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Social Justice

Clarifying the Gospel, Part 1: The Looming Judgment

It is common knowledge that the word “gospel” means “good news,” but the nature of that news and what, exactly, makes it good are not always a matter of agreement. Is the good news the hope that we might go to Heaven when we die? Is it that we will be raised from the dead with Christ? Is it that God is creating a new world? Is it that, through Jesus Christ, God has triumphed over the devil? Is it that God has formed a new society of reconciled humanity through the cross work of his Son? Is it the forgiveness of sins? Is it liberty to the oppressed? Is it victory over evil?

In fact, the gospel is about all of the above and more. God’s redemptive work is both individual and global, microcosmic and macrocosmic, eternally salvific and