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I write this article with one question in mind. What is dangerous? When you think of the danger to your personal life, some of you think of a home invasion, a tragic car accident, or the dreaded word from the doctor saying that “it’s cancer”; however, these are not the dangers I am going to address in this article. There is a greater danger that is lurking in the shadows of our churches, communities, and our culture as a whole. It is poison. I know what you are thinking, “I thought you were not talking about physical danger- Tommy.”
I am not. This danger has been driven through the front door of some of our churches and launched out into the unsuspecting congregation like a grenade from the pulpit. For some of us, it has taken time to evaluate and to discern how much collateral damage it has already caused and how much it is going to cause if we remain passively silent. I can remain silent no longer because the lingering wake of these three dangerous bedfellows is crushing and battering the church into division and disunity. It is destroying our witness and is eroding our love for each other. We cannot sacrifice truth in order to have unity, but we can strive to communicate our points in such a loving and winsome way that if the deep division is needed it would not come until the culprit idea is exposed and brought to the light for all to see. This is my attempt to expose the dangerous poison to you before it destroys the entire Southern Baptist Convention and the whole of Christendom.
Let me state in the beginning what I am not saying. I am not saying that we should not listen to each other and realize that we have cultural and personal differences. Please read the following article. In this article, I am exposing something that could fundamentally cause great division in the body of Christ.
What are these three dangerously poisonous bedfellows? The Woke Church Movement, Critical Race Theory, and Black Liberation Theology- make up this destructive trio. Let me start off by defining and introducing these terms to some of you for the first time. Brevity in this instance is needed, so here are three short definitions:
The Woke Church Movement (WCM) – Being enlightened to social injustice in America. A book you can read to find out more about this movement is Eric Mason’s book The Woke Church.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) – The critical race theory is a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power (From page two of Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic).
Black Liberation Theology (BLT) – James Cone defines this term in his book which has the same title, “Rather it is a study of God’s liberating activity in the world, God’s activity on behalf of the oppressed.” (Found on page three of A Black Theology of Liberation).
With our definitions in place, I would like to say a few things about social injustice. I am not saying that we don’t have social injustice. We do. Let me list a few: sex trafficking, child slavery, abortion, police brutality, gang violence toward innocent civilians, domestic abuse, etc. There are so many social injustices in so many people’s lives, and all these social injustices occur in a variety of people’s lives that vary in skin color, economic background, religions, communities, and cities. I am not saying there is no racism, yet I have seen it from blacks, whites, Scots, Brits etc…. I also read about it in the N.T. with the dislike between Jews and Samaritans. I have seen people divide and hate people within their own race because one is well-off financially and the other is struggling financially. I was in Haiti when a member of the society because he was mentally handicapped and a little nutty, was left for dead in the ditch beside the road. I know it is hard to read, but it’s true. Here in America, we lead the most vulnerable in our society off to be murdered with no one to defend them. WCM, CRT, and BLT do not help alleviate either of the issues of racism or impoverishment nor does it bring further Gospel clarity. Why? This movement, theory, and theology are set up to divide. What these three poisons produce are a few deathly symptoms in their victims. Firstly, it causes division, and, secondly, a new definition of the noetic effect of sin. Moreover, there are other symptoms we will address below.
Why do I call them poisonous bedfellows? They all feed off of each other. The woke church movement gets its theology from black liberation theology, which in turn produces the motivation for the movement, and critical race theory serves as an analytic to see how they are doing with the redistribution of power. It is an analytical tool that demands complete allegiance to BLT in order for it to be applied consistently.
Here are the six points that make WCM, CRT, and BLT so dangerous.
- They thrive off of division around skin color.
- They miss the noetic (that humans are totally corrupted by sin in thought, word, and deed) effect of sin within the totality of the human race and divide along the lines of oppressors and the oppressed.
- The destruction of racism is what the advancement of God’s kingdom produces.
- These poisonous three rob people of their position and the power found in the cross to forgive and to set people free from the condemnation of sin (John 8:36).
- These three destroy the initiative for hard work and good, careful Biblical Theology and feed people with this idea that they are victims.
