We jump off into the whole social justice (sj) movement today with a brief examination of one of the driving theories behind or underneath it all. The theory of Critical Race. Fun stuff.
So what is the big deal? On the surface many may think that what is happening in America right now is just a reaction against police brutality...but it isn’t.
Many think it is about racism and justice, and that because God is a God of justice and because racism is a sin that - therefore - there is much good in the current crisis. We need to stand up and be counted. We cannot be silent anymore. We need to stand up against the oppressors.
A lot of people are virtue signalling to show that they are not racist. They are bending over backward to show that they love their black neighbors or co-workers, but that is not the issue at all.
What is really happening is we are all being played...and played in a major way. It is pure, unadulterated manipulation, and it is evil.
Some of you may recall that when all the rioting was going on we did an episode on it. We said that this is not about the stated issues of brutality and racism. It is about a shift in power, and it is about money. We are even more certain of it now, than we were a few months ago.
What is fascinating is how this is tearing apart the Church in America.
Fascinating in that people are standing firm on this subject in a way they won’t on almost any other point of theology and practice.
People who could not tell you the first thing about the doctrine of God, or the essence of saving faith, are all of the sudden unbending and unmoving on the subject of justice and systems of power.
The result is that people are looking for many answers. We personally have had way too many conversations with people who are confused and hurt as they see the church they love - and have been part of for years - suddenly change course.
As a side note: this is something primarily within the conservative church. The liberal church believes in everything but biblical truth, and so they are on the front lines of telling everyone that they know that Jesus supports this whole movement and the belief system that drives it.
It is also worth noting that it appears that most churches who are resisting the whole SJ and CRT movement have not suffered an exodus. This can be for various reasons, but it is interesting nonetheless.
We know of families where there is great difficulty right now because sides have been taken at the dinner table, and family visits are now very uncomfortable.
We also note a clear line of demarcation between the older church members and the younger.
So, in some churches while the older people (and perhaps the long time leadership) are not strong proponents of the SJ movement, the younger, up-and-coming ones are.
We see this in the SBC with our current president, JD Greer and what we see happening on the seminary campuses. It is the newer professors who are bringing into some very troubling teachings and beliefs.
We also see it with those who are educated in the public schools. The whole philosophy and belief system is part and parcel to the education system. From kindergarten to graduate school, this is taught in every possible way and in every subject.
The result is as children are growing up they are being taught a philosophy that we are going to argue is overtly anti-Christian in every way, and it is done on purpose.
That fruit is being harvested now, and the cost is quite alarming.
So with those encouraging words we turn our attention to our goal of defining some of the key terms that are being thrown around. From there we want to examine them in light of Scripture, since that is really all that matters in the long run.
What is Critical Race Theory?
It comes out of a bigger theory that started back between WWI and WWII. This theory is known as Critical Theory.
Its roots are in the philosophies of Kant and Hegel. Karl Marx was the one who helped create the fertile soil from which it would grow.
However, Critical Race Theory is not true Marxism. Marxism was essentially an economic model. Theirs was a societal Marxism that focused on oppression and alienation of people. This has now morphed fully into power dynamics between the oppressed and the oppressors. Which is where comments about systemic racism come into play.
A group of people principally from Germany came to be known as the Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute for Social Research. We would tell you their names, but we would likely just mess up the pronunciation so we won’t. If you want to know the actual names a simple search of “Frankfurt School” will give you all you need.
They focused on the reality of alienation of certain classes of people, and what is called reification, or the treating of people as mere objects. It is not surprising that this all occurs in the backend of the Industrial Revolution.
In Bronner’s little book on Critical Theory he states, “Authentic individual experience and class consciousness were being threatened by consumerism of advanced capitalism.” (p. 5). This led to a pushback through their teaching that led to the whole mess in the 1960’s.
To do this required them to redefine what is the family, what is the purpose of education, and what is proper sexuality? In all of this was the belief that we need to eliminate competition and promote some sort of equity.
You should not underestimate the effects this group had. It is still seen in so many parts of our nation and culture.
