“Christian” Boogeymen: Kevin H

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76 Responses

  1. CM says:

    Q: Why do Baptists forbid having sex while standing up?
    A: It might lead to dancing.

  2. Alan says:

    Bari Weiss – David French and Chris Rufo

    Discussing the new fundamentalism which sees everything as black and white

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/honestly-with-bari-weiss/id1570872415?i=1000528718410

    Same dance new drink

  3. Xenia says:

    I still think participating in the output of Hollywood is like injecting Hell straight into your veins.

  4. Xenia says:

    “Hollywood” is a figure of speech, a synecdoche, where “Hollywood” represents all types of worldly, godless entertainment, be it movies, TV, popular music and print/ internet entertainment.

  5. Kevin H says:

    Xenia,

    There is much to be concerned with Hollywood and certainly much trash they produce. If one personally thinks it’s all 100% bad for them, then they can certainly choose to avoid it. At the same time, there is content produced that doesn’t have significant or clear contradictions with what we are taught in Scripture, and sometimes even content that actually has redeeming value that reflects God’s precepts. So there is difficulty then in telling others that it’s all bad and they should avoid it all, too. Especially if it’s done in a condescending or condemning fashion. This had long been done with one list of taboos and now we have seemingly moved on to simply a new list.

  6. Jean says:

    Kevin,

    “Critical race theory (CRT), social justice, Black Live Matters, anything “woke”,…”

    I began the book of Isaiah last night. Right there, in Chapter 1, under the ESV headings, The Wickedness of Judah and The Unfaithful City, I was struck by what God calls out. It wasn’t idolatry, breaking the Sabbath, failure to tithe, failure to render the appointed sacrifices; it was this:

    “learn to do good;
    seek justice,
    correct oppression;
    bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow’s cause.” and

    “Your princes are rebels
    and companions of thieves.
    Everyone loves a bribe
    and runs after gifts.
    They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
    and the widow’s cause does not come to them.”

    Is not social justice (or rather the lack thereof) at top of God’s mind in the very beginning of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry?

    What really saddens, angers, disappoints and makes me pessimistic about the American conservative church is that many conservative Christians literally run away from (and even mock) social justice, and in so doing, they call what is good evil and what is evil good. This corruption of the mind Paul writes is the case amongst unbelievers, but it should never be the case among members of the Church.

    A fundamental commandment in the Decalogue is the right use of God’s name. When we misuse His name, bearing false witness against God, we desecrate His holiness and defile His reputation amongst unbelievers. When we soil God’s reputation we make the very mission of the Church – to make disciples… – all the more difficult.

    Thank you for this article!

  7. Kevin H says:

    If you’re categorizing all the stuff that is bad and calling that “Hollywood”, then I guess that can be one way of looking at it. But there still needs to recognition that there is some content that cannot be easily fit under the definitive “bad” label.

  8. Nathan Priddis says:

    Nothing says Sunday afternoon like a Jack Schick drama of mental breakdown, crisis, a little liquor and delicately verbalized worldliness, a score played only on organ, and AM radio.

    Simultaneously…the greatest theological influence in America. Potentially the greatest advertising campaign for future consumers of porn and alcohol in the 1970’s.

  9. Kevin H says:

    Jean,

    Very much agree. The calling of good evil and evil good is very problematic. And can be very common in both conservative and liberal churches, it’s just usually different subject material that gets good/evil mix-up.

  10. Xenia says:

    Kevin, I admire you and your writings but I do not agree with you about this.

    How many F-bombs in a move/TV show/book/song should a Christian listen to before they have decided they have heard enough? How many same sex relationships, presented as tender and sweet, should a Christian take in before he says Enough! How many modern novels feature a couple spending the night together on the first date, cozily eating breakfast together the next morning? How many instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain is acceptable?

    Sure, some Hollywood entertainment might be harmless, but how would you know unless you plowed through a bunch of trash to find it?

    Even the delightful Tolkien movies were produced by Harvey Weinstein, who made a lot of money off them.

    The whole system is corrupt. I don’t recommend tip-toeing through the garbage hoping to find a daisy.

  11. Em says:

    Jean, it ain’t easy….
    one can read other places in the O.T. that condemn the things you listed as not priority one in the opening chapter of Isaiah …..
    God knows the heart and He addresses accordingly
    or so it seems to me…..

  12. Michael says:

    My lament is the same as it’s been for decades.

    The church is the embassy of God on earth and we should worry about our own house first.
    The things we choose to address after that or concurrent with that should be the concerns that God speaks of in the prophets and we address them theologically before we ever think politically.

