Is Critical Race Theory biblical?

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Is Critical Race Theory biblical?

January 28, 2022 - Denison Forum

 

This episode is a recording of The Coming Tsunami live seminar, where Dr. Mark Turman and Dr. Jim Denison discussed the origins of Critical Race Theory and the “five lanes” of how Christians should respond. They closed by addressing questions from the audience. 

Show notes:

First, Mark and Jim discuss the context and summary of Dr. Denison’s new book, The Coming Tsunami (available to order now). They point out the need for Christians to understand the culture and the time we live in. Jim’s designation of four earthquakes helps us understand the rising cultural backlash against Christianity. 

As they narrow in their discussion to focus on Critical Race Theory (CRT), they consider the formation of Critical Theory by examining Max Horkheimer and Karl Marx. While Marx argued that oppressed and oppressor economic classes of people define society, Horkheimer expanded that vision by arguing that oppressed and oppressor distinctions exist in every area of life and in every institution. CRT comprises those ideas but is applied more narrowly to America and race. 

After they establish a solid understanding of CRT, they consider the good and the bad in it. In regards to Marxism, Jim discusses his time in communist Cuba and the consequences that ideas have. Some of the principles of CRT are opposed to the Bible, and some are not. 

We can consider CRT a box of ideas that we must sort through with discernment. For instance, contrary to the Bible, Marxism and CRT argue that there is no personal sin or individual responsibility. CRT is right to point out that racial inequalities still exist and are pervasive to this day. While many social issues persist in America, Christians are stepping up to improve people’s lives and fight against inequities. 

They then conclude by extrapolating the five lanes of personal application of CRT according to Dr. Denison: 

  1. Does systemic racism exist? Yes, and Jim discusses some evidence supporting this point. 
  2. Does racism (prejudice) exist in my life? We need to examine ourselves for the potential of this sin and include accountability partners if we can.
  3. Do I need to give personal reparations to those I’ve harmed? Certainly, just as Zaccheus gave reparations to all those he stole from. If we’re convicted to right the wrongs of our personal prejudice, we absolutely should.
  4. Do I need to give cultural reparations for those being harmed? No. The Bible only holds individuals guilty for their own sins.
  5. Do I need to give cultural reparations to those who have been harmed? No, again for the same reasons as above. 

After this, Jim answered three questions from the live, online audience. 

  1. “How Can Christians best work against the misapplication of CRT in current debates and in current public places?” Jim and Mark respond from various angles.
  2.  “Which earthquake does Dr. Denison consider the most imminent?” To which Jim responds by discussing the Equality Act and the ramifications of the second earthquake, that biblical morality is intolerant.
  3. “Is it important to share this coming tsunami with non-believing friends?” While Jim believes that this message is critical to changing the tide, the book is for Christians, first and foremost. It wasn’t written to convince non-believers, but to warn believers. 

Instead of being warriors in the culture, we need to be missionaries, speaking the truth in love, and using our influence to spread the good news. That will lead to revival and change the tide. 

P.S. Jim’s most pivotal book to date, The Coming Tsunami, is now available on Kindle, hardcover, and audible. As of writing these show notes, it has risen to #4 in Christian social issues on Amazon. Order yours today!

Resources and further reading:

About the hosts 

Dr. Jim Denison CVO and cofounder of Denison Forum and a cultural scholar. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy and Master’s in Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Dr. Mark Turman is the executive director of Denison Forum. He received his DMin from Truett at Baylor and previously served as lead pastor of Crosspoint Church. 

Transcript 

Transcribed by Otter.ai

 

Mark Turman  00:00

With us, if you’re new to dentists and forum and dentists and ministries, let me just share a little bit. Our goal, our mission, our passion is to create a movement of culture changing Christians. Our desire is to equip the followers of Jesus Christ to use their influence to transform the culture. We do that at Denison ministries and Denison forum through several things we do that through offerings like this resources like this primarily, you probably know us through Dr. Jim’s daily article written five days a week, news discern differently. And if you’re not participating in that, you can find that on our website, which is a great resource as well. A new offering that we’re providing is a weekly podcast. We also do it across our other ministry brands, a devotional tool called first 15, Christian parenting as well as our foundations Bible study series, you can find out about all of that, on Denison forum.org and Dennison ministries.org. We’re just glad that you’re with us. As we get into our conversation tonight, you’ll find at the bottom of the chat box, where it says, Ask a question or have a question, press that Ask button. And you can submit your questions. And Dr. Jim and I will try to respond to as many of those as we can before we get done tonight. But Jim, thanks for being here. Good to see you. Again, I’d

 

Jim Denison  01:21

be with you, Mark, thanks for the privilege.

 

Mark Turman  01:22

We’re getting to talk a lot about this book and a lot about things that come out of this book in a lot of ways. But it’s a big day to finally get to January 25. And to book release day, right?

 

Jim Denison  01:34

Well, it is there’s a large, very large team behind all of that the book was actually completed some months ago in the context of the writing of the book. But, boy, if I started naming names, I’d have to be very, very careful. But from editorial to lay out to production to fulfillment, the whole process, very, very large project in this. And because of the urgency of this book, in particular, it was felt that we should especially do all that we could to make this message to make this, this content is available as possible. So they’re doing a lot of media around this at three interviews just today around the book, you and I were at Austin yesterday speaking to a group of pastors about the book and about its message and be in Houston this next weekend, I guess, and other places beyond that. And so it really is, I think, a very, very urgent time in our culture for those who follow Jesus. And that’s what the book tries to reflect and respond

 

Mark Turman  02:23

Right. And for those of you who are with us tonight, you can also find on our website where Jim is going to be speaking in coming weeks and months. And if you’re in one of those areas, we’d love for you to join us and be a part of the conversation there as well. Go back to the book a little bit. Tell us when I know that you’ve been thinking and writing on various parts of the book, in some ways for a number of years, where did it start to catalyze for you, okay, this needs to become a book based you started connecting dots between certain things that you were seeing things that you were concerned about, where did that start to catalyze for you?

 

Jim Denison  03:00

Yeah, thank you. It’s kind of question. So you’re right. A lot of this has really been in my professional career and concern and heart and mind for more than 40 years. Really. The first earthquake that the book describes a tsunami is a tidal wave you can see caused by underwater earthquakes, you can see is the metaphor that motivates the book and we look at four of these underwater earthquakes. The first one a denial of truth I’ve been working with professionally, really, since 1980. Really, since first sending Southwestern seminary and taking philosophy, theology classes and understanding all of that. We’ve been about that second earthquake, denial of biblical morality really, since the 60s sexual sexual revolution, all of that. The third critical theory critical race theory is only really been in the vernacular the last couple of years, right. But the real answer to your question will be the fourth earthquake, which is a rise of a radical secular ideology that seeks to replace Biblical faith that really sees Christianity as dangerous. When I first became attuned to that at all was, when I saw Christopher Hitchens best selling books some years ago. God is not great how religion poisons everything. I got to be on a panel discussion with Mr. Hitchens after that book came out, it really became very alarmed about the degree to which he and Richard Dawkins and other so called Angry atheists, were really making the claim that biblical faith is dangerous to society of flies planes into buildings, it causes nine elevens, and clergy abuse scandals and all of that, within the last year, we’ve seen that ideology rising to such a level as to being called a replacement ideology in the larger culture. When I saw that, in the last year or so I saw that as really encapsulating everything else all the other three as well. And bringing this to a place of unprecedented attack on the Christian faith in American history. Certainly not alleging that we’re facing what our brothers and sisters are facing in North Korea

 

Mark Turman  04:48

or not that kind of not that composition, and perhaps usually not

 

Jim Denison  04:52

right, but never before in American history. have followers of Christ been branded as intolerant and outdated and homophobic and dangerous to society like we’re being branded right now.

