“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8 (NASB)
In the 1848 Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederic Engels declare that “[t]he history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
They believed capitalism would be eventually replaced by socialism as the oppressed proletariat (poor) rose up to overthrow the bourgeois (capitalists). Key elements of Marxism include the abolition of private property, the abolition of Christianity (religion is the “opiate of the people”), the abolition of the traditional family and parental authority, state control of education, state control of the economy (production and distribution) and redistribution of wealth (from rich to poor). In the Manifesto’s final paragraph, they advocate for a “forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions, which became the call to bloody communist revolutions around the world. The death and despair resulting from of this atheistic worldview is well documented.
Critical Theory, developed by the Frankfurt School in the 1930’s applied Marxist principles of power, oppression, and emancipation to gender studies, religion and other areas of sociology and culture. Critical Race Theory (CRT) applies Marxist CT ideology to race relations. Its philosophical roots are in postmodernism (relativism) and critical legal studies. Since its inception in the 1970’s, CRT thinking has grown in influence, both outside and, increasingly, inside the church. Most recently, it has been popularized by the Black Lives Matter movement, formed by three trained and committed Marxists whose worldview is antithetical to the Judeo-Christian worldview. Without question, CRT is a Trojan Horse for Marxism.
A worldview is the story, or meta-narrative or lens, through which we see all of life. Worldviews answer fundamental questions. Who are we? Why are we here? What is the fundamental problem with the world? What’s the solution? What is my purpose? The Christian worldview is summarized in four sections: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
Fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ must ask themselves: Is CRT compatible with the biblical Christian worldview or does CRT represent another gospel? Let’s step back for a moment and compare some of the underlying worldview perspectives of CRT as compared with historically orthodox Christianity. As we shall see, CRT and biblical Christianity have very different answers to humanity’s fundamental questions, specifically (1) What is wrong with the world? and 2) What is the solution?
First, who are we and what is the problem with the world?
Christianity posits that we are created in the image of a holy, good and loving Creator in a world that was good. Though the world was designed good, we have rebelled (the fall) against the Creator, which rebellion has thrown everything into disorder and disarray, including all human relationships (original sin). Now, the fundamental problem with human beings and with the world today is sin, which pervades everyone and taints everything.
CRT proponents posit that the fundamental problem with the world and with America is oppressive “whiteness.” They believe that one’s racial identity is the most important thing about a person—period. Therefore, our “original sin” is not our rebellion against God, but is merely being born into the powerful white oppressor group. Therefore, our primary problem is social power imbalances evidenced by and caused by “white privilege,” where society unfairly benefits all whites. This inequity is evidenced and reinforced throughout culture by “systemic racism.”
They argue that white privilege and systemic racism disadvantages all persons of color in every way including, but not limited to, education, job prospects, interactions with police and thousands of other ways. CRT advocates do not believe that whites succeed because of hard work, character or merit, but rather succeed primarily because of unfair cultural advantages or privileges.
Conversely, minorities don’t fail to flourish or thrive because of inactivity, personal weakness, or lack of merit or other factors, rather they fail only because the entire system is inherently stacked against them—systemic racism. In selling this metanarrative, subjective relative truth (“lived experiences”) become more important that objective truth (i.e. objective data supporting charges of racism by the police, etc.).
For them, the primary dilemma is not the sin in our hearts but is, rather, the color of our skin. Because, as atheist materialists, Marxists reject the Creator, most proponents of CRT would reject most biblical categories of sin (sexual and otherwise). Furthermore, they reject a commitment to objective truth anchored in our Creator, but prefer to focus on subjective feelings and personal truths (relativism). CRT simplistically proposes that, at a fundamental level, there are basically two categories of individuals: the “oppressor” (represented by people with white skin), who are the sinners because they abuse their cultural power, and the “oppressed” (represented by racial minorities), who are the righteous. Finally, only the oppressed righteous have the experience and authority to speak out about their dilemma (felt experience). Oppressive white sinners must shut up and only listen. This privileging of only minority voices and silencing of all whites has been properly described as “ethnic Gnosticism.”