  13. Kevin H says:

    Xenia,

    Thanks for the kind words. I have long appreciated your thoughts and insights here, too. On the Hollywood topic, I imagine we won’t see eye-to-eye. However, that was just one example of “boogeymen” I gave for which even many more could have been added. I think the main point of my writing can still stand, even if we think that one or two items shouldn’t be included on the given lists.

  14. Xenia says:

    Kevin, I realized that “Hollywood” was one item on a list.

    Keep writing your great articles! We aren’t going to agree on everything, that’s ok!

    I agree with the general tone that we should be concerned with caring for the oppressed, etc., and since that is your article’s main point, it seems, I will applaud it.

  15. Xenia says:

    Once I got the image in my mind which sees the entertainment biz as a giant meat grinder with Satan cranking the handle, it becomes hard to see it as anything else.

  16. Nathan Priddis says:

    I’m willing to go out on a limb and say we gave transitioned from a culture war to the 2nd Civil War. This is in part a continuation of the first, as well as the addition of new fault lines.

    The number of dead are roughly comparable, with each falling into a range of 600K-700k. We are now in a attrition stage of the pandemic. The deaths occurring now are largely ideological, with some exceptions for those having non-political concerns related to the vacine.

    On the Trumpism side we have objectives ranging from the Founders Ministry’s sorta Antibelum dream, to the Kingdom of God on Earth, alla apostolic and prophetic crowd.

    Out,, are the days of back- rockwards satanic lyrics. In, is a transition to a view spiritual concepts of evil, as tangible people such as Democrats, Hollywood elites, Black activist, gays,, and women in church ministry.

  17. Em says:

    Good ponders, Nathan…..

  18. Linn says:

    in 1985 I went to South America on with a traditional mission board that did not preach the “liberal social gospel.” Yet, we had a hospital (one of the best in the area), a nursing/midwifery school, primary schools in rural churches where there were no other schools…that’s a lot of social justice if you ask me! I think if we just did what the Word calls us to do, we as the church would find we do a lot of “social gospel.” But, the social gospel often wins souls-not all of them, but a good number of them.

    As to CRT-it is a construct that has been around for 30 years that has been misconstrued by those on both sides of the argument. Classism and Racism have been a thing in the church as long as it has existed (see 1 Cor. 11, Acts 6). If the church just stopped practicing Racism and Classism, we wouldn’t have to argue about it. My two cents!

  19. Very true that most of these frowned upon activities are not forbidden by the Bible, but that they could become problematic activisties for some people, or when the activities become excessive. My former church ( 30 plus years) was Calvary Chapel( five of them). They were very adamant about the no drinking rule in Calvary. Interestingly, they never spoke of greed or gluttoney at Calvary, however.. I was sharing with a friend who was trying to lose weight at Calvary about an article I had read by Pastor Rick Warren , author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life’. He was trying to lose weight and much of his congregation was joining him in his weight losse efforts .He shared that it was when he realized that over eating is actually a sin; the sin of gluttony, that he finally took weight loss seriously and actually was sble to lose weight. My Calvary friends were extremely angry when I shared this with them. They were willing to call anyone who drank a beer or a glass of wine a carnal sinner, but they were offended and outraged that anyone might consider overeating a sin! The Bible certainly warns against both gluttony and greed, but those excesses weren’t on Calvary Chapel as radar for some reason.

  20. Nathan Priddis says:

    BoC. That confused me. ( CC alcohol )
    I remember…it’s not eine , its fermented grape juice..as a child, but one day I heard it on To Everyman an Answer. I couldn’t explain that to myself. The loss of credibility was pretty much instant.

  21. Kevin H says:

    BoC,

    I very much know of what you speak. While sometimes qualified with a “now the Bible doesn’t say that drinking is a sin”, I then hear from the pulpit a deluge of condemnations of alcohol and drinking, and especially of those pastors who dare drink. But then I hear very little of things that truly are sins such as gluttony, greed, and materialism (not that having or wanting material things is a sin, but when material things end up taking priority over things God has called us to do – e.g. taking care of the poor, taking care of our families, relationships with God and others – then it becomes a sin). While alcoholism and drunkenness can be very serious things, these other vices I would highly suspect our congregation, and even broader our American culture, struggle with well more than the abuse of alcohol. Yet drinking is the favored whipping boy or boogeyman.

    Just like something like CRT these days. So many people are so up in arms about it while having little understanding of what it all really is and yet greatly decrying its supposed large and indoctrinating effect on secondary schools and even grade schools. Even their own conservative churches. But when issues of abuse or the cover up of abuse are brought up, the same people will at best give it a token hearing or concern.