 

Mark Turman  05:03

And like we would even go so far to say is this this is like a tailor made strategy of the devil, it would seem, for our part of the world for our form of government for our understanding of culture and the way our country is, which is significantly different from Korea or China or some of the other places that you were mentioning that it is a tailor made strategy. And it’s working just like he has a tailor made strategy for us individual that right

 

Jim Denison  05:28

he’s better attempting than we are resisting, has been added a very long time. And you’re seeing that working in the culture, the fastest growing religious demographic in America are those who have no religion. Those that are called the nuns are actually a larger percentage than any other religious demographic in America today. And the younger someone is, the more likely they are to have no commitment to a church of any kind. Last year, Gallup announced that the percentage of Americans with no relationship with a church or synagogue or mosque had fallen below 50% For the first time in American history. It’s affecting even the church 47% of millennial evangelicalism see evangelism as the improper imposition of their values on others,

 

Mark Turman  06:08

instead of the most loving thing to be able to do, which is share this incredible answer to our sin. And in some of those numbers, there’s when I hear them there’s both concerns sadness, but there’s also a sense of clarity that we are seeing the vanishing away the evaporation of cultural Christianity, right? We are.

 

Jim Denison  06:31

And I think that’s not entirely about that

 

Mark Turman  06:33

we have for the purpose of getting people to hear the clear message of Christ that may be helpful

 

Jim Denison  06:38

that Christianity is about a movement. It’s not an institution, it’s about a relationship, not a religion, right? That if we can get past a place where we define churches, as buildings and ministers, as clergy, and the Bible as a book on the shelf, except for the occasion, when you happen to spend time around it, when we can get to the kind of personal intimate transformational relationship with Jesus. That is what Christianity was always about. That changes lives, and that changes culture. Now the salt is working now the light is penetrating the dark. Now we’re being that movement. We’ve always been called to be. We’re seeing in the Muslim world, more Muslims coming to Christ today than in any point in Islamic history, which is just amazing. Yeah, visions and dreams. I’ve been many places in the Muslim world, I’ve met many people that have had these book of Acts, New Testament visionary experiences with God. I was told in when I was in Beijing, that the underground church there was growing so spectacularly I think, maybe 100,000 a day, coming to Christ in various ways. A million people coming to Christ in Cuba, the last 10 years, Gods on the march around the world, but it’s where Christianity is your transformation or relationship, not a transactional religion. It’s the difference between God as king and God as hobby, which is really so much I’m afraid for our culture is if we can move past God as your Sunday hobby to God as your everyday king will join the awakening that’s happening in the world.

 

Mark Turman  07:56

Well, in opposition, persecution, may certainly bring it in to Christianity as a hobby. That’s

 

Jim Denison  08:01

right, absolutely true.

 

Mark Turman  08:02

It’s really where it really becomes meaningful at that point. But there really is a linkage between these four earthquakes that are creating the effects of the tsunami waves that are really already impacting our culture and and our concern is will continue to impact it in a much bigger way. Let’s stop for just a moment while we finish kind of setting the context before we get to the deeper dive that we promised everyone for the CRT conversation which, if you haven’t downloaded the the extended white paper that we wrote on CRT, it builds upon what you’ll find in the book about critical theory, critical race theory, be some additional helpful resources there, we’re gonna unpack some of that white paper in just a little bit. But it’s available to you on the website tonight. And we’d love for you to download it if you’d like a printed copy, or an electronic version of it as well. But there really is a linkage. And as you said this, this fourth earthquake that you talked about in the book of a replacement ideology, talk about how that ideology actually is functioning as a faith in many ways, and is acting itself like a religion

 

Jim Denison  09:12

absolutely is. That’s why Robert Georgia, Princeton, and others are calling it a replacement religion, because it really has all the aspects that you think of when you think of a religion, it has a creed, personal authenticity is the path to flourishing. It has a value system, tolerance is the highest value capital T tolerance, and as a clergy of sorts in the academy, in those that are in which you can think of as extremely progressive politics. I don’t mean to be partisan about that, but that are really trying to lead out into some political expressions of this tolerance at all costs. It really has a congregational sort of context relative to social media and all that’s gathering up around this right now. And it has a cause it’s caused his personal authenticity at all costs, at all costs. And so for instance, say See ya, it’s working on the culture side. So the other day 69% of Americans say that any sexual relationship between any consenting adults is acceptable today. Well, it started with normalizing same sex behavior back in the 60s, Stonewall riots, all of that moving forward into popular culture, then it got to legalizing. And we got that with Obergefell in 2015, and so forth. Now, we’re stigmatizing those who disagree. And we’re moving to criminalizing those who disagree with the so called Equality Act and other assaults on religious liberty in America right now. Well, all of that is part of the cause of this replacement ideology. Mark, there is an absolute passion inside this, people who were convinced that a biblical Christian is as dangerous to society as if we were white supremacist. They believe that we are seeking religious liberty in order to oppress people as though we were burning crosses in yards. That analogy was actually drawn in the Senate last year, as they were considering the so called Equality Act, that analogy actually made by a senator. And so there is the sense of the culture of an absolute, all pervasive religion.

 

Mark Turman  11:07

And you see it in in other ways as well, certainly in popular entertainment movies, television shows, you’ve talked at times about the organization glad, and their desire to normalize. Same things like same sex

 

Jim Denison  11:23

marriage, they want 20% of all characters in primetime television to be LGBTQ, even though the 4.5% of the culture, it’s a 10%. Now they want 20% Over the next two or three years,

 

Mark Turman  11:34

and that’s that’s part of that strategy of normalizing. My pastor used to saying glow glorifying as well. Yeah. And then moving to this place of stigmatizing it was watching a program even last night that you could feel that tone inside of the program, that that stigmatising that kind of sets the stage for possible things like criminalizing things about the Christian Christian faith, right.

 

Jim Denison  12:00

That’s where we are in Canada earlier this month, what’s called see for a law was passed there, which criminalizes any counseling conversation, that could be perceived as an attempt to do what is considered conversion therapy, where you’re speaking to somebody who’s struggling with same sex attraction, let’s say, if you can be credibly accused of seeking to help that person leave that attraction, you can be in prison for up to five years. Well, that’s in Canada today, right now is having this conversation. There are Christians in Finland that are on trial for having declared verses out of the book of Romans, and is teaching about sexual identity in public. The claim being that is homophobic and dangerous to society. There was a Methodist minister last year that was arrested in the UK for reading from Romans chapter one in a public for public environment. Wow. And so we say it can’t happen. But it is happening. Yeah.

