Identity politics, Critical Race Theory, and deconstruction dominate our world right now. How can Christians sort out what is good and true? In this discussion, Cole and Terry give an overview of Voddie Baucham's book Fault Lines.
Fault Lines is unapologetically Christian as it investigates the topic of Critical Theory.
The first two chapters detail Baucham’s story, laying the groundwork for the main subject of his book. In Chapter Three he goes on to interact with original literature on Critical Theory. Abram Kendy was a major proponent of Critical Theory, and Baucham engages with Kendy’s arguments. Baucham identifies the bias of what he calls “critical social justice” because there is more to this thought process than the color of one’s skin.
Chapter Four identifies Critical Social Justice as a new religion rather than a scientific theory. Baucham identifies familiarities that are re-defined within this religion. Another distinction is “group” sin rather than “individual” sin. Chapter Five discusses the “priesthood” of this religion – how are they made “righteous?” In Chapter Six, Baucham discusses the “canon” or “holy text” of this religion.
Chapter Seven addresses Christians who have embraced Critical Social Justice and asks, “Is this worldview compatible for Christianity?” Chapter Eight broadens out to address poverty and abortion – these are topics Critical Social Theory has a difficult time explaining. Chapter Nine addresses how Critical Social Theory is being integrated into the church. Finally, chapter Nine addresses the necessity of forgiveness instead of revenge.
Baucham argues that the Critical Social Justice worldview is a competing religion with Christianity. These two worldviews are incompatible.
Major Fault Lines
So, what are the “fault lines” or major differences when it comes to a Christian worldview and Critical Social Theory worldview?
One of the dividing lines between these two worldviews is identity. For Christians, our identity is both individually and corporately found in Christ. In Critical Social Justice, the idea of individual identity vanishes. Individual identity is not a factor because it does not play a role in how to address social issues. For Critical Social Justice, group identity is the only option. Group identity versus individual identity is a major fault line.
Another fault line is that Critical Social Justice is focused on enhancing the narrative that black people are oppressed. When there is a black man or woman who is very successful, Critical Social Justice advocates ignore that individual. True social justice is not captured in Critical Social Justice Theory but in Christianity. Christianity takes all individuals into account.
Finally, this philosophy is segregational. Critical Social Theory is focused on what distinguishes people rather than what unites us.
For the Critical Social theorists, the only identifiable sin is racism. Christianity does not deny racism. For the Christian worldview, there is the sin of racism alongside all the other sins. Racism is not a “catch-all” category.
Why In the Church?
Christians are more prone to this way of thinking because we have sensitive consciences toward our own sin and wrongs done to others. We have a sense of biblical justice. Those who are sinful will be punished, and we’re looking for someone to atone for those sins. Christianity offers this in the person of Christ.
Social Critical Theory offers this in a very works-based format. Once the wrong is acknowledged, there are things to be done to limit this sin until it needs to be confessed again. In this worldview, justice is never satisfied. It demands perpetual penance.
Forgiveness is the only option.
Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas and is a writer and content manager for So We Speak.