  22. BrideofChrist says:

    ZNathan, yes, I heard that one, too.They said the alcohol content was much lower. Except fermented grape juice IS wine, right? Another interesting Calvary Chapel taboo story. I attended Calvary Chapel Vista for 20 years while Brian Broderson was the lead Pastor there. I mostly liked his teaching. He once said that he used to encourage people to throw out their tv sets ( the Hollywood boogeyman), but then he became very ill with A chronic fatigue type syndrome and was bedridden for monthson end. He told us that then broke down and he got a television set because it was do difficult to lay in his bed cut off from the world day after day. I was impressed that he shared this anecdote with us. That was one thing about Brian, he wasn’t afraid to say that he had changed his mind or been mistaken about something. I saw him do it several times and I believe that his humble attitude is uncommon for Calvary Chapel celebrity pastors. His own tv story also reminds us that perhaps we shouldn’t judge others so harshly. After all, we haven’t walked in their shoes or been in their circumstances. Isn’t that the problem with black and white thinking? It simply does not work, and there really is no ‘ one size fits all’ way to be a Christian.

  23. BrideofChrist says:

    Kevin, My husband and I just last night had a discussion about how ‘sweeping it all under the rug” seemed to be the way both the church and many conservative Republicans want to deal with racism and sexual abuse in our churches and in our society in general. Conservatives seem to be saying that we shouldn’t be ‘airing our dirty laundry’ in public, and that exposing and dealing with racism and sexual abuse will hurt both the church and our country and its institutions. But if the laundry isn’t aired then the church’s holiness really becomes the ‘filthy rags” the Bible speaks of, doesn’t it?

  24. Jean says:

    As I watch with horror and lament at the voter suppression laws enacted by one state after another, I cannot help but recall the wise words of our nation’s founders:

    The authority of a nation “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.

    What do Republicans, who profess law and order, think in the nature of good can result or be obtained by depriving our fellow citizens of their consent to their governance?

    This principle, “consent of the governed” is a biblical principle deriving its origin in Genesis 1.

  25. Steve says:

    Jean, I’m not aware of any republicans in our current age depriving fellow citizens of voting. Please elaborate. Quite the contrary that what I see is bi-partisan support for voter ID laws. Common sense should tell you that if our government is moving towards forced vaccinations and vaccines passport to have basic freedoms, than getting and using a simple government issued ID to vote should not be terribly difficult. Anyone opposing that I question whether they truly want fair elections at all. So I ask the contrary question to democrats what good can come out of an election if half the electorate believes it was fraudulent.

  26. Jean says:

    Steve, you just named a new boss Kevin left out. Thank you.

    By the way, it isn’t half, because the current president won by 7 million votes.

    Aside from this I am not going to hijack this thread to educate you on the new lower the vote of minorities laws.

  27. Steve says:

    Jean, your too partisan and political with your own boogieman to learn much from so I think it’s a good idea to not hijack this thread. Kevin, has some goods points and some I would push back on.

  28. JImV says:

    Kevin, there is much wisdom in your article. Thank you.

    The missing ingredient is faith—our focus is on the wrong things. AW Tozer in “Pursuit of God” has a chapter called “The Gaze of God” where he explains faith in a way I have found compelling.

    “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:14-15). Our plain man in reading this would make an important discovery. He would notice that “look” and “believe” were synonymous terms. “Looking” on the Old Testament serpent is identical with “believing” on the New Testament Christ; that is, the looking and the believing are the same thing.”

    The many detours that turn my eyes from Jesus—whether they are to condemn boogeymen, to strive at making our world better or to slip into sin—betray my lack of faith. Lord, help my unbelief.

  29. Steve says:

    Kevin, you make some interesting analogies between the old boogeyman and the new. It’s an interesting perspective but I kind of feel likes it’s comparing apples and oranges where the apples and oranges have flipped sides. Let me explain. What often comes up on this blog is what is considered a lack of nuance. I think this a good point and is a very valid criticism of classic fundamentalism. However, contrast with what is taking place now with CRT, BLM, etc. The shoe is on the other foot so to speak. There is not much nuance with CRT and BLM. It’s a black and white issue and attempting to nuance it will put you in the metaphorical dog house. Unless you are a full blown anti-antiracist with whatever that means, you are not woke enough. I fact, you can never be woke enough. It’s unachievable in this new paradynme. If there were more caveats and nuance, and legitimate conversation, etc. It would be more tolerable but conversation is shut down by design from those who have valid concerns.