 

Mark Turman  12:57

And it’s forming this idea that we’re at a pivotal time in history, especially in our part of the world we are and, and CRT critical theory is about that. And we, we want to talk about that in terms of what Dr. Denison is describing as an unprecedented threat to Christianity and to Christians in our part of the world. Let’s talk a little bit about critical theory. I shared with you a little bit earlier today, it’s almost everywhere you turn around, it’s in school board meetings. It’s in our political conversations, very much a part of that in our part of the world. Talk a little bit about the parent of critical race theory, what Critical Theory is because most of us have at least some vague remembrance of Karl Marx and some of the things we heard when we were going through college or even in high school, you reference other names, like Max Horkheimer, and others that were less much less familiar with. But it feels like in the popular mindset, I suspect that that critical race theory just fell out of the sky about 30 months ago, and has become this. This bomb that is going off in in churches and in school districts and in family just everywhere you turn, it seems like it’s but it didn’t fall out of the sky in the last couple of months did

 

Jim Denison  14:23

it actually didn’t. Where it really became so much in the popular. I think public knowledge, of course, was with the horrific tragedy regarding George Floyd’s death, right, the Black Lives Matter movement. And all that’s part of that is where thing, people started hearing about this on a new level, the critical race theory goes back to the 70s or so in critical theory back to the 20s and 30s. So I guess we could start there very briefly. So now we’re back in Germany, what’s called the Frankfurt School Max Horkheimer is the name of the person who coined the phrase critical theory. Critical Theory is a Marxist construct. So I used to teach this in philosophy classes. I’ll try to do it very briefly here. It was Took me you about a month to do this in the cemetery. But I’ll try.

 

Mark Turman  15:02

So I’m just trying to put my mind in the right place 100 years ago, for those of us or those who are joining us tonight, if you watched the wonderful series, Downton Abbey that came out a few years ago, that’s the period of time 100 years ago, not right in the context of about just after the First World War. That’s right. And that’s the season where this theory starts to find it such as its birth.

 

Jim Denison  15:26

It’s exactly right. So at this point in time, Marxist theory, from as a social construct is very, very popular in the academy. Now, this is before you start thinking I mean, Bolshevik revolution is just happening. We haven’t gotten to Lenin and Stalin and all of that, and the way in which Marx is now so understandably and appropriately seen in such a negative light, all right, because of the outcome of all of that North Korea, Cuba, that at this point in time, we haven’t gotten there yet. Right. Marx ism, as a worldview, argues that we experience life in classes, usually multiple classes, and everything that we experience comes to us through those prisms through those filters of power dynamics, all right, he’s thinking primarily in economic terms, he’s thinking of the prosperous, and the less prosperous, and those that are in the bourgeoisie, and those that are not, and those that really have made progress in the culture and those that have not. And Marx has this idea that the majority classes are typically discriminating against oppressing taking advantage of minority classes to get there. It’s an economic theory. Well, Horkheimer comes forward to apply that outside of just economic construct, to really how life works

 

Mark Turman  16:37

across sociology and every dimension every other dimension of life. That’s right, it is a way of seeing everything.

 

Jim Denison  16:43

That’s right. You have majority classes, minority classes, you have prosperous classes, who by definition, had to have on some level taken advantage of less prosperous to get there.

 

Mark Turman  16:54

And if you if you don’t understand history, that way, then you’re just misunderstanding is That’s right, history

 

Jim Denison  16:59

gets written by the winners, right. And so a lot of history has been mis written in order to hide what we’re describing right now as the truth of it all. And the basic theory here is that somebody abused somebody to get ahead in the culture. And now we’re creating laws to codify that now we’re creating jurisprudence, and cultural structures to codify all of this. And so everything that’s in the status quo in the 20s and 30s. Here is in question by that’s why it’s called critical theory. And what we need to do now is come forward and oppress the oppressors. What we need to do, according to Horkheimer, his school is whether it’s through legal means or revolutionary means we need to level the playing fields. We need to get to a place where the underclass, the minorities, the disenfranchised, are empowered to a place where we can they can oppress the oppressor so as to level the field is essentially what critical theory argues.

 

Mark Turman  17:54

Okay, so let’s, let’s move that into critical race theory. But But broadly, do I understand that what you’re saying is, is the idea here is, is that if we can somehow deconstruct and reconstruct things, so that the oppressed are now elevated, that they will not become oppressors like those that oppress them is that the idea that the thought

 

Jim Denison  18:18

one of the absolute Achilles heels in the whole the whole idea, the whole construct of Marxist construct, which is atheistic, by its very nature of Karl Marx, atheistic by very nature, is there’s no category for personal responsibility, no category for personal sin.

 

Mark Turman  18:32

So there’s, the system needs a villain. That’s right. It needs a villains, right. But it but the villain is not each individual’s broken, sinful heart,

 

Jim Denison  18:41

it’s the structure, it’s the class structure that has to be over now, Cuba would be an example. I’ve been to Cuba 10 times over the years love the Cuban Christians, remarkable stories on them. I’ve been through the museum to the revolution down in Havana. I’ve seen the documentaries, and how all that story gets told. And as the story gets told, it’s about Teesta. And it’s those corrupt Western imperialistic capitalists that as a class are oppressing the Cuban people, or enslaving them as it were economically and oppressing them. So what Castro wants to do is come along and overthrow that and create a class less society. This is a Galeon idea as well we can get to this classless society. And in this kind of utopian vision, there will not be an oppressor or an oppressed because everybody will essentially

 

Mark Turman  19:27

be the same. We’ll all be equal, and we’ll all have plenty and 10 then then there’s

 

Jim Denison  19:33

some slogans inside all of that to each gives us he can each take says he must, that kind of an idea. There’s a level playing field in terms of salaries in terms of jobs in terms of housing in terms of prosperity, or lack thereof, it’s going to be kind of a level playing field. Well, that was the claim in the Castro revolution back in the late 50s. I’ve seen 10 times down in Cuba, how it’s not working right to your point, there is a will to power. That’s basic human nature. As Nietzsche said, we are all set We’re all broken, All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Now what you have in Cuba is a class society. No question whatsoever about that made up of government officials made up of political officials made up of a very, very corrupt system that is oppressing the underclass, just as fully as previously about Easter regime

 

Mark Turman  20:21

did and almost no middle class, nobody does either have or have not. That’s exactly extreme ways.

 

Jim Denison  20:25

Typical Cuban have worked three jobs, a lot of it’s under the black market, they’ll be making $30 a month, we had taxi drivers who were attorneys who were doctors, Cuba is go on and on about Cuba is one of the most literate societies on Earth, one of the most progressive societies on Earth in terms of literacy in terms of education, the values, the hard working nature of the people. I’ve met so many doctors in Cuba, who are marvelous physicians, but have not even aspirin to dispense. Cuba was known at one point as the intellectual breadbasket of the Caribbean, incredible hard working values there. But because of the way that this flattened marks his class structure, socialistic structures come to bear, there is endemic poverty on a level that is staggering 90 miles from the United States. Well, I mean, markup in in so many homes that have dirt floors that have walls made out of some kind of timber, they could pull together and the only running water is a faucet sticking out of the ground. Well, 90 miles. I mean, that’s that was a leak. Yeah. You know, right. And if people wonder if ideas matter, they just need to go to Cuba and if they have consequences, right, our friend John Stonestreet ideas have consequences, bad ideas have victims, come with me to Cuba. And you’ll see the victims of the Marxist idea that class is what determines all outcomes.