Modern Art is a result of this movement.
Various forms of liberal theology rose out of its influence.
Psychology as the answer to fix mankind’s ills was a major part of their teaching.
Also they understood the power of the popular culture to effect change. So as radio and television came into being their teachings were introduced via seemingly innocent means of entertainment.
One example that was interesting was the criticism raised regarding a dance group known as the Tiller Girls who did very tight, complex dance moves that were tightly choreographed. It was viewed as proof of the loss of individuality.
By now you should be hearing echoes of things we see all the time today and perhaps you are realizing that beliefs and convictions we hold are not as freely learned as we thought.
The huge love of individualism is a result of this theory.
The current redefinition of sex, love and relationships all find their roots here.
The resistance against anything called capitalism as well.
But the big one is the idea of oppression. The society is oppressing the individuals, and this is due to built-in structures that create the inequality and alienation of people or people groups. There are those who hold power (and therefore they are the oppressors), and there are those who are oppressed (prevented from having power).
So now we turn to the idea of CRT.
We did not discuss Critical Theory in an in depth way because it is a huge topic, and we will do the same for the idea of CRT. So, if you are expecting a graduate level teaching on this you will be disappointed.
We will provide some links below to others who deal with this more fully if you want to delve into it even more.
Imagine that you walk down some hallway at an office building or medical center. As you pass a person you smile and say hello, but they merely look down at their feet and say nothing. CRT will use an illustration like this to speak of race issues. If you are the white man and they are a black man, then it is assumed there are racial issues at play.
In fact, at this point in time it is likely that there are no other options that should be considered. The shift is so complete that breathing is almost racially motivated and defined. What is important to understand is that this is intentional. It is being manufactured by those pushing CRT.
CRT developed out of the Critical Theory primarily in the legal world. In fact, it was not the natural continuation of the Civil Rights Movement, but in many ways a repudiation of it. Where Dr. King dreamed of a day where man would not be judged by the color of his skin, CRT dreams of a day where an entire society is flipped upside down and all acceptable minority groups have all the power.
To be in this new sort of power requires your skin color, your gender, your disability, or your sexual orientation to be flown proudly for all to see.
If you do not fit within that structure, then you must not possess power. That is the goal. It is a sociological response to perceived wrongs.
This idea of perceived wrongs is huge. George Floyd was the moment the BLM movement was waiting for, and once they had a person and event to point to organized protests sprang up throughout the nation. These protests are still going on with much violence and lawlessness, but Floyd is no where to be found because he never mattered.
What matters is to quickly move into the shadow world of perceived racism and oppression using Floyd as your so-called “proof.” Then, you simply create straw-man arguments that enrage people who are not thinking carefully, and you get everyone on the defensive.
CRT technically is merely a theory. It is something academia created and tossed around. People foolishly thought it relatively harmless, and it was allowed to be played within certain halls of higher education. But theories always work themselves out in ways we don’t expect.
Darwinism is a perfect example. It seems simple and harmless. Survival of the fittest and natural selection. The entire abortion industry is built upon its beliefs.
Racism can clearly be traced to its arguments whether here in America, or in Nazi Germany.
The killing of the disabled and the aged all find their roots in Darwinism, but we still treat it like it is a harmless idea that Christians can somehow play with.
CRT first showed itself in a physical way in the 60’s with the violence on various campuses across America. Here we began to see the radicalization of college campuses, but we thought this was limited to only a few.
They kept pumping out students who believed this stuff, and the poison spread to other campuses of higher learning, until now it is almost impossible to find one not fully embracing this lie.
It has also moved downward into the school systems, both in public and private schools. There is not a public school today that is not teaching this evil in every subject, and at every grade level in some way. Our sweet little 8 year old has no idea what she is being taught, and neither do her parents. But then we will scratch our heads when they are 18, and they are now espousing some or all of it in a very obvious way.
This is what we see happening in the Church. The older crowd is dying off and the younger people are moving into positions of power.
They are bringing all of the influences they carry with them. So seminaries, denominations, and even churches are infected with this unless clear, sound doctrine is held hard and fast.
