The Way to Keep Racism Alive Is by Not Killing It

Recently the Coca Cola Company came under criticism for an online training seminar for staff to “try to be less white.” I am reminded of a line in the movie, The Shadowlands, (starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger). A professor shares with Joy (played by Winger) a chauvinistic opinion, to which she replies, “I don’t know if you’re trying to be offensive or just simply stupid.”

So many people in the political, business, and entertainment realms profess to abhor racism, while in truth, they do not. If our society truly wanted to eradicate racism, it would try to kill it and not simply turn it in a different direction.

“Try to be less white,” say some of those in the Coca Cola world. First of all, what does this even mean? Second, could you imagine a company telling select employees, “try to be less black,” “try to be less Latino,” or “try to not be so Asian”? Such statements are, in themselves, racist. So, if we really want to see racism die, directing it to another group is not going to kill it. It merely continues to feed and breed it.

“I’m so ashamed to be white,” some of those in Hollywood and Washington have said. Liars! If they were truly ashamed of being white and having “white privilege” they would truly hang their heads in shame instead of trying to seek more attention. They would distribute some of their well overpaid salaries to help the less fortunate communities. They claim to be so “ashamed,” yet still they love the limelight.

The statements that really upset me, however, are those that claim caucasians are bad, on the basis they are white. This is not an attack on Aryan-ism, but simply a turning it in a different direction or redefining it. It is simply a shifting in saying, “Blacks are criminals, based on they are black.” Of course, this statement is just as malicious and wrong. But we do not deal with racism by shifting words. Rather, we begin treating one another, regardless of pigmentation, with dignity and respect.

The color of a person’s skin is never what defines him or her of their personality or character. Over the years, I have seen the humanity of persons, regardless of their color. I have met some very wonderfully kind, generous, intelligent, and funny whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian, etc. I have also met some very rude, selfish, ignorant, and vulgar whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian, etc.

“Honor everyone,” the apostle Peter tells us (1 Pet. 2:17).

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. ~ James 2:8-9

To hate or belittle any person on the basis of their skin color, ethnicity, or heritage is to trample on the heart of God. We are granted an amazing glimpse surrounding the throne of God in heaven:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ~ Revelation 7:9-10

The way to keep racism alive is by not killing it. As long as we continue to belittle, attack, and speak condescendingly on one another based on our color or ethnicity, we simply keep adding fuel to the fire instead of letting the embers finally die out.

Problems with Critical Race Theory Infecting the Church

Before addressing some of the problems with Critical Race Theory (CRT) infecting the church, allow me to first define what I mean by the church. What is the church? Is it those who adhere to Roman Catholicism? Is it white evangelicals who believe in a “white man’s” religion? Heaven forbid! The church is comprised of followers of Jesus Christ who believe that He is the God-Man (fully God and fully man) who bore the sins of humankind, and was raised from the dead, and gives eternal life to all who turn from sin and believe on Him. Thus, the church is made up of people of every color, tribe, and nation. Understanding this is of supreme importance.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ~ Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV)

When CRT (i.e., various ideas about “systematic racism,” the evils of “whiteness,” the false dichotomy of the “oppressors and the oppressed,” etc.) infects the church, such infection creates major theological problems that must not be ignored. The issue is not simply that churches are poisoned but that the very Gospel of Jesus Christ and biblical theology are distorted and denied.There are five particular problems I will address concerning Critical Race Theory in the church: 1) The philosophical aspect; 2) the image of God; 3) the perception of authority; 4) sin; and 5) the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

First, from a philosophical perspective, the very infrastructure of CRT is founded on Marxist ideas. Marxism is an extremely secular-materialistic and atheistic philosophy. Wherever you find Marxism, you will find division, rebellion, and lust for power. How ironic whenever Marxists accuse other systems as being these. Marxism is godless and ruthless to the core (listen to anyone’s account who has suffered under communistic regimes). To try to mix such ideas with Christian teachings is like trying to mix oil and water. The apostle Paul gives followers of Christ a stern warning:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. ~ Colossians 2:8

The next issue is crucial, as we consider the image of God. What is the image of God? Is it dependent on intellect, ethnicity, gender, or morality? What does the Bible say?

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:27

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. ~ James 3:7-9

Again, what is the image of God? The image of God is the human race. This includes men/women, adults/children, black/white, European/African, gay/straight, Christian/atheist, Democrat/Republican, the wise/foolish, the kind/cruel, etc. The issue here is not about right or wrong, but whether certain groups of people are superior or inferior to others. There are behaviors and attitudes that are wrong; however, the person him/herself is still created in the image of God. CRT tends to view “whiteness” as morally inferior, etc. However, by trying to deal with racism, it only perpetuates it. CRT simply seeks to turn the hourglass upside down, not to break it altogether.

