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Wake Up: Critical Race Theory & Salvation

For CRT, regeneration consists of a person becoming “woke.” That is, to become aware of things previously taken for granted, things perhaps you were not even fully aware of, things such as privilege, power, and prejudice intrinsic in you and in your culture.


This is Part 3 in our series “Wake Up!” on Critical Race Theory. Click below to view the others:
In this current blog series, we are considering the devastating effects of Critical Race Theory (CRT) on not only society in general, but also sadly within the Church. In our last blog, we compared CRT’s doctrine of sin with what Scripture actually teaches. We noted how CRT must borrow from Christianity in order to even make sense of its own worldview, and we saw how they define sin, specifically and extensively covering their chief sins of white privilege and racism. This post will examine CRT’s doctrine of salvation, such as it is, compared and contrasted with the truth derived from Scripture.

Theological In Nature

As has been mentioned before, the proponents of CRT will never come out and say it, but there is no doubt that what they believe and teach is fundamentally theological in nature. Their basic tenants bear a striking resemblance to corresponding biblical doctrines, albeit a perverted, warped, and twisted version of them. Nevertheless, upon close examination, the connective tissue can easily be seen. This is evidence that they are still made in God’s image and still living in God’s world. As we take a closer look into CRT’s doctrine of salvation, we will consider three distinct aspects: Regeneration, Repentance, and Forgiveness.

Becoming “Woke”

For CRT, regeneration consists of a person becoming “woke.” That is, to become aware of things previously taken for granted, things perhaps you were not even fully aware of, things such as privilege, power, and prejudice intrinsic in you and in your culture. A person is made aware and convinced of their need for wokeness through zealous evangelism and vigorous proselytization—indoctrination that takes place throughout society, from the university classroom to the corporate boardroom, not to mention social media and a flowing stream of books and articles. It is ubiquitous at this time, being pressed everywhere, ingrained into the cultural consciousness, and merely assumed to its proponents.
Becoming woke means that your eyes have been opened, that you have become awakened to social justice issues, to privilege, systemic racism, white supremacy, gender inequality, and so on. Not only do you become aware of these things, but you must also realize your complicity in these, acknowledge the role that you play in an unjust society. It is a realization of just how inherently prejudiced you are, and how your privilege has skewed your view of reality; everything that you’ve known and believed previously is tainted, and because of your privilege, you can’t trust yourself.
Wokeness causes you to realize that it is because of the color of your skin that you have had an unfair advantage over others, and especially over people of color. There are more and better opportunities for advancement, greater acceptance in the broader society, subsequently leading to an inordinate amount of power over oppressed minorities. What CRT teaches is that whites in particular are saddled with a total inability to see past their own privilege. They are helpless, unable to do anything, say anything, or think anything to get past it; hopeless to change. Being woke begins with that realization.

A Real Transformation

For the person who has become woke, there is a very real, albeit false transformation that noticeably takes place. Distinct changes in their thinking become evident, as do renewed attitudes and actions (much more on this in our next blog). Wokeness bears a resemblance to the biblical doctrine of regeneration, of being born again. Once again, we see the counterfeit replacing the truth.
The biblical teaching of regeneration is that which deals in lost, rebel sinners being rescued and reconciled by the grace of God.
“Jesus answered him ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’…Do not marvel that I said to you ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit’” (Jn. 3:3, 7-8).

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-5).

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezk. 36:26).

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).

The Bible reveals all mankind to be in a state of total inability, unable and unwilling to submit to God in humble obedience (Rom. 8:7-8, Jn. 6:44). We are spiritually blind (1 Cor. 1:4, Eph. 4:18), incapable of discerning truth because of our sinfulness, because of our hardened hearts.
See the resemblance in CRT’s call to wokeness? Hopelessly lost, unable to see past privilege—they mimic the doctrine of total depravity. But we have a gracious God who actually does something about our inability, who Himself enters into our hearts and opens our eyes to see clearly and painfully our sin and misery. He gives us a heart of flesh to come near to Him in true repentance with the assurance of receiving full forgiveness. That is the biblical doctrine of regeneration, bringing to the fore how wretchedly sinful we are and how abundantly gracious He is.

We’re All In The Same Position

According to Christianity, every single person needs to be saved from their sin and rebellion against our holy Creator. All of us, whatever color, culture, or history, is in the exact same position—dead in sin, our only hope to be found in Jesus Christ alone.
Jesus said to him “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6).
But according to CRT, the only ones who need to be saved, to get woke, are the privileged whites (all whites). Those who wield societal power over all others. Powerless minorities, people of color, or people who cross the many “intersections” of oppression are in every case innocent victims who have no guilt to confess, no sin to repent of, who do not need forgiveness nor salvation. It is the oppressor class, the white, male, heterosexual bigots who have a desperate need for wokeness and all that follows it.

Model of Repentance

Like authentic Christianity, CRT has a doctrine of repentance connected to its teaching regarding salvation. To be truly woke, it is not enough to merely recognize your sins of privilege and racism, you must repent of them. It mirrors and mocks true biblical repentance.
The CRT model for repentance begins with confession. This is taking complete ownership of the fact that you are the white supremacist you are accused of being. It is a full admission of being an oppressor, of being a product of privilege, of being guilty of racism and deserving of scorn and condemnation. Confession is coming out of denial and admitting guilt.
The next step in this process is contrition, consisting of deep and ongoing sorrow and remorse for how “sinful” you have been in your life. It is a continual acknowledgment of your participation in racist systems, apologizing profusely for all the benefits your privilege has won you. And it cannot stop because you will always be battling your innate white supremacy in everything you think, say, and do. Then comes renouncing your privilege, your whiteness. You are called to loathe the color of your skin that has garnered you so much advantage over others, to despise the racist culture that you have helped to create, and to advocate empowerment of oppressed minorities, surrendering your own right to speak or act.

