Critical Race Theory (CRT) has caused quite a stir in Christian (and conservative) circles, while racial tensions remain inflamed in the United States after a summer of COVID fear and racial unrest. While we are currently in a period of relative calm, it seems like the volcanic activity continues churning under the surface, and it’s only a matter of time before another event leads to an eruption.
Since last summer, I have focused often on issues of race in my writing, and race continues to occupy my mind. Thus, when a friend recommended some episodes of Theology in the Raw on the subject of CRT and race, generally, I followed up to listen to them. I was thrilled to find the discussions civil, intelligent and enlightening.
I have listened to several episodes now, but the one I am writing about today is episode #844. I am going to summarize parts of it with some of my own comments, but I highly suggest listening to the whole discussion if you have the time and inclination.
In this podcast, Preston Sprinkle’s guest, “Pastor T”, explains some of the frustrations that black people have with white people (conservative and progressive) in the national conversation about race. Pastor T explains that the black Church is more aligned with conservatives on theological lines, but they tend toward progressives on political lines because of silence and lack of engagement with the black plight in America by white evangelicals.
Take a moment to listen to Pastor T explain (at approximately 24 minutes in):
I will pick up the conversation in the context of the reasons why Christians oppose CRT. Pastor T identifies at least three (3) areas of expressed Christians concern: 1) it leads people away from the Gospel and causes people to deconvert; 2) it is a false religion that threatens Christianity; and 3) it is a progressive ideology that threatens conservative values and democracy.
The first group of people oppose CRT because they see CRT drawing people away from the church, away from Christianity and away from the Gospel. They see people “deconstructing” and leaving their faith. They believe that CRT is, at least, partially to blame.
A slightly different reason that people oppose CRT is a concern that CRT is a false gospel that is advocated with religious zeal. This is objection is a worldview concern – opposition to a competing worldview.
This view sees CRT as racializing the world because CRT divides the world into oppressor groups and oppressed groups. It posits that people in the oppressor group can never be justified; and the people in the oppressed group are justified simply by virtue of their grievances. These are secular constructs, not biblical ones.
The third group of people might use the language of theology, but their focus is more political. They would say that CRT is not good for society or the country. They oppose the Black Lives Matter movement and the movement to defund the police, for instance, as unwise, unhelpful, destructive and contrary to the Bible.
Pastor T began the discussion by acknowledging the legitimacy of these concerns. He affirms that we should be concerned about rival claims to salvation and eternal life and the basic teaching of the Gospel.
Pastor T is a conservative Christian, as many black Christians are in their theology. His observations suggest that we are separated more by race than by theology in the American Church. Perhaps, the disconnect between the black Church and the white Church over CRT in America has more to do with racial experience and perspective than the Gospel.Continue reading “A Critique of Some Reasons Why Christians Oppose Critical Race Theory”