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Wake Up: Critical Race Theory & Sanctification

Ultimately, CRT appeals to sinful human nature, as it justifies and encourages revenge, retribution, intimidation, and violence. It makes provision for hatred, division, destruction, and all sorts of partiality. But it also seduces professing Christians and those who are morally minded by playing on our sense of guilt.

This is Part 4 in our series “Wake Up!” on Critical Race Theory. Click below to view the others:
 
In our current blog series, we’ve been considering Critical Race Theory, which lies at the very heart of the social justice movement and finds expressions in organizations such as Black Lives Matter, and to a somewhat lesser degree Antifa. To be sure, there are distinctions between these and other leftist groups, but ultimately their beliefs flow from the same worldview, with many shared presuppositions. 
 

More Than A Mere Social Theory

We’ve noticed that CRT very much resembles a religion more than a mere social theory; it’s not very difficult to notice–in fact, it’s impossible to miss–when one considers and compares CRT’s major tenants to the teachings of biblical Christianity. There certainly is an uncanny resemblance between Christian doctrine and the doctrines of CRT, even if their version is an absolutely twisted, perverted, and corrupt one, which in the end can be seen as nothing more than a counterfeit religion, unable to be reconciled with or wedded to the Scriptures. Nevertheless, the similarities, upon close examination, are indeed undeniable and inescapable; as inherently religious creatures, people will worship, and if we do not worship the one true and living God, we will worship something else. CRT is an expression of that religious impulse in rebellion to God.
 
Now, to be sure, the proponents of CRT would vehemently deny such a connection, but we must never forget that CRT must borrow capital from Christianity to even begin to make any sort of sense of their own propositions. For instance, we began this series considering the doctrine of sin. CRT has a well-developed hamartiology (doctrine of sin); as in Christianity, there is a root problem that causes strife, leads to pain and has terrible consequences if left unchecked. 
 

The Chief “Sin”

For CRT, this problem, the chief “sin”, is whiteness. Being born white means being born with privilege that places one within the dominant culture, in the position of power, with innumerable advantages that come at the expense of all other minorities, especially African Americans. This “sin” is inherent as well as learned and reinforced through systemic constructs, designed to maintain the current power dynamics. So the sin of whiteness is both a sin by nature and by choice. For proponents of CRT, white equals guilty. 
 

Now for the biblical comparison: the Bible teaches that sin is inherent:

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Sin is also learned and reinforced, as it is “modeled” for us every single day. To put it simply, we are sinners by nature and by choice, the same factors that we see in play regarding CRT’s doctrine of whiteness.
 

“Lost” in the Sins of White Supremacy, Privilege, and Power

We went on to consider the idea of salvation. According to CRT, it is all about realizing that you have been “lost” in the sins of white supremacy, privilege, and power. It is recognizing that you, as a white person, have unfairly benefited over others simply because of your privileged status. It is realizing that you are a racist, and complicit in a system of racism. 
 
It is waking up, or becoming woke, to these realities, owning them, renouncing your privilege, repenting of your white supremacy, all the while acknowledging that the stain of racism will never be completely removed. It means being in a perpetual state of contrition, submission to those who have defined these sins, and the way of salvation from them. The sad reality of CRT is that there is no offer of salvation; the stain of racism and whiteness can never be removed. There is only left lasting guilt and penance, the impossible task of seeking to atone for ourselves. 
 
According to the Christian worldview based on Scripture, salvation is a free gift from God. We are condemned by our sin, but that stain is removed by the finished work of Jesus Christ, who took our sins upon Himself and died for them; He conquered death by rising from the grave, and so defeated our sin once and for all. By grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are convinced and convicted of our sin against God, and by His work in us, we repent, believe, receive and rest upon Jesus Christ as He is freely offered to us in this gospel message. Our sin is forever dealt with, atoned for, never to be held against us if we are in Christ; we are completely set free.
 

Conformed To An Image

The final teaching we will consider in this series is the doctrine of sanctification. Broadly speaking, sanctification refers to the process of becoming progressively conformed to the image of that which you are committed to following. As one continues to learn, grow, and mature, a steady transformation takes place within the individual. It involves the entire being, the way the world is seen, thought processes, motives, intentions, attitudes, and actions. It is living more and more consistently with what you believe. For the Christian, sanctification is neatly defined by the Westminster Shorter Catechism number 35:

“Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.”
 