 

Mark Turman  21:43

So that’s that’s an economic sense in very in very much reality of Cuba, in our part of the world, in our country, it’s become this conversation about race. So how has Critical Theory given birth in our time to critical race theory and some of the problems that are emerging from that

 

Jim Denison  22:03

trend, it doesn’t have to just be that by virtue of critical theory, critical theory would say that any minority is being oppressed by a majority. So that could be gender theory, that could be LGBTQ or sexual orientation theory. There variety of ways in which it could be applied. But back in the 70s, Derek Bell, primarily and then others began applying this in a legal construct, they developed a thing that was kind of it was called Christian. It was a Christian legal application, and had in it the idea that laws exist to support those who make the laws that are legal system is itself an expression of majority’s codifying their status so as to oppress minority and to stay in power and to stay in power, right. And there’s truth in that we can come back later and do some critique of this. Warren Bennis, out of the University of Southern California, management experts speaks often of the unconscious conspiracy in every organization to maintain the status quo for the future benefits accrue participants think there’s absolute truth in that. And there’s truth in what Derrick Bella saying about you thinking about Jim Crow, especially you’re thinking about pre civil rights legislation, but still systemic racism today. So there’s this this idea, it’s a pretty esoteric, legal strategy, legal suggestion, and in theory back in the 70s, that applies critical theory to race in the context of how laws are created, how laws are enforced. But from there, it moves into more general application to make the argument that critical theory is the means by which racial experience in America he understood that Georgia is a

 

Mark Turman  23:39

minority. So this kind of starts flowing out of all of the unrest around civil rights in the 60s, right? Sure it comes, it becomes another iteration of that. That’s right, but is pretty unknown to the average person, not even sure we would have had the term critical race theory prior to 1970, based on what you’re saying, That’s right. But it has now kind of become this lens of, of conflict, if you will, particularly in the last three or four years, as it started to play itself out. and is and is played upon and has been fueled by picked up by, like you said, tragedies, George Floyd and others that have really brought it to the forefront as a way of saying, this is the way we should see everything about race and race relationships. And as you say, we hopefully get to the question of intersectionality. And a little bit, that you’re in more than one of these groups, if you’re black, and you’re gay, and you’re female, that all of that intersects to put you really into oppressive places and what CRT would say. But you brought up an interesting point a moment ago, which is there are elements of truth in here that we ought not to be afraid of, but be willing to admit Stand in work with. So what are some of the? What are some of the benefits that CRT? Not? Not 100 of them, obviously. But from your perspective, two or three things, they say, there is something here that CRT can be helpful to help us in our understanding. Sure.

 

Jim Denison  25:17

And I’m glad you asked that question that we can talk about it this way. The very fact that we’re discussing benefits and negatives is part of what makes us so difficult and so controversial. I’ve done a lot of talks on CRT and various churches and places in recent years. And people would rather have it be all bad or all good. Okay?

 

Mark Turman  25:34

You’re almost afraid to bring the topic up? Exactly. Because it’s, it’s like, we want to just say you’re either for it or against it, and you’re just bottling it all up and throw it away, or you’re completely immersed it

 

Jim Denison  25:45

That’s right. It’s either the worst thing that’s ever happened, or it’s the only pathway to the future. Right. So the first thing to see is there’s no good here. Critical Race Theory is a construct. It’s a non brella of ideas. It’s not a single idea. It’s not a single ideology, there various ways of applying critical theory to racial experience in America, really a spectrum of ways in which this can be seen. And there are people that are arguing very different perspectives within this. So it’s kind of like asking What color are leaves? What do you mean Oak Leaves, pecan leaves no such thing as cancer, there’s this cancer and that cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, what years one doesn’t cure the other. And so it’s really more of a construct. But within that, having said that, the first thing that I would say by way of what we should learn from the emphasis of critical race theory, is the degree to which systemic racism is still present in our culture. One of the reasons CRT began to emerge in the 70s is because of dissatisfaction with the civil rights movement in the 60s, we’re also grateful should be grateful for civil rights legislation of 1964. Its desire to level the playing field. Dr. King’s vision was for a colorblind America, as it were, what we’d be judged by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin, right. So famously and wonderfully and powerfully said, Well, this civil rights legislation is in place now in the 60s, and we’re leveling the playing field. But still, we’re seeing enormous disparities in the culture,

 

Mark Turman  27:09

because it didn’t, obviously, civil rights legislation didn’t fix everything. And it certainly didn’t fix it overnight. They did not if it changed the trajectory, we would hope that we’re still seeing increasing benefits from them. That could be a whole conversation in and of itself. Sure, but that it was a pivot, but that it it didn’t solve, and didn’t solve as quickly, many of the things that were frustrating to

 

Jim Denison  27:33

nCrt proponents would say it couldn’t, let’s say it didn’t go forward, right?

 

Mark Turman  27:37

That there needed to be more deconstruction or bigger transformation. It’s exactly

 

Jim Denison  27:41

right to know that, and we can get to this later, but some CRT proponents would say that the country itself was founded on racism 1619, when the first enslaved individuals were better, not 1776. And the whole American construct needs to be deconstructed and reconstructed. We can’t just fix parts of it like civil rights legislation in the 60s, we can’t get to colorblind, because racist attitudes are still endemic, racist, systemic. biases are still endemic in ways that legislation can’t solve for.

 

Mark Turman  28:12

So in the extreme, a CRT advocate would say, everything that we have for the last several 100 years is the fruit of a poison tree. That’s right, and should be completely dismantled and started over.

 

Jim Denison  28:25

And that’s where you really get into some chatter. That’s why you don’t have one answer to the question, right? You don’t have one approach. Abram can be different from others here. But the basic assertion would be, if you go to this extreme of CRT, and by no means are all people who find good nCrt making this claim by any means, but some are saying that really, from 1619, forward, it was white Europeans, constructing an entire culture to preserve and advance their own class advantages. Whether it’s enslaving African Americans in the building whole economy based on slavery, whether it’s creating a legal structure, in which one’s ability to progress financially, through that structure depended so much more on your family, your pre existing capacities, your ability to pay for an education, for instance, your ability to get accepted into a school that would give you advancement, your ability to run for office depended on having the money to be able to run for office, right. And so whole structure is created here to advance one particular class of white Europeans is the argument is the claim. And so that structure itself has to be deconstructed on some level in lots of different ways people would suggest that that be done. Well, having said that, that’s really more of an extreme view, I think of how people are seeing CRT as an idea in the culture. If I were to answer your question relative to one very positive value that or at least one way that we can CCRT has been helpful to us. It’s really on that diagnostic piece of the systemic racism piece. That is still part of our culture, in spite of civil rights legislation, in spite of the best efforts I think of legislation to be able To on some level that dances forward toward equality, a few examples of that that are actually in the white paper that I think they can download here. It’s on the white paper on our website. But what does the Bible say about racism as well? Right, just a few examples that would make that clear. For instance, there was a study done recently, where job applicants with African American sounding names had to send out 50% More resumes than Anglo sounding names to get an interview to get a call back. Well, it’s a fact that a black person is twice as likely to be sentenced to death for killing a white person than a white person for killing a black person. A black person will serve 20% more time in jail than a white person for the same crime. A black person is 38% more likely to be sentenced to death than a white person for the same crime. There is endemic systemic racism still in our culture. Today, we’re having this conversation in Dallas, there are food deserts in South Dallas, where an individual has to travel in an ordinate distance to be able to find food available that isn’t fast food that has nutritional value, such as you would wish would be available. red lining, as it’s called, where segregation of housing is perpetuated, is still endemic in our culture. When I moved to Dallas in 1998, he came Bailey, a Concord Missionary Baptist Church, became my pastor really adopted me. I love the UK. His wife, Sheila and my wife are very dear friends. I was with EK, the day before he died back some years ago. And so he and I would have very honest conversations about this. And I asked TK at one point, how he felt about the racial tensions in Dallas, because he’d been here his whole life, essentially. What was his experience here, civil rights legislation, all that’s come on the other side of that, all the so called progress that we’ve made, he felt like in some ways, it was worse than ever, because it’s underground. Oh, no, he felt like the attitudes were still there. Now he wouldn’t do it because of a CRT move. He would do it because we’re sinners, right, because we’re all sinners. But he said that he felt like racist attitudes. Racial prejudice, was still as real as it was when he was a boy. Growing up, he was grateful for the legislation that has been affected and the good that’s come from that. Absolutely. So but he felt the issues still existed, systemic issues still existed. And that’s one thing CRT shows us, right, is that there is the existence of systemic racism in the country. And we need to confront