  30. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I don’t give much attention to CRT or BLM or any of the other crusades of the day.
    The reason for that is because the earthly manifestation of the kingdom I represent is rotting from the inside and that is my primary concern.
    These culture wars are a lot like dispensational eschatology…the enemies have to change with the times…while the church is adrift in a sea of heresy and abuse.

  31. NATHAN PRIDDIS PRIDDIS says:

    This is a slight Segue, but it is related to the idea of boogeyman. The following is a shocking speech, because it’s the first Christian admission I personally have heard of the guilt of criminal leasing. But first the setting:

    Tony Evans spoke recently at NRB 2021. Overall, it’s a complicated message. He’s coming down on both sides of the road, if you will. Around 26:30 he starts to critique the Religious Right. He works up to 27:40 where the first ever utterance of leasing I can recall occurs. He admits the SBC is Segregationist.

    I do not support his overall theme. @ 18:50 he says Evangelicalism is off point. We are being shaken by God. We are being persecuted.

    This speech is the inevitable destiny of Harold Okenga’s call for Neo-Evangelicalsm to engage culture. Evangelicalism did engage culture in it’s desire for power. Culture pushes back and Evangelicalism recoils into a a paranoid belief of it’s persecution.

    Evan’s solution is a modern day restatement of Okenga’s unified front to muster the resources and power to reimgage culture on all levels. This is not reform, it’s a counterattack.

    https://youtu.be/Bxqfukvddh8

  32. Kevin H says:

    Steve,

    There are definitely some on the CRT & BLM side of things who don’t allow for nuance and where any criticism is met with great resistance and claims of bigotry racism against the critics.

    However, my writing was not aimed at the crowd who demonstrate this type of wrongdoing, but rather to those of the primarily conservative church who demonstrate very similar behavior. Yes, there are some who commendably approach the subjects of CRT, BLM, social justice, etc. with mindfulness and nuance. However, in my observations and experiences, and I would imagine there are many others who have witnessed similar, there are far more conservative Christians, at least the ones who choose to voice themselves, who approach CRT/BLM/etc. with a scorched earth policy. They seek to demonize it all as universally wrong and evil, desire to eliminate it wherever they suspect it exists, and chastise any fellow Christians who they deem as possibly accepting of any of these things. And in taking taking this absolute approach, they also often have a woeful understanding of what all CRT and BLM and social justice issues really are.

    In this manner, the way that many Christians are demonizing these things or treating them like “boogeymen”, these new boogeymen are very much like the boogeymen of old.

  33. Jean says:

    Kevin,

    There is a difference between the old and the new. Today people are taught to oppose and hate based on buzz words. If you took 10 staunchly anti BLM or CRT Christians, 9 of them could not write a cogent paragraph accurately describing it, much less articulating what is objectively wrong with it. To them it’s evil because their guru said so.

  34. Kevin H says:

    Jean,

    Although my analogy is far from perfect, in the aspect that you bring up I even think there are similarities. Many who demonized dancing, drinking, movie-going, etc., did so because their “gurus” told them they were evil, and they probably couldn’t have made cogent and contradictory-free arguments for why these items were thoroughly evil. Drinking, dancing, etc. were the buzz words of those days which represented automatic wickedness and wrongdoing.

  35. Steve says:

    Kevin, I personally feel the CRT/BLM ideology is more in line with everything critical than anything resembling playing cards, watching movies, dancing, drinking or listening to rock music. For instance is homosexuality in the church also a Boogeyman or is it one of many legitimate concerns? What about queer theory? I bring it up because it’s almost identical to CRT in it’s approach and application and is coming to a church near if it hasn’t already. But I also agree with you and Michael that the rot on the inside of the church is worse with abuse.

  36. BrideofChrist says:

    But ‘drinking’ and ‘dancing’ are NOT buzzwords for anything! They are simple verbs that define clearly defined, concrete actions. Even a two-year-old could understands those words accurately ( I have a Masters in child development and education) so clearly I know this to be true. My 18-month-old grandson can say ‘ ” mo’ drink” when he’s thirsty and he will dance if you ask him to! Critical Race Theory is a very complex, complex sociological position. Not many people really know it enough about it to criticize it so thoroughly. Unless one has read several books on the subject, I doubt anyone really can make any valid judgements on CRT.

  37. Steve says:

    BoC,. You are right. CRT is complex and that’s a good reason it really doesn’t belong in public K thru 12 and church as well. But it’s not impossible to understand it and there are more resources on this all over the place. Any new ideologies entering into the church need to be vetted before they are adopted wholesale and if it’s impossible to understand it without a law degree maybe it’s a good idea to not bring it in at all.

