Critical Race Theory: What Christians Need to Know

Let’s talk about the issue tearing the American church and country apart.

Christians should be afraid of critical race theory. That’s the message that a number of conservative Christian leaders have shared in recent months. Last fall, the presidents of the five Southern Baptist seminaries issued a statement saying that “affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and any version of Critical Theory” is incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message, the denomination’s core beliefs. This anxiety made CRT a main focus at the denomination’s recent gathering.

In recent years, some evangelicals have identified critical race theory as an ascendent ideology in the church that is fundamentally at odds with Christian faith. This anxiety has been mirrored by many conservatives at large and the debate over this ideology has moved from the previous president’s public disgust of the ideology to state legislature measures that would ban it in schools. All of this comes months after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have once again spurred both conversations about how the church ought to respond to racial injustice but also how the church should discuss this reality. One recurring concern for some Christians: that their fellow believers have adopted the worldview and talking points of critical race theory and Marxism.

Over time, these charges have been lobbed by Christians at Christians, the latter of whom often feel like this language mischaracterizes the movement, miscasts their efforts, or unfairly shuts down conversations without a hard look at the issues actually at stake.

D.A. Horton directs the intercultural studies program at Cal Baptist and serves as associate teaching pastor at The Grove Community Church in Riverside, California. His 2019 book, …

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