 

Mark Turman  32:22

that, and we should every Christian should be concerned about those sizes, right? Obviously, those are terrible injustice is that we should, that should bother us and that we, regardless of what we believe or feel about CRT, regardless of the color of our skin, we should be concerned about those things we should be working and trying to use our influence. To make a difference in those kinds of areas we

 

Jim Denison  32:45

should be on the frontlines as we were in the 60s, as we were black and white faith leaders in the 60s, we should be at the very forefront of that Galatians three, there’s neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female. We’re all Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the covenant that should be motivating every believer to weep over the sin of racism. In our culture, I believe that many places in the world I’d say in Dallas in is the racism is the sin that keeps us from confronting our other sins. Racism makes crime in South Dallas, a black problem and suicide and white Dallas, white problem, right? When it’s our problem, there aren’t problems. And to the degree that we can see each other the way God sees us. Now, we as faith leaders are taking the lead in moving forward toward the progress God intends.

 

Mark Turman  33:28

So we talked about that just a minute ago that one of the problems with CRT from a biblical standpoint and a biblical worldview, is that CRT just does not acknowledge the brokenness of the human heart. But it also does one things our white paper points out is that it points to and and identifies race as a social construct. Why is that helpful? No, I said, important.

 

Jim Denison  33:55

Thank you. And that really is if I were to add a second place where CRT I think, really has important lesson to teach us it’s exactly at that point. There’s only one race in the Bible, and that’s the human race, right? In fact, the Bible really doesn’t describe people by virtue of their skin color at all. We don’t have any sense of that we never have a person described as scripturally that I can think of, by virtue of the color of their skin, per se,

 

Mark Turman  34:17

when so when the verse says there’s neither Jew nor Gentile, it’s not talking about a skin color.

 

Jim Denison  34:21

That’s right, exactly right, Jun or Greek is ethnicity. It has nothing to do with the color of your skin. If you go with me to Israel had been 30 times to Israel, the Jewish people walking around in Israel look just like Anglo Gentiles walking around in Israel. It’s really a fact even today, and a lot of it’s because of slavery, and inter breeding between slave owners and slaves. Tragically, that most from what I’ve read, descendants of African slaves in this country are at least part white, by virtue of that tragic fact, right? Of what’s after sex. abuse of their ancestors, right? Absolutely true. Tragically, tragically so. And so to say that race by virtue of skin color, is a biblical category is really a misstatement. God sees all of us as part of the human race. So when race starts becoming a construct in sociological terms, this is simply a fact Historically, it’s been promoted primarily in the means of advancing one race as opposed to another. When I did my paper, what does the Bible say about racism after George Floyd’s tragic death, I was shocked to learn, I don’t know how I missed this. And one could say their education system was slanted in such a way that I would, I didn’t, I didn’t understand the degree to which the first Europeans coming to this country, considered themselves to be such a superior race to the indigenous Americans, they found here, that they therefore felt justified in taking their land, and enslaving their people when necessary, entitled to do entitled to do it by their superiority, and came to the belief that they were actually benefiting the indigenous Americans, by enslaving them into European civilization, they’d be better off as our slaves and they would be left alone to be free. Wow, they applied that same horrific, sinful racial ideology to African slaves, who, by the way, were primarily first enslaved by fellow Africans. Slavery wasn’t invented by the Europeans, it goes back to the Roman Empire and what goes back as far back in history as you can go, it’s always been tragically slavery. A lot of the slaves that were brought to the new world were actually captured by other tribes in Africa, and sold to the traders, there was a triangle that was going here, they would get the slaves, tragically from Africa, they would bring them to the West Indies and work them in the plantations, then take what came from the plantations back to Europe, and sell the product and then come back to Africa for more slaves, and back to the new world. And then over there was this kind of a triangular, horrific thing happening, but they justified their actions by claiming that Africans would be better off enslaved in the new world, then left to their tribal lives in the old world.

 

Mark Turman  37:07

And this, this twisting of biblical understanding that, on one side says, kind of like Job’s friend says, when you’re suffering because of sin in your life now, and that’s the way this works, it’s always a one to one ratio, they kind of turned that on its head and said, Well, we’re obviously doing so well, because God likes us, God favors us. And that’s why we’re in this position. And that entitles us to be abusive to these other groups and, and whether indigenous people or people being sold into slavery from Africa, that that reinforcing mindset of I’m superior, and isn’t it obvious to you that I am,

 

Jim Denison  37:53

and even using biblical text to give to support that mark of Cain, the curse of ham? horrifically misusing the Bible, tragically, horrifically misusing the scripture to get to this claim that the descendants of Ham were Africans, and they have been cursed by God. And that which is not true. They weren’t the descendants of ham. We’re not actually African at all. But that was the claim nonetheless, and Mark of Cain applying to this as well. And so they’ve been cursed by God. And therefore, we’re liberating them from their cursed homeland by bringing them over to this Christian civilization. We’re building in the new world. As long as they serve us, they’ll be our slaves, but they’re better off being our slaves. No, is the idea. It’s tragically and these were some of the analogies used. A dog is better off being my pet at home than it is being allowed to run wild. There’s this idea, right? This tragic, horrific idea. And race as a construct is brought forward as a way of making my race superior to your race. And it’s still there today. More there. Still, I’m convinced that racism is itself a willpower, driven, I think primarily by a desire for superiority by those who otherwise feel inferior. So I, myself as an Anglo could, let’s say, let’s say you’re, I’m thinking of a friend of mine right now an African American friend, I didn’t ask for permission to use his name, but he’s absolutely brilliant. He’s led worship with me in Israel a number of times we are dear friends. He’s one of the most remarkable people I know, accomplished on so many levels. He has a number of degrees. He is absolutely brilliant and very, very successful. Let’s say that I’m with my friend and I feel inferior to him. Intellectually, let’s say I feel inferior to him financially. I feel inferior to his family compared to mine, but I’m white and he’s black. So I will always be superior to him is the move that’s behind us. That’s the thought process. That’s the thought process and I’m not accusing people of thinking that out that objectively, necessarily, but it’s part of the sin of the will to power goes back to Genesis three Be your own god and race to answer your question becomes a construct by which Those of one race can claim endemically And inevitably unconditionally to be superior to those of a different race. Right. Now we’re not, I’m not just saying this as driven of Europeans. This has been true across human history. You think of the Assyrians who thought of themselves as a superior race, and we’re not, we’re not the first culture to strike no names with forms of racism, Assyrians and Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, oh, my goodness, the Greeks, their belief that they were the intellectual superiors and all of human history, the Romans, were convinced that Pax Romana, that piece of Rome was the best way for the whole world to live. And so conquering you as to your good, right, making you part of the Roman Empire is actually giving you the benefit. You may not like it at first, but you’ll come to like it, you’ll come to like it. Yes, the idea. So you’re a white Europeans did not invent this idea by any means. But race is a construct comes forward in that category.

