Eight authors contribute to this work published by the SBC Founders movement and dedicated to critiquing Critical Race Theory (CRT) in light of biblical understanding on Social Justice. Several authors explain CRT including excellent materials from Voddie Baucham and Tom Ascol. Ascol lists three problematic principles of critical theory (pp. 22-23).
- Identity – we are not who we are as individuals but our identity arises from the groups to which we belong.
- Duty – Under CRT our duty is to work to liberate oppressed groups—which amount to any group except straight white males.
- Experience – Our lived experience far outweighs objective evidence and reason.
Bauchan links CRT directly to Cultural Marxism. In contrast to Classical Marxism, which is an economic ideology that leads to an uprising of the masses to overthrow capitalism (pp, 32, 88), Cultural Marxism is concerned with cultural injustice. Cultural Marxism can be traced to the Frankfort School in the 1930s which divided people into two groups: white heterosexuals males and everyone else. The goal of the Frankfort School was to infiltrate the educational system in order to mobilize all other groups against the hegemonic power that white males had. CRT is the grandchild of Cultural Marxism (pp. 168-170). With CRT we are left with racism without a racist since all white people are racist merely because of their whiteness (p. 37). Such a philosophy leaves our society with no meaningful way for improvement (p. 62).
In chapter three, Jared Longshore discusses a related subject: the present state of sexual anarchy in America. America, and especially the LBGTQ+ agenda does not seek equality so much as a complete reordering of society (pp. 44-45). Churches are under pressure to welcome homosexuals and become their friends (p. 45). Conferences, such as Revoice, are invading evangelical circles with a softening view on Gay sex, pronouncing the act sinful while claiming the desire is only a temptation (pp. 51-52).
Ascol demonstrates that under CRT white privilege is viewed as the original sin (p. 56). Yet he reminds the reader of the obvious, that majorities who create and lead any culture do so in ways that benefit themselves (p. 60). That includes ancient Israel and modern-day China and Japan, yet no one complains while visiting Beijing that everyone is speaking Chinese because of Chinese privilege. CRT encourages blacks to see themselves as victims instead of taking advantage of the opportunities that have been afforded (pp. 63-64). Baucham agrees and says that as a black man he realizes that nowhere else on earth do black people have such privileges as in America (p. 119). Baucham also dismantles the idea that somehow, because of one’s ethnicity, a person can know when something is racist (p. 115). He calls this “ethnic Gnosticism” and questions how people who cannot even know their own hearts (Jere 17:9) can claim to know the hearts of others (pp. 115, 123, 175-176). He views men like Matt Chandler as promoting tokenism (p. 123) and making racism the chief, and unpardonable, sin (p. 125), while ignoring others.
Sadly, CRT is driving our country and our church members further apart, not uniting us around truth (p. 124). Baucham’s chapter on racial reconciliation is on target as it accuses CRT leaning evangelicals of developing a new hermeneutic and a new canon (p. 138). He suggests that, by adding books on sociology and CRT worldview to help us understand human nature and deal with racial conflict, the sufficiency of Scripture is being denied (p. 138).
Mark Coppenger adds a chapter on manhood and womanhood, accusing many evangelicals of compromising on these biblical themes for fear of being considered intellectually second rate (p. 130). Several quotations from Chad Vegas summarizes well the direction and theme of By What Standard?
Just governments are good! However, a more just government does not answer the eternal condition of the soul. Our priority is not to transform the government or justice system; “Making America Great Again” should not be our primary concern as followers of Jesus (p. 149).
However, what my neighbor—and the world—needs most is not the American Constitution but the Word of God (p. 150).
However much we may have suffered, our greatest problem is not being a victim of injustice. Our greatest problem is that we are wicked, law-breaking offenders against our Holy God (p. 156).
Our greatest need is not for the church to get distracted trying to recognize society to help people overcome the injustice committed against them. Our greatest need is for the church to remain vigilantly committed to proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ alone (p. 156).
This volume is a must read for anyone trying to unravel the social justice concerns facing our country today. The only issue I have with the book is that two of the authors quote Eric Mason’s Woke Church without any mention that Mason is a lead voice in evangelicalism introducing CRT concepts to the church. I found these quotes perplexing.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor/teacher at Southern View Chapel.
edited by Jared Longshore (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2020) 262 pp., Kindle e-book.