This is hard because the entire society is finding new ways to discover supposed injustice and oppression every day...and the Church is all too eager to follow.
Intersectionality is a concept that developed in the world of academia like the Critical Theory and CRT. Again, it was simply an idea and so it posed no immediate dangers and no concerns.
So like a fertilized egg it was implanted and began to grow.
What it gave birth to is now a full-fledged theory that claims to help define your level of oppression. CRT says that you fall into one of two categories. You are the oppressor or the oppressed.
All of this was the brainchild of the feminist Kimberlé Crenshaw. She is a black woman, so she argued in this first iteration of the theory that she could suffer a double-whammy. She could suffer under racism, and due to her gender. Thus, intersectionality was implanted.
That doesn’t quite work out because you can be an oppressor, but still have oppression.
So using the baseline of being a white male as the essence of oppression you now ask how many ways your state of oppression intersects with that line.
If you are a white male, not much. You must be homosexual, transgender, drug addict, and convicted criminal or such, to be able to claim your ticket as oppressed.
But if you are a white female, then that is your ticket. A white female by being female is oppressed. If she can add some disability or sexual/gender issue too, then it increases her oppression.
So the ideal oppressed is a non-white person, who is homosexual, transgender, has a physical disability, who lives in the country illegally, and who happens to have an addiction.
Intersectionality is sort of like the currency on which this whole movement operates. The more checks you can make in the oppressed column the greater you can claim power.
A unified front is very difficult to break down in any situation. So CRT simply practices tactics that go back to the beginning of time. Separate, deceive, redefine, and instigate.
The reality is that racial issues have improved from the days of slavery, and also since the days of the Civil Rights Movement. But by listening to people today you would think the opposite is true.
To break down a nation that is functioning relatively well you must create separation.
Which the CRT does through creating new classes of people. Then you repeat lies long enough until they are now accepted truth. So “hands up, don’t shoot!” is a true mantra.
Michael Brown was a gentle giant gunned down by a racist white cop. None of it was true, and never will be true. How many pulpits put Brown’s name in the supposedly long list of proofs that they are oppressed by white people.
Trayvon Martin is just a kid out and about doing nothing to nobody until Zimmerman killed him. He has been deified by the press, and a flat out lie is now truth on essentially all campuses and schools. He wouldn’t hurt anyone, but the reality is that he openly bragged about his love of sucker punching people and he was the aggressor with Zimmerman and was in the process of beating him to a pulp when Zimmerman was able to shoot him.
But none of that matters. Barack Obama enshrined him when he said that Trayvon could have been his son.
These are the lies that become truth. So now you have divided the people into smaller groups. You fed them lies about their state of oppression. You have redefined what truth is. And now you instigate. You tell them to rise up and fight for justice by any means necessary.
No matter what the authorities do to quell the situations, it will always be wrong. Always.
Observations and Comments
It is an oversimplification of reality. There are the oppressed, and the oppressors. Reality says that there are many shades of both, and there are those who are guilty or innocent. It fails also by being over-simplistic in the wrong way. Biblically we are all sinners before God. This is the ultimate category, and to be found in it puts you in an incredibly bad position-- which is where the gospel comes into play.
The gospel does not promise to make you not oppressed. In fact, it almost guarantees you will be. It does promise that you are forgiven from the guilt and consequences of your sin. It promises life eternal in the end, when all things are brought under the true justice of God. But there are also many promises of Jesus that you will be hated, oppressed, treated unjustly, etc. and all on account of His name.
It tends toward emotional and experiential statements and arguments over a declaration of facts and truth. This is why you can show all the stats you want about the fallacy of police brutality as a norm against the minorities, and it changes nothing.
This is horrid within a culture because there can be no ground for discussion or debate. It is an even greater evil within the church because experience replaces truth. This is another reason we have such strong reactions against the pulpits of America that have repeatedly sought to speak to felt needs rather than real needs.
By making the white, male, able-bodied, cisgender essentially the sole oppressor, it then turns the power structure against them. With the idea of intersectionality everyone other than a white male is in one way or another a minority and therefore one of the oppressed.