Third, consider the perception of authority. CRT equates authority with oppression, but is authority always wrong and oppressive? Are those under authority, by default, oppressed? Is corruption and abuse of power limited to one type or group of people? Authority itself is not bad. In fact, God is the one who has established levels of authority, from the home to government. Indeed, authority can be—and often is—abused, but the same can be said of most things. Nevertheless, authority is intended to serve good purposes.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by GodTherefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. ~ Romans 13:1-4

Even in the home, God has ordained the family structure with the man being the head (see Eph. 5:23), and churches have pastors, elders, deacons, and overseers (see 1 Tim. 3:1-13). Authority is meant to be good; however, too often it is misused. But is the perversion of authority limited to one certain group of people? Is it limited to color, gender, or even religion? Admittedly, there is abuse of authority in many churches, but are congregations to rise up and do away with pastors and the like? My point is this: it is not simply black or white husbands, pastors, leaders, city officials, government officials, etc. Each is intended by God to be beneficial to those who are under the authority. For CRT to view authority as wrong and oppressive is to kick against what God Himself has ordained. Unfortunately, the human heart has a natural propensity for perverting anything good. This brings us to the next problem.

CRT makes a moral distinction between the “oppressed and the oppressors.” The “oppressors,” by default of the color of their skin, and since they have had such an influence on society, are by nature racist, oppressive, barbaric, and brutal. On the other hand, the vices of the “oppressed” are viewed simply as a result of the “oppression.” However, it is here where the infection of CRT begins to directly affect the Gospel. Perversion, corruption, brutality, etc. are not issues of color but of the heart of every human being which is infected by sin. Furthermore, sin stems from the perverse and evil desire of being independent of God and His rightful Kingship.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. ~ Romans 1:28-32

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”….  The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  ~ Romans 3:9-18, 22-23

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all menbecause all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.~ Romans 5:12-17

So, for whom did Jesus Christ die? Let us be very careful here. Jesus died for sinners, and it is only sinners who can be redeemed. Did Jesus die for blacks and whites? Of course He did. Then what does this reveal? It reveals that each of us are sinners. Furthermore, only human beings made in the image of God are redeemable. Fallen angels are sinners, in the technical sense of the word; however, they are neither made in the image of God nor are they redeemable.

For CRT to be true, then there must be superior and inferior people. If this is the case, then what is the significance of the image of God? If whites are sinful by default, and others are sinful due to oppression of whites, then what exactly is original sin? Do the latter truly need a Savior? And if they do not, then how can they be redeemed, since Christ died for sinners?

It is true, racism and oppression are real. But to create a dichotomy between blacks and whites, and to treat as though one has a monopoly over oppression and brutality, is to deny what the Bible actually teaches. Whether you go into a predominantly black society or white, you will find corruption, oppression, deception, and brutality. At the same time, you will witness people made in the image of God whom Christ died for. May the Holy Spirit use His holy scalpel of truth to cut out the deadly infection of the deceitfulness of CRT.

How Have We Become So Mean and Nasty?

The political climate and polarization of our country have become extremely toxic, releasing the poisons of hypocrisy and hatred. Strangely, while different sides are spewing out derogatory and accusative terms (racists, Hitler/Nazis, fascists, snowflakes, cry babies, —phobics, etc.), and labeling others as evil, each reveal—from both the Left and the Right—the murder in their own hearts. Social media has only confounded the issue more, as people remove nearly all filters, including common decency and respect. No one is safe or immune from the abusive language. 

Are we on the brink of becoming a nation of savages? Aside from the obvious violence and riots in various cities, just consider the things people say on Facebook, Twitter, etc. We often see the quotes on Twitter coming from celebrities, journalists, and politicians exploding with nastiness and profanities directed at another. On Facebook average Joes belittle one another relentlessly and viciously because of differing views. There is rarely actual conversing, but accusations laced with profanities.

Of our own president some have portrayed him being beheaded, and some have posted they hope he dies from Covid. Similar things are said about other politicians. Many make fun of another political that appears to be facing early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. From where does such nastiness come, and what does it reveal? While hatred and derision are vomited out of our mouths or pounded on our buttons, Jesus reveals to us the ugly truth from where our words come—and worse, what they reveal.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45 (ESV)

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. ~ Matthew 12:34

You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire. ~ Matthew 5:21-22

Did you catch these? Our words come from our hearts, which are either like refreshing fountains or repulsive cesspools. Furthermore, our nasty, malicious words reveal the evil of murder in our hearts.

The apostle Paul, referencing Old Testament passages, writes,

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” ~ Romans 3:12-18

Just as lust-filled glances reveal the immorality in a man’s heart, Jesus says our mean-spirited words reveal the malice and murder in our own hearts. This stinging truth is just as true for the Right as it is for the left; for liberals and conservatives; for Republicans and Democrats; and irregardless of color or nationality.

While degrading others and trying to take the specks out of others’ eyes, Jesus blasts us by confronting us with our own hypocrisy:

How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~ Matthew 7:4-5

How have we become so mean and nasty? How can we expect others to be decent while we ourselves are not behaving decently? According to Jesus, we are to look to Him in faith, and for forgiveness, and He will help clean us up from the inside out. From there, we are to be kind, loving, and just regardless how others behave. How can our cities and nation be rid of the violence if we refuse to confess and repent of the violence raging in our own hearts? Our hypocrisies serve only as fuel on the fires.