For CRT however, sanctification comes about as the new “convert”, one who has become woke, does his homework, and there is much to be done. This consists primarily of becoming educated, reading, and absorbing an entire catalog of books; as with Christianity, growth primarily comes through reading and meditating on canonical texts. These will continue to enlighten (or more accurately, indoctrinate) about just how privileged, racist, and wrong-headed you have been. These required readings also instruct on what must now be done to remedy the situation, how to do your part in the work of anti-racism, tearing down oppressive systems, using your privilege to advocate for those who are in the lower stratosphere of our cultural hierarchy. Must-read books include Critical Race Theory, White Fragility, Race, Racism, and American Law, The New Jim Crow, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, along with numerous others. 
 

Believe Without Question and Take Action

As a submissive disciple, you are required to not only do the work, but also to believe without question the propositions, principles, or practices brought to bear by the leaders. Calls for consistency, or any reservations whatsoever are considered a type of backsliding, a reversal, heresy. The woke follower is also expected to devote his time, talent, heart, and soul in propagating the “faith”; whatever position you’re in, whatever your sphere of influence, you are to leverage for the furtherance of “racial justice.” 
 
As with Christian sanctification, there is a progression that happens, carrying one from an awareness of sin to an acknowledgment of it, and then to take action against it. Ephesians 4:28 gives a biblical example of this idea: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may be able to share with anyone in need.” Admitting sin is not enough; biblical sanctification brings us to a place where we do not only name and renounce our sin, but we then replace it with righteous behavior, becoming more and more conformed to the image of Christ. 
 
The same pattern is seen in CRT; a mere acknowledgment of racism and white supremacy is a start, but it must lead to action. Activism in everything is expected, from personal proselytization to participating in righteous demonstrations on the streets, protests which include harassment, intimidation, destruction of property, and physical assault. This is seen especially among those affiliated with the BLM movement. Woke politicians must use their position in government to promote and pass legislation favorable to the movement, while at the same time refraining from applying the law equally when it comes to the violence perpetrated by those associated with the social justice movement. 
 

Indoctrination

The academy has become a training ground for CRT; woke professors, teachers, and administrators seek full indoctrination of students in the studies of race relations and justice, secularly defined of course. Students are taught to see everything through the lens of race, using the Marxist dichotomy of oppressor and oppressed. White Americans are conditioned to hate their heritage in its entirety and to renounce their whole history as being one of racial terrorism. 
 
Woke corporate leaders and entertainment executives dutifully hold seminars and workshops dealing with racial awareness and sensitivity training in order to train their employees in the virtues of CRT, and instituting policies in accord with this ideology. Sports leagues across the board, athletes, and advertisers continue to demonstrate their growth as they signal their virtue by using their platform to preach and promote wokeness. And sadly, many pastors, churches, and denominations have bought into the movement. 
 

Do Not Be Fooled

The intentional confusing of categories and misconstruing of Scripture have led many astray in this area; we will explore this much more in future posts. As has been demonstrated, CRT borrows heavily from the biblical doctrine of sanctification; that inward growth being manifested in outward action, so beautifully captured in Phil. 2:12, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The implications of our salvation learned through diligent study and sought after in dependent prayer, coming through in our lives as faithful obedience to Christ, all the while recognizing our complete dependence on God who is effecting change in our lives–these precious truths are hijacked and twisted by CRT. But Christians must not be fooled. We must examine carefully every philosophy and system of thought that we encounter, and part of that examination is observing the fruit that is produced.
 

Every ideology must necessarily produce a practical, real-life outworking. Every philosophy has consequences that manifest themselves in the world. To one degree or another, your life is going to reflect that to which you are beholden, your worldview, your ultimate commitments. As Christians, we understand that being born again changes everything: we are given new hearts, a new understanding, and perspective of the world, the eyes of faith which over time will impact more and more of our practical, everyday behavior. And for the Christian, the goal of sanctification is to mirror the character of Jesus Christ, to show forth His righteousness in our own lives. We are given a composite of what this sanctification looks like in the well-known words of Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
 

Examine The Fruit

No, if we are to determine whether or not an ideology or philosophy is truly God-honoring, it is necessary to examine the fruit produced by it. Jesus explains in Matthew 7:17-18, “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” Therefore we must ask the question, what fruit is being produced by the system of Critical Race Theory? Consider Paul’s list in Galatians 5:19-21 of the works of the flesh:

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
 
When examining the fruit of CRT, it is clear that it much more resembles these rather than the fruit of the Spirit. This, along with the other elements that have been considered in these blogs, exposes it to be a godless and even a God-hating ideology. And from such an ideology, we can expect nothing more: as our Lord said, a diseased tree cannot bear good fruit. Let us dive more specifically to consider several of the deeds of the flesh and note how these are manifested as the fruit of CRT.
 

