What is Critical Race Theory (CRT)? CRT is a lens through which people can choose to view the world, and it presents a society in which there are two categories oppressor (white) and oppressed (non-white). CRT has grown under the false notion that it seeks to provide empathy and reconciliation for past wrongs in America. Many believe that it is an avenue to discuss injustice, history, race, and civil rights.
Supporters claim, “The movement champions many of the same concerns as the civil rights movement but places those concerns within a broader economic and historical context. It often elevates the equality principles of the Fourteenth Amendment above the liberty principles of the First Amendment.” However, CRT is the antithesis of the civil rights movement. It does not seek equality—it seeks equity. Critical Race theorists actually stand against some of Martin Luther King Junior’s founding ideas.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.
Critical Race theorists believe this concept of colorblindness in itself is racist because it “ignores” disparities toward black and brown people of color. CRT theorists believe that people should and must see color in order to combat white supremacy.
“Colorblindness neutralizes non-neutral baselines. It makes it seem like race is introduced when we think about racial disparity as if race is not already there,” – Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-pioneer in the CRT movement.
Many Christians are allowing Critical Race Theory to shape their worldview, albeit actively or passively, but there are three distinct reasons why Christians should reject CRT outright.
First, CRT teaches the sin of partiality. The theory leaves little to no room for other factors in disparities; instead, it separates based on skin color. CRT shares the fundamental belief with the concept they claim to fight against—white supremacy. Both concepts share the foundational belief that white skin is superior and, therefore, results in benefits in society. Followers of Christ are instructed to not partake in favoritism or partiality toward any group— including based on economic status, ethnicity, or race, as seen in Leviticus 19:15, 1 Timothy 5:21, and Deuteronomy 1:17.
“If you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” (James 2:9).
The CRT lens of oppressor (white) – oppressed (non-white) offers no forgiveness to those who look like people who committed past wrongs. The theory claims that white Americans, regardless of their personal experiences, must unlearn their inherent racism and are responsible for the disparities in society. This concept imparts guilt to the guiltless. Believers should reject this as we know racism is a sin problem, not a skin problem, and we cannot justify hatred toward our fellow man (1 John 4:20).
Further, CRT states that our core identity is in our skin color rather than Christ. Christians, on the other hand, place Christ as the center and embrace all peoples because God created us all. All people are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image (Psalm 139:14). Our core identity is in Christ, not the color of our skin (2 Cor 5:17). I may be fearfully and wonderfully brown, and a brother or sister may be fearfully and wonderfully white. However, these characteristics are not our identities.
Third, CRT justifies covetousness. CRT claims to advocate for equality and equal opportunity, but, in reality, it advocates for equity and equal outcomes. Those are not the same. Equal opportunity guarantees that we are all treated the same, but equity demands that we all obtain the same success, regardless of circumstances. It encourages us to see our success in terms of my neighbors, promoting envy. If I am not as successful as my white classmate, it must be because the school is discriminating against me for being brown.
Equity is not Biblical. In Luke 12:13-15, Jesus warns us about the dangers of coveting:
“Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to
divide the inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who
made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ And He said to them,
‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does
not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”
The man in the crowd assumed that Jesus would split the inheritance because of the injustice or unequal outcome, but Jesus saw it far more important to warn of the root problem of the issue—the condition of his heart. The sin of covetousness is masked under the false sense of “equality.” Christians should beware of CRT’s perhaps unintended push towards covetousness.
As British author and evangelist Campbell Morgan once said, “To divide property between covetous men is to prepare for future strife. To make men free from covetousness is to make peace.”
CRT does not teach true history, nor does it seek to unify people; rather, it reaches far into the past of American history to blame injustices on one particular group that, in reality, had nothing to do with the injustices of the past. Why would we, as believers, hold bitterness and animosity toward our white brothers and sisters who have not committed these injustices? Scripture tells us, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
As believers, we should speak the truth in love as we pray for wisdom and boldness to speak against these social theories that go against the Gospel. Samuel Sey, author of Slow to Write, said it well, “The most tempting thing about critical race theory for me isn’t that I will sin by embracing its false Gospel. The most tempting thing about it for me is that I’ll sin by reacting against it in a manner unworthy of the Gospel.” Let us remember his words and stand against CRT in a manner worthy of our calling to be disciples of Christ.