Critical race theory (CRT) is a dangerous intellectual movement affecting America. Its influence extends from academia into society, in government, and has even made inroads into the church—something we documented last year in Critical Race Theory in the Church. Since then, CRT has influenced even more elements in society. Popular concepts like “wokeness,” the social justice movement, Cultural Marxism, and the Black Lives Matter organization are all tied to critical race theory.
As Christians, we are instructed to avoid false philosophies. The Apostle Paul tells us, “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” (Colossians 2:8). This directive suggests wrong ideas will tempt believers away from Jesus. False philosophies will delude people. That’s why we should be aware of these deceptive worldviews and reject them so our devotion to Christ will be unhindered.
I am convinced critical race theory is a false philosophy. It repudiates God’s Word in three core areas, making it anti-biblical. Though it raises some legitimate concerns, CRT’s fundamental assumptions are incorrect because they oppose biblical teaching. Though CRT supporters (aka “crits”) believe their worldview extends beyond the United States, their primary advocacy is centered on America, so that will be the focus of this article.
Definitions are in order before we get too far. Voddie Baucham, a speaker at our Answers for Pastors 2019 conference, tells us critical race theory has four main tenets.“(1) Racism as normative (it’s normal, it’s everywhere, and it’s unavoidable). (2) Interest convergence (“white” people are unable to take righteous action against racism unless it converges with their own individual interests). (3) Anti-objectivity. (4) The social construction of knowledge.”
(Here’s a short video on where Baucham explores these four tenets more in depth: Voddie Baucham – Defining Critical Race Theory).
To summarize, in Baucham’s four tenets of CRT, he explains how racism is part of the air we breathe in America from the perspective of CRT proponents: it’s so thick, “white” people cannot adequately address it since they are steeped in racism. In short, CRT proposes that the United States is inherently racist. CRT rejects rational argumentation, including the scientific method and similar analytical tools. Finally, CRT places truth not in external reality but inside the perspective of minorities. For instance, something is true because many “black” people believe it (note that this does not refer to all “black” people but only those who agree with CRT).
In addition to these four tenets, CRT also includes corrective elements. Like classical Marxism, CRT’s Cultural Marxism aims to overturn the inherently racist elements of society. So CRT is not simply pointing out how racism permeates our land: it seeks to eradicate racism in all its forms, including the dominant power structures of society, government, church, and family. Critical race theory is at heart a revolutionary movement.
At this point, it’s important to understand something about false philosophies: every wrong collection of ideas has an element of truth. For instance, in the henotheistic system of Mormonism, family is very important. Though Mormons are wrong about the nature of God (and other things) in that their beliefs don’t match what the Word of God clearly tells us, their emphasis on strong families is a good thing. Critical race theory is no different. Its opposition to legitimate racism, what should rightly be called the sin of ethnic partiality, is a positive aspect of its philosophy. This is likely one of the main reasons CRT has enjoyed such a surge in America where racism and opposition to racism have flourished. CRT found fertile ground to grow.
At this point, it’s important to understand something about false philosophies: every wrong collection of ideas has an element of truth.
Certainly, the history of America has been riddled with genuine racism. Most Christians agree that ethnic partiality has played a role in wrong decisions in government, society, culture, and, sadly, churches. The horrendous practice of African-based chattel slavery began in the early days of our colonies and lasted until the 1860s. Then discrimination-based Jim Crow segregation in the South was instituted and remained as part of the legal framework until the 1960s and beyond. Discrimination, even violent discrimination, against “black” people in this country is a real thing.
Still, many would argue that bigotry against “black” Americans has decreased in recent decades. The institution of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983 and the rise of black American influence in music and pop culture are signs of improvement in what our society calls race relations. Others have argued that the effects of historical and present racial discrimination continue to mar the landscape of America. It may happen to a lesser or greater degree depending on where you live and who you are, but racism, sadly, is still an aspect of American society.
As Christians, we should be the first to denounce ethnic superiority.
As Christians, we should be the first to denounce ethnic superiority. Theologian and professor Owen Strachan reminds believers that “we should be abundantly clear: racism and ethnocentrism are real and historical sins. They have not caused a little bit of division; across the entire world, in all eras of history, these iniquities have caused great pain and suffering.” Racism is a real sin that should be repudiated by all Christians.