Sexual Immorality

In its purpose statement, it is clear that BLM is committed to the sexual mores as defined by the LGBTQ+ movement. BLM explicitly advocates for “black trans women” (men presenting themselves as women), along with an aversion for the biblical model of the “nuclear family.” CRT is also essentially rooted in the ideology of intersectionality, which grants weight to the voices of those who are variably “disadvantaged”–including all who identify themselves somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum; the DNA of CRT necessitates its support of sexual perversion. The movement is also staunchly committed to abortion rights, in their eyes the only safeguard protecting the “sexual liberty” of women, ensuring license to all manner of promiscuity without consequences.
 

Impurity

This is a refusal to look to God’s pure standards, to His righteousness, and to instead replace God’s standard with a subjective one, defined by man. They become a law unto themselves, defining what is pure, proper, true, and right in their own eyes, according to their own standards. Again, BLM’s attitude towards family is evidence of this; a repudiation of the biblical model for the family, including a father as head of the household, a mother as the loving helpmate, and children raised according to God’s moral law. Instead, BLM supports communal living and child-rearing, a fluid definition of family that does not require father and mother, and gives no regard to God’s law as the unchanging standard of righteousness within the home.
 

Idolatry

The question to ask here is: what is being served? What is at the center of the ideology? Where is identity found? The answer to these questions reveals the object of worship, the god being served, the idol of this worldview, and for CRT it is clearly the idol of race and racial identity. Everything about a person is ultimately defined by that person’s race, and this identity is the most important, essential part of every individual. Beyond external skin color, there is everything accompanied with it: all the privileges or lack thereof, all of the culture that goes with one’s race–this becomes the central object of worship and is used to promote one race as inherently superior to others. This way of thinking is seen when CRT makes its way into churches; a church is no longer judged solely on its faithfulness to God’s word, but it must also–and even more importantly–be considered regarding its ethnic makeup, its cultural diversity, and the skin color of its leaders. This as much as anything reveals where the idolatry of this ideology lies.
 

Sorcery

Interestingly, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors speaks very openly of her devotion to and dependence upon African religious tradition, which among other things includes ancestor worship (check out this article on the subject). This is in large part what is behind the “say their names” campaigns, in which adherents are called upon to repeat the names of BLM’s martyrs. This also is a stark reminder of the truthfulness of Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” We can often forget about the reality of spiritual warfare, but it is true that every battle we fight is ultimately spiritual in nature, and that truth has explicitly come to the fore with BLM.
 

Enmity

CRT offers little to nothing in regards to grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, or peace; rather it is filled with hostility and a strong, forceful, deep-seated hate towards whiteness. This is clear in the rhetoric of BLM. Their reviling of anything deemed “white”, be it in culture, customs, or history is not hidden; in their never-ending crusade to smash the foundations of white supremacy, they have attacked everything from capitalism to logic, to rule of law and even basic mathematics. This is a worldview fueled by enmity, the disregard, and disdain of anything that does not fit into their conception of what is just or righteous.
 

Strife

This means to be contentious, to fight against. CRT has no interest in true reconciliation, understanding, or compromise. There is nothing like “letting bygones be bygones”, there is no “forgive and forget”, no giving the benefit of the doubt or bearing with others. African Americans are encouraged to be enraged, to dwell on the injustices of the past and the perceived injustices of the present. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the goals, but it is power that any movement grounded in CRT has its eye on. No amount of sincere apology will make things right, and repentance will never be complete. This emphasis on strife leads inevitably to the next fruit of CRT.
 