- Black Liberation Theology is unique in where it states that blacks can only understand the Gospel because God is a God of the oppressed and because theology can really only be done in the oppressed community. The Gospel is now understood through either Ethnic Gnosticism or standpoint epistemology.
Before we begin to critique these six points from the lens of biblical theology, I want to give three texts of Scripture in which we will use to ground ourselves in this discussion. Unfortunately, we will only discuss the first two points in this article, and the next two months we will discuss the remaining four.
- Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
- Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Thriving Off of Division around Skin Color and the Noetic Effect of Sin
There is division among races; let’s just be honest. Some of it’s just because of personality differences and personal preferences within human beings. I don’t think those are bad, and I think they should be celebrated as long as they are not in direct opposition to God’s word. This is one way that God makes us unique and brings variety and beauty into the world. In most instances these personality differences transcend race and gather people together in specific communities because they like either a certain team or hobby; however, WCM, CRT, and BLT are actually destroying this variety and beauty in the world by forcing deeper division along the line of race.
Racism is a flashpoint in America because of the African slave trade and segregation in America in the 19th and 20th centuries. The gospel is the healing balm for this wound. Why?
Listen to what Paul states in Galatians 3:28- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Because it is of first importance, as Paul says, that Christ died, was buried, and resurrected according to the scriptures, anyone who places their faith in what Christ did can be forgiven. This is what God has used to unify the human race.
WCM comes along and kindles the fire and drives the wedge deeper of racism by stating social injustice is being caused by whites in power.
Please read the James Cone (Black Liberation Theology pg. 115) quote that follows. “Whites cannot know us; they do not even know themselves. If we could just get “concerned” whites to recognize this fact, then we blacks could get about the business of cleaning up this society and destroying the filthy manifestations of whiteness in it.”
The quote is basically saying that whites cannot know their sin because we are the oppressors and because we are not black. Therefore, if blacks had power they could clean up the mess that whites have made. If whites cannot know their sin except if blacks tell them what sin is, the Biblical Gospel has just been gutted. Galatians 3:24 states, “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” Everyone is corrupted by sin and everyone is hungry for power and an easy life that the sinful nature gives. This is what makes the teaching of Holy Scripture so powerful. If we want to be the greatest in the kingdom, you shall serve.
Matthew 20:26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant…
This is why we must see that the Gospel has given us the example of dying to our sinful desires.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
We are commanded by Colossians 2:8- one of our anchor Scriptures in the earlier part of the article- when movements, theories, and theologies are deceitful and divisive, and when philosophies are vain, we are to expose them as sinful tools. Then, we are to answer by contending for the Gospel according to our anchor Scripture of Jude 1:3.
How Do We Move Forward
How should we respond to people who think the WCM, CRT, and BLT are Biblical? Everything should be done in grace and truth along with compassion and gentleness. Listen to them and ask simple questions that expose the contradictions within the belief. If truth is determined from our communities, and if they also determine sin and theology, how can we tell other communities that they are sinful? What does Matthew 18 tell us about people who are indebted to us? How do WCM, CRT, and BLT bring unity to the body of Christ?
Then show them Revelation 7:9 that shows that every tribe, nation, and tongue are going to be worshipping around the throne of God. Show that forgiveness is the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from Ephesians 4:30-32. Then challenge them not to sit passively, but to call out such godless works as this movement, theology, and theory are because the unity and love for the brethren demands that racism and division be purged from the body of Christ.
As I began to write this article, I found out quickly this is a much bigger topic than one article can handle, so I will take the next several months to finish covering the six points above. We covered the first two in this article. The first was how WCM, CRT, and BLT thrive off of dividing around skin color. The second was how the noetic effect of sin is missed within these three.
In closing, we don’t stand against the WCM, BLT, and CRT because it is the popular thing to do. However, no one would drink poison if they knew it was poison. No one would let the home invader in the front door and say, “have your way with me and my possessions”. No one would laugh at the cancer diagnosis. I entreat you to look at this theory, movement, and theology and ask, how does this unify the body of Christ around the Gospel? Are they really poisonous, invasive, and cancerous to the body of Christ? I think they are and we must stand against them because they are muddling the Gospel of Jesus and causing greater division within the body of Christ. I urge you not to sit passively anymore. Until next month, go out and proclaim the Gospel to see a life transformed.
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