"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

Some Thoughts on Critical Race Theory

Dear Springs of Grace Church Family,
I wanted to write a few brief words to you about Critical Race Theory that come from my own personal thoughts and prayers. Up until recently – my knowledge of Critical Race Theory was limited to four or five attempts at reading an article or listening to someone speak about it. I mainly was aware that it was a theory that a lot of people disagreed on – even how to define what it is. The definition of critical race theory seems to depend on who is writing and what area or field of study they are coming from. I had not heard any of the pastors that I normally read or listened to (African American pastors or otherwise) speak of it.
More recently I have encountered people speaking about its dangers. And based on the definitions and explanations that those writers/speakers have given – there certainly are causes for concern.
There are some trigger words and ideas that these writers/speakers attach to critical race theory. Some of them are biblical words that have been co-opted and redefined. Other ideas are completely opposed to biblical thinking including a different worldview.
Whenever I use terminology at Springs of Grace or through One Hope ministry of how the gospel speaks to oppression or justice – I am meaning those terms as they are defined and used biblically. I learned that emphasis from the Lord Jesus and from the Old Testament prophets and not from critical race theory. The same would be true for any other terminology.
I believe the Bible is clear that the Spirit often uses trials and suffering and other experiences to help us better understand biblical truths. The Psalmist said, “It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” And the Apostle Paul says in Romans 5, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” So, experience is helpful and often used by God to grow us and teach us more about the Lord.
But we do NOT think that experience ever trumps the Bible or redefines the Bible or gives us some secret insight that no one else has.
The critics of Critical Race Theory acknowledge that there are good and true elements within CRT. Those good and true elements most likely align with biblical truth. And as always, at Springs of Grace, we want to seek to align ourselves with the Bible.
Let me clear, that we have no intention of changing worldviews. We have taught what we have seen in the Bible for the 19 years we have been at Springs of Grace and for years before that – that the basic biblical worldview can be defined as Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. We will continue to hold to that worldview.
The world will always be coming up with theories that are contrary to God’s plan and purposes revealed in His Word. Often, they will use some biblical truth in those plans. It is important that we continue to hold to God’s faithful Word. However, we don’t want to abandon biblical truth – because an organization uses it wrong.
The LGBTQ community has adopted the “rainbow” as their symbol. We don’t agree with that movement, but we aren’t going to abandon the use of the rainbow – which the bible says is given to us as a reminder of God’s promise not to pour out His wrath on us, but rather to take the arrow (wrath) Himself on our behalf. The same is true for terms like “justice” or “oppression” or the teachings of Scripture about the least of these or the marginalized.
We live in a day where there is a lot of harshness and unkindness in dialogue among Christians. And too many Christians are too quick to dismiss the lives and testimony of faithful Christians, because they are saying something in a way that is different or might not even be the best way to say something. We should help one another grow and I’m thankful for those who have helped me to grow in my understanding on this issue and many others, but we also need to trust the Lord’s faithful work in one another’s lives – especially when Christian brothers and sisters have lived lives that express love for Jesus, love for His word, and love for people.
All of us should excel at love, as we seek to obey our Lord.
I’m so thankful to be a part of Springs of Grace and this church family. We are about Jesus and are seeking to emphasize the glory of God – as seen especially in the cross of Jesus. We care about a lot of things – one of those is our marginalized brothers and sisters. It’s not the only thing and it isn’t even the main thing, but I don’t want to abandon biblical words or biblical sentiment out of fear of something a theory may be misusing.
Hope that helps.

Pastor Joe

P.S. – I believe that the Sunday message from 8/16/20 is very applicable to these thoughts as well. You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PioxYpvtCcs
The sermon begins at the 22’ minute mark.
P.S.S. – I also posted a similar article months ago on Black Lives Matter that you might be interested in. You can read it here: https://springsofgrace.church/2020/06/some-thoughts-on-black-lives-matter/