The first post in this series can be read here. It really isn’t possible to thoroughly cover the ground tilled in this book. These post are very rough overviews. I highly recommend reading the book for yourselves to fill in the mile wide gaps in my posts.
In chapters 4 through 6 of Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelical’s Looming Catastrophe, Voddie Baucham makes the compelling case that what is currently gripping the west is no less than a religious fervor. He calls it the “new religion”, and explains why it is such. I am more inclined to see it as a new flavor of an old religious recipe. Whichever way you view it, one thing is undeniably true: This religion is being embraced by the Christian church in the western hemisphere, gaining ground because well-meaning people are not properly informed about the underlying dogma, and is no less than a false gospel hiding behind the mask of brotherly love.
Chapter 4: A New Religion
In chapter 4, Baucham does what I hinted at above. He asserts that anti-racism as currently presented is a new religion, and deftly describes its parallels to traditional religion. It’s actually pretty brilliant, which is not surprising coming from him. He explains:
In the same manner, this new body of divinity comes complete with its own cosmology (CRT); original sin (racism); law (antiracism); gospel (racial reconciliation); martyrs (Saints Trayvon, Mike, George, Breonna, etc); priests (oppressed minorities); means of atonement (reparations); new birth (wokeness); liturgy (lament); canon (CSJ social science); theologians (DiAngelo, Kendi, Brown, Crenshaw, MacIntosh, etc.); and catechism (“say their names”). We’ll examine some of these topics in this chapter and a few later on.
In case you’re wondering about its soteriology, there isn’t one. Antiracism offers no salvation- only perpetual penance in an effort to battle an incurable disease. (p. 67)
The rest of the chapter explores some of these religious components, further elaborating on how we can see the religious parallels more clearly. The importance of discernment here cannot be overstated. When we allow ourselves to be sucked into this realm on the basis of a desire to be a ‘good person’, we are unwittingly embracing a false, competing gospel.
Chapter 5: A New Priesthood
Several years ago, before this current fervor of antiracism captured the imagination of our entire country, Voddie Baucham, ahead of the curve, coined the phrase ethnic gnosticism. The basic idea of ethnic gnosticism is that there is a singular black perspective which all black people share, unless we are somehow psychically damaged.
As an example, he recalls how Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron was received in the wake of announcing his findings in the Breonna Taylor case. The press accused him of turning his back on black America. Baucham also references a particularly stinging critique from a black commentator that I recall as well. She makes it clear that AG Cameron “does not speak for black folk”, she rounded it out by calling him “skin-folk, but not kinfolk”. In other words, he is broken.
Baucham makes the case that this emphasis on black voices, along with other oppressed voices including the LGBTQ+ “community”, make up a new priesthood. White heterosexual people, as part of the dominant hegemony are, according to this new religion, innate epistemological inferiors. They cannot see the truth, nor can they perceive truth without a guide of pure heart; an undamaged priest.
Veggie Tales author Phil Vischer offers us a perfect example of this idea of a new priesthood:
In other words, despite being a black American descendant of slaves, I am unqualified to be a priestess in this new religion. I, like Bro. Baucham, am psychically broken.
Chapter 6: A New Canon
I’ll keep this section short. The gist of it, which Baucham explores eloquently and in depth, is that the church is falling for the lie that Phil Vischer perpetrated above. Namely, that the key to reconciliation between different ethnic groups cannot be found in Scripture. As a result, this new religion with its own cosmology and priesthood, also has its own canon. It’s a canon that has been brought alongside the Bible in many churches over the past year.
Baucham explains the danger in this, as well as noting that the magazine/website Christianity Today has decided to help believers by publishing the must-read books, must-watch videos, and must-listen podcasts to cure them of their icky whiteness and inherent racism.
In their feature article, The Anti-Racist Curriculum White Evangelicals Need, we find what Baucham describes as ‘the new canon”. I have heard of several of these, but others I have not. It’s quite a list!
One of the things I have always appreciated about Voddie Baucham is his strong belief in reading a broad spectrum of literature. As a staunch homeschool proponent over the past two decades, he has always promoted the idea that reading opposing viewpoints is important for us, and for our children. He makes the same case again here.
The problem with this particular approach is that is begins with the inherent notion that it is not possible for people outside of the priesthood to be good citizens, or walk through life without being a racist (different from being an antiracist), without this curriculum. To propose such a thing to Christians is to propose that the salvation and new heart offered in Christ cannot be cultivated though His word alone with the aid of the Holy Spirit. This borders on heretical, and Bro. Baucham is right to point that out.
Next time, we’ll discuss chapters 7-9.