Second, what is the solution to the fundamental problem?
Christianity posits that the solution to our rebellion is that God sent His only son Jesus to rescue us and save us from our sin. This is “salvation.” People who are convicted of and recognize their personal sins are instructed to own their sins, admit them to God, and their neighbor, ask for forgiveness, turn away from their sins and seek to love and obey God (including the sins of oppression, racism, and mistreating the poor). Then, live lives for God’s kingdom and glory, by making disciples, loving our neighbors by speaking the truth in love, and seeking human flourishing by promoting what is good, true and beautiful.
In CRT, “salvation” comes not from Jesus Christ, but from becoming “woke.” Yet, it is really only whites that must “repent,” but not of all sins. Specifically, whites must actually only apologize and repent for being born white and for being a part of an allegedly systemically racist culture, even if they have personally stood against racial injustice or if they have not personally oppressed people of color. But, unlike Christianity, there CRT offers no forgiveness for sin. CRT salvation comes by the law (of wokeness), not grace. In this legalistic system, the best whites can ever hope for is a state of “wokeness,” represented by never-ending/never-satisfying repentance for their skin color along with a commitment to become a comrade and join the revolution of dismantling and overthrowing the whole oppressive system, using violence, if necessary. Yet it’s important to note that CRT enthusiasts, rarely discuss any other moral virtues such as chastity, marital fidelity, kindness, honesty, and generosity. Their singular moral concern, overshadowing all others, is ‘liberation from racial oppression.’ Part of that “oppression” includes “white” Christian moral values. Dissent will not be tolerated. So much for freedom.
They believe that the oppressed must rise up and overthrow the oppressors and coercively redistribute resources (whether it be by looting, affirmative action, or coerced redistribution of wealth). As CRT guru Richard Delgado (2001) states, “Everything must change at once, otherwise the Critical Race Theory system merely swallows up the small improvement one has made, and everything remains the same.” CRT demands not just equality of opportunity for minority races, it demands state-coerced equality of outcomes. But history instructs us that nearly every time the oppressed have risen up they have almost always very quickly become the oppressors themselves. This results from the fundamental mistake of ignoring the pervasively corrosive power of original sin in all human hearts.
Third, what is humanity’s endgame—how should it end?
Christians believe that the redemption of Jesus Christ will ultimately result in a transformative restoration of all things—a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:5). All races will stand before God in His presence. We will have new bodies and we will be incapable of sin and of hurting each other. We will experience perfect justice and righteousness. No one will be left out.
Proponents of CRT believe in a very different “paradise.” They believe “woke” humans will, apart from God, progressively (and coercively) usher in an earthly utopia. They dream about a day when racial minorities are liberated from systematic racism (real or imagined) and a state of equality and harmony is reached. But if they are honest, they must admit that not everyone will be actually free. They skillfully conceal their true desire to use their newly achieved power to silence, dominate, and oppress those with competing worldviews, especially religious dissenters (Christians). In a Marxist paradise, the oppressed invariably become the oppressors. This basic inconsistency and lack of self-awareness is quite stunningly hypocritical. Exhibit A—think about how nearly all freedoms have been actively subverted and Christians have fared poorly in Marxist dystopias such as Stalin’s Soviet Union, Xi’s China or Kim’s North Korea.
Also, ironically, based in atheistic materialistic worldview, CRT is forced to borrow from the Judeo-Christian worldview to support its claims. Why? Because CRT has no philosophical basis whatsoever for the belief that human beings should treat each other with dignity and respect. Darwinian Materialism, represented by “the law of the jungle,” provides no foundation whatsoever for morality or ethics. As I recently pointed out, it is only the Judeo-Christian tradition, with its belief that humans are created in the image of God (imago Dei) and, therefore, have inherent value and are deserving of dignity and respect, which can support any concept of human rights, civil rights, and justice.
