Evangelicals and Critical Race Theory

Anti-CRT arguments, like the one broadcast above by Candace Owens, are trending in evangelical circles. I believe they are also keeping us from one of the vital, honest conversations the Lord wants to have with His household about how disconnected our hearts are from His heart re: race and racial sin.

Dr. Esau Mccaulley (Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College) writes: “Instead of the conversation our nation has needed, we’ve been sidetracked into a national conversation about “CRT”; one tool of analysis (that most of us conservative believers do not use anyways) and not the thing “racism” itself.”

I lament with my esteemed brother’s cry above. When the black community (our black sisters and brothers in Christ) have been asking for us to hear their cry about racial justice (as they markedly have been for the last ten years), our next loudest response cannot be “All lives matter”, “Black Lives Matter is communist”, or “CRT is a socialist plot to bring down America”. These are the same arguments that the anti-civil-rights crowd (and far too many evangelicals) lodged against MLK in the 60’s.

Of all the memes, articles and podcasts I’ve heard sounding the alarm about CRT, I’ve not seen one that calls us to humble ourselves before God. They’re all a call to “rise up”. The rest of Owens quote above, reads: “We must rise up against every form of Critical Race Theory. It is the new Jim Crow.” Rise up against those who are attempting to steal our nation. This should trouble any believer in the King of Philippians 2. Risky thing to “rise up” when the Spirit of the Lord is calling the Church to “bow low”.

The antiCRT argument is rooted in fear – not humility, and certainly not compassion. It’s an attempt to revise history and establish a man-derived theology that saves the dignity of a noble nation filled with sinful, fallen – and in many cases – wholly anti-Christ leaders. It’s premised on a homogenized version of history. And, most tragically, it’s a siren-call to self-protection in an hour when the Spirit of the Lord is saying: “There IS no protection from the illumination of your soul. I love you too much to let you stay comfortable in sin and unrighteousness.”

Recently, a respected leader and friend wrote the following about Critical Race Theory. I find it typical of the evangelical/nationalist argument that is being championed in our family. I believe it is also poisoning our vital dialogue with others in our nation, and with the Father, Himself. This leader writes: “The Critical Race Theory was rejected by many leading thinkers when it was proposed as was its sister, the idea of SYTEMIC RACISM. The 1619 Project and ITS (FALSE) CLAIM THAT THE US WAS FOUNDED IN RACISM… was rejected by many scholars, I think most serious scholars.The people who founded colonies came for different reasons. 1607 is the first date not 1619 when the first slaves came. New England colonies were not founded at first for promoting slavery but for practicing sectarian Christianity (the Pilgrims) and Puritan Calvinism (the Puritans). Roger Williams founded Rhode Island for religious freedom and to reject religious coercion. And yes, some founded colonies to get rich and slavery soon became a part of that but… revisionist histories were rejected by historians. CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS BOGUS. The theories fit the narratives that the (“socialist”) revolutionaries desire TO FOSTER THEIR GOALS. The U.S is coming to the point where what is taught in schools will not reflect the broad consensus of historians.”

What my honorable brother conveniently fails to identify is that slavery is only one element of the racist history of this nation. (Truth-be-told, it would be terrible enough to warrant more humility and meekness than most anti-CRT apologists demonstrate.) He himself, (as are the many others who are sounding the trumpet against CRT) is redacting history to “foster his goals”.

The facts are, even the earliest Pilgrims and Puritans settled, divided, subjugated, and disenfranchised the first-born of the land. And for the next 300 years, the nation they sought to give them “religious liberties”, (a wholly self-asserting concept in itself) dealt with Native Americans with duplicity, dishonesty, inhumanely, and totally contrary to any objective measurement of Biblical godliness. To say that our nation, as wonderful as it is in many ways, is NOT founded, rooted and grounded in racial hostility is patently deceitful.

How much better that we, those of us who know of the great grace of God, own the truth, humble ourselves and live in His sure mercies afforded to us by the cross, with compassion for the rolling consequences of our social/personal/ecclesial/and national sin, rather than in the fig leaves of historical revision and self-exoneration.

If you’re tempted to ply the antiCRT rhetoric of this hour, here are several questions that we do well to address:

A. Do you believe that our nation was rooted in racial subjugation and unjustifiable dispossession?

B. Do you believe that our nation (as a nation), politically, economically, socially, and even spiritually (from our 1776 outset) codified vile racism, disenfranchisement, dehumanization and even genocide?

C. Do you believe that these policies were contrary to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ?

D. Do you believe the rolling trauma from centuries of these societal sins has left an unrighteous mark on generations of individuals and families – even to this day?

E. Do you believe that what our nation needs is an honest, humble dialogue about the roots and fruit of our nation’s racial animosity?

F. Do you believe God wants to lead, forgive, heal, redeem and unite the distinctively beautiful races in our nation under the blood-covenant leadership of His Son?

Beloved, if we’re more concerned about humanism’s attempt to redress racial animosity in our nation, than we are that we, the people of God

a.) fail to magnify the Father’s heart for the beauty of race,

b.) fail to bear the cross re our nation’s racial sins and/or

c.) fail to apply Jesus’ healing love to the rolling pain, fear and disenfranchisement of millions – for centuries… we need to have an honest, face-to-face conversation with the One Who’s coming; the One the nations are desiring.

He’s serious about our self-justification. And He’s about to up the ante. You can bet He Who holds the stars in His hand knows how to shift human circumstances in order to “foster His own goals”.

JSB • May, 2021


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