Performing Works To Satisfy

And finally, you must perform works of satisfaction—penance to atone for your sins. You are to do whatever you can to transfer power from yourself to minorities, whether it’s by sharing articles and hashtags, educating yourself and discipling others, paying reparations by donating to BLM or other like organizations, or otherwise getting involved (but not too much because this isn’t about you after all). You are to do whatever it takes to rid yourself of the stain of whiteness by proving yourself a faithful and submissive follower, who accepts without question the teachings of CRT.
Christian repentance looks much different, and it is summarized well in the Westminster Shorter Catechism number 87:
“Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.”
True repentance requires first God’s grace. Since we are so completely helpless and blind to our sin, we first need an understanding of that sin if we are to truly repent. It forbids any softening or excusing sin; we acknowledge and own it completely and in its entirety. Repentance, therefore, comes with humility, with understanding that it is only by grace and the finished work of Christ that we are even able to repent. And it includes the true desire and reality of obedience, striving to put sin to death and to instead walk according to God’s word.

Living A Truly Transformed Life

Repentance, for Christians, leads to living a truly transformed life. So there is confession, there is contrition, renunciation, hatred for sin, and new behavior. There is a full admission of guilt, the fact that our hearts are sinful, that our perspective is skewed, that we have a wicked nature, and a propensity for evil. What CRT does is steal the same elements of true repentance and then twist and mangle them into man-centered guilt creating a system that traps people in an endless cycle of self-hatred with no endgame.
This brings us to forgiveness, which in CRT is conditional at best. As mentioned earlier, the convert must remain in a near-constant state of contrition and submission, lest the leadership be provoked to anger. There is no peace, reconciliation, or restoration. There is no transformed nature. For the oppressor, you are a privileged racist, and that is all you will ever be. Any failure to remain in this state of contrite submission cannot be tolerated.
An example of this can be seen with the mayors of both Minneapolis and Portland. Even though they have stood in solidarity with the rioters, and have allowed lawlessness and near anarchy to reign, the moment they would not capitulate to the demands of defunding the police, they were excoriated, mocked, scorned, and treated with utter contempt and disrespect. This shows that nothing will quench the wrath of the mob. No amount of contrition, no compromise, no apology can ever be fully accepted. No cleansing. No atonement. No forgiveness with CRT.

Certain, Objective Forgiveness

For Christians, forgiveness is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ. For all who believe in him, all of our sins, past, present, and future, are completely forgiven. The biblical worldview and gospel message actually has a resolution. There is certain, objective forgiveness, based on what Jesus Christ did in history, and so we can be assured of our standing before God. He alone could pay the price for our sin, the righteous for the unrighteous. The guilt of sin is removed, we are perfectly clean before God, without spot or blemish; and even when we do sin, the Scriptures promise that “…he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
Christianity offers what CRT cannot—certainty and peace. We are actually made right with God, there is peace between us and Him (Rom. 5:1), and we have full access to free forgiveness. We do not live in a constant state of fearful penance because Jesus Christ is our advocate, God is our Father, the Spirit is our comforter and our helper. We are set free from our enslavement to sin, freed to lovingly obey Him. And while we strive to obey and are never complacent in sin, we at the same time never need to fear that we will fall out of God’s favor; we are joined to Christ, and all of His perfection is credited to us. We have assurance.

The Goal Is Power

Wokeness was constructed from a worldview that presupposes that only a particular group of people are capable of committing certain sins. What we are seeing play out in our streets and on social media is the result of telling a group of people that they are incapable of being guilty of particular sins, telling them that they have no need to be reconciled to a higher authority. On the other side, there is a group repenting for sins they have not (necessarily) committed and seeking restoration through sinful man, an exercise all in vain. There is no concern for true peace, no aim towards actual reconciliation.
The goal is power—seizing it and redistributing it according to the worldview of CRT, by means of “social justice.” Equality and impartiality are nowhere to be found in CRT; the cruel irony is that wokeness cannot bring about the reconciliation that it promises. What it seeks is retribution—vengeance, reckoning. And by admitting racism, social justice warriors are vindicated in their contempt for you; however, if you do not admit to these charges, it simply validates their hatred for you. CRT therefore only brings about deeper strife, conflict, and division, as all lies from the devil do.

True Reconciliation

Only biblical salvation can bring about true reconciliation in man. By first being reconciled to the living God, we can then love our neighbors in all circumstances, love people because of the fact that they are made in God’s image, seek true justice for all, and leave behind all hostility and resentment. Only by being forgiven by God through Jesus Christ will we subsequently see true forgiveness and restoration between man.
Joe Griffo is Pastor of Redeemer Church of South Hills in West Mifflin, PA. Learn more about him here.
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One Response to “Wake Up: Critical Race Theory & Salvation”

  1. Greg McCrea says:

    CRT as described here appears to have all the features of a cult.

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