Critical Race Theory is anti-Christian. No doubt about it. Listen to “antiracist” guru Ibram X. Kendi, speaking about it in a woke Manhattan church:
It’s a three-minute clip, but well worth your time. Kendi distinguishes between “liberation theology” (“The job of the Christian is to liberate society from the powers on earth that are oppressing humanity”), and “savior theology,” which he construes as “to go out and save these individuals who are behaviorally deficient. In other words, we are to bring them into the church, these individuals who are doing all these evil, sinful things, and heal them. And save them. And once we’ve saved them, we’ve done our job.”
Kendi says that this so-called “savior theology … goes right in line with racist ideals and racist theology.” Why? Because it tells people that the reason why they are struggling on earth is because of their own sinful deeds, rather than oppressive power structures. Says Kendi, “That type of theology breeds bigotry.”
Kendi and his followers in the churches are preaching a rival gospel, a false gospel. We have got to get that straight. This does not mean that the obligation to refuse racism goes away. It means, though, that we cannot fight it with a lie.
What Kendi is teaching is just another revival of the whole “social gospel” movement of over a century ago, but it never goes away. He’s creating a false dichotomy, claiming that you can either be for fighting injustice in this world, or for saving souls. In fact, Christians are called to do both, but the primary reason for Christianity is that it is the means through which God calls all souls to reconcile with Himself. What Kendithought does is radically revise Christian teaching to locate sin not in the hearts of all people, but in social structures exclusively. He gives people a reason to see themselves as Elect, and to project the problems of the world onto others.
If you or your church follows this false gospel, it is going to lead you away from Christ. Note that Kendi blames traditional orthodox Christian teaching about sin and salvation as a catalyst for bigotry. What he’s doing is preaching Antichrist: a false Christ who is going to be more Christian than Jesus. Rene Girard saw this coming. From a piece I did here last fall about “the Antichrist of compassion”:
Now, here is where Girard becomes especially interesting, and relevant to our moment. He says that today, “we hear repeated in every way that we no longer have an absolute,” but in fact the concern for victims “is our absolute.” That is, it is the basis for our morality: “it is the concern for victims that determines what is most important.” This is the case because all other sources of absolute value have been lost. More:
The current process of spiritual demagoguery and rhetorical overkill has transformed the concern for victims into a totalitarian command and a permanent inquisition. … We are living through a caricatural “ultra-Christianity” that tries to escape from the Judeo-Christian orbit by “radicalizing” the concern for victims in an anti-Christian manner. … The intellectuals and other cultural elites have promoted Christianity to the role of number one scapegoat.
Girard says we are at the advent of what he calls “the other totalitarianism,” saying that it is
the most cunning and malicious of the two, the one with the greatest future, by all evidence. At present it does not oppose Judeo-Christian aspirations but claims them as its own and questions the concern for victims on the part of Christians (not without a certain semblance of reason at the level of concrete action, given the deficiencies of historical Christianity). The other totalitarianism does not openly oppose Christianity but outflanks it on its left wing.
This is the force of what in the Christian tradition is called Antichrist. You don’t have to believe in a literal Antichrist figure to grasp what Girard is saying here. Girard points out that in the symbolic language of the New Testament, Antichrist opposes Christ by imitating him and seeking to be better than him. More:
The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion, euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc.
Neo-paganism would like to turn the Ten Commandments and all of Judeo-Christian morality into some alleged intolerable violence, and indeed its primary objective is their complete abolition. Faithful observance of the moral law is perceived as complicity with the forces of persecution that are essentially religious. Since the Christian denominations have become only tardily aware of their failings in charity, their connivance with established political orders in the past and present world that are always “sacrificial,” they are particularly vulnerable to the ongoing blackmail of contemporary neo-paganism.
The black Baptist pastor Voddie Baucham has a hugely important book coming out on April 6, called Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe.
I read it a couple of weeks ago, and it is not just a dynamite attack on Critical Race Theory, it is Hiroshima. Baucham lays it out as clearly as is possible about how and why this stuff is anti-Christian, and cannot be trifled with. I’m going to write more about Baucham’s book when we get closer to the publication date, but I want to encourage you all, especially Evangelicals, to pre-order this book.