 

Mark Turman  40:52

Let’s, let’s bring this around to the applications that actually formed the title of our paper, the five lanes of CRT, which is really about where we think we can help you the most tonight, we set some good context and understanding we hope. But what does this look like when you walk out the door tomorrow, and try to think about how to live redemptive Lee. When you encounter issues of racism, when you’re perhaps drawn into conversations about CRT, we want to be helpful in that you and I were talking a few months ago, and we were actually working on this issue talking about this. And it almost seemed like this just kind of came to you in that moment. There’s this concept of five lanes of responding to CRT or engaging with critical race theory. That, that there’s four or five ways to think about it. Two or three of them are absolutely grounded in God’s word. And I think you’ll see that as we talk through them in a minute. But a couple of them are not right. And let’s talk about those. Let’s talk about each one. And they’ll come up on the screen as we talk about them. But and we understand that sometimes even the mentioning of CRT or one of these ideas can be an igniter. To conversation we don’t want that to be so in your life, we want to give you some tools to try to have a meaningful conversation around it. So what’s the first lane or response or application around critical race theory Christians need to understand right as

 

Jim Denison  42:30

we’re trying to evaluate what we discussed tonight, from a biblical point of view, obviously, through the lens of Scripture, where we’re not evaluating scripture through CRT, but CRT through screen exactly as we’re doing it in that concept. The first we’ve discussed already to some degree. And that is the allegation that systemic racism exists today. We’ve been discussing that we’ve been looking at evidence for tragic evidence for its existence, in Western culture, really in the world. And seeing that that is a biblical idea. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

 

Mark Turman  42:58

And that and that it goes to this what I would consider to be a relatively simply simple idea, if we all believe that we are sinners, and we are all broken. And we’re trying to create systems, we have economic systems or political systems, educational systems. By sheer definition, broken, people are going to put together less than perfect systems. That’s right, by nature. And so this truth, this idea should not scare us. That’s right. It is simply a fact of life here on earth. Because of our shared brokenness among all of us,

 

Jim Denison  43:31

that’s right. And the founders knew that they understood that. Remember that famous statement where Benjamin Franklin was asked after his leaving one of the meetings of the Constitutional Convention, what have you given us and he said, a republic, if you can keep it, if you can keep it. There was this idea even in those days, and John Adams that said, our constitution is made for a moral and religious people and is wholly unsuited to the governance of any other. Our founders understood that even with Ira system, which, in so many ways, I would say, is the most advanced that we’ve seen in American history in human history, that even our founders understood the degree to which democracy requires consensual morality. And consensual morality requires a source beyond ourselves, because we are sinful fallen people the will depart trying to be my own god is endemic in human nature goes back to Genesis three. So we have not be surprised that systemic racism exists today. And that CRT can come forward and expose that fact to us in ways that should move us to make a response, right.

 

Mark Turman  44:30

And so we ought to be committed to exposing where where those things exist, where it is within our systems, and always reforming those systems to be better.

 

Jim Denison  44:41

That’s right. And I’m seeing Christians doing this in remarkable ways. Today. For instance, I’ve got some very good pastor friends that are working right now to abolish payday loan companies as it were shops in their communities. These payday loans where individuals will come they’ll cash their paycheck at an exorbitant rate 18% 20% But they cannot For the banking account, or they have some issue that keeps them from thinking they can have a banking account on some level. And this is the only means by which they can turn their Check Into Cash. And so they’re really being victimized in many ways, by these shops in underprivileged areas. And these pastors are coming together, they’re pulling resources, they’re creating a way to cash checks, at no expense to the individual, right, provide an alternative things like that. It’s a simple fact. And this is a whole nother subject to talk about. But abortion especially, is prevalent in minority communities. And one of the most frequently cited reasons is an individual’s belief that she simply doesn’t have the funds to bring another child into the world, right. And so Christians are coming together in those spaces and churches, and they’re providing the means for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, to have a home, to have a way to raise a child to give the child for adoption, if she wishes to raise that child herself there intervening right in the systemic racism, that’s in the context of some of this. I’m aware of people in Dallas that are moving toward creating solutions to the food deserts, right, that are in our community, right, and try

 

Mark Turman  46:07

to continue to make these things better. That’s right, continue to reform the brokenness of all of our systems. That’s right, the next two, before we get to our question and answer time for a few minutes, next two are more personal in nature. The next two lanes, explain what you know.

 

Jim Denison  46:21

So the first questions he or she would ask me is, does this systemic racism exist? And I would say biblically, tragically, yes. Second question, I have to ask myself, does racism exist in my heart, right? Is this a personal thing I must be aware of. I have not myself yet, personally met anybody who would admit they were racist. I’m sure there are people that would admit that they would proudly say that I just don’t know them personally, right. That doesn’t mean I don’t have racial, racist tendencies, I’m not aware of perhaps, attitudes, I need to be more aware of that I’m not guilty of expressing myself in ways that communicate racist,

 

Mark Turman  47:01

we might be sophisticated in our racism. But that’s why it’s still likely a temptation that’s in our life and not a reality, because

 

Jim Denison  47:07

again, all of sending control to the glory of God, right. And so the positive move there, the Christianity offers us is the ability to be an accountable relationships, where we can deal with these issues. Personally, I mentioned before, I’m African American friend, my worship leader, friend, I have empowered him as my accountability partner. When I write something, say something that he sees as working in a way that would communicate to an African American a message that would be racist in some way, He is charged with calling me with writing me with being in touch with me, if it hits that nerve in him, I need him to tell me that. And we and we’ve talked a great deal over the years about these things. And I’ve asked his help with articles I’ve written in books that I’ve written, conversations have been helped me see this from his perspective, he helped me see things in a way that I can see things through his eyes, in ways I can’t through mine, I would urge everybody listening to this conversation to consider that a friendship with somebody across ethnic lines for the purpose of mutual accountability, encouragement and support.

 

Mark Turman  48:09

Yeah, added to your own pursuit of understanding about your heart from reading a scripture asking the Holy Spirit to expose those things, which moves to the third lane, which kind of keys off the example of Zacchaeus and brings in another kind of trigger word for a lot of people, which is the idea of reparation, bring that into personal application.

 

Jim Denison  48:34

The third lane on the freeway would be personal reparations for personal sin.

 

Mark Turman  48:38

Right? In step two lane tunes, right. You felt like the Holy Spirit was was exposing that there was racism in your life. keying off the example of Zacchaeus. That’s right, responding to that

 

Jim Denison  48:52

word in a proactive way to make amends. Right. You’re thinking of Jesus statement in the Sermon on the Mount, where you bring your gift to the altar. And there remember, your brother has something against you. Leave your gift at the altar. First go be reconciled with your brother in them and then come and present your gift, personal reparation for personal sin is very much a biblical construct

 

Mark Turman  49:09

and not nest, we’re not necessarily talking about financial, that’s reality. So when people hear reparations, they almost always think money. Yeah, it can be that admit that in Zacchaeus case, that’s right. I will repay what I’ve taken. And because he was a tax collector, and even that was his job. That’s right. But reparation is not always financial in its payment.