  38. Kevin H says:

    BoC,

    You are right in that dancing and drinking are concrete, simply definable actions while something like CRT has much complexity and can’t be defined with a simple couple “buzzwords” or sentences. They’re all often used as “buzzwords” however in the sense that all one has to use is one word or term – drinking, CRT, etc., and it connotates automatic guilt and evildoing.

  39. Kevin H says:

    Steve,

    Something like homosexual behavior or practice, if one approaches Scripture in a historically orthodox study and interpretation, as the large majority of conservative churches do, it is clear that such things are wrong and sinful. One cannot clearly come to the same conclusion on CRT when taking the same approach. Thus these two things are categorically different in these respects and cannot be thought of in the same way.

    All the more, the fears that CRT is invading the church are way overblown, especially when it comes to conservative churches. One would be hard pressed to find any conservative church that is actively teaching or advocating authentic CRT theory. For all the claims out there of CRT being taught in churches, I have yet to ever see actual evidence presented that shows that a conservative evangelical church is actually teaching or advocating for legitimate CRT. It’s probably not even much different for K-12 schools. This is where the “boogeyman” comes greatly into play.

  40. Jean says:

    “For instance is homosexuality in the church also a Boogeyman or is it one of many legitimate concerns?”

    I don’t think you get it. Everything that is not done in faith is sin. Everything! Christian preaching should condemn unbelief and its evil fruit, and proclaim the One who atoned for our sin. There is not a single Sunday in which a preacher does not have the law to call every Christian to repentance, and to faith by the gospel.

    The whole notion of boogey men is to condemn others while feeling righteous about one’s self. The church doesn’t need any boogey men. And it sure doesn’t need any self-righteous hypocrites.

    It needs Truth. The truth is that no one outside of Christ is good, not one. And those who truly are in Christ are not in Him because of any quality or virtue of their own. They are in Christ by God’s own mercy, wholly through the righteousness of faith in Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

  41. Muff Potter says:

    In fundagelicalism, the biggest Boogeyman of them all is the sex boogeyman.

  42. Dan from Georgia says:

    There was a flurry of articles over at The Christian Post recently about CRT, Woke-ism, Socialism, etc…and most articles and some of the comments were so hand-wringing that they conveyed that it was the end of the church as we know it.

    Talk about being afraid of the boogeyman.

    There again there is the whole “gates of hell shall not prevail” thing.

  43. Dan from Georgia says:

    Dancing….Kind David….
    Drinking….Water to wine…(no it wasn’t weak if people were still getting drunk)..
    Playing cards…who cares, it’s just a game.
    Going to movies….people still do that?
    Listening to rock music….rock music pretty much doesn’t exist anymore….

    Here are some other taboos/boogeymen I have come across:
    Crystals
    Suncatchers
    Science
    Role-playing games
    Harry Potter
    The government … The are coming to take your guns and eat your children you know…this fear is deeply entrenched here in the South.

    Could go on forever. But as Kevin stated, while the boogeymen changes, things are still the same.

    An aside: has anyone thought how the initial boogeymen Kevin listed in the first paragraph came to be so prevalent in the Church, specifically Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism?

  44. ( |o )====::: says:

    Here’s a great podcast episode from ay friend Dave Brisbin which addresses so much of what is current…

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/theeffect-podcasts/id1360724465?i=1000528777317

  45. Steve says:

    Kevin,. I am no expert on it, but some of what I know of CRT actually does seem to violate biblical principals and is foreign to what the church is and should be. I’m more of the opinion this it is almost identical to the homosexual agenda which really is an extension of queer theory which along with CRT comes directly from critical theory. However, to your point as to whether it’s actually being taught in church you may be right and maybe nothing more than a simple a buzz word. However, I’m old even to remember when homosexual agenda was beginning to invade the church and it was the same type of argument you are making that it’s not really happening. However, within a few decades, it’s rare to find churches that view homosexuality as a sin and in fact more and more are embracing this kind of diversity and using their rainbow flag as an endorsement of not only welcoming but affirming. This is the reality we live in today. I’m not on any bandwagon to condemn homosexuals and in fact occasionally I’ll even participate with some liberal churches that have a difference of opinion on this than me. But the similarities between CRT and queer theory are not categorically different infact they are much more similar than different. So much so that the intersectionality of them unites it all. You can not separate them. It’s all coming from the same source.

  46. Michael says:

    “However, within a few decades, it’s rare to find churches that view homosexuality as a sin…”

    That’s a crock…my guess would be that about 15% of Protestant churches are “affirming”…and we know the position of the Orthodox and Roman churches…

  47. Steve says:

    Michael, I’m listening to the podcast ( |o )====::: posted. It’s pretty eye opening to me. I don’t want to be naive to the state of where the church really is. Even 15% is pretty dramatic but I think I’ve been influenced with my previous pastor who is up in the new England area and the way he explained almost all of the what used to be conservative puritan type churches up there have gone completely liberal all flying rainbow flags. He would know.

