by Steve Golden —
The current cultural moment is precarious. The United States is on the verge of a race war, if not a complete cultural meltdown. And the rest of the Western world seems to be following suit. Tensions are rising in every place the African slave trade has left its indelible mark.Voddie Baucham Jr., Fault Lines, p. 5
Critical Race Theory, better known simply as CRT, has been the hot button issue of the last two years (alongside all things COVID, of course). And while reams of pages have been written on CRT and its faults, few authors have been able to explain the terminology and the implications for the Church as clearly as Voddie Baucham Jr. in Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe (2021).
To help readers get their bearings, Fault Lines begins with some helpful definitions and history of CRT before outlining just what’s at stake. Baucham utilizes earthquake imagery throughout the book to create an ultimately helpful image: the push for social justice over and against biblical justice has created a fault line in the evangelical church that, “when it finally shifts with all its force, threatens to split evangelicalism right down the middle” (p. 5). Social justice and CRT is no small problem, and it’s not reserved for academics—it’s affecting us all, down to the person sitting in the pew next to you.
Baucham writes in easy-to-read language, using his own experiences as a black man growing up in the United States to highlight how damaging CRT has been to our nation and to the Church. By doing this, he also sheds light on the inconsistency of CRT, which values the lived experience of minorities above all else. Despite growing up “poor, without a father, and surrounded by drugs, gangs, violence, and disfunction,” Baucham attributes his success in life not to anti-racism, social justice programs, but to God’s saving grace and his mother’s sacrifice, discipline, and protection (p. 19–20). Because Baucham’s lived experience does not lead him to the same conclusions as social justice warriors, he’s branded a “sellout” who is “trying to curry favor with white people” (p. 7).
A New Religion
Baucham skillfully argues that CRT is, in fact, a new religion, with its own original sin story (racism), priesthood, and canon. Adherents to CRT require that white people or those who are “functionally” white (e.g., Asians and others who participate in white privilege) work out their salvation by admitting their white guilt and their participation in systemic racism. (I detailed much of this doctrine in my own three-part series on CRT, which you can read here, here, and here.) Throughout these chapters, Baucham details some of the mythologies that have developed out of real cases (e.g., the Breonna Taylor case), promulgated by the media as supportive of the systemic racism narrative, but which actually never happened. I found Baucham’s explanations immensely helpful, as they leave out the legal jargon and provide straightforward facts.
Baucham doesn’t focus exclusively on secularists in Fault Lines, however—not by a long shot. Some readers cringe when a book “names names,” but Baucham does so with graciousness and affirmations of his love for Christian brothers who have strayed into serious error. Readers of this blog are likely to recognize many of the pastors Baucham calls out, but I won’t spoil the surprise in this review. Suffice it to say, some of them were well-meaning while others were high on wokeness—but the unorthodoxy amounts to the same thing: a damaging view of guilt, Christ’s atonement, and what sins Christians are actually responsible for admitting to.
A driving theme in Fault Lines is the importance of culture and the recognition that Christians are at war. The culture of the world—with CRT as only the latest and greatest in a string of agenda-driven secular ideologies—is pressing hard on believers, and in many cases it is winning, even among some prominent Bible teachers.
Baucham is a homeschooling parent known for his emphasis on the family. He brings up what some might consider a controversial view of the public school system as he chides the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for its overrepresentation within public schools, writing that “government schools” are “places to which no Christian should send their child unless there was absolutely no alternative” (p. 31). There will always be a Christian family who reads a statement like this and is offended because they send their children to be “lights” in the public school system.
These next few paragraphs are an aside, with some of my own thoughts offered free of charge, but I think Baucham is absolutely right. At the end of the day, the culture our children are the most deeply exposed to is the one that is going to win, and when it comes to CRT, transgender ideology, and all manner of grotesque and immoral ideas, the public school system is not a place for friendly discussion of opposing viewpoints. It’s the temple where the priesthood gathers for worship and indoctrinates new converts, and your children are the blood sacrifices.
Don’t believe me? There’s no shortage of examples. In a recent edition of Imprimis, Christopher Rufo shared harrowing stories of what children in government schools are being subjected to:
In Cupertino, California, an elementary school forced first-graders to deconstruct their racial and sexual identities, and rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.” In Springfield, Missouri, a middle school forced teachers to locate themselves on an “oppression matrix,” based on the idea that straight, white, English-speaking, Christian males are members of the oppressor class and must atone for their privilege and “covert white supremacy.” In Philadelphia, an elementary school forced fifth-graders to celebrate “Black communism” and simulate a Black Power rally to free 1960s radical Angela Davis from prison, where she had once been held on charges of murder. And in Seattle, the school district told white teachers that they are guilty of “spirit murder” against black children and must “bankrupt [their] privilege in acknowledgement of [their] thieved inheritance.”https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/critical-race-theory-fight/
And that’s to say nothing of the teacher-led quests to assist school children in embracing transgenderism, androgyny, and the eventual mutilation of their bodies, all while keeping their gender change and name change secret from their parents, as Abigail Shrier has documented in her excellent book Irreversible Damage (2020).
Now, some might be tempted to say, That might be happening in some schools, but my kids are in a good school/district and the principal/teachers don’t push these agendas. Think again. There are numerous accounts of teachers and even entire schools trying to conceal these ideologies from parents, leaving little doubt that staff would lie without a second thought to a parent wondering if CRT or other subversive ideas are being taught in their child’s school. See examples here, here, and here for a small sampling.
Bottom line: Our best chance at raising godly children is ensuring they are part of a family and church culture that is strong enough to overpower whatever the world throws at them. It’s highly unlikely we will accomplish that if their primary cultural exposure occurs eight hours a day, five days a week, in a public school.
Protect the Flock
Baucham closes his book with a call to church leadership to protect the flock from fierce wolves—already within the flock!—and an exhortation to us all to love others with a Christlike love and to find freedom in Christ as we seek to land on right side of the CRT fault line.
Ironically, antiracism is also powerless against racism. It is Christ, and Christ alone, “who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). This doesn’t mean that black and white Christians won’t offend or sin against each other. It also doesn’t mean that the sin of racism will not raise its ugly head in the broader culture, or even in the Church. What it does mean is that we have an answer.Fault Lines, p. 225
May the Lord find us faithful when we face Him on that Day.