In our previous post, we re-published Diocese of North Carolina bishops: Critical Race Theory bill sets state on the wrong path. In North Carolina, as elsewhere, a brouhaha over Critical Race Theory has been created to stir the passions of white social conservatives.
Some members of the schismatic Anglican Church in North America echo the sentiments of Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina bishops. For example, Bishop Todd Hunter of ACNA’s Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others:
Accusing [Martin Luther] King of being a Communist was ignorant, mean-spirited and false. MLK’s vision was not rooted in 19th and 20th century social theorists, but in the ancient and foundational notion of agape love and the human brotherhood which God intended such love to produce. Seeing it as completely at odds with the narrative and telos of the biblical story, MLK frequently spoke out against Communism.
Unfortunately, in recent times many attempts to talk about racial inequalities have been met with similar suspicion and dismissal. “Well, that’s just Critical Race Theory (CRT)…it is Marxist…and therefore un-Christian…it is the Church being co-opted by the radical secular left.” Christian men and women who are laboring toward racial justice through a peaceful, agape-based, Jesus-inspired movement are consistently finding themselves being vilified for their supposed allegiance to a stream of Marxist thought.
But in yet another example of how the schismatic Anglican Church in North America is taking a different path from the Episcopal Church, the archbishop of ACNA has spoken out against Critical Race Theory — and playing to the base by sending a message to those elements in ACNA who recognize the kerfuffle over CRT to be another way to undermine anti-racism.
A number of terms were part of the 2020/2021 lexicon, and many have new definitions: racist, white supremacy, white privilege, systemic racism, cultural appropriation, Critical Race Theory, cancel culture, illiberal, woke, content modification, Christian nationalism, toxic masculinity. But what is most disconcerting to me is the tone, the vitriol, and the lack of Christian character displayed among Christians on social media. Frankly, as followers of Jesus we should be appalled by the broad labeling, assumptions, and condemning of whole groups of people, along with the mean and personal attacks on individuals.
Theories can be helpful. The one getting the most attention in the media, Critical Race Theory, has some things which are helpful, but it is also full of anti-biblical and anti-Christian rhetoric and assumptions. We know that the Bible teaches us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All races have sinned. Every person in every race has sinned. The Bible also teaches that adultery is a sin (Ex.20:14), but just because this is a sin and some people commit it, it doesn’t mean everyone is an adulterer. Racism is a sin, but this doesn’t mean that all people of certain races are racists and all institutions of certain countries are racist, as Critical Race Theory proclaims.
Beach went on to praise the criticism of Critical Race Theory in June at the 56th General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church by its Presiding Bishop, Ray Sutton. REC is a jurisdiction of ACNA. (ACNA is composed of several overlapping jurisdictions and dioceses – REC which has several dioceses is one of those.)
Critical Race Theory may at some points offer useful information, they are not necessarily Biblical nor Christian in their premises, principles, and practices. They can even at times become explicitly anti-Christian displaying another kind of religious prejudice. And since they are only theories, they can offer misinformation or exclude key information. Moreover, these secular racial theories in the hands of some biased researchers unfortunately succumb to atheistic totalitarian, Marxist ideologies.
An op-ed in Anglican Ink endorsed the two men’s criticism of Critical Race Theory as necessary to prevent it from gaining a foothold in ACNA:
At the same time in ACNA, prominent clergy and at least two or three bishops have been pushing CRT and related ideologies. This is problematic in itself but has also stirred up discontent in ACNA among those opposing these ideologies. Unity in ACNA has never come easy; wokeness within ACNA has made it that much more difficult.
And so the addresses were all the more needed. Think about what the situation would be if the two bishops had not spoken out. Public statements from bishops and prominent clergy in this area would remain mixed at the very least. You would have had a silent College of Bishops (which apparently decided not to issue a communiqué after their meeting), and you would have had two major addresses putting off the subject. At a time when CRT is such a presenting issue in both church and society and when many are finding their voice in opposing it, silence would not have been a good look. And the patience of those rightly opposing wokeness in the church would have been sorely tested.