I’ve been thinking a lot on the theological implications of Critical Race Theory.

Philosophically, there are gnostic components to CRT in that it entails a belief there is a physical “limitation” (a lack of melanin) that leaves one unaware of their inherent racism. They don’t (even can’t?) know something because of a material aspect of their humanity. That’s bad. Truly. However, what I think is worse is the aberrant theology of it.

CRT has several theological errors, but one of the most, if not the most grievous error, is antinomianism.

It arises from the view that a certain group of people will never be liberated from a particular manifestation of a certain sin.

Racism is a manifestation of the particular sin of hatred of malice. A hatred of malice violates many other principles (sin travels in packs after all) but specifically it violates a failure to recognize the dignity and worth of a fellow image bearer so much so you wish harm upon them.

Racism is a particular manifestation of this sin because it is rooted in a belief that due to one’s genetic makeup they are elevated above others. One sees themselves as having more value merely because of their biology. This leads to all manner of violence and oppression of the groups they see as less than. (I don’t think I need to cite sources to prove my point. )

Advocates of CRT typically contend white people are racist because they benefit from a system that is rooted in racism. Even if they are unaware of it (that’s the gnostic component) they are guilty nonetheless. Moreover, this is something we will never be rid of. It will always be in you. Our task is to recognize it while also realizing we will never be rid of it.

And this is where antinomianism comes in to play.

If someone is a Christian, and white, we are left with a particular manifestation of the sin of malicious hatred being irredeemable. It would mean Christ’s atonement is not sufficient and the Holy Spirit is powerless to sanctify us out of it. Because the contention is it will never go away, the conclusion is we just have to live with it.

I can’t think of any manifestation of particular sins that Scripture suggests we accept as part of our essence. I realize we will have sin in our lives. For example, malicious hatred will crop up in certain areas. But when we recognize a particular manifestation of it (when we are convicted of it) we should seek to mortify it. Yet CRT would have us believe there is no hope to mortify a particular instance of a certain sin.

This is tantamount to saying, you just have to live with a sin and there is nothing that can be done about it. It entails being content with something in your life that is unholy.

I my estimation, that is textbook antinomianism.

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    3 replies to "Critical Race Theory and Antinomianism?"

    • Bob Snyder

      That seems like a fair summation of the culmination of CRT’s affirmation of Christ’s powerlessness against systemic and individual racism.

    • Alex Matos

      I don’t usually post on the internet, but I felt called to write some responses. It is sometimes difficult to have a genuine, in good-faith, discussion with people, so I just wanted to share some of my thoughts. I became a Christian in the most liberal college in this country, and have experience on “both sides” so to speak. I will say, if your interaction with CRT comes largely from the internet (whether reading or discussing in forums) I hope one day you can have a thoughtful and civil discussion with someone who supports part or all of CRT (Christian or otherwise), because that will be most fruitful. In any case, here are some thoughts, with deepest Christian love:

      ————————————
      “Philosophically, there are gnostic components to CRT in that it entails a belief there is a physical “limitation” (a lack of melanin) that leaves one unaware of their inherent racism.”

      What I think people would say to this is that it isn’t exactly the physical limitation ITSELF that leaves people unaware, but rather the implications socially of those with different levels of melanin (aka different races). So, it is not a matter of a biological limitation, but rather how that biology plays out in a world where race is subtly or overtly an issue or factor in a person’s (social, economic , etc.) life.

      “They don’t (even can’t?) know something because of a material aspect of their humanity.”

      It’s not that you CAN’T know something, but rather that you would not immediately realize it given the fact that you do not walk around throughout the day as someone who is black, per say. The “material aspect” creates a blind spot due to it being a critical social component, and the levels on which it plays is not immediately known. The degree to which race impacts a person’s life is multilayered and often tricky to fully understand because there are many intersecting components. If you dialogue with people, and they are willing to explain things to you, of course you will be able to sympathize and understand because you are a human being, but you can never fully know the life or mind of anyone, nor the COMPLETE struggles it causes on a psychological, emotional, developmental, and physical.

