Racism is real. Racism is a sin. Racism is rooted in pride. Pride is universal and deceptive. Racism is a temptation for people of all races so we all need to have our pride pointed out and repent-regardless of our “race”. However, I don’t think that one can understand the inroads that the current fixation on race has made into certain sectors of the American church without also looking at the inroads that cultural marxism and French critical theory have also made into the church, both through seminaries and other organizations. I am amazed as I see leader after leader parrot to what is effectively some form of cultural marxism/critical race theory under the auspices of of the gospel. What I have observed is that such new awareness begins not with a conviction that came from Scripture, but with an emotional appeal from a person from another racially defined tribe that triggers a sense of guilt. This particular article, while bringing up several good points, appears to also have tones of postmodern critical race theory, that is tied into a uniquely western political power structure.
Some of the items raised by Isaac appear to be circular. IE to white people: ” Further, since your Christian identity matters most, you should lay down the status your racial identity gives you for the sake of the gospel. That’s what Paul did.” Yet Isaac is making this demand from the position of his own racial identity, which he has just told his audience they should lay down.
Notice again: ” Though the Jew-Gentile divide can’t exactly be mapped to the Black-White divide, there were still racial dynamics and divisions amid Jews and Gentiles. Paul didn’t deny or ignore those dynamics; he leaned into them. And so he became like the Gentiles.” The implication appears to be that White people should be like blacks. What exactly does that mean ? And which Black people should white people become like ? I am not seeing any meaningful theological discourse here. What exactly are the biblical principles ( outside of the presupposed biblical mandate for American style social justice) that are required by this ? These generalities are not helpful to meaningful discourse. Is Isaac perhaps referring to a black vs white way of reading the bible which some hold to ? Do we need to jettison the teachings of the reformers because they were, for the most part, white privileged males who were multiculturally incompetent by contemporary American progressive standards ?
Isaac adds “And yet, I rarely hear white brothers and sisters talking about what it would look like if they submitted their whiteness to Christ.” Here again everything is assumed. What exactly is this Whiteness that is required to be submitted to Christ ? (Its interesting that in support he cites to Lecrae’s lyrics from a song that Lecrae wrote before he got “Woke” and has apparently changed his views.) Isaac speaks of ” Whiteness” as if it conveys some monolithic universally understood set of attributes that can truthfully be ascribed to all white people.
“My white brothers, have you taken time to consider whether or not you’ve let, even unwittingly, your cultural preferences become theological imperatives?” This point is well taken and should be applied to all of our traditions beyond cultural preferences. Yet this sword cuts both ways. Having been the only (or one of the few) white people in several different ethnic non-white churches over the past two decades, I can say from my own experience ( and I assume that personal experience is the authority to which Isaac appeals), there was a staunch adherence to the cultural preferences of each church over and against both white cultural preferences and the cultural preferences of other ethnicities. Framing adherence to cultural preferences of whites over and against black, with no reference to the universality of this practice among other racial or ethnic groups belies the underlying current of atheistic critical race theory in Isaac’s thinking, and also elevates his personal preferences as the standard by which these issues should be framed.
Having also briefly attended a 95% white “reformed” church plant that rapidly developed into an SJW church where the white staff regularly spoke out against racism, and intentionally sought to bring in seekers of color ( often parroting the language of atheistic progressive multiculturalist professors in liberal arts courses in American universities) and the associate pastor even preaching shame for being white, the racial mix of that church has not changed dramatically during the last couple of years. In other words, from a purely pragmatic perspective, its not working to achieve their ends. Certain people of color, including my wife, did not feel comfortable there, primarily because it seemed artificial, contrived and an attempt at some grand social experiment where one could feel justified before the cultural if not God on some nebulous racial quota of participants. The term racial reconciliation was frequently preached on and prayed for, but never broken down so we would know what it looked like. My wife felt like a number in their program, and she felt marginalized by their assumptions that as a female immigrant of color, she should agree that the experience of some described the experiences of all POC, and that she should hold to the same political positions.s
In line with critical race theory where racism is defined by presupposed access to power by only one tribe, and thus only flows one way, I see alot of finger pointing from groups of people who have not explained exactly what they are seeking. Until it is broken down into specifics of what aspects of “Whiteness” must biblically be relinquished, what aspects of “Blackness” must be assumed, and how that will effect other races who don’t share black American values and preferences (including African immigrants who are also black, Asians and Hispanics), it is difficult to see much in these kinds of writing that is practically beneficial. In fact I have never seen any articles such as these break down the specifics nor take into account the specifics of say the Asian culture in their generalization about how white churches must change. I saw nothing new in Isaac’s article, and little that meaningfully addresses the postmodern flaws and critical race theory assumptions in the current conversation.