Opinion: Critical Race Theory is Not the Gospel

Critical Race Theory has replaced the precious message of the gospel for far too long, and the Church must wake up.

You may not know what the term “critical theory” (CT) means, but I can guarantee you have seen it play out or someone has tried to teach the ideology to you. More recently, critical race theory (CRT) plays a major role in the way people shape their opinions on race and culture. What many masked as an analytical tool has morphed itself into a worldview that Christians must be wary of, avoid and never allow to replace the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Many evangelical institutions have been breached by critical theory ideas, which have gone in some parts undetected and encouraged, but before we dive into that problem, let’s get to the root of the evil.

In the 1930s at the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research, a new ideological way of thinking and understanding societal power structures quickly became a feeding ground for worldviews like Marxism. These worldviews analyze society through a lens of oppressor and oppressed, viewing any means of authority as the object of potential oppression. One of the theorists, Herbert Marcuse, describes CT as a “social theory supposed to analyze existing societies in the light of their own functions and capabilities and to identify demonstrable tendencies (if any) which might lead beyond the existing state of affairs.”

In the creation of CT, people like Max Horkheimer, one the original critical theorists, tried to use Marxist principles more broadly than just economic principles but rather in culture and media in his 1937 essay “Tradition and Critical Theory.” 

Hattie Troutman

This way of analyzing society became a foreground for other critical social theories such as second-wave feminism, queer theory and critical race theory, among others. All of these are searching for how power produces and executes domination and oppression. A majority of critical theory lies in the oppressed experiences, purposefully excluding rational thought from the discussion.

Herein lies the issue: when the critical theory definition of oppression, which hopes to destroy all levels of authority that is deemed evil or all levels of power that prevent in their terms “equality,” has made its way into the Protestant church’s pulpit. Now we have a case of Christians who naively took on the critical theorists’ definition of the oppressed rather than using the Bible to sculpt their definitions and understanding of how to care for those Christ called Blessed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-11). 

When reading the Holy Bible and seeking to understand it, you will find numerous points (Jeremiah 17:9, for example) where the depravity of man reveals evil and deceit through sin — oppression being one of those sins. Based on current events happening in the U.S., it is no secret that the sinful nature of man is behind it. Unfortunately, people are looking for answers in a man-made worldview rather than the inherent Word of God. As apologist Neil Shenvi put it, “evangelicals, who nonetheless found their views evolving as their commitment to the presuppositions of critical theory supplanted their commitment to biblical doctrine.”

Instead of looking to the Bible for supreme truth and praying for conviction, I see young people fleeing to books filtered through the lens of woke-ism like “White Fragility” and “Race, Class, and Gender,” which are littered with tails of standpoint epistemology (experience) and deny the opportunity of rational objective thought, calling it evil and a byproduct of the western culture. If there is no standard of objective truth, how is anything true in this world? 

Virgil Walker, discipleship pastor at Westside Church in Omaha, Nebraska and host of the Just Thinking podcast, called out the use of CRT within the evangelical circle at the Falkirk Center’s Faith Summit, saying, “Since the church is trying to be relevant with the world, they are bowing down to the ways of culture.” 

The Gospel of Christ is the only means to unite man, whereas the Marxist destruction of liberty and abandonment of Christian morals, found in CT, will bring about more oppression rather than abolishing it. I believe there is no better place to end than pointing back to what scripture says in Ephesians 2, showing us that Christ breaks down the dividing wall of hostility and is the only means to peace, restoration and freedom. 

Hattie Troutman is the Editor-In-Chief. Follow her on Twitter at @hattrout.

18 comments

  • Everything you’ve written leads me to believe that you’ve not connected with Evangelicals of color, who depend on scripture to form their responses and still acknowledge oppression. It also makes me think you read scripture with a very white lens when God addresses oppression over and over again as a sin against Himself. Those made in the image of God mistreating others equally made in the image of God is not only historically recorded, but continues. It absolutely IS the church’s job to stand up for the oppressed, the vulnerable, and the marginalized. If the church wants to be so busy defending its rights to power, we will never be The Bride Jesus longs for. Discrediting the lived experiences of our brothers and sisters only further damages the witness of the church and causes further division. That’s playing into the enemy’s plans to keep the Bride fractured.