Along these lines, a reader writes with shocking news about the Church of England (which, yes, still retains the power to shock, though never in a good way). The invaluable Douglas Murray writes in The Spectator that the C of E is now preparing to mandate racial quotas on clergy:
And the church’s theology too must change. The curriculum for ordinands must include participation in ‘an introductory Black Theology module’. They must ‘diversify the curriculum’, ‘produce a workable plan for increasing racial diversity’ and ‘formally adopt Racial Justice Sunday in February of each year’. All this will be overseen by the creation of a ‘Racial Justice Unit’, to be funded in these cash-strapped times ‘for a five-year fixed-term basis in the first instance’.
As though there is a vast ‘pipeline’ of people wishing to enter the C of E, those who make it through must be forced to examine ‘the underlying theological assumptions that shapes racial justice such as Eurocentrism, Christendom and White normativity’. The report stresses the need to ‘decolonise Theology, Ecclesiology and possibly examine official teachings of the Church that follows prejudicial theological value system’.
After this year of absence from our national life, the C of E proposal for going forward is to go backwards once again to the issue of slavery. It must again ‘acknowledge, repent and take decisive action to address the shameful history and legacy of the Church of England’s involvement in the historic transatlantic slave trade’. The reason is that all now stands in a different perspective. ‘The BLM movement and in particular the dumping of the Colston statue in Bristol docks shed new light and brought needed urgency to the C of E’s consideration of its own contested heritage.’ The report makes it clear that the church is going to have to bring down monuments and statues that disturb the modern mind, for ‘Our churches should be welcoming spaces for all and we must deal with any part of the church building that may cause pain or offence’. I would give the crucifixes two years, max.
The reader who sent me that comments:
In general, what will happen is that a parallel religion with a parallel notion of original sin according to a parallel law that requires a parallel liturgy will take up residence in the church alongside the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will be a parallel gospel of freedom to the POC and a parallel message of judgment on the white. There is no parallel grace or forgiveness for the white, nor does any parallel sin apply to the poc nor is any parallel repentance required. The poc will always be blameless no matter what they do, the white will always be guilty no matter what they do. In the parallel liturgy, the white, always guilty, will always be compelled to publicly confess their sin (white privilege) in front of an audience and yet never receive absolution. Offering? The white will continually make sacrifice in atonement for what they are, not for anything they have done.What kinds of sacrifices? They’ll have to renounce their whiteness. Disavow their ancestors. There actually is not anything connected to them that they will not have to offer up as a sacrifice–it is limited only by your imagination. The inquisitors will choose anything precious or familiar to the whites to be renounced. They will make up narratives of cultural appropriation or white supremacy and target any food, song, tradition, turn of phrase, and so on. A song will be called problematic and cultural appropriation if a plausible connection can be drawn to blacks. But if one can’t? Why then it is white supremacy! Either way the white must renounce something valued. The inquisitors love playing this game, inventing new narratives of racist/cultural appropriation origins of anything they hear their target say or anything familiar to their target. It is a heads I win, tails you lose game that only sick people enjoy, but the priests of CRT are among the sickest. The whites will always have to be poor in spirit and meek–and if a white is not meek, someone will come and put him in his place–but though ever meek, they will never inherit any kingdom. Though they will repent and offer sacrifices for their white privilege, they will never be able to share communion with the righteous. They’ll never be accepted at the table to celebrate the kingdom for the kingdom is defined by their subjugation and demonstration of self-loathing. Repentance and sorrow is meant to be their final condition.But which religion will rule the church? There simply can’t be two, there can only one. Here is what you will see with those who participate in the parallel liturgy. At first it may seem they can participate in both, but this is unstable and it won’t last. They’ll end up embracing one and rejecting or neglecting the other. No one can serve two masters, he will love one and hate the other and that is true of churches and the false gospels they love. Each of these opposing gospels demands all of one’s heart, all of one’s mind, and all of one’s strength.Those who practice the liturgy of CRT will always have one gospel on their mind, one gospel they want to share. The gospel of CRT will always be on their lips. The testimony that they will spontaneously give to strangers at the coffee shop will be about how they learned how white privileged they were. It is the gospel they’ll want to convert their friends and family into. See if you can count how often these people will preach the gospel of Jesus to their neighbors vs the gospel of CRT. See how much pressure they will put on their non-church going friends and family to go to church versus how much