CRT is not only another worldview fundamentally inconsistent with biblical Christianity, but it is another gospel, another religion (See Galatians 1:8). It rejects the Creator and His definition of sin, narrowly defining sin only in racial terms. It rejects the truth that all people and all races have sinned and have offended the Creator (Romans 3:23) and need to repent. It rejects God’s plan for salvation in Jesus. In CRT, one’s sin is rooted, not based on personal choices of rebellion against God and his divine order, but rather based purely on the accident of one’s birth to white parents. Furthermore, repentance is not required by all people for all sins, repentance it only demanded of white people—but not to God and not for any other sins, but only for being white and being an unwitting member of a purportedly systemically racist culture.
In a very real sense, one of the key problem with CRT is that it defines both the problem with the world and the solution far too narrowly. While sin certainly plays a big part in racism (tribalism), sin is a much broader problem than race alone and infects everything we think and do, not just how we treat people of different shades of sand. The other problem CRT fails to acknowledge is that sin is in the heart of all people, including people of color who may harbor misdirected resentment, bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness against white people. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
America is certainly not perfect. We have had to shed a lot of blood and have had to overcome many barriers to more fully realize the promise of the Declaration that “all men are created equal” and the commitment of the U.S. Constitution to the “equal protection” of the laws. While still imperfect, we have made many advances for racial justice in the past one hundred years—in the changing of laws, cultural advancements, and especially in the softening of the human heart. But rather than acknowledging these significant advances, CRT perpetuates unsupported claims of systemic racism, attacking and slandering all whites for merely being white.
Our nation is already the most divided it has been since perhaps 1862. Ironically, CRT’s near singular and sole focus on skin color is inherently disunifying and derisive in the body of Christ and in the broader culture. But Christ came to destroy the sin that divides us from God and us from each other. Jesus doesn’t want us racially divided (See Galatians 3:28). But rather than becoming one new man (Eph. 2:15), with the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts, CRT focuses us nearly exclusively on external issues, the color of our skin—something that we cannot change and something that is not, by itself, inherently sinful.
The very definition of racism is using negative racial stereotypes to unfairly benefit some races and harm others. Yet CRT does exactly this by demanding one standard for white “oppressors” and another standard for “oppressed” minorities. This is not equality nor will it lead to greater unity or national harmony. Sadly, CRT is itself racist and is a huge setback, not advance, for racial relations in America. It screams the lie that the solution is to focus solely on skin color creating a strict new caste system of acceptable and unacceptable races. If CRT is given any more of a foothold in our culture, I fear it may tear our nation and our churches apart.
Racism is sin. And it is only the sinful human heart transformed by the power and love of Jesus Christ that will lead us to a better future. As Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Love, not hate, is the great emancipator. God’s light, not human darkness, will set us free. Repentance from sin and forgiveness are the keys to our national healing.
In Revelation 7:9 a time is described where “a great multitude…from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages [are] standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands….” One of the most beautiful experiences of my lifetime has been for my family to worship during COVID-19 at an African-American inner city church. While mostly black, the congregation has been sprinkled with Hispanics, Asians, my Caucasian family and a few other whites. The love, joy, peace, and unity we have felt there is unprecedented in my lifetime. This is what the body of Christ looks like—one new man—His people from every tribe and nation gathered to worship and glorify Him. This truly is God’s heart for His kingdom. During the summer of BLM mayhem and its aftermath, the pastor, a good friend of mine, has repeatedly said, “We don’t have a skin problem, we have a sin problem.”
Faithful Christians must actively oppose injustice wherever it is found. But CRT is not the right answer. MLK, in his quest for racial equality, modeled and taught a much better way—peaceful, non-violent, principled Christian civil disobedience, not angry mobs rioting and looting or the violent overthrow of the government. He dreamed of a day when all races could sit at the same table together. When we are judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin. Where we can all join hands and stand in humility and unity before our Creator in love, gratitude and peace.
Although we can surely see glimpses of that time now, that day is coming for sure. Only then, will we be free at last.
Dean R. Broyles, Esq.is a constitutional attorney serving as the President of The National Center For Law & Policy (NCLP), an organization fighting to promote and defend religious freedom. Copyright© The National Center For Law & Policy. Reprinted with permission.