles that have appeared on television and online, I believe most people have heard the phrase Critical Race Theory (CRT). What is ironic in the current context of those discussion regarding CRT is this, most of the people advocating and promoting the theory do not have a clue as to what CRT is, how it was developed, or what will be the outcome. These individuals who have decided to take the side in favor of CRT, especially Christian leaders, have proven themselves to be ignorant of the definition, purpose, and objectives of CRT. I say the Christian leaders are ignorant because the alternative is that they have become complicit in the harm being done by intentionally joining the enemies of the Church (which I prove to be true below).
Many Christian preachers and teachers have fallen prey for a theoretical framework that is grounded in a philosophy that is both antagonistic to the Christian faith and harmful to Christian witness. Why do I say this? Because one of the central tenets of CRT is that it is grounded in the atheistic philosophical and economic systems of Karl Marx. In essence they have swallowed the atheistic camel without even examining if there are any nefarious implications associated with it.
After studying the topic it has become apparent to me that this is in essence a worldly propaganda that must not be allowed to take roots in the Church because it is a threat to the Church’s very existence.
Let me say it as clearly as I can, CRT is not trying to find solutions to our problems. CRT is coded language for a fundamentally racist ideology based on cultural Marxist concepts and constructs. The goal of this system is the destruction of any semblance of a peaceful coexistence in our society and the disintegration of any national cohesion among the citizenry. CRT wants to replace the family structure and supplant the Church’s influence in our culture with a dictatorial, political cult in which the God of the Bible is removed, and the government is installed as their god.
What is worrisome is that too many Christians, following the example of their “leaders” have failed to see how this strategy is mired in racial and tribal undertones that men like Dr. Martin Luther King died to eradicate from our society. When leaders in the Church embrace CRT they become complicit in creating division in the Body of Christ.
The identity and definition of the Christian Church come from biblically derived principles. Individual Christians do not define the Church. The New Testament of the Bible defines the Church. The main problem CRT presents to the Church is its insistence that people be defined by the color of their skin. To adopt this position as a means of understanding the world around us will only bring division, resentment, anger, and violence to any society that embraces it. And if the Church were to allow this poisonous doctrine to enter its sacred doors, it would divide the Body of Christ into racial categories. The very categories the Apostle Paul said Jesus came to break down (Ephesian 2:14). Allow me to share three fundamental principles that define the Church and make CRT incompatible with Christian values.
First, Jesus is the Savior, and He is the only way to God. Only in Jesus can we find the truth, and only He is the source of life. As Christians, we were not called to combat injustices through political movements or through government sanctioned programs. The Church fights against injustice and prejudice through a process called reconciliation and by embracing the work restoration. Both of these are to be extended to all people as they are invited into the Body of Christ.
Any ideology, movement, or worldly philosophical system that introduces division into the Church must be rejected at all costs. And it must be denounced as quickly as it rises. Our greatest commitment must be to “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18). The Apostle Paul made very clear that once we are in Christ, “we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:16). The “we” in the passage is anyone who has accepted the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ, and him alone.
The clear implication I take from Paul’s words is that when we regard people according to the flesh, we cannot be reconciled with them because we cannot escape our physical differences. And to go a step further, we cannot be restored either. When there is no reconciliation, there is going to be division. We cannot reconcile with people we have labeled as irreparably damaged because of the color of their skin. We cannot fulfill the very ministry we have been sent into the world to proclaim. While the world may want us to indulge in prejudice and condone violence against those who disagree with us, in the Church these behaviors and attitudes bring shame to the name of the LORD.
Second, all human beings are sinners and must accept God’s gift of salvation through Christ. The only door available for us to be eternally reconciled and restored to fellowship with God in the life of the Church is Jesus. CRT proposes that some people are permanently damaged. They can never escape what they are because of who they are. From the world’s perspective, a person who is permanently damaged cannot be reconciled, because they cannot be redeemed. If we accept that some people are beyond redemption, we make a mockery of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. This is a message of division and violence. But this is not the message of the Gospel. The Gospel emphatically declares that even the most wicked can be changed, redeemed, reconciled, and restored.
