It seems to me like the church is at a crossroads in a significant battle for the truth. I see a lot of individuals fighting against false doctrine of various forms and I am grateful for their efforts. This battle especially is raging in guarding the biblical view of areas such as race, racism, politics in general, and how we should bring a Christian worldview to bear on these issues. On the one hand, it seems as though the church is fighting against new enemies. There are the enemies of systemic racism, critical theory, and intersectionality. There is the enemy of radical leftist ideas which can seem to take a somewhat new spin. We could go on and on with this onslaught of enemy strongholds facing the church. However, I want to set forth the idea that there is a subtle danger in allowing ourselves to believe we are facing a new enemy. The truth is that these false ideas are simply an old and familiar enemy with new armor and a fresh sword.
Men and women have been fascinated with seeking to find truth while not having a worldview which can even provide a foundation for truth. This paradox is mind boggling at times, they say they don’t believe in absolute truth, however, they begin to actually search for it in a wide variety of ways. Humanists essentially believe that man is the ultimate measure of all things. So, when you are seeking an ultimate standard for truth you look to humans as your source, that is the foundational teaching of humanism.
Christians, believe in the God who is over all, above all, and determines all. That is the definition of a transcendent reality who governs all things. However, humanists do not believe in a transcendent reality. Atheists, humanists, and secularists have no such reality, therefore, they ultimately are unable to give any foundation for actions such as rape and murder being morally evil. They may tell you they think these actions are evil, but since man is the measure of all things different individuals will vary in their perspectives on these issues. Societies may have a varying idea as to what they believe about murder than ours does. How can the atheist and humanist say which one is right? Based upon the foundations of their worldview, they cannot do so for they have no basis for an absolute standard.
What does this have to do with the battles we are facing today? In our time, we see this same concept of man being the ultimate standard wrapped in new armor than it was during the 20th century. One of the leading ideas of secularism and humanism is critical theory which teaches there are two classes of individuals, the oppressed and the oppressor. What do we need to do? We need to liberate the oppressed. Of course, we as Christians want to liberate oppressed individuals, hence the work of William Wilberforce against the sin of racism and the evil of chattel slavery. However, the way Critical Theory breaks this down is not by oppressed and oppressor as classically defined, but as defined by new liberal language.
According to critical race theory a white, heterosexual man is automatically an oppressor just because of the fact he is white and heterosexual. A black man is automatically oppressed just because he is black. Therefore, a white, heterosexual male could never be oppressed and a black person could never commit the sin of racism. Consequently, the ideas of oppressed and oppressor are completely changed from their normal and classical meaning. Being an oppressor has nothing to do with your actions, it has to do with your ancestry.
Here is the punch line, according to this theory we need the ideas of a “diverse” community before we can know the depths of truth. Take an article written by Esau McCaulley for The Washington Post as an example (link at the bottom of this article). He says:
“As a New Testament scholar, I’ve discovered that people of color and women have rarely led or participated in Bible translation. On one hand, this doesn’t trouble me much. It is hard to mess up the story of the Exodus, distort the message of the prophets or dismantle the story of Jesus. It is all there in every English translation.
On the other, I believe it matters who translates the Bible, and that more diverse translation committees could inspire fresh confidence among Christians of color. Such a translation would allow black Christians and others to “know with certainty the things that you have been taught” (Luke 1:4).”
When translating the Bible why would the skin color of the translators matter? What does someone’s skin color have to do with accurately translating the text? The ultimate standard of this view is that a diverse set of opinions determines the truth of how the Bible should be translated and not the actual language of the original text. Let me quote another section of his article which makes this concept even clearer:
“The insight, experience and skills of female scholars might open our eyes to nuances that a committee of all men might miss. Christians for whom English is a second language might highlight ways in which our word choice is unclear. Similarly, black Christians may call to mind neglected aspects of the text.”
According to these ideas, a committee which is comprised of a diverse set of individuals including different ethnicities and genders will have access to more truth than a committee of black men or white men alone. Do you see the driving force of this theory? A diverse set of human beings has a greater access to truth. Consequently, interpreting and translating the Bible has nothing to do with accuracy in reading the Scripture, it has to do with the diversity of skin color on a committee.
Who is the measure of truth according to this mindset? The bottom line is that human beings are still the determining factor of what is true. It is not the Word of God, but the diversity of the humans which determines truth. This principle is essentially the same concept found in the humanistic thinking of the 20th century wrapped up in a different package. Man is still viewed as the measure of all things. The nuance is just that now man needs to be diverse and must have the opinion of the oppressed to determine what is true.
Therefore, we as Christians are still fighting humanistic thinking, it is just that the old root of this worldview has produced a new season of fruit. The tree is producing the fall crop which is slightly nuanced from the spring crop of the 20th century. Consequently, I commend all of the brave men who continue to fight against ideas such as critical theory, intersectionality, and systemic racism. These men are warriors for the truth who stand against everything from abortion to homosexuality to the biblical sin of racism and many other evil ideas. I must suggest that we ensure we fight this battle by understanding the root of the problem which is the fact that man is viewed as the determining factor of reality.
We end critical theory by showing the God who determines truth and the necessity for humans to submit to Him! We must fight against evil ideas in all forms and we will be even more effective by striking at the root of the tree and not just the fruit of it. Our task must be to uproot the tree of humanistic thinking so that it stops producing evil fruit. We must do this by showing the transcendent reality which is the God of the Bible! Once people come to Him savingly, we must train them to look to God and His Word for truth instead of to themselves or some other source. That is our task and our duty, may we be faithful to it for the glory of God!
Link to the article in The Washington Post: