One of the beautiful messages behind the gospel is that all are equal in God’s sight.
It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, rich or poor, black or white. We are all God’s image bearers. No one is born better than another. No one can say I am without sin, for we are all sinners in need of redemption in Christ Jesus.
It is one of the pillars of Christianity. Our worth doesn’t depend on what we’ve done, who we are, how much we have in our bank accounts, or anything else. God’s love for us is unconditional. Throughout the centuries, billions have come to Christianity for this message alone. We’ve come to Christ in recognition that there is nothing we can do that can ever be good enough to erase our sin. We are all flawed human beings, and the only way to overcome our sinful nature is through the blood of Jesus. It’s through God’s grace and his grace alone that we’re able to walk in his light and love others far beyond our own limited, selfish love. His supernatural love dwells within us with the Holy Spirit and gives us life. We are born again through Christ Jesus. It is the most beautiful message of hope that has ever been told.
Yet, is it Enough?
If we are the light of the world, how do we explain the inner cities and the disparity in our own country? Are we to blame? Some would argue that the gospel doesn’t work. Are they right? Has the church failed? Have we loved our neighbor as we’re commanded? Does this all prove that we are hypocrites, or the gospel is outdated or irrelevant? If we are truly living the gospel, then would these issues exist? If we are not living the gospel, then why aren’t we? Is it because it’s impossible to live up to? A million questions can go through our minds and make us question our faith as we consider all of this.
Many critical race theory proponents would argue that Christianity isn’t enough. The current state of the world is only evidence of this. We need a more practical solution, one that tactically addresses the disparities we see within our society. In order to address these disparities, we need to admit that racism exists and is the sole cause of our societal issues. We need to find a new way to love our neighbor. A method that we can enforce when racism rears its ugly head. If we were to look at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we could say that critical race theory agrees with many things that he spoke about, such as repentance, ‘loving your neighbor,’ ‘giving your coat,’ and ‘walking the extra mile.’ As Christians, we are called to love and serve our brothers and sisters. We are called to lay down our will, make sacrifices and be peacekeepers. It’s no wonder that the same biblical values we see in the Gospels make CRT attractive to some.
Is it Complimentary?
Based on this, it might seem that critical race theory and Christianity fit well together and share the same values we hold dear as Christians. That there is no contradiction between the two. The gospel is about love, and CRT’s goal is also to love our neighbor. Even though one message is Christian and one is secular, they may seem to mesh well together, except they don’t. For as much as we might want to believe that critical race theory is all about loving our neighbor, it’s not. Instead, critical Race Theory seeks to administer social justice through discrimination. Not only is it racist and Marxist, but most concerning of all is that it is anti-biblical.
At its core, it goes against the doctrine of original sin. Its proponents might say that isn’t true. They believe that people of all races can lie, commit murder, or adultery. This may be true, but they elevate one sin above all others. That is the sin of racism. There is no worse sin. It also implies that this is a sin that is not shared by all but is the domain of one particular race and that this sin is unforgivable. There is nothing that can rectify it except for eternal contrition and retribution. The blood of Christ is not enough. Nothing will ever be enough. It is the complete negation of grace (the foundation of Christianity).
Instead of unity, it promotes division. Instead of forgiveness, it demands destruction. Instead of contentment, it encourages covetousness. Instead of humility, it fosters pride. Instead of love, it requires hatred. It demands our worship above all other things. It must meet any resistance with harsh punishment whenever possible. CRT is far from the like yoke of Christ.
The New Gospel
While many CRT supporters might argue differently, there is a fervor to this new movement that is religious for all intents and purposes. It doesn’t believe in a deity, but it fits nicely with Merriam-Webster’s definition of religion: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. For all of CRT’s assumptions require an element of faith.
It states that there is an underlying current of white supremacy in the world. That this current affects everything. It affects laws, systems of government, and all institutions. There is, in fact, no place that systemic racism does not exist and that all Caucasians are white supremacists. It assumes that economic disparities in the inner cities result from white supremacy and not many other factors. It lacks sufficient evidence and speaks of its conclusions as if they are undeniable. CRT picks and chooses information that fits its narrative. There is nothing objective about it in any way,
Regardless of this, we have to be careful how we react to it. Though it is false, prejudice, and highly biased, many under its spell have good intentions. They want to correct the suffering and disparities that exist. They want to help, lift up and change the world for the better. A sinful world we all have some fault in supporting.
When it all comes down to it, none of us are without fault. Many of us have allowed the false gods of materialism, success, personal comfort, pleasure, etc., to rule our lives. Having a nicer house or car is not inherently wrong, but when it distracts us from being Christ’s hands and feet in the world, it is. While many Christians have done Christ’s work over the past several decades, many of us have also neglected it. Instead of serving and loving our neighbors, we’ve focused on our own pursuits (this writer included). There’s nothing inherently wrong with our dreams, but there is when they distract us from living out the gospel message (loving the poor, hungry, widows, orphans, prisoners, etc.). In our self-absorption, many of us have failed to show Christ’s love.
We may have thrown a few dollars toward ministries, but we also put the primary responsibility of taking care of the poor onto the government. We left a bureaucracy in charge of loving our neighbor, and it failed miserably. Not only has it been ineffective, but it has made things worse. It has undermined the family and given our poorest communities a terrible education system, which only perpetuates the cycle of poverty. This has all happened because we allowed it to. Where the church should have been working, the government stepped in, and where it failed, another religion has risen up. Ultimately, as wrong as Wokeism is, it isn’t as dangerous as the cultural complacency and materialism that has infected many of our churches for decades.