    • Joanne, what makes Evangelicals of color more important than whites? Where in The Bible does it say that black people or people of color are the moral compass, thus they get to decide what truth is? I’ll give you a hint, NO WHERE! God did not create us all from Adam to be divided or one race to be dominant over another. John 5:44 is a good start for you…we are NOT called to honor one race, or put a race of people on a pedestal, only Jesus Christ, The Son of Man, should be on that pedestal. Oppression is not new, and no one race or culture can corner the market on either. Black people have been enabled for years to let slavery go to their heads and use it as a reason to run amuck demanding this and that. They literally believe that the world must revolve around their race! CRT only enables this type of prideful thinking even more! Try following Candace Owens, and read her books; you will thank me for that. When we tell a group of people that they’re oppressed (which is quite the opposite of reality) we are communicating lies that they can’t become successful, because of imaginary white privilege. I’m 50 years old; my entire life, I’ve watched society pander to people of color, in schools, college, especially work! I’ve seen white people get terminated for sticking up for themselves when a black person conjures up an argument, and NO DUE PROCESSS, just fire the white guy, before black guy calls EEOC. You call THAT white privilege? Pride is the ultimate sin infecting these unfortunate black people who have been brainwashed to think they’re oppressed. Their train of thought has been mis guided by those who really are the racists. Pride is the infection, not white people.

  • How selective Hattie Troutman is in her scripture references and her analysis. Much ink was spilled on why Critical Race Theory is bad. If you don’t like that then what are you doing to create a just society ? Nothing but tell us that Christ breaks down dividing walls. What is lacking is the fact that his instrument for doing that work is his church. He tells us to undo the heavy yoke and let the oppressed go free. He tells us to let justice roll down like mighty waters. So if you aren’t actively speaking and working against systemic racism which is sin, you have no moral authority to talk about Critical Race Theory or anything else.

    • Please let me know which systemic racism policy you are actively working against. I’d like to join you in the fight. However, I sincerely hope that your fight is the fight for equality, but not the fight for privilege.
      BTW, more than half of the legal immigrants in the whole world choose to come to the United States every year. I guess that they don’t identify the United States as a country of systemic racism.

    • Hattie, ignore the ignorant ones who are trying to mute you. Truth is laid out for us clearly in The Gospel, and those who agree or support CRT should take a look at John 5:44. When we honor one race (blacks) to the point where they control the speech and thought (God gi en free will) we are putting blacks before God. Many cultures have experienced “oppression” slavery, and such. Think about real history which has been omitted from us for many years, and today is being so called “debunked” by left wing fact checkers. Think about the tens of thousands of Irish/Scottish slaves who disappeared in the 1600’s taken all over the world, including the Barbary coast sold as slaves for 15lbs of sugar, and treated like human cattle…here’s a little insight, Irish and Scots are literally the whitest people on the planet, and could Never be confused as black. Most of the Scots/Irish slaves were brought to the northern parts of America to coal mining regions, where, contrary to popular myth, they were not “indentured servants” but considered cattle, and the same for the south. All of which happened before the African slave trade. When the African slaves arrived, the Scots bought themselves out of slavery with any money they could get their hands on, and most found their way back to the motherland. The Irish, not so frugal; they embraced their black friends, and can you believe, did NOT treat them less, but integrated with them, and also married and reproduced…NOT raped. So, when you bring this ridiculous CRT into our schools, and brainwash the children with this pathetic “theory” you are breaking Gods laws. I will never get on my knees to a black person, and apologize for my skin color, never. I will confess to Jesus Christ, and ONLY Jesus Christ. CRT is directly from the devil himself and I’m saddened to see Christians falling for it hook, line and sinker. My people are here to stay, and we don’t run about seeking reparations from anyone, nor should we have to. When you black people, and white liberals are running around preaching false teachings, and preaching the devils work by telling white people to be ashamed, remember which white people you choose, because The Irish and Scots owe nothing to those they’ve never wronged. May God Forgive any Christian who promotes this Marxist way of thinking. The world does not revolve around black people, remember that when you get to heaven and you’re disappointed that God Loves White People just as much as anyone else. Black people need to take their “pride” down a few notches and realize that the only privilege that is infecting our society is that of black privilege, you give them an inch and they take a mile. Furthermore, any white person who is reading this, remember, black people hate you; they’ve been conditioned to hate you from a very early age. Their primary goal is to take over the country, and if they do, watch out, their bitterness is so evident, they’re literally coming after your homes, money social security pensions, 401 K anything, all in the name of reparations bill by your racist VP Kamala Harris. Read “White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America” a book they don’t want you to read.