We cannot speak using their language. We must use biblical terms and use them in a proper manner.
Freedom from oppression is not what is at stake. Honoring God within your circumstances is. The slave was to submit and be faithful. The Master was to treat him fairly. The homosexual and the adulterer and the drug addict and drunkard were to repent and reject that lifestyle, not be identified by it.
The Chritian must reject the idea of being “woke.” If you mean it as simply being more sensitive to racial issues then stop using it because it doesn’t mean that. To be woke, once you strip away everything that gets slapped on it to disguise it, is to submit to these categories and this philosophy.
It is categorically contrary to the Christian Faith and sound doctrine. A Christian should no more bow to the almighty CRT theory than they would to the yearly requirement to light some incense and say that "Caesar is Lord." Can’t do it.
We must see humanity through the eyes of God and the Bible. All are image-bearers. There are not many races. There is one. The human race. Racial division was evil in the early days of our nation, and it is evil now in the new racial divide.
When a man like Thabiti demands that I must first see him as a black man before I can relate to him as a brother-in-Christ, I am compelled to dismiss his argument. It is built on the sand of CRT rather than the Word.
We must see the root of the problem as being in the hearts of all of humanity. We are broken, rebellious image-bearers. All of us. The great sin is not that we oppress others. The great sin is that we do not give honor to God as God. Romans 1:18ff makes this simple and clear. We reject God as God, and the result is He gives us over to the lusts of our hearts.
We, therefore, begin to lust after and worship anything but God. Once we have exchanged truth for lies, then the fallenness of our state overwhelms us and we fall into every sick and broken wickedness we can conceive.
Often the very categories we claim for oppression are what God will condemn us for, as sinners.
There is no value in holding hands with a gay man at some protest against supposed racial oppression. The man needs to repent. And likely, so do you, for you should know better if you are a Christian.
Oppression is not wrong in itself. But in CRT it is always wrong, and it is more than an act or series of acts. It is a state of being.
But oppression is the way you push back against unwanted and unhealthy forces.
This is what a national army exists to be. It is to resist, and then oppress any nation seeking to force itself upon our nation. It is not there to win the hearts and minds of the people.
And a police force is not there to hand out stuffed animals to little kids or to play a quick game of basketball with kids. It exists to literally keep the peace. And the way it does that is through violence. The threat of legal, God-sanctioned violence is to be so great that it creates fear in those who desire to rebel. This is what Romans 13 speaks about not bearing the sword in vain.
Schools must be able to discipline, and even evict students who will not comply with standards and rules. This is oppression, and it is good.
Parents oppress their children all the time. It is called discipline. And it is good and right unless you want to raise a hellion.
But in the ultimate sense, God oppresses all the time. The bible speaks about how He would raise up nations and destroy them. How kings were trapped in their own evil. How He created governing authorities to suppress evil in the world.
In the ultimate sense he will oppress every human who ever rejects him for all eternity in hell.
So Christians should stop making simplistic statements like God is the God of the oppressed. It sounds nice but it is not actually true as they use it.
The CRT elevates sins that they don’t like over sins that they love.
So a racist statement by a fool is of the greatest of evils. Use the "N word" and not be a black person when you do it, and you are toast. You can even go to jail for a hate crime if you try to erase BLM graffiti.
But resist arrest? Assault a police officer? How about falsely accusing people of guilt and sin without proof? How about not being envious of what others have? How about outbursts of anger, or hatred? Big sins, serious sins. But in the CRT it is all part of fighting the good fight against so-called oppression.
Salvation is of lesser importance than liberation from social oppression.
For the unbeliever that is all they can hope for. Someone is always going to be in power until someone else takes that power.
If you are in a position of comfort and wealth, you are seldom eager to take part with them, especially if forced to. If you are in a state of hardship and need, it is not surprising to find that you want more.
