Christ, His Gospel, and Ethnicity (Introduction)

“The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved,” (The Baptist Confession, 1.10).

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With some relief, I have observed as one-by-one, major voices in Reformed thought have begun to voice concern over the way that the issue of ethnicity is being treated of late in the name of Evangelical and even Reformed Christianity. Individuals like James White and Phil Johnson have weighed in on the matter. We should recognize, though, that much of the Evangelical and Reformed church is behind the curve on this issue, and there is precious little unity in the addressing of it. In fact, the primary concern of some seems to be their own reputations and the way they are being personally addressed on social media. The stakes are much larger than personal reputation, though.

Entire denominations are ending up on the wrong side of the issue on this one, bloggers and podcasters are seeking to address the issue one biblical passage at a time, and no one seems to be willing to say outright what I will seek to demonstrate in this very series of articles: the fact that many in the name of racial reconciliation are adding to, and thus denying, the gospel once and for all delivered to the saints. It is high time that we brought Scripture to bear on the matter of ethnicity in the Western church in a very clear manner. What clear passages speak to this issue, though?

In the articles to come, we will examine a few key texts that are necessary for laying the groundwork for a proper biblical understanding of pan-ethnic fellowship within the church of God. Though by no means an exhaustive list, the following passages will be instrumental in helping us to understand the proper biblical understanding of this often volatile issue:

  • Jeremiah 31:27-34
  • Galatians 3:7, 26-39
  • Ephesians 2:13-22
  • James 2:1, 8-13
  • Colossians 2-3

 

Critical Race Theory

Before we examine these key texts, it will be important for us to take a minute to briefly summarize the major teachings of Critical Race Theory (CRT), because it is well documented that this is the major view behind much of the narrative being pushed in Evangelical and Reformed churches today. “Christian” proponents of CRT have all but anathematized those who disagree with them and they have accused them of heinous sins. This series is not meant to be a responding in kind. However, there have been some recent statements that have made it clear that these men and women are seeking to fundamentally change the gospel as we know it.

What is CRT? CRT began in the 1960s and 70s as a political philosophy with roots in Critical Theory (from the 1910s) and its parent philosophy: Marxism. “Critical of both liberal incrementalism and conservative color-blind philosophies, critical race theorists carve out new ground that places central importance on power, economics, narrative, and social construction in coming to grips with America’s social problems,” (Critical Race Theory – Methodology – Law, Legal, University, and York – JRank Articles). There has been great push back against the notion that this approach to addressing ethnic disparity in the church is Marxist or, more appropriately, neo-Marxist in origin. However, there is no denying the paper trail that ties neo-Marxists like Derrick Bell, Saul Alinsky, and Richard Delgado to the formulation and propagation of Critical Race Theory.

With this as the backdrop for the discussion, the remaining articles are soon to follow.

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