Time to Fear God and Not Man, Part 1
The 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial race is now a month past. In a remarkable rebuke of the woke agenda, Republicans swept all state-level races in a State that has been a Democrat stronghold for more than a decade. The key issue for voters then remains a problem for evangelicalism in general and Southern Baptists in particular, Critical Race Theory. The SBC, however, has been dealing with this particular issue for at least a year before it was absorbed into the mainstream consciousness. Unfortunately, we have not been dealing with it well – at least not as well as the angry parents of the commonwealth have.
The purpose of this article is to change that.
This is a call to action.
A call to stop waiting for someone else to act. It is time for a reckoning and may judgement start in the House of God!
THE NEFARIOUS APOLOGETIC OF CRT
Most of you are already aware of the history but let’s do a quick recap to cover all our bases for what comes next shall we?
Back in June of 2019, the resolutions committee of the SBC introduced Resolution 9 – a resolution, as it was presented, to adopt CRT and Intersectionality into the life of Southern Baptist churches as useful “analytical tools.” The first attempt to do this – without having to engage the anticipated opposition – was to ram Res. 9 through in a package of resolutions, citing time constraints as the reason. Fortunately, men like Tom Ascol and Tom Buck were present and led the messengers to receive the resolutions one at a time. Now, the reason we can safely assume bad faith in how Res. 9 was originally presented is because of how it was eventually presented, with a revealing preface of “Here we go.” To put it plainly, the resolutions committee was clearly aware of the controversial nature of what they were doing and just as clearly had intentions of smuggling this resolution in through the back door.
When the time for debating the resolution had commenced both Ascol and Buck pushed back against it’s adoption with very forceful language, both citing it’s Marxist origins. Much of the exchange in Birmingham between these Messengers on the floor and Resolution Committee Chairman Curtis Woods here (along with a helpful transcript). Note particularly Curtis Woods’ address of the controversial “analytical tools” segment of the resolution. You can can also find Tom Ascol’s recollection of the events that transpired here.
“RESOLVED, That critical race theory and intersectionality should only be employed as analytical tools subordinate to Scripture—not as transcendent ideological frameworks.”
If you read the resolution, general revelation is cited as the sufficiency for why it is commendable for Christians to use CRT/I as “analytical tools.”
“WHEREAS, General revelation accounts for truthful insights found in human ideas that do not explicitly emerge from Scripture and reflects what some may term “common grace.‘”
Here we find a deliberate twisting of the doctrine of general revelation. General revelation too originates in the mind of God, not man. Whereas a man may have an idea, and it may turn out to be a “truthful insight,” general revelation helps us to determine if it is in fact so. We do this by testing it against the laws of nature, using empirical observation or the laws of logic, using rational deduction. For example, water always boiling at the same temperature is general revelation. We also do this in testing these ideas against the word of God, and since general and special revelation flow from the same source, the mind of God, we should have an expectation that they will be agreed. When they seemingly are not, we live by faith and not by sight. This segment of the resolution assumes the truthfulness of CRT, it does nothing to test it, much less prove it. By this standard the contributions of Darwin, Freud, and Hitler are all general revelation. After all, they had ideas too.
From establishing a fallacious standard of general revelation the resolution moves on to a self-refuting segment that sounds an awful lot like “trust the experts.”
“WHEREAS, Evangelical scholars who affirm the authority and *sufficiency* of Scripture have employed selective insights from critical race theory and intersectionality to understand multifaceted social dynamics;”
Ask yourself, if these scholars affirm the sufficiency of Scripture, why then have they “employed selective insights from critical race theory and intersectionality to understand multifaceted social dynamics?” Either Scripture is sufficient or it is not. Now, we may in fact learn from each other’s experiences, from observing the world around us, and even from cultural differences, various universal truths about this world, and that is indeed general revelation from God when it is found to be true, but that is an altogether different category than adopting “ideas” and self-described “theories” about why the world is the way it is and calling it general revelation. This deviation from general revelation is what CRT-proponents refer to as Standpoint Epistemology and it exposes the post-modernism of which CRT is founded upon. Mere theories and ideas are not general revelation, rather they are what general and special revelation converge upon to tear down.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” –2 Corinthians 10:5
“WHEREAS, Critical race theory and intersectionality have been appropriated by individuals with worldviews that are contrary to the Christian faith, resulting in ideologies and methods that contradict Scripture.”