  48. ( |o )====::: says:

    Critical Race Theory lesson one: Your grandparents [or parents] identify with one of the two groups shown in this picture and have handed down their values. Take all the time you need with this.

    https://64.media.tumblr.com/b91d9bdaccc81821cccbd9b7ebd13e30/880ea31ac436d20f-cb/s640x960/2aa8ba3ee94ec766b24e29b769fcf18f9887a580.jpg

  49. Jean says:

    Guitar man,

    CRT lesson two: those handed down values manifest themselves in lending standards, real estate redlining, career counseling, voting rules, employment recruiting, evangelism, policing, prosecutorial discretion, sentencing guidelines, etc.

  50. Steve says:

    Thanks but no thanks for the CRT lessons. I’ll stick with Christianity 101 with Jesus.

  51. Michael says:

    Steve,

    You’ve dilegently avoided Christianity 101 in favor of arguing against the menace of these theories…now you want to hide behind it when confronted with the facts Jean has presented.
    It’s not a good look, but a sadly typical one…

  52. Michael says:

    One does not have to see any merit in CRT to acknowledge the myriad ways that racism has affected and affects this country.
    To refuse to acknowledge such is neither biblical or Christian…

  53. bob1 says:

    In this instance, a picture is worth…

    Why does it seem that anytime Steve is on here for very long, everything devolves into fruitless arguing?

  54. Michael says:

    Steve sees issues through the lens of American political evangelicalism…which is not real popular here…I don’t care much until it becomes intellectually dishonest, then it annoys hell out of me.

  55. Steve says:

    Michael,. Point well taken. However, I never once refused to acknowledge racism and it’s stench in this country. However, I don’t need CRT to tell me the evils of racism. That is a red herring.

  56. Michael says:

    I just explicitly said that one need not affirm CRT to acknowledge the existence of racism.

    Nothing Jean pointed out demands the affirmation of CRT…just affirmation of the facts about how racism still manifests itself in the country.

  57. Dan from Georgia says:

    I’m being honest and vulnerable here, and not proud of what I am going to say:

    If I can go online to Yahoo! and see the latest story about teens rampaging through a mall, knocking things down, and harassing people, and the first thought that crosses my mind is “I bet it was black teens”, then you better believe that racism is still alive and well in this country.

    The above comment was not an interjection in the dialogue between Steve and Michael and other’s here, but my own cathartic expression of disappointment with myself, and also a refutation to those that think racism is a liberal idea or that it’s a thing of the past.

  58. Michael says:

    Dan,

    Thank you.
    Whenever I wonder how deeply ingrained racism is, all I have to do is look in the mirror…

  59. Steve says:

    Michael,. I thought when Jean was giving us lesson 2 of CRT, that’s exactly what he was doing seeking our affirmation. For the record I acknowledge each and every act like of systemic racism in America and it’s evilness that Jean pointed out. I should have done that upfront. I’m leaving.

  60. Steve says:

    Typo, meant to say I’m learning but it’s late so I’m leaving too. God bless.

  61. Jean says:

    What I find fascinating about CRT is the interdisciplinary approach to the study of how personal identity is shaped.

    If the theory that our individual identity and prejudices are instilled largely through outside influences and our desire to belong and be accepted has any validity at all, then parents (and secondarily the church) has a solemn responsibility to instill the love, grace and justification of Christ in our children (beginning at a very young age).

    As Christians, we know that the identity we have in Christ is the only identity that is founded in infallible objective truth. Yet, for many of us, because of our individual histories, we struggle with (or limp between) competing identities that each seeks to justify us in different ways, one godly the other evil.

    If our children are going to be shaped by outside influences (because that is how identity is formed), it will either be worldly influences or godly influences. The identity of our children is like an empty vessel which will be filled from the outside. What children hear and see in the home, what they observe in the home between adults, what they experience in the church, what they see in the world, who their friends are, and what media they are consuming, will all coalesce to form them with an identity.

    May we give them the Jesus, the real Jesus of the Gospels, who said: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

  62. Em says:

    Our (the Church’s) children filled by the world? God forgive us….