 

Jim Denison  49:28

No, it can be relational, that can be social, there are all sorts of ways in which we can try to make right that which we are now aware that we have made wrong. It starts with taking the initiative starts with going to

 

Mark Turman  49:39

kind of reminds me of that step within Alcoholics Anonymous of making restitution where appropriate weapon able,

 

Jim Denison  49:45

that’s right, and where I’m not creating greater harm by doing so. Right. Yeah,

 

Mark Turman  49:48

it says it which is again, very biblical in its in his orientation. Absolutely. So I think probably everybody’s probably good with us through these first three lanes. Let’s move to the fourth one, which the fourth and fifth are also kind of tied together from a standpoint of reparations to those who are currently being harmed or who have been harmed historically,

 

Jim Denison  50:12

right now you’re moving more into Abram kindy and anti racism and reparations in the sense of critical race theory, oppressing the oppressors and creating equality of outcomes. So in this fourth category, society, owes society, white society owes African American Society for example, or heterosexuals, oh, LGBTQ individuals, or whatever males or females, males, whatever the construct might be, that you have in mind, but as a culture, because now we’re back to Marxism again, as a class, this class has benefited from the oppression of this class. So they Oh, that’s the last I’ve never owned slaves. But I’ve written on railroads built by slave labor, right into the White House, built in part by slave labor, I had an educational experience that was far superior to that of African Americans growing up in Houston, Texas, in the Fifth Ward, and other places, right in Houston. And so now I owe it to them to come forward as a class and make reparations to them as a class is this fourth category.

 

Mark Turman  51:18

And where’s the problematic from a biblical standpoint,

 

Jim Denison  51:21

first of all, the Bible sees us as individually responsible for our own set not for the sin of others. The Bible says The soul that sins, it shall die. Again, and we’ve said this already tonight. There’s no construct here for personal acceptance of responsibility on the part of the minority population. And there’s no construct here for personal innocence relative to the guilt of others, that happened to be in my Marxist class. The Bible doesn’t make me responsible for your sins to a third party. One of the reasons we can understand the remarkable shock factor of Jesus statements in the new testimonies, forgiving sin is that I can’t forgive somebody else for us, and they didn’t commit against me, unless I’m God. And Jesus, therefore is claiming to be God, but I can’t forgive somebody else for a sin they committed against you. I can go to somebody that steals money from you and offer them my forgiveness, right. And critical theory would move in a class direction that would require that kind of reparation, all sorts of practical difficulty, who, who referees, these things? How much reparation from whom and to whom? And when are you done, and how is the playing field leveled. And all of that gets into enormous challenge as well,

 

Mark Turman  52:36

which also brings up something that we’re trying to point out which which you’ve referenced, starts to lead in the direction of of saying to minorities, that they don’t have a sin product. That’s and if you’re in any one of these oppressed classes, then you don’t really have any personal responsibility for sin. It’s just that you’ve been oppressed, that tried to buy a larger, more powerful group,

 

Jim Denison  53:00

what you bring kindy says there are no bad people, just bad classes, is the concept here, that’s the construct you’re going to get. That’s how Marxism would see humanity, as opposed to how Christianity sees us as individuals, right? I love St. Augustine statement, God loves each of us as if there were only one of us, each of us made in His image in His likeness. That’s a unique factor in the Judeo Christian worldview, this construct of the sacred value of each person of infinite worth, and therefore responsible for the consequences of their own decisions.

 

Mark Turman  53:30

We were in a conversation with one of the members of my church about this. And he simply said to me, I don’t know how to repent of a sin I haven’t committed. That’s the point.

 

Jim Denison  53:40

Yeah. And that would move to that fifth category as well, which is that we are responsible in the present for sins committed in the past, right, all the way back perhaps to 1619. Again, you have the same difficulty scripture says that the Father is not responsible for the sins of the son or the Son of the Father. And it’s not a biblical move, although it’s being discussed popularly and some CRT practitioners.

 

Mark Turman  54:00

Well, we’ve talked quite a bit, let’s see what our audience might want to share with us by way of question, and see if we can be helpful to them. Here’s one question from Mary. How Can Christians best work against the misapplication of CRT in current debates and in current public places?

 

Jim Denison  54:19

Great question. I think there’s two responses come to mind immediately, first of all, and we’ve said this before, to understand that CRT is not a thing. It’s a category of ideas. It’s catalog of Ideas Box, it’s a box of ideas exactly as, for instance, in school districts, for instance, there’s a great deal of concern about CRT in schools. And the response is, well, critical. Race Theory isn’t being taught in schools. And they’ll show you school catalogs in which the class called critical race theory does not exist, right. But the ideas we’ve been discussing, or depending on the school district, of course, widely being taught in sociology classes, history classes, literature classes, psychology classes in various applications. So some of the Ideas are what you want to be thinking about as you’re doing this. So you don’t want to go forward to your school board or whatnot and say I want to get rid of CRT in my school district as though we’re a class, because it probably isn’t that really more what we want to be doing is getting involved as parents in the education of our children. And in the midst of that on a broader level, not just CRT, looking for places where our children are being told that they’re responsible for sins that didn’t commit, or they’re being made to stand up and have fast privilege, by virtue of their skin color, which is itself, I think, a racist statement, and are being made to be something that the Bible says they’re not, we want to be aware of that be proactively engaged as parents in that space. But we want to first of all, do our homework and know what’s being actually taught and what’s not. And not claiming things exist that don’t, and not

 

Mark Turman  55:49

Not, not jumping on a high horse and going after a CRT, which, that’s right. It doesn’t work that way. That’s not how this has been done. And it’s, it’s not you can’t walk into your school, your child’s school, and likely pick up a document that can identify where it is, it’s ideas don’t work that way. And like I said, this is this is a long running reality. When we were talking earlier, it reminds me that old joke that you not heard before of going away to college, don’t, don’t let the college ruin your faith, which there’s some elements to that wasn’t really my experience, but but there are big ideas that need us to be sharp in our faith and sharpen, as you said, often loving God with all of your mind, heart, soul, mind and strength, because the only way that you can be equipped to handle conversations about things like critical race theory, and critical theory is to know your own faith. Well,

 

Jim Denison  56:57

that’s right. And so you want to first of all know what’s happening. You want to be educated about this, want to move forward in a very, almost professional and redemptive way. And then second, you want to start with yourself, you know, the old gypsy Smith, evangelist was asked how does revival start, get a child piece of chalk, draw circle around yourself, get on your knees, pray to everything inside that circles right with God and revival will be upon us that applies to this draw circle around yourself, pray, Lord, is there any place where I need to learn from this conversation? Anything I need to take responsibility for is or somebody of a different ethnicity? You would have me be in an accountable relationship? Where can I begin moving forward practically myself? What can I do proactively about the realities of racism that do exist? In my culture, let’s be more known for what we are than what we’re not more for what we’re for them what we’re against, be aware of what we’re against, right, but then be moving forward as well. That’s the proactive spirit of the incarnational gospel.

 

Mark Turman  57:52

So again, if you want to ask a question, look at the bottom of the chat chat box, it says have a question, you just tap on that button that says Ask and that will send the questions to us have another one from Dawn of the for coming tsunamis or earthquakes? Which one does Dr. Denison considered the most imminent?