pressure they put on their non-woke friends and family to confess their white privilege. Where is their spiritual energy? What do they love telling people about? What is the testimony they give most often? Does the confession of their ordinary sins bring them to tears as often as their public confession of their white privilege? I have already heard many reports of teary confessions of white privilege in (virtual) Sunday School classes at local churches.When push comes to shove, the CRT gospel will always qualify the gospel of Jesus, not the other way around. The gospel of Jesus will always be subordinated to the gospel of CRT. Can Jesus forgive you of your white privilege? No, because there is no grace and no forgiveness for it. Can black people sin against their white brothers and need to confess and repent? Obviously not. Under the CRT schema, it is impossible for the oppressed to ever wrong the oppressor. But one might ask, doesn’t that apply to groups, not individuals? Can’t a black person as an individual sin against a white person as an individual? Oh, my sweet summer child! Read your CRT Bible. There are no individuals or individual responsibility–that’s a white supremacy conceptual scheme, a manifestation of Whiteness! No man is anything more than a representative of his race. So contrary to White Supremacy, there are no individual interactions, only interactions between groups and their representatives. A man’s identity is subsumed by the groups he belongs to. So it is always black vs white and in that relationship, the white is always oppressor and the black always oppressed. The black can never do any wrong and any violence on the part of the black is always defensive and authorized.Everything within the church will become politicized. Nothing is exempt. Everything will have to be reconceived and reinterpreted according to the canons of CRT. Everything ‘white’ will have to be renounced. Any time any political issues comes up related to race, the church will be expected to sign some letter of agreement or show up at a protest. (Make sure to order some rainbow stoles for your clergy.) Documents that look a lot like petitions that concern the political program of CRT will constantly be pushed towards the clergy to sign. The church will constantly be asked to publicly repudiate something deemed “racist” even if it involves an event on the other side of the country that has nothing in the world to do with the local community. The church will always be asked to renounce some manifestation of whiteness and demonstrate its woke credentials.If people in your church try and hold on to Christianity, they will constantly be pressured by the CRT crowd to go woke. To accept the gospel of CRT. To subordinate Jesus’ gospel to the CRT. Accepting Woke doctrine will become the de facto condition of fellowship with the woke members. You may see a completely divided church. The CRT church will insist its message is an extension of Christianity that cannot be denied, but really they will accomplish a complete reinterpretation of Christianity according to its false gospel. A false gospel that leaves everyone in a state of guilt and sin, nobody free or forgiven and in a constant state of anxiety over what political cause they must support in order to be anti-racist and what part of their personality and history they must renounce. Ever hungry and never filled, they can only make more and more absurd renunciations of whiteness, condemn ever more trivial alleged instances of racism, and engage in only more histrionic false confessions of white privilege. They’ll accuse one another of racism and white supremacy just to prove their own anti-racist credentials or to settle disputes and eliminate rivals for positions of honor. It is happening already if you just look at the evangelical churches where wokeness has crept in unopposed.
UPDATE: Well, this is something. Another Christian trading truth for a pot of message:
I’d like to warmly welcome @JemarTisby, our new Assistant Director of Narrative and Advocacy @AntiracismCtr. Tisby is the @nytimes bestselling author of The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism. He is the founder of The Witness and co-hosts the Pass The Mic podcast. pic.twitter.com/Hh8RDLFHDD
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) March 24, 2021
UPDATE.2: A reader comments:
At one time, I belonged to one of the crowds (social justice-minded Jesuit university students) that eventually melded into what we now might call the “woke Church.” Looking back, it’s impossible to sufficiently emphasize the extent to which we believed we had, no joke, discovered Christianity for the first time in centuries. Jesus was about justice in the world, full stop. His message had since been obscured by people who either consciously wanted to co-opt its revolutionary power, or who did not have the courage to grasp its fullness. All the bells, incense, icons, and Thomism were ways to dance around Jesus’ central demands without meeting them. Other people did not know this. We did. In that sense, it had a whiff of Gnosticism.
A decade and a half later, I think very differently. It was this political gospel we preached that could be, and has been, co-opted. Only a transcendent gospel of atonement and redemption ultimately had the ballast to not be bought, intimidated, or conned. But when we believed it, we believed it, and from my vantage point today it truly was a different religion, Christian in name and language but something else entirely in substantive content. It is a church unto itself, whole and entire. I came belatedly to realize it. I hope others aren’t quite so belated.