      “It arises from the view that a certain group of people will never be liberated from a particular manifestation of a certain sin. ”

      I think this may be a straw man, though I’m not completely sure. If you use the definition of racism as you’ve defined it, and posit that CRT says whites will never overcome that malice because of their DNA, then yes, that would be wrong. But I don’t think that’s what proponents of CRT are actually saying.

      “Racism is a manifestation of the particular sin of hatred of malice.”

      I think the biggest miscommunication here is that recently there has been a wholly different definition of racism used in academic and leftist circles, which may change how you interact with CRT. I’ve taken another definition from Australia’s government website and posted it here, as an example:
      ‘Casual racism is one form of racism. It refers to conduct involving negative stereotypes or prejudices about people on the basis of race, colour or ethnicity. Examples include jokes, off-handed comments, and exclusion of people from social situations on the basis of race.’
      Also, here is the CRT definition:
      http://www.dismantlingracism.org/racism-defined.html
      Now I haven’t read that whole website, but I think it defines racism a bit differently than simply a hatred of malice.

      “Advocates of CRT typically contend white people are racist because they benefit from a system that is rooted in racism.”

      It may be true that in silence one implicitly supports a system that is rooted in racism and slavery. Say there are current economic institutions or social conventions which were only able to come into existence because of slavery. There may still be vestigial structures which may not cause direct harm (say Confederate flags) but are rooted in support of that sin (slavery and racism). If someone uncritically supports them, I might say that it is irresponsible at the least and malicious at most. Ignorance is one thing, for sure, but understanding the implications of our actions within our historical context is important, as the psychological and cultural damage is unnecessary and not God glorifying, as we are tacitly supporting a system in which the imago dei is not respected.

      “Moreover, this is something we will never be rid of.”

      I think you make a bit of a leap here and conflate two issues: 1) is benefiting from a system, and 2) is never being rid of (racism/the system).

      “If someone is a Christian, and white, we are left with a particular manifestation of the sin of malicious hatred being irredeemable.”

      In a way, depending on who you are, you are either an “inheritor of the sins of your fathers” OR share (in part) on the fruits of that “labor,” namely slavery in the US. However, it does not mean Christ’s atonement is not sufficient, and that you are irredeemable. It just means that a white person, living life around other whites and without a different perspective, will be largely unaware of some attitudes or behaviors they have that may be rooted in a form of “othering.” It’s a form of prejudice rooted in ignorance is all, but some of the roots may come from slavery and racism.

      “I realize we will have sin in our lives.”

      That’s great! And I would say some of our sin may be rooted in cultural attitudes we have inherited in this country, which is OKAY. The point is that once they are identified, it would behoove us to try to root them out.

      “Yet CRT would have us believe there is no hope to mortify a particular instance of a certain sin.”

      Again, I think I kind of addressed this above. But I definitely agree that we should seek consecration and sanctification, as that is the will of God! And I would say even a small bit of prejudice or racism, even if subtle or unknowing, should be lovingly identified and corrected. If we are seeking answers about hamartiology from the world, of course they will be wrong. However, if we look at the heart of the matter, and in good-faith, I think we can actually learn a lot.
      ————————————

      Thank you for your patience. I felt that the article wasn’t necessarily helpful in either convincing proponents of CRT of the faults in that worldview without Christ, nor was it accurately portraying some of the arguments and therefore slightly misinformed the believing readers of this blog, which would not be helpful if they were to get into a conversation. If you read this whole thing, great! I likely won’t respond to replies (if this website does that) but I just felt drawn to reply when I saw an email from Credo House and felt maybe others might stumble upon this post and read it too. God bless you all, and let’s love each other!

    • Carrie Hunter

      Any wrong assumption that leads to an undue prejudice against any person is a failure to love the individual to which the undue prejudice is directed. It fails to recognize their dignity and worth as a human being. This is hateful. And it is a particular kind of hate; a hatred of malice.

      Regardless of how you define racism it comes down to violating the principle of recognizing the dignity and worth of a fellow human being. That is always sinful.

      And CRT proponents *do* say it is something you can never overcome.

      There is no straw man of what CRT entails.

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