  63. Steve says:

    Jean @5:46. Obviously you know more about CRT than me so maybe you can help me here. The interdisciplinary approach that you mentioned with how personal identity is formed does seem fascinating. However, I’m not aware of this in CRT. Infact, I was under the impression that personal identify is not even mentioned in CRT but rather is about what group identify an individual belongs too. For instance there is a white race identify and a black race identify but not so much an individual identity or even how an individual would or would not appropriate these racial social constructs to themselves. The rest of your post is spot on and couldn’t agree more. I want to give my daughter the real Jesus of the bible you mentioned.

  64. Jean says:

    Steve,

    I believe there is both a group and an individual component. For example, groups can be beneficiaries or victims based on race or sex. Let me give you an example (and I am not making a moral judgment on the specific example):

    Have you ever noticed that almost all birth control methods are developed for females (e.g., oral, IUD, topical, etc.). Why is it that historically the burden of birth control, and the risks associated with ingesting or inserting chemicals, hormones and invasive medical devices into the body, has fallen almost exclusively on the female gender, developed by researchers who are overwhelmingly male? Is it just a coincidence? Can critical theorists study this phenomenon?

    When I was born, I made no individual decision and expressed no prejudice one way or another regarding the availability of birth control or who birth control would or could be used by, whether the male or the female. Simply being born a male placed me in a privileged position of not being the one in a sexual relationship of bearing the burden and health risks associated with birth control if that is what my wife and I wanted to do.

    I know that Christians have views on birth control (and I am aware of condoms), but I also recognize that tens of millions of American couples use chemical or device based birth control. They may ask the questions I raised above.

    When we peal back from the groups, “male” and “female,” we find individual scientists, overwhelmingly male, who individually brought their own social constructs of male identity into their work when looking at the development of birth control. For some reason, all the research for decades focused on the female body. Why is that? It is at this level that I am interested in the formation of individual identity, what some call social constructionism.

    The weakness of CRT that concerns me, as a Christian, is how to break the chain of privilege and victimization that different groups experience are in a sense captive to. Does CRT offer a real solution, or do they merely point out a problem and make a judgment? It would be a terrible thing for someone to be told, “You are bad and their is no cure or hope for you.”

    (In my example, would educating and recruiting more females into the research field of reproductive science help? Maybe it would.)

    I happen to think that the church, rather than fighting against the endeavors of CRT, would better serve our fellow man by saying something like, “Yes, we live in a fallen world, corrupted by our own sinful prejudices, we acknowledge societal sins of the past, we repent of our own sin (I can’t repent for anyone else’s but my own), and we proclaim to you the only truthful solution – that our (yours and mine) redemption and renewal is in Jesus Christ alone, the perfect image of God, in whom we have forgiveness of sins, redemption and renewal in His image. There are no innocents in our social conflicts. All have fallen short of the glory of God and all have redemption in the one Savior Jesus Christ.

    This may not be sufficient (nor should it be) for reforming temporal institutions, but when talking about the church, we have something better and eternal to talk to people about. The temporal stuff is passing away, and we should be more concerned with souls and eternal things. We have government to address temporal inequities; the Church, on the other hand, has a unique vocation, which runs alongside of the temporal stuff in this age, but under a different King who is more bold and offers more to mankind than even the most just temporal government ever could.

    Just my two cents.

  65. Steve says:

    Jean,. Thank you! This is the nuance that is usually missing that I mentioned to Kevin previously. I appreciate it much. As with all theories they do make you think but they all must be subject to the Word of God. Thank you also for pointing out some of the weaknesses in CRT. I will also state for the record that it has some truth to it. CRT is kind of like the theory of evolution to me. It’s simply a theory that humans have come up with to try to explain stuff which may or may not be useful. Regarding evolution, there is probably some benefits in understanding micro evolution so scientists can discover new drugs, vaccines etc. at the molecular level . However, I don’t think we should be quoting Darwin in the origin of the species when we are preaching on the first and second Adam in the Bible. It’s probably the same sort of deal when it comes to CRT in the church. There needs to be caution with any new theory. If we can somehow chew on the meat and spit out the bones, I’m all for it. I don’t know if it’s that simple though. It’s getting harder and harder to discern everything that is going on in the world today.

  66. BrideofChrist says:

    Jean, Your ‘two cents’ is a wonderful contribution to this important discussion. Thank you for taking the time to compose it! I have a specialized Liberal Arts degree which was required as a prerequisite to the year of post- graduate university training required for the California Teaching Credential. I was also required to have an ’emphasis’ ( a concentration of chosen classes in a single area). My emphasis was Sociology. Your post describes the intersection of personality development and society very well. I also have many classes in Child Development as well as a Cross-Cultural Academic and Language Certificate. My undergraduate and post-graduate studies have been very useful and illuminating to me as a public educator. The bottom line – most of us don’t even know what we don’t know, and many people don’t want to acknowledge that. Humility is required in order to accept most of the premises of CRT and that is in short supply in the U.S. – especially in the evangelical church.

