Ian Jenkins and his partners, Alan and Jeremy, were recently named the legal parents of two children. The babies were conceived through an egg donor and two surrogate mothers.
The CNN article that tells their story calls them “one extraordinary household” and could not be more upbeat and affirming. It clearly advocates for a culture in which polyamory is normal and any kind of “family” should create and raise children in any way they wish.
If someone claims in response that God made us “male and female” and that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife,” that person would face charges of being hateful, bigoted, and dangerous to society. Even if that person is Jesus (Matthew 19:4–5). Or someone who follows him as Lord.
How Critical Race Theory views the world
Yesterday, we discussed censorship in the context of Dr. Seuss’ books and focused on one book being criticized for advocating equality without acknowledging “structural power imbalances” or “encouraging young readers to recognize and take action against injustice.” I then stated my plan to discuss the worldview behind this movement in today’s article. We’ll do so as succinctly as possible, then offer biblical and practical responses.
Postmodernism has taught our secular society that truth claims are personal and subjective. Since, in this view, no one can claim objective or absolute authority for their beliefs, tolerance is now our highest cultural value. To suggest that lost people need Jesus or that the Bible is God’s authoritative word is seen as intolerant and oppressive.
In this context, a worldview called Critical Race Theory (CRT) has gained enormous ascendency in our culture. CRT was influenced by a Marxist ideology that views the world in terms of power dynamics. Social evils such as crime, poverty, and oppression result not from human failures and sin but from Euro-Americans seeking to secure and increase their economic and social power.
CRT is complex and multifaceted, but many of its adherents claim that people experience society either as an oppressed minority or as an oppressing majority. Social structures perpetuate and exacerbate these realities. Some Black evangelicals are using this approach effectively in exposing systemic racism in our culture.
In addition, seeing oppressed people as equals or offering equality of opportunity is not enough, since social structures enacted by oppressors continue to oppress them. As a result, some CRT advocates believe that those who benefit from systems enacted by oppressors should make reparations to victims of these systems, offering not just equality but equity to them. And we should all work proactively to remove systemic injustices that continue to oppress minorities.
The future for evangelicals
It is beyond the scope of this Daily Article to respond to CRT in depth, but I will offer three biblical observations.
One: Systemic racism exists.
(For multiple examples, see my paper, “What does the Bible say about racism?“)
It is not enough to seek a color-blind society that does not recognize ongoing inequalities or work for a just society for all. God’s word is still his will: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). We should work to end systemic racism wherever we find it and to care for those oppressed by society (cf. Acts 6:1–6; James 1:27).
Two: The gospel is the ultimate solution to our social challenges.
As I have noted, many Black evangelicals are using CRT to expose systemic racism in our culture. However, because CRT views humans through the prism of race and gender rather than as individuals, some of its other adherents can minimize the biblical responsibility of persons and their sacred value as God’s creation. The fact is, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) in need of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). The ultimate solution to all our social problems lies in transformation by God’s Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Three: We must prepare for a growing threat to religious freedom.
God cares deeply for the poor and the marginalized (cf. Proverbs 17:5). At the same time, a worldview that views minorities as oppressed and majorities as oppressors can be used to claim that evangelicals who defend biblical morality are oppressing those with whom they disagree. This is not an assertion of CRT per se, but it can be an application of its worldview to “moral minorities.”
As we have noted in recent articles, many claim today that evangelical appeals to religious freedom should be disallowed if they are viewed as harmful to others. The so-called Equality Act is an example with regard to LGBTQ persons. This denial of religious freedom can be extended to abortion, “death with dignity,” and a host of other civil “rights.” In this future world, Christians would not be able to appeal to their faith in refusing to perform an abortion, sex-change surgery, same-sex wedding, or a variety of other services.
Three reminders and a fascinating interview
We should continue to monitor and engage the cultural trajectory we have discussed today with biblical clarity. To that end, I’ll close today with three biblical reminders.
First, we should live with such integrity, consistency, and compassion that others see the difference Jesus makes in our personal lives (Philippians 4:8; 1 Peter 3:16). Our opponents are not our enemies but people who need the same grace we have experienced and are called to share.
Second, we should show our culture the compelling logic and positive outcomes of the biblical worldview apart from personal religious beliefs (1 Peter 3:15). We seek not the “right to be wrong” but the “right to be right.” I’ll say more about this in the days ahead.
Third, we should pray and work for the spiritual awakening that will change hearts and minds before it is too late (2 Corinthians 3:18). In this context, a recent interview in Christianity Today greatly impressed me.
Michel Abs was selected last fall as the new leader of the Middle East Council of Churches. He discussed the persecution of believers in his part of the world and his vision for the future. He stated, “We are the salt of the earth; we should be everywhere and spread good things. When salt is kept in its jar, it hardens and becomes like a stone, unusable.”
He also noted: “The Muslim is not our enemy. Maybe at times he could be our rival. But he is my neighbor, and Christ told us to love our neighbor.”
How usable is your salt?
Asked differently: How well will you love your neighbors today?