    • Anthony, much like the devil your wordy response sound just like someone who doesn’t read The Gospel at all, but have been brainwashed by Marxist thought. Black people cant corner the market on being oppressed or being victims of racism. Since the civil rights bill, society has put blacks on a pedestal and it’s gone straight to their egos conjuring up one of satans favorite sins…”pride” blacks aren’t oppressed, they’re honored to the point where whites (Not this white person) are literally walking on eggshells for fear of losing their jobs should they defend themselves, or being attacked by mobs etc…how many times have you read about angry white mobs going after blacks? Unless you’re still reading headlines from 100 years ago, I’m guessing not often. You should educate yourself on crime, dear. Read “White Girls Bleed A lot” by Colin Flaherty. Omission is the biggest betrayal in our society today, because the media almost never reports Hate crimes Committed by black people. Try researching The Knoxville Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome (2007) their murderS never made national news, but more brutal and disturbing than the Tate/La Bianca Murders. Your media fails to report this, thus you are brainwashed that only blacks are victims…Jussie Smollet faked a hate crime and literally got a slap on the hand for what he did, THATS BLACK PRIVILEGE, so take your CRT because I just debunked it with facts.

  • This whole oppressor/oppressed thing comes right out of Marxism. They just have replaced class with race.

    Systemic racism happened in the past, but whether it happens today is much more questionable than Anthony and Joanne want to let on. The 65% single parent rate in African American communities is 24% for whites and 15% for blacks. That leads directly to both poverty and violence. Before you go blaming systemic racism, the out of wedlock birth rate for African Americans was less than 25% in 1960. Now, despite conditions vastly improving, it’s over 70%. If they are systems that unfair we should work together to improve them. But to act like culture has nothing to do with it dishonest. African Americans who come from overseas make 30% more money than native blacks. Why? They come from different cultures, where parents are together and they are generally more religious.

    The biggest problem with Critical Race Theory is there is no room for dissenting views. It is meant to divide, not unify, and it has destroyed so many churches. Hopefully Liberty will not buy into this secular world viewpoint.

  • One other thing. Every church who focuses on social justice eventually moves away from theological truths, replacing them with one dogmatic view of social justice.

  • Opressed and the oppressor come straight from Marxism. They have just replaced class with race. What I find evident in Critical Race Theory is an inability to converse with people with differing opinions. It is just one dogmatic vision of social justice. It divides and is intended to divide, not unite. Scripture talks about the unity of the church many times. If we are putting our faith in political solutions rather than in Scripture, we will always end up disappointed

  • Great article! Spot on! People are deceived by this toxic heresy.

  • The biggest problem for critical race theory is that once the oppressed won their fight for power and privilege they automatically became the oppressor by their own definition.