Here the committee goes further in misrepresenting the origins of CRT/I by claiming that it has been appropriated by ideologies opposed to Christ. Therein lies the very dispute that Ascol and Buck raised. CRT/I was never “appropriated” by Marxists. It originated there! It is it’s intellectual and ethical offspring! The “ideas” that the authors of this resolution would have us consider to be general revelation from God are the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels! What Res. 9 did was compel the church to appropriate CRT/I and it’s Marxist post-modern presuppositions. It must be pointed out that they have successfully smuggled a Marxist worldview into the lifeblood of the church, not as some meaningless qualification referred to as “analytical tools,” but rather as the very doctrine of the church!
This is very easy to show. For even Curtis Woods himself does not teach CRT as if it is just a theory of why there are racial disparities, he teaches it as gospel truth! As doctrine! How do the disciples of CRT apply this new teaching? Well they tell us it is a “gospel issue” of course. This is not how we speak of “analytical tools,” it’s how we speak of the faith once for all handed down to the saints! “Teaching” and “doctrine” are synonyms of one another in the rhetorical environment of the church. To divorce them, as if the words “analytical tools” accomplishes such folly, is to fall into a semantics trap. That is, against the explicit command of the Apostle Paul, we have found ourselves quarreling over words (2 Timothy 2:14) rather than substance.
This means that Standpoint Epistemology is a form of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism. Named for the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis, the Gnostic claims to possess “special knowledge” available to only a select group of people. When you are told you cannot understand the Bible without the contributions of people from other races and cultures, what you are encountering is a species of Gnosticism. It is heresy. Race and culture does not illuminate Scripture; the Holy Spirit does. Race and culture does not interpret Scripture, Scripture does. Jesus corrects the cultural misunderstandings of the Samaritan woman and the Jewish people alike. He does not tell them to yield to each other’s insights, he tells them to follow Him.
One reason Gnosticism is considered heresy is that it elevates something other than God’s self-revelation – the gnosis – to the status of self-authenticating, thereby effectively deifying gnosis. For God’s word to be authoritative it must be interpreted by God’s word. Though natural revelation agrees with scripture, it doesn’t authenticate it. The Bible is self-authenticating. To say that the “black experience” is self-authenticating and not subject to cross-examination is to elevate it to the place of inerrancy reserved for the Word alone.
As if the parliamentary tricks of 2019 and the disingenuous language of Res. 9 were not sufficient enough to expose a malicious motive. We have the fiasco of 2021. The SBC leadership were not ignorant of the campaign to repeal Res. 9. They took what was meant as a resolution denouncing CRT/I and removed any and all mention of CRT/I from it, contorting it into another cookie-cutter denunciation of racism instead. This was done despite a significant desire on the floor to re-address the errors introduced in 2019’s Res. 9 and, once again, those on the stage used cynical parliamentary tricks to deprive the Messengers of organizational oxygen.
In summary, Res. 9 was presented to the messengers at SBC19 in a disingenuous and predatory manner. Many of the messengers that voted for it were ignorant of what CRT is, what it teaches, and what actually applying it’s teaching looked like. They voted to pass it in good faith because they trusted the institution that presented it to them. These were folks who genuinely deplore racism, want racial reconciliation, and simply trusted that CRT was the way to achieve that because that is what the resolutions committee told them it would do and because our institutions did nothing to reel them in.
Fast forward some 2 1/2 years later and we’ve seen cities burned down, school systems in disarray, relationships lost, families torn asunder, churches splitting in ugly fashion, pastors stumping from the pulpit against their own congregations, lawsuits, restraining orders, and an endless stream of abuse accusations.
If I may speak to the messengers that supported Res. 9 in 2019, do you now see that your trust in the institutions was severely misplaced? Has the promised racial reconciliation occurred? Have you been able to repent of your whiteness enough? Have you atoned enough for the supposed sins of your ancestors? Has enough of your history been erased? Your heritage despised? Your ancestry slandered? Do you now see that your trust in the institutions has let loose a wave a deconstruction that is consumed with not sparing the flock of God?
There is still time, but reform starts with each one of us. We must take responsibility for this and we must now act, each of us where he is, to set it right. We must repent. Which means we must fear God and not men. Furthermore we must act – whether or not the institutions will appreciate it.
Because they won’t.
In the next installment of this series we will examine the specific steps to take to fight well. You can read it here.