From a Christian perspective, we must recognize that all human beings, of all racial identities, are sinners in need of a Savior. In the Church we do not consider some sinners as being worse than others, and we do not pass judgments based on external appearances. The Church is the only place in which true reconciliation can take place because it is the only place where redemption can be found. We cannot allow the divisions and the prejudices of the world to poison the Body of Christ. Some Christian leaders have been seduced by their desire to be “relevant” to the world and have incorporated the world’s language to speak of redemption. We cannot use demonic language to define divine revelation. These leaders have lost sight of the calling. We were not called to influence the world. We were called to bring the world to repentance through the preaching of the Gospel, and to reconciliation through the tearing of the dividing wall of separation.
James wrote that “if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (Jam. 3:14-15). CRT’s racial philosophy is based on bitter jealousy and strife. How do we know this? Because it is built upon the framework of Marxist ideology. Therefore, the conclusion we must draw is that its proposals are also demonic. As Christians, we cannot entertain or employ the “solutions” the world is offering because they are superficial, inadequate, and ultimately demonic. I want the solution Jesus offered. And that solution comes through a life of sacrifice and service for others. I have committed my entire life to preaching reconciliation and grace, and I am not about to trade the peace Jesus brings for the racially inflaming prejudices CRT offers.
Third, the Church is a spiritual Body formed by all the sinners who have received eternal life in Christ and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. The Church is commanded NOT to make racial, cultural, or financial distinctions. Nor should it take into consideration the station in life you were born into. While there have always been superficial and immature Christians who have expressed social, cultural, and racial prejudices, they are not the standard for the Church. They are acting in ways counter to the ideals of the Scripture. Those in the Church who show partiality, of any kind, must be called to repent and stop provoking divisions in the Body of Christ. The biblical standard is simple—we are one Body and anything that hinders, or distracts from, the unity of the Body must be rejected without excuse, explanation, or hesitation.
As a Member of the Body of Christ I cannot treat other members of the Body as if they were my enemies. If this behavior is seen in the Church, it is sinful, and must be addressed. While this can be difficult, the work of the Church in proclaiming the Gospel requires it.
In conclusion, the idea that a large segment of our population is morally and spiritually damaged and are beyond redemption is a repugnant ideology and anathema to anything sacred. The idea that these members of the Body of Christ must be eliminated from society cannot even be contemplated as a working premise for the Church. And this is exactly what the application of CRT is asking us to accept.
Part of the challenge we face, and the reason for this series, is that there are many in the Church who have been enticed by the promises CRT make but have not properly understood the effects it will produce. You may wonder, “Who speaks like this? Who in the Church can support such vitriol?” The answer to both questions is simpler than you may realize.
Do you think, as a Christian leader, that you can be an agent of reconciliation while condoning a philosophy and framework that is intentionally peddling racially motivated hatred? No serious Christian can believe that all human beings were created in God’s image, as the word of God clearly states, while also believing that some people are permanently damaged because of the color of their skin.
Allow me a word of warning. If you have accepted CRT based on its promised goals, but have not carefully analyzed its proposed methods, you have become unintentionally complicit in its divisive error. I implore you, return to the biblical concepts of reconciliation. Stop accepting the teachings of secular and non-Christian thinkers in doing the work of ministry in your churches. If it’s not from God, it should not be used to define God’s work.
Here at Ambassadors of Christ, I will go down with the ship. That means that I will stand for the Truth even if I must stand alone. I will die for the truth, even if I am the only one who can see it. But I know I am not alone. As a pastor of souls, I will not subject any of our members to the hatred being spewed by those who claim to be wise in the ways of the world. What they propose is division not unity. What they excuse is violence in the name of what they call racial justice, rather than condemning those who are doing harm and causing destruction. I would encourage you to consider calling this behavior for what it really it— it is retaliation. It is violence. It is vengeance. And none of these belong in the Church or among God’s people.
(To be continued…)