Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie Baucham
“This book is, among many things, a plea to the Church. I believe we are being duped by an ideology bent on our demise. This ideology has used our guilt and shame over America’s past, our love for the brethren, and our good and godly desire for reconciliation and justice as a means through which to introduce destructive heresies.” Voddie Baucham
Critical Race Theory has taken center stage in the United States recently as witnessed by countless social media posts, news stories, books, blogs, sermons, and government policy decisions regarding schools and the military.
Using both personal experience and thoroughly researched, evidence-based arguments, Baucham examines how Critical Race Theory (CRT) originated, evolved, and eventually crept into the mainstream culture. More importantly, he shows the reader that CRT is now gaining a foothold in some evangelical churches. But why is that a problem? Shouldn’t Christians be the leaders when it comes to racial equality and justice?
Baucham addresses these questions and his work exposes CRT not as an academic theory, analytical tool, or social justice movement, but as a fully developed worldview antithetical to that of Christianity. In fact, he shows that CRT is rooted in Marxist ideology that is by definition Godless. Karl Marx wrote, “Man makes religion, religion does not make man.”[i] Or put another way, Man makes God, God does not make man. To Marx religion is an invention, and a harmful one at that.
But nevertheless, packaged in terminology that is very attractive to Christians who are anxious for racial reconciliation and biblical justice, CRT has been able to gain some traction in evangelicalism in the form of curricula, popularization of CRT authors, and sermons dedicated to the topic. Baucham examines the consequences of allowing what he describes as this “Trojan Horse” wrapped in positive messages such as “social justice” or “Black Lives Matter” to influence our churches and introduce what he call destructive heresies.
In her apologetic tour de force, Total Truth, author Nancy Pearcey introduces the Creation/Fall/Redemption/Restoration paradigm as questions that must be addressed in each unique worldview. For the Christian this is relatively straightforward. Creation is the act of God speaking into existence a world that was good. Fall represents the sin of mankind as we all, represented by Adam, rebelled against our Creator. Redemption is found in Jesus Christ because of His redeeming work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Restoration is the final culmination where all things are made new and believers enjoy the unencumbered presence of God for all of eternity. That is the basic Christian worldview informed by the Word of God that serves as our final authority and truth.
Though Baucham does not refer directly to Pearcey’s paradigm it is clear that in CRT, creation is appreciated as the time in human history prior to the fall that is the rise of predominately white, oppressive, European culture … otherwise known as Western Civilization. Redemption is found not in the renewal of individual hearts, but instead in social and government revolution, specifically of the United States. However, full restoration of a just society will always remain a future goal and thus the revolution is ongoing and ever-present. In this worldview the individual contributes little, for example there “need not be individual racists for systemic racism to exist.”
Opposed to Christianity, CRT replaces the concept of Original Sin that corrupts all people, with the sin of oppression that corrupts all white people. Just as the Bible teaches that all are under sin regardless of their behavior, CRT teaches that all white people are oppressors regardless of their behavior. But unlike a biblical worldview in which God judges all people impartially and rightly finds us lacking, CRT pronounces judgement based entirely on ethnicity . . . white skin makes you a guilty oppressor and black or brown skin makes you oppressed. Baucham goes on to show how this worldview has developed into a new religion complete with a new canon and a new priesthood. But there is no grace in this religious system. The only salvation those lacking sufficient melanin can find is through the good work of anti-racism prescribed according to the “ethnic gnosis” possessed only by the priests of CRT.
Baucham is quick to point out that racism is real and that as a black man he has experienced it first-hand. But rather than a constant that is found institutionalized in American society, Baucham locates the nidus of infection of racism in the hearts of individuals desperately in need a Savior. The cure then, is not found in reformation of societies but in repentant hearts that are made new by a loving and merciful God. It is only in the Gospel, not in government revolutions, that we must trust for our salvation. And yes, we are all in need of a Savior, no matter what shade of skin we wear. According to Baucham, the Church has an opportunity to showcase grace, true forgiveness that removes our sin as far as the east is from the west, and the supernatural oneness that comes only from being in Christ. He looks forward to the day when all nations, including people from every tribe and tongue, will gather together around the throne and worship their Creator in wondrous unity.
[i] In the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right of 1843
One thought on “Fault Lines: A Book Review”
Let us be wise as serpents in resisting the Serpent’s twisted use of language. The meaning of words and phrases is determined by their usage in context, and Faultlines illumines the context in which otherwise good words are used to exploit superficial Christians who are harmless as doves.