But it’s important to make a distinction at this point. Just because critical race theorists have one thing right in that sinful ethnic superiority or racism has affected our society, this does not justify everything they teach. In fact, there are three major ways CRT rejects biblical teaching. The first problem is central to its philosophy.
The first biblical problem for critical race theory is that it’s built on an unbiblical category of the word race. Merriam-Webster provides a common definition of race: “any one of the groups that humans are often divided into based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry.” In other words, race is a division of human beings along the lines of common traits related to ancestry. Race is a social construct, not a scientific or biblical category.
This may seem surprising to many. In fact, race as a term is steeped in evolutionary propaganda as people have historically attempted to elevate some groups of people with common traits (races) as better, smarter, or more capable than others. But there’s no scientific basis for race: across the globe, 99.9% of human DNA is the same. There’s little measurable genetic difference between the so-called races of “blacks,” “whites,” or Hispanics. Even the staunch evolutionist Bill Nye agreed. “We’re all the same . . . from a scientific standpoint there’s no such thing as race.” Nye may be wrong about many things, but he is right about race. Scientifically, races don’t exist.
More importantly, the Bible does not acknowledge race as a category. Instead, we all descended from our first parents, Adam and Eve. The Apostle Paul tells us, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.” (Acts 17:26). Paul restated what God had previously stated in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” God did not create separate Indians, Irish, Nigerians, or Egyptians. Instead, God made two people, and from those two people, every other human being descended. Every person is united by our same first parents, and we are members of one race, the human race.
This is a major complication for critical race theorists, especially those who want to frame this as a biblical issue. The entire philosophy is built on a social construction with no foundation in the Bible or genetics.
Still, the Bible does distinguish between people groups or nations. Ever since the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-8), people groups have been scattered across the globe. The biblical categories of people groups or ethnos (Greek: ἔθνος) are acknowledged throughout the Old and New Testaments. At some point, members of these nations will be united through a common faith in Christ. The Apostle John wrote, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). So the Bible distinguishes between ethnic groups of people, but not in modern racial categories of “black,” Asian, “white,” etc.
This is a major complication for critical race theorists, especially those who want to frame this as a biblical issue. The entire philosophy is built on a social construction with no foundation in the Bible or genetics. The concept of race corrupts biblical categories with sometimes-deadly results. The modern understanding of “race” often separates people groups pitting so-called races against each other, as was seen in the Black Lives Matter-inspired riots of 2020 when at least 25 people died. Racial animosity is built upon a modern, evolution-inspired conception of race. But in the Bible and in genetics, races don’t actually exist.
The second biblical problem with critical race theorists is their insistence on ethnic superiority and discrimination against “whites,” which many actually admit.
Ibram X. Kendi, one of the prominent critical race theorists and author of How To Be An Antiracist, wrote, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” Kendi is bold in his assertions.
Kendi is not alone in his aim to discriminate against people not of his “race” with the hope of correcting oppression experienced among that group. Another author wants to hate “white” people so much, she prays for it. According to Disrn, Chanequa Walker-Barnes, a self-proclaimed “public theologian and ecumenical minister” wrote in her book, A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal, “Dear God, Please help me to hate White people. Or at least want to hate them. At least, I want to stop caring about them, individually and collectively. I want to stop caring about their misguided, racist souls, to stop believing that they can better, that they can stop being racist.”
Dr. Walker-Barnes has outed herself as an actual racist. In her effort to elevate her race, Walker-Barnes tears down people not like herself—namely “White” people—and prays that God will help her hate them. This is classic racism and ethnic superiority. And invoking God to aid her sinful discrimination borders on blasphemy, even if she claims this is a lament similar to those in the Psalms.
But ethnocentrism is not confined to minorities. Even “white people” can succumb to CRT’s discriminatory practices. For instance, a popular Hollywood actor Seth Rogan was overtly ethnocentric in a recent statement. According to NotTheBee.com,
(Rogan) told Entertainment Weekly he’ll be doing his part to end racism by actively discriminating against white people. And that’s not an exaggeration. When asked what he — as a successful white man — could do to make a difference in his industry, he said: “I mean personally, I think I am just actively trying to make less things starring white people.” So there you have it. The answer to racism isn’t colorblindness. It’s race-based discrimination in hiring practices.