Using it for God
And knowing all of this, we may find Wokeism being a good thing because we can use it to glorify Christ in areas we have failed before. Not by championing its message but by using its logic to break down some of the world’s lies. We can use Wokeism as a tool to have conversations that would have been impossible before. Every conversation might not lead to Christ, but we can leave a pebble (irritation) in someone’s shoe (so to speak) as we move them closer to Christ. (Romans 8:28)
Pebble # 1 – Morality is Good
“You do you,” or “live and let live” is a central theme of our age. The world has believed (for a while) that sharing your morals with someone else is wrong. We shouldn’t encourage or expect society to live by biblical values. We are told it is judgmental to think otherwise, yet Wokeism flies in direct contradiction to this. Wokeism believes the world should live by its values, and if it doesn’t, then it is evil or racist. I don’t say this to criticize Wokeism but simply to state the truth.
We don’t have to agree that racism penetrates every aspect of our lives and is the foundation of our country. Still, we can agree morals are important, whether others share them or not, and that it isn’t wrong to encourage society to live by a certain set of values. This may be the first step in reversing the anti-moralistic trend we have found ourselves on.
Pebble # 2 – Pleasure isn’t the Highest End
Wokeism also puts everything under a magnifying glass. A racist isn’t just someone who does something racist but fails to speak out or stand up against the “inherently racist” system, white privilege, or microaggressions. We might not agree with this view, but we can agree that a life that doesn’t serve others is selfish. We can also admit that we have all failed to personally live up to this standard at times (ignored suffering, lived a self-centered life).
This means that all of our little decisions are important and have a far greater impact than many are willing to concede. What we do matters, even if it’s small or doesn’t appear to hurt anyone. Whether that’s recreational drugs, promiscuity, or Netflix binging, it takes time and energy away from us loving others as God intends. Our decisions don’t exist in a vacuum. Our time isn’t ours. A life focused on personal pleasure isn’t the highest end.
Pebble # 3 – We Are All Sinners
Wokeism also demands those in one particular race must admit they are racist. We might be inclined to fight this, but we should actually lean into it. Because if we can acknowledge we are racist (had a racist thought before), that opens up a new door. Jesus said in 1 John 3:15 that “whoever hates his brother is a murderer.” He also said in Matthew 5:28 that “anyone who has already looked at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery.” That would make us all adulterers and murderers too. In reality, we have committed all sins in our hearts.
In this, can our woke brother or sister admit that all white people are far worse than just racists? If so, can we also ask if this sin problem is attached to the gene that controls skin pigmentation? Is it only a problem for Caucasians? Or is it something that all people share? If we all share this problem, then how do we address it? Will critical race theory or some other system do the job? Will fear and shame fix it? Can we ever be good enough? Or are we only putting a band-aid on a much deeper wound? Can we possibly consider that our efforts to solve the problem of sin are futile and that the only solution may be the transformative power of God’s grace? In a time when the world is compelled to admit its inadequacy to handle one sin (racism), it must also recognize its inadequacy to solve all sins.
A Personal Lesson
As Christians, we can also learn a personal lesson from how wokeism puts everything under the microscope of racism (microaggressions, whiteness, privilege). We shouldn’t be living this way with others, directing judgment upon them as wokeism does, but we can direct it back at ourselves. In prayer, we should ask God to examine our hearts and reveal things (not in one sin but all sins) so we can honor him and live differently.
Also, as we go about our lives, instead of asking ourselves, “What does it hurt?” we need to ask, “How does this honor, God?” Everything we do is consequential and should be honoring God. What we watch, listen to and who we associate with, and how we treat others. Let us take the lesson of serious examination from wokeism for ourselves and our families. Let us live in the world but not be of the world. Let us pray without ceasing as we walk in humility, grace, and thankfulness.
All to the Glory of God
Ultimately, we should always look to serve those who have less, but not when it causes us to contradict God’s word with an anti-biblical humanistic religion. Even if we can overlook that CRT is divisive, hateful, and racist, we can’t ignore that it directly opposes the gospel of grace and original sin. We honor God when we sacrifice and lay down all we have at the foot of the cross for him, but there will never be honor in sacrificing the truth of the cross.
Simultaneously, endorsing unbiblical claims in the name of love also doesn’t just dishonor God but hurts the very people we should be loving. In our quest to help, we only end up empowering a hopeless, divisive message and pushing people further away from Christ. We tell the world that it’s okay to covet, be partial, and judgmental if it gets you what you want. Thus, we negate the teachings of Jesus and spiritually damage the same people we claim to be fighting for.
Bearing All Things
Depending on who you ask, Wokeism may seem like a Godsend or a dangerous Marxist ideology, but no matter what you believe, God will use it to bring about his glory. Let us not fear persecution either, for as much as we want to think that we are beyond those times. The harsh reality is we are not. Jesus himself said that persecution would come to believers (Matthew 10:22). Whether that persecution is death or cancel culture, we must still honor God and pray for those who call themselves our enemies. Praying they will know God’s grace.
Finally, in humility and thanksgiving, we must always seek to serve and love others as the spirit leads us. This is not a love that we share out of guilt. It is not one we give to prove we are antiracists. This love isn’t a respecter of persons but a love we are compelled to share with all. This is our great calling.
We love because he first loved us.1 John 4:19