The history of humanity is simply one of people taking what wasn’t theirs from others who had it. The grand lie of America is that evil Europeans came and took the land aways from the peaceful loving Indians of America. But, it conveniently ignores the fact that the Indians themselves were divided into groups and were consistently at war with one another as well. Entire groups of Indians were wiped off of the earth like the Anasazi indians who built the cliff houses in the Western part of the US.
So we ought not to scratch your heads when you see unbelievers scrambling to get what they can get. It is their only true hope in a broken, fallen world. They want either to oppress or break out of oppression (and of course, then, oppress the oppressors for payback, but that is seldom admitted). There is a golden age that we can bring about if we can just break out of these shackles.
For the Christian salvation is such that it is inherently God focused and future-oriented.
All of this we have taught in our systematic theology episodes.
We must be saved not from our sin, but from the judicial wrath of God due to our sin. We are rebels who reject God, and therefore His ways.
God makes salvation possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
For all who truly trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin and who follow Him as their new Master or Lord, salvation is granted.
This salvation is not just now. It is declared now, but it is realized in the future. In the end, when judgment comes from God and we are found safe in Jesus Christ, wrath will pass over us. We will enter into the fullness of what life was truly meant to be, and we will enjoy an eternity without sin and death under the care of our Maker and Redeemer for all eternity.
In other words, we should not expect salvation in the here and now. In fact, this is the great evils of James Cone and Liberation Theology-- it seeks to possess salvation now from the great oppressors of society. But for the believer, you are the ultimate oppressed, or at least you will be, given time. The world is destined to hate you because they hated Christ. The world will resist your message of repentance. The world will suppress the truth and those who proclaim that truth. So we are called by God to suffer for His name’s sake.
In all of this we are more than conquerors because of Jesus Christ, and we are to set our minds in heaven and not here; we are to be waiting for the blessed hope of the return of Christ.
True unity is not found in redefining power structures, but in our identity in Christ.
What makes comments like Thabiti’s, where you are expected to first somehow embrace his blackness before you can embrace him as a brother in Christ, is that it is contrary to the bible.
CRT makes the world out to be two groups; the oppressors and the oppressed. But the bible makes two different groups: those in Christ and those not.
If you are not “in” Christ, then you are God’s enemy and you are destined to receive only his eternal wrath.
If you are “in” Christ then you are forgiven and fully adopted into the only household that matters, God’s household.
But you are commanded to then go back to those not “in” Christ with the good news of how they might become “in” Christ. Meanwhile, your whole self-identity is not as an American. As a black woman. As a Conservative Republican. As a Cubs fan, or a Packer fan. It is to be as a child of God. and all who are in Christ are your brothers and sisters. If they are older than you, then you ought to treat them as your mothers and your fathers, and if they are younger than you, then you treat them as your children-- seeking to care, guard, and feed them for the greater purpose of seeing them grow into maturity.
It is that simple, and it is that radical.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:28)
Listen carefully to this next one and ask yourself what would happen in your local church if it were truly practiced by all?
"Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him -- a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." (Col. 3:9-14)
The mission of the Church is not subject to the whims of social and human events, and when you see it happening you should be cautious.
The church is not to be an activist organization. It ought not lock arms with these organizations because they are inherently short-sighted.
Instead, the church should be doing the same things over and over again because they are what their Lord commanded of them to do. What is different now that Mr. Floyd is dead? Nothing.
Sin still rules the hearts of humanity. Satan is still their god. Rebellion is in the hearts of every unredeemed person. So nothing really has changed.
The message and the actions of the Church therefore are the same thing they should have been doing the day before Mr. Floyd’s death or any other event. They should love their neighbor. They should love God, and they should seek to win others to Christ. They should grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. They should mind their own business, and be busy working with their own hands. They should look for the coming of the Lord - who will set all things right.
Next time we’ll jump into another point related to the whole social justice movement, and try to speak a bit of sanity into it.
Interview with Neil Shenvi: Critical Race Theory and the Theological Implications
https://shenviapologetics.com/ Just sit there for a while, and read his stuff.
A great resource from some great thinking: Just Thinking and the Just Thinking Podcast
Samuel Sey is a guy you should listen to and read.