Rogan believes that discrimination should be practiced. You read that right. But it should not be practiced against “black” people. Instead, it should be practiced against “whites.” Rogan sounds like a racist in his attempts to be anti-racist.
CRT-inspired theorists, ministers, and actors overtly aim to elevate some “races” over other races and discriminate in the process. This is the very definition of racism or biblical ethnocentrism. If you were to flip the script on these statements, it may appear more obviously problematic. For instance, take the prayer posted earlier, insert “black” instead of “white,” and consider the result. You could also insert “Hispanics,” “Asians,” or any other evolution-inspired race into Walker-Barnes’ prayer. Her ethnocentrism is made all the more glaring when the tables are turned. And if it sounds wrong to hate one “race,” it should sound just as wrong for any “race.”
Why is that? Because God’s Word opposes ethnic discrimination. One “race” is not better than another “race.” We are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God didn’t create “blacks” or ‘whites” in his image. All people, regardless of skin color, were made to reflect the Creator’s image.
Through Christ, the former ethnic barriers are being torn down. In speaking about the traditional animosity between Jews and Gentiles, the Apostle Paul wrote, “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” (Galatians 3:28). Thankfully, Christ unites people from different backgrounds. He does not divide and discriminate as in CRT, which is why critical race theory is anti-biblical.
The third and final biblical problem with critical race theory is its religious nature. CRT, in short, is a religion at odds with biblical Christianity. Dictionary.com defines (2) religion as: “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.” So religion includes beliefs and practices agreed upon by certain people that function as a worldview. CRT includes those elements and can be considered a religious worldview.
If Baucham is right (and I think he is), critical race theory and its associated movement stand in opposition to biblical Christianity because it is a false religion.
Voddie Baucham, in his book Fault Lines, outlines critical race theory’s religious nature in several ways (Chapter 4, pgs. 69–90). For one, CRT has a new cosmology. Instead of appealing to God’s six days of creation in Genesis, CRT appeals to whiteness, white privilege, white supremacy, white complicity, white equilibrium, and white fragility. Secondly, it has a new original sin: racism. Instead of pointing people to the Fall of Adam and Eve recorded in Genesis 3, crits point to the core “sin” in society as racism. Thirdly, CRT defines a new law: the “Work” of Antiracism. It’s not enough to be against racism. One must actively fight against racism as an “anti-racist” in their religion.
Baucham sums up his perspective on CRT as a new religion when he wrote the following on page 66:
At the epicenter of the coming evangelical catastrophe is a new religion—or, more specifically, a new cult. While some may consider the term ‘cult’ unnecessarily offensive, it happens to be the most accurate term available to describe the current state of affairs. John McWhorter was the first observer I am aware of to refer to it as the ‘Cult of Antiracism.’ Others have used similar terms, and I think they are right to do so.
If Baucham is right (and I think he is), critical race theory and its associated movement stand in opposition to biblical Christianity because it is a false religion. In the first of the Ten Commandments, God said, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). God continues, later, to say, “for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). God commands complete devotion from his people as their Creator, Defender, and Provider. Whenever an alien religion seduces his people, he has and will oppose it. That included Baal worship in the Old Testament and Caesar worship in the New Testament, and now critical race theory in the 21st century. God will oppose false religions however they manifest.
Thankfully, we don’t have to follow the false religion of critical race theory to have hope for ethnic tensions to fade. God has given us an opportunity to be reconciled to himself through Jesus and the good news of the gospel. Moreover, Christians have a robust, biblical worldview that acknowledges distinctions between ethnicities and promotes ethnic reconciliation. God has graciously given us a solution to racism and division between people groups through Christ. There is no reason to be swayed by critical race theory. We have everything we need in Christ.
For more information about our common ancestry in Adam and Eve and a biblical solution to racism, check out the book written by Ken Ham and Dr. Charles Ware that is currently being published chapter by chapter on this website: One Race One Blood.