Fits of Anger

When sinners are encouraged to tap into the rage of their heart the result can only be violent fits of anger, uncontrolled rage, behavior designed to hurt and harm. This phrase implies a lack of self-control, a virtue listed among the fruit of the Spirit; when controlled by the flesh, people are unreasonable and irrational, and often just plain scary. This was on full display throughout the summer of 2020, when violent protests raged uncontrollably, with businesses torn down or looted, and innocent bystanders assaulted. Encouraging rage will result in sinful man acting on that rage; this is human nature.
 

Rivalry

This is an attitude that seeks to pit one group against another, usually motivated by envy or some form of covetousness. This mentality permeates CRT; their literature sets up the dichotomy of “people of color vs. whites”, and you are either on one side or the other, either doing the work of “anti-racism” or actively participating in racism. It fosters an “us vs. them” mindset, all based around conflict, competition, and strife. If one group is thriving, the other is oppressed, if one person has advantages, another person must necessarily be the victim of discrimination leading to disadvantage; the solution, therefore, is to take down the group with perceived advantages and claim power for your group.
 
There is no communion in shared experiences or common ground, no empathy, no rejoicing for image-bearers of God who have been blessed, materially or otherwise. Instead, covetousness is encouraged, jealousy is celebrated, and action is taken to shift power from your rival to yourself.
 

Veiled As An Angel of Light

We could certainly go on with examples, but these alone demonstrate beyond doubt the fruits of a worldview steeped in CRT. We must not overcomplicate things; these are the clear implications and observable outcomes of CRT, seen constantly in our culture, and if we truly are going to judge the tree by its fruits, we cannot overlook these realities. However, like Satan, this abominable worldview seeks to veil itself as an angel of light, using language that arouses Christians who are familiar with the biblical call to establish justice and do good to the poor.

“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:16-17).
 
Passages such as these are frequently hijacked by social justiciars committed to CRT in order to appeal to Christians. Meanwhile, the movement itself is wholly unchristian, as it vies for power, pursues it, and seeks to wield it mercilessly once it has been obtained. And it obtains its influence by deriding those in positions of power, black or white, as being racist, the helpless products of an oppressive system of white supremacy. Therefore, they are not worthy of their power and must be stripped of it, brought into submission with their only role being to acknowledge their guilt and use whatever position they do have to empower “black voices”, while then being silent themselves. 
 

Its Own Brand of Justice

CRT is not interested in equality of opportunity, fairness, or true biblical justice (in which everyone gets what he is due). Rather, it is interested in its own brand of justice, which is simply retributive, marked by partiality, vengeance, scorn, humiliation, and cancelation for any who would question CRT dogma. There is no dialogue, there is only submission, and to be “sanctified” is to learn your place and better “advocate for racial justice.”
 
Ultimately, CRT appeals to sinful human nature, as it justifies and encourages revenge, retribution, intimidation, and violence. It makes provision for hatred, division, destruction, and all sorts of partiality. But it also seduces professing Christians and those who are morally minded by playing on our sense of guilt. CRT seeks to attribute the source of guilt to whiteness and makes the empty promise to absolve that guilt if one will only admit their own racism. Its language of justice and righteousness and equity has sucked many a Christian in. But their righteousness is a pseudo-righteousness, a self-righteousness based on works, intent on imposing their system of thought on as many people as possible, forcing compliance from the masses. 
 

We Must Hold Fast To The Truth

The only hope against this great heresy is the hope that has prevailed throughout history and continues to prevail over every wicked system since the Tower of Babel: that truth, love, justice, righteousness, and peace come only through Jesus Christ, His life, death, and resurrection. Our call is a simple one–to remain faithful, steadfast, and true to the word of God. We cannot accept the unbiblical categories of CRT, cannot give in to the temptation to divide, nor to trust in our own righteousness.
 
We must hold fast to the truth that our only hope, no matter our color, is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that every believer is perfectly united to Him and to one another by the one Holy Spirit. And what God has joined together, man may not separate. All must give an account before God; those who propagate this heresy and those who capitulate to it will alike need to give an answer. May God give us strength to stand firm, that we may hear those blessed words “Well done good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master” (Mt. 25:23).
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God” (Phil. 1:27-28)
 
And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him, his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little Word shall fell him. (A Mighty Fortress is our God).
 
Joe Griffo is Pastor of Redeemer Church of South Hills in West Mifflin, PA. Learn more about him here
 
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