 

Jim Denison  58:12

Ah, ooh, isn’t that a good question? I’ve been asked that question. Yeah,

 

Mark Turman  58:18

in turn wanted to put you on the spot at least once? Yeah,

 

Jim Denison  58:21

well, I think immediately the so called Equality Act, which is itself an expression to the second earthquake, the the idea that biblical morality is intolerant. This construct goes back to the 60s, the civil rights movement, and all of that. And so if I disagree with LGBTQ activism, as it’s now being expressed, housed in the culture, I’m homophobic, bigoted, prejudiced, narrow minded, discriminatory, dangerous, and I’m attacking another person’s identity, and you have therefore no right to claim religious freedom exemption for your beliefs. That’s the so called Equality Act. It’s already passed the house twice. It’s in front of the Senate. Now President Biden promises to sign it if it gets to his desk. It expressly forbids any appeal to the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. So what that would mean in practice, let’s take our ministry here. We operate a 501 C three religious, not for profit ministry. We have a code of conduct that we made very clear here, as regards to biblical sexual morality, which would not therefore, encourage us to employ a transgender individual, let’s say, so let’s say a transgender person applies for employment here at Denison ministries, let’s say we decline their application, in part for that reason. And the Quality Act is now law. Let’s say they file a lawsuit, a judge issues an injunction. If we don’t obey the injunction, somebody goes to jail. Well, what’s behind that is a larger belief that my unwillingness to perform a same sex wedding is exactly as discriminatory. So if I wouldn’t do an Hispanic wedding, right, an African American wedding, and I should have no more right to claim first amendment religious freedom protection. Then if I wanted to do that to burn across the front yard, that’s the larger piece that’s behind this. There’s a thing in the moot in motion Right now called the religious exemption Accountability Project reap, that’s filed a lawsuit against 25 faith based colleges, it would affect 200 of them trying to remove all federal funding for student scholarships in the schools, because they’re claimed to be discriminating against LGBTQ individuals $4 billion in scholarships. Well, right risk. That’s right now, in the courts. I’m thinking about last spring when all Roberts made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA. And there were outcries against the NCAA for allowing them to participate because they were homophobic. In their school. NCAA is a private organization, they could change the rules tomorrow if they wanted to. So there’s some current things happening right now as regards religious liberty, in the context of LGBTQ activism that would be exhibits of this tsunami, and we’ll come out of that second earthquake, but

 

Mark Turman  1:00:51

okay, Nancy, yes, the question. Is it important to share this coming tsunami with non believing friends? Or is this message primarily, you might even say exclusively to the church?

 

Jim Denison  1:01:04

Yeah, it’s primarily to the church. I would say that absolutely. The book is intended. These conversations are intended to equip Christians to have conversations with non believing friends. The third section of the book that looks at each of the earthquakes and how we could respond to them would be helpful, hopefully, in those conversations. In the first for instance, the first earthquake which says truth is personal, individual and subjective, no such thing as truth to share truth and my truth. Chapter nine, I guess it is a response to that shows how that feels to logic test. To say there is no truth is to make a truth claim. No such thing as absolute truth, I’m absolutely sure that they also practical test. If all truth is personal, and subjective, does that make the Holocaust Hitler’s truth and 911 archive history, but then ultimately, you want to respond in relevance. If my truth is relevant to me, you might see it to be relevant to you. And you’ll consider my truth is your truth. And that’s how you’ll meet the truth. And so there’s some things in that chapter that would help somebody help a non Christian who’s decided the Bible can’t be truth, because there can’t be such a thing as truth. And then the other three chapters responding sexual morality, critical theory and religious ideology, or secular ideology, are intended to equip Christians to have conversations with non Christians. But the book is really written for non Christians per se, it takes some things for granted, the Christians would understand coming into the book that a non Christian might not

 

Mark Turman  1:02:26

right, like I know, in the, in the chapter in the last part of the book that deals with redemptive strategies, the idea that we like to talk about, it’s always too early to give up on God. That there, you know, there are some things that we need to be greatly concerned about and aware of that this book is trying to teach us about and train us about. But I love the fact that the book ends with this hopeful message that we do have not only meaningful things to say, based on biblical teaching and guidance, but more importantly things to live, when responding to ideas about critical race theory and this idea of oppressive classes, that the Bible says we are all image bearers, that we are all made in the image of God and all loved by Him that we are all broken in our sin. And we are all able to access redemption, that as we like to say, in the old days, the ground around the cross is his level, and available open to anybody, regardless of race, color, creed, orientation, or anything else. Everyone is welcome. And just being really clear about those things, when you get into conversations, and the the spirit, the tone in which you have conversation is critical. If you’re a critic if you’re being driven by anger. There’s not very many effective evangelists that are driven by nature,

 

Jim Denison  1:03:49

or to speak the truth and love Ephesians 415. Rather than being cultural warriors, we want to be cultural missionaries. Right? I was a missionary in East Malaysia back in college in the summer on the island of Borneo. Had I gone into that culture with the spirit of superiority. A sense, look, I’m an American, and you’re not, I’m a Christian, and you’re not, I therefore have something that you want to want just because I have it wouldn’t have gotten very far away, right? So much better to come in as a beggar helping beggars find bread, but so much better to come and just sharing what’s been given to me. I was given an analogy I can mention very, very briefly back in high school that has stayed with me ever since. So the story is that you’re touring Carlsbad caves and caverns and there’s a cave a massive cave and and now you’re trapped way down below the earth, and it’s pitch black, can’t see your hand in front of your face. And people are obviously terrified and some begin yelling for help and others begin digging up the walls trying to climb out that sort of thing. And you’re doing that like some have given up just sitting gets a wall, and you’re doing all that too and you turn and you look and often the distance you see a tiny pinprick of light. You make your way to it gets a little larger, a little larger, you finally find it turns out it’s an opening a way to get out of this cave. When you go back to the others that are trapped in the cave, and you tell them that you found an opening away out, some refused to believe you, they’ve already given up, they’re just going to stay where they are. Others refuse to believe you and keep digging at the walls and the rocks keep yelling for help, some believe you, and they go with you and they escape the cave. And so some of you survive, and some of you don’t, those that survive are no better than those that didn’t. The light was there for everybody. It’s just some chose to take the invitation to themselves. That’s all we are. Right? That’s all we are. And if we can be in that spirit of grace, that spirit of, of humility, that just pays forward what’s been given to us. That’s the spirit in which this works. Mark, I will obviously for the rest of my life and all of eternity. Be grateful for Julian ogron, Tony McGrady that knocked on my apartment or in August of 1973, and invited me to ride their bus to College Park Baptist Church in Houston, Texas,

 

Mark Turman  1:05:57

all of which pointed you to that light.

 

Jim Denison  1:06:00

They had gone to the light, they gave me a chance to come to the light as well. And I’ll be in heaven for eternity because someone knocked on my door. So now the question is who’s waiting behind their door for me? Right.

 

Mark Turman  1:06:12

That’s a great place for us to end. And I thank you again, for joining us and for being a part of this conversation. Thank you for pre ordering the book, we hope that you’ll let us know how it is helping you. As we get ready to finish tonight. Dr. Jim, would you close us in prayer,

 

Jim Denison  1:06:27

be delighted to do that. And Dr. Herman, thank you for your help with your work. Father, God, thank you for the chance to be in this conversation with those who have joined us tonight. And those who will join us later. I think, Father, I pray that because of this conversation, you’ll put on our minds and hearts, how we can take the next step to be agents of reconciliation in a broken culture today, how we can get our sold out of the shaker in our light under from under the basket and we can take that next proactive step to make a transforming revelatory redeeming difference, for you’ve trusted us with influence today. God I pray the world will be different tomorrow. Because we were here today. Leaders us us. Bless us Father, that we might be a blessing. We pray in Jesus name. Amen. Amen. God bless you

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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