By Stephanie Martin -May 12, 2021
In an interview to discuss his new book about the social justice movement, Voddie Baucham explains why critical race theory (CRT) spells “looming catastrophe” for evangelicalism. The pastor and author, who’s recovering from heart surgery, recently spoke to Dan Andros and Tré Goins-Phillips at CBN’s Faithwire about his just-released book Fault Lines. He describes it as “a plea for the church” to beware of “destructive heresies.”
The Bible is sufficient on its own, emphasizes Voddie Baucham, who says he worries about the backlash that will likely result from adherence to CRT and the liberation theology it promotes. He hopes his new book will help ignite much-needed conversations and encourage people to test their relationships to determine if they’re authentic or not.
Voddie Baucham on the Movement’s Religious Trappings
The social justice movement isn’t just a pseudo-religion, says Voddie Baucham, but rather its own religious movement. “This has all the trappings of religion,” he says, noting that even atheists have made that point. The movement, for example, has its own cosmology, its own saints, its own liturgy, and its own law. Some of those aspects are very subtle, Baucham notes, which makes them attractive to Christians who are rightly concerned about topics such as justice, racism, and equality. Our tendency, as a result, is to then assume that CRT must somehow be aligned with Christianity, which “it’s absolutely not,” he says.
Instead, CRT is a worldview with central tenets that fly in the face of the idea of the sufficiency of Scripture, says Baucham. You can’t pick and choose a few beliefs from it—and you don’t need to, because the Bible is “absolutely a textbook” on key issues such as relationships and the sin of partiality. Christians wouldn’t accept a pick-and-choose approach with any other ideology, Baucham notes, citing Hinduism as an example. “And CRT is at least as foreign to Christianity as Hinduism is,” he adds.
CRT’s Four Main Tenets
The four tenets that make up the worldview of CRT, says Baucham, are:
- Racism as normative (it’s normal, it’s everywhere, and it’s unavoidable)
- Interest convergence (white people are unable to take righteous action against racism unless it converges with their own individual interests)
- The social construction of knowledge
CRT teaches that the only way to know the truth, Baucham says, is to elevate black, marginalized voices and listen to their stories. People and their feelings become arbiters of truth, and anyone who disagrees with those feelings is either a racist or has internalized racism.
Baucham, founder of Voddie Baucham Ministries, is currently dean of theology at African Christian University in Zambia. He grew up in South-Central Los Angeles with a single mom who was Buddhist and calls it “laughable” when critics say he has “internalized racism” or somehow “doesn’t understand blackness.” Baucham says he’s been called all kinds of names, including Uncle Tom, and the reason is because his critics lack an argument. “They’re not coming at me about factual errors,” he says. “They’re attacking my narrative.”
Why Talk of Privilege and Oppression Is Problematic
While discussing the foundations of CRT, Baucham points to terms such as “Christian hegemony,” or Christianity being “normative.” CRT proponents, he says, think in terms of the oppressor and the oppressed. “They’re saying Christianity is a form of imperialism and is oppressive,” he says, and that people need to put both their white privilege and their Christian privilege in check.
CRT advocates, such as Ibram X. Kendi, criticize white Savior theology, which maintains that people need to be saved from their sins, says Baucham. Instead, they tout Black liberation theology, which maintains that people need to be delivered from oppression. But the Bible indeed teaches that we need a Savior, Jesus, which makes CRT “hugely problematic,” says Baucham. The CRT worldview is even more dangerous because “you hear it all the time.” That’s one reason he includes many CRT-related quotes in his new book, he says, in order to show its prevalence throughout our culture.
Voddie Baucham Worries About a Backlash
Although Baucham is confident that the Christian church will survive this latest attack, he says he worries about a backlash from CRT’s growing influence. “I’m worried about a rise in white supremacy and actual racism because of the rise of CRT,” he says. “We have run away from the only solution to racism—the Gospel—in favor of a non-solution. ‘Savior theology’ is the answer.”
Some people say the pastor is being too dramatic by including the words “Looming Catastrophe” in his new book’s subtitle. But Baucham points to real damage and splits that have occurred due to CRT. Families, churches, schools, and denominations are being torn apart, he says, adding that “we’re talking past each other” when it comes to racism and CRT.
In addition, the church is being unfairly maligned and accused, which causes him pain. “People are basically pummeling the Bride of Christ,” the pastor says, “and talking about her like she’s the whore of Babylon.”
Christians must be willing to have tough conversations and press their relationships with one another, says Baucham. That can be costly, because some relationships might ultimately prove to be inauthentic. But “if you can’t offend me, then our relationship isn’t real,” he states. Christians also must view one another as brothers, not as oppressors.
The church will prevail, Baucham says, because the Lord loves his church. Christians, he advises, should “run” to the Bible and its teachings related to racism (including Ephesians 2 and Galatians 3 and 4). Scripture makes it clear that we’re adopted children of God, says Baucham, with no more divisions between us. “The Black-and-white divide is not one that God established,” he says. “It’s a false divide, and the Bible takes care of it.”
The goal of his new book, says Voddie Baucham , is to be “a clarion call” that unmasks CRT’s ideology and removes “the blinders” from its adherents’ eyes.