Christians and Critical Race

Let’s start at the right place.

Critical Race Theory is not the problem.

Racism is.

That seems obvious enough. But we are making it difficult.

The day before George Floyd was murdered, most Americans had no idea what Critical Race Theory (CRT) was.

But then it burst onto the scene like a firework. It was everywhere as people searched for education, encouragement, and empowerment. Then something strange happened.

Everyone became an expert on CRT.

Especially Christians.

I’m not an expert on CRT. Hardly even a novice. What I do know is that CRT, like every other philosophy/theory, departs from Scripture at many points. I also know that CRT, like every other philosophy/theory, has many important aspects Christians can benefit from.

But I’m not here to talk about CRT. If you’re hoping for a deep dive to defend or debunk it, this isn’t the place. Other people on both sides are doing that far better than I could (because they are experts).

Angry at the Wrong Thing

Here’s where I feel qualified to contribute to the conversation. It’s obvious to me that the evil one has been able to get Christians fired up about CRT to keep them from fighting racism in any form, big or small.

In other words, many Christians are angry at the wrong thing.

Is it obvious to you?

The evil one has been able to get Christians fired up about CRT to keep them from fighting racism in any form, big or small.

Brother or sister, if this is you, won’t you please lay down your arms for a moment? I want you to feel the freedom to not pick a side. Not show someone how “wrong” you think they are.

Changing the Conversation

There’s still time to change the conversation. And we must.

Getting angry at CRT is a convenient excuse to ignore the real problems that face our communities and country. So we’re at a crossroads. We can double-down and stay angry at things we know little about, continuing to convince our Facebook friends how non-Christian a non-Christian theory is.

Or we can pursue God and our fellow human beings with humility.

Augustine wrote, “If you ask me what the essential thing in the religion and discipline of Jesus Christ is, I shall reply: first, humility; second, humility, and third, humility. Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts are fruitless” (Letters 118).

What Augustine is getting at is not easy. But it is simple.

Humility allows us to recognize that God is at work everywhere, not just within religious structures and institutions.

Humility allows us to say, “Maybe I don’t know everything about that” or “Maybe everything isn’t so cut and dry” or “Maybe I should definitely not post that very one-sided, angry-sounding article.”

Humility allows us to easily find common ground with others in the fight for justice and human flourishing. No matter what the “other” side’s foundation or assumptions are.

Where to Start

If you’re at a loss for how this can happen, it’s as simple–and hard–as starting with, “I hate racism, too. Let’s get to work. Together.”

No qualifiers. No buts. No rants. No political jabs.

Just God-given, love-infused, world-changing humility.


The Church as the Ultimate Barrier Breaker

I often find myself forgetting that I am one individual member of an absolutely enormous body called the Church. Still more, I forget this Church is a Body that is incredibly diverse.  Spending 2009 in South Africa helped me in this, but I’m still learning to think outside of my own little kingdom.  This Body isn’t diverse just because it has hands and feet and ears.  It’s diverse because the hands are African and the ears are Latino and the feet are Asian, along with a thousand other races, people groups, and languages.

Wayne Grudem reminded me of this today in his Systematic Theology:

When Paul preaches the gospel both to Jews and to Gentiles, and they become unified in the one body of Christ (Eph. 3:6), the incredible “mystery” that was “hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:9) is plain for all to see, namely, that in Christ such totally diverse people become unified…If the Christian church is faithful to God’s wise plan, it will be always in the forefront in breaking down racial and social barriers in societies around the world, and will thus be a visible manifestation of God’s amazingly wise plan to bring great unity out of great diversity and thereby to cause all creation to honor him (emphasis added).

God is more glorified in redeeming a diverse people and bringing them to unity.  Yet God spares us from uniformity, unlike other religions.  That’s the great thing about the Church: oneness in the midst of difference.  And what is our unity centered upon?  None other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.

I want to be more diligent in praying that the Church would be at the forefront of race reconciliation and social justice.  The world really is watching.

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