In this article, Neil Shenvi and Pat Sawyer argue, “Whites are not corporately guilty for their ancestors’ racial sins (much less the sins of historical strangers) and do not need to corporately repent for them.”
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In this post, Jared Moore claims Matthew Lee Anderson and Revoice “are gravely mistaken in their understanding of Jesus, sin and temptation.”
Todd Benkert’s recent piece on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT|I) at SBCVoices.com is helpfully clarifying in at least three ways. First, Benkert straightforwardly admits that both he and others within the Southern Baptist Convention are using Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. Benkert indicates they are not merely using the language of CRT|I, but its concepts, and intentionally so. Second, Benkert admits that these individuals are using CRT|I despite the fact that CRT|I is “dangerous.” Third, Benkert mounts a defense of CRT|I and the infamous Resolution 9, which he believes speaks of CRT|I in positive fashion. He would not change anything about Resolution 9, and does not believe it should be rescinded. Indeed, he believes doing so will actually set the SBC back in terms of “reconciliation work.”
Although Benkert attempts to take a middle way in his post, positing CRT|I as both an analytical tool and a dangerous ideology, his examples of using CRT|I as an analytical tool, some of which are discussed in this post, exemplify why CRT|I is such a dangerous ideology. This observation is not meant to impugn Benkert’s motives. Nevertheless, some (not saying this is true of Benkert) seem unaware of how far down the ideological rabbit hole they have gone. This series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) has highlighted some of the difficulties with doubling down on CRT|I in response to recent posts and podcasts pointing out its problems. This fourth and final post addresses Benkert’s defense of CRT|I by examining two examples he provides from CRT|I.
In this article, Stephen J. Wellum writes, “It would be an understatement to say that penal substitution has come under attack today. From voices outside of evangelical theology to those within, the historic Reformation view of the cross is claimed to be a ‘modern’ invention from the cultural West, to be too ‘legal’ in orientation, to sanction violence, to privilege divine retributive justice over God’s love, to be a form of divine child abuse, to reduce Scripture’s polychrome presentation of the cross to a lifeless monochrome, and so on. None of these charges are new, and have been argued since the end of the sixteenth century with the rise of the Socinians and liberal theology.”
In this article, non-SBC author Lisa Spencer asks, “Does Jesus really need to look ‘just like us’ in order to be acceptable to us? Do we really need to circumvent the reality of sin so that it doesn’t offend our sense of ethnic affirmation? We don’t have to dismiss ethnicity, nor should we, but we certainly can’t let it govern our theology.”
Critical theory locates the sin of oppression in systems rather than in individual acts. Consequently, it argues that guilt accrues to all who belong to an oppressive class, regardless of their personal intentions or actions, due to the benefits they receive from the oppression of minorities. To take a prominent example, white men in America are to be regarded as stained from birth with the sins of racism and misogyny by virtue of their (involuntary) participation in the two privileged categories of “white” and “men.” In order to be imputed with the guilt of these two sins, a white male need not actually perform any racist or misogynistic actions. All he must do is exist in a society that grants him privileges for his ethnicity and gender. Therefore, he relates to members of other groups (minorities and women) with a vacuum of moral authority that requires him to humble himself, repent, and seek atonement and absolution from them. This is the basic framework by which sin, guilt, and justification are understood through the lens of critical theory.