  • Ann-Michelle Pyle-Lowry

    This article simply didn’t say much. She tried to tell me that CT is bad, but provided literally zero specific examples. For instance, what “Christian morals” does CT abandon that cause more oppression? I’m also very concerned that the writer compared persons that CT call oppressed with persons Christ called “blessed” in the sermon on the mount. Christ never called persons that are being killed based upon the amount of melanin in their skin “blessed”. The comparison is a hermeneutical fallacy of epic proportion. The writer simply said almost nothing in this article.

  • Hattie.
    Thank you.
    Jesus did not teach social justice or mans injustice and how to combat it. “Vengence is Mine says the LORD, I will repay.” Hebrews 10:31
    Jesus did not reprimand Rome or it’s governing authorities, nor did He teach His disciples to take up the cause to correct Rome and their Ideologies. Jesus NEVER said go right the injustices that Rome imposed on the people-especially Gods people. NO JESUS DID NOT.
    Now when Jesus departed back to Heaven in afew years a group of zealous people stood against the Roman authorities on social injustice issues and the race of the Hebrew people were being mistreated. The ethnic group of the Jewish nation was threaten UNJUSTLY by Rome. Tormented. Killed needlessly. So when Rome retaliated againdt them Rome slaughter 1 million Jews, torn town the Temple of God and burned evetything down to the ground including Israelites homes killed bith women and children UNJUSTLY and took all that was dear to them. God’s people were scattered some would say unjustly. But God knew why they were.
    But the Church of Jesus Christ did not turn from spreading The Gospel of Jesus to spreading the Gospel of inequality, or the ethnic group of the Hebrew Race of injustice.or ethnic. (A lot to unpack here not enough space). No… they picked up their cross and Followed Jesus and went after both friend and enemy, Jew and Gentile and preached what Jesus told them to preach…. The Good News Of Jesus.

    Jesus Never preached progressive Christanity. Jesus said SUBMIT to the Governing authorities (that included Rome- Jesus did) and SUBMIT to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Get this… Jesus even told the slaves be submissive to their Masters.
    Jesus will sort it all out in the end. Go is what Jesus said and make disciples into all nations telling them of the freedom that is found in Jesus. This is played out in the Old Testament as well as in the New.

    Time is very short and Satan wants our eyes off Jesus and why we are here is to give Glory to God and obey His Word. Jesus said, Love God with all of our heart and mind soul and strength. We get the first right the second command comes easier.
    God bless … Jesus help us stay on track.
    In His Call
    Elaine

    • Based upon your theory of never challenging the government systems, women and people of color would not have the right to vote, to own property, to have an education, to attend church, to marry, to start businesses, etc. So is it your theory that women and people of color should not have those rights? Because in order to get them, they had to challenge the current system. They didn’t just wait for Jesus to sort it out in the by and by.

      • Carmen, you bring up a good point. While the Bible does instruct us to submit to the governing authorities, we are obligated to do so unless and until it requires us to deny, ignore or contradict God’s word. If a law, an executive order or a regulation codifies a godless, immoral statute, we must not submit, rather we should rise up to resist. As Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Christians, we are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ on this earth and it is our duty and privilege to promote true justice and true equality that is found ONLY through the one, true God!

  • I will be praying for the people that think they can do all things without Christ. Clearly believing that you need to be so much and have so much is so worldly. I pray that we will all worship God and not stuff. God made a way for voteing, man ( women) corrupted it. God provided us tools for survival, we used them to hurt others, if we will read the Bible and pray , the Holy Spirit will guide us in the way we can walk
    ,love,and help others, that will make all of us better christians. Get close to God.

  • Hattie,
    Thank you for writing this brave piece. You are correct Critical Theory is not of the gospel nor is it supportive of the gospel. As we are seeing in the months since (see the Loudoun County Public School situation) the “oppressed” have become the “oppressors”. It’s the inevitable irony of Marxism. One important point for Christians to realize is Critical Theory (the parent of CRT) is the brain-child of godless individuals. It was NOT based on the Gospel or anything to do with Christ. Marx, Hegel, Marxcuse, etc. were not believers in Christ. It is definitely worldly philosophy that we have been warned about.

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