  67. Em says:

    IF the evangelical community is full of boogeymen, what caused it?

  68. Jean says:

    Em,

    In answer to your question, I believe the problem is theological.

    First is the theology of once saved always saved. This theology directs the preacher to stop giving his congregation Christ for you by His free grace through faith for the forgiveness of your damnable sins (because you’re in and now God’s hands are tied), but to put them on a lifetime track of obedience to the law.

    In order to keep them in the pews for the long term, back enslaved to the law, despite giving them nothing but law week in and week out, the pastor must soften the law to be reasonably achievable as good advice or not applicable to them at all.

    So, what he ends up emphasizing for hell and damnation is not what his congregation is actually doing, such as cheating on their taxes, fornicating, abusing their spouse, and hating their neighbor, but Instead the sins of society. If you point the finger at someone else, your hearers can tolerate that and even feel good about themselves that they don’t have the problems of the sick, filthy, evil “others.”

  69. Xenia says:

    Jean said: “First is the theology of once saved always saved.”

    Yes, I believe this is a big part of the problem, if not the biggest. There’s plenty I could say about this, and I have here over the years, but simply put, if a person believes they are guaranteed a spot in heaven because of a prayer they said when they were four years old, that is not a doctrine that will produce holy people and it will often produce careless people. Many people do persevere and become holy but it’s despite this teaching, not because of it. Christians have the Holy Spirit and following Him day by day will make you a Christ-like person, but why make the effort if you believe you are promised a mansion and some crowns because of a mental assent you made once upon a time? But as I said, many people are able to work past this theology anyway but it’s not from following the teaching many hear in church.

  70. Xenia says:

    I should add that getting yourself “unsaved” doesn’t happen over night, and isn’t the result of sins, which can always be repented of and forgiven. Habitual, unrepentant sin is the sin of rebellion against God, as is refusing to participate in the things of God. You don’t fall off the path all at once, it’s a culmination of neglect and rebellion to the point a person doesn’t consider themselves to be a Christian anymore.

  71. Xenia says:

    Jean and I are not exactly coming at this question from the same direction….

  72. Jean says:

    Xenia,

    We are not coming at the question from the same direction, but together cover the twin risks of that theology. On the one hand, the theology can produce Pharisees (as I discussed), and on the other hand it can also produce presumptuous, lazy or even libertine Christians (which is what I gathered from your comments.

    I think the OSAS theology, and its sister, decision theology, evolved from the void created when most Protestants rejected the Sacraments as God’s means of saving sinners.

  73. Steve says:

    I’m going to chime in on the OSAS discussion. I personally find this topic one of the most divisive topics around and I try to avoid it but it keeps coming up here which is disturbing to me.. I’m reformed and I personally don’t think it’s possible to loose your salvation based on my understanding of justification and regeneration and my Calvinistic leanings but I understand I could easily be wrong. . The only rationale conclusion I can come to without holding to these beliefs is that I need to get saved and resaved over and over again which to be quite frankly is about the epitome of disparaging and has no anchor to my soul. Don’t get me wong I need to hear law and gospel all the time. That is not my point. I think there needs to be more discussion to define terms, context to understand any of this. Don’t mean to hijack this threat but I’m just putting my two cents in a vitally important topic. I’ll bow out now because I believe this is super divisive and you need to tread very carefully through these waters. Would love to hear what the theologically trained experts say on this topic so I can learn more. I’m closer to Jean than Xenia in my understanding but I certainly don’t believe the OSAS is the biggest problem with American evangelicalism by a long shot.

  74. Jean says:

    Steve,

    Good comments!

    Let’s look at a well known verse, one that is simple, clear and in no sense an outlier:

    ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
    ‭‭
    Just like in the Greek, the English expresses the verb “believe” in the present tense, “believes” not in the past tense “believed.”

    What some of us object to in some current evangelical preaching is the idea (express or implied) that someone’s subjective feeling at a moment in time equates to what the message of the good news is in the Bible.

    It also turns salvation by grace into a work whereby my decision, surrender or reception, for, to or of Christ, is my virtue that activates God’s grace.

    This turns God’s foreknowledge and predestination into a contingency, which robs them of the comfort for a Christian who is suffering his own crosses, which is how Paul uses them.

  75. Em says:

    I “think” 😇 that, perhaps what some see as losing salvation can be explained by the parable of the seeds….
    Rooted and grounded in good soil versus the other examples: shallow, rocky, etc

  76. Jean says:

    That’s a very relevant parable Em.

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