Critical race theory is not the Gospel, but it can certainly help Christians understand our current moment. It has been useful to many evangelical Christians involved in ministries of racial justice and reconciliation.
Critical race theory:
- is not socialism
- is dividing the Southern Baptist Convention
- was condemned by all six Southern Baptist seminary presidents, leading many Black Southern Baptists to leave the denomination
- Is a sin that deserves excommunication, according to one Southern Baptist seminary professor.
- scares a lot of people
- is opposed by Donald Trump (although I am pretty sure he has no idea what it is).
Keller’s post shook the hornet’s nest of critical race theory opponents. In the process it revealed a deep-seated anti-intellectualism in American evangelicalism.
Read the responses to Keller’s tweet below. Notice how many people simply dismiss this theory by claiming that they don’t need to read it or understand it. Notice the simplistic appeals to the Bible or common sense. Notice the fear. Notice the black and white thinking. Notice the intellectual laziness and the general disinterest in knowing more about what people of color have faced, and are facing, in American culture right now. Notice the attacks on Keller’s character and ministry.
Keller models Christian thinking here. His Twitter critics are not interested in Christian thinking. Their tweets ooze what Mark Noll once described as the “scandal of the evangelical mind.”
Keller is seeking unity and reconciliation with those–many of them fellow evangelical Christians–who find critical race theory helpful in their work and ministries. He is calling Christians to walk alongside men and women fighting racial injustice. Keller’s tweet is an example of empathy and intellectual hospitality–essential components of any thoughtful Christian engagement with the culture.
Here is Eric Metaxas:
None of this is surprising for Metaxas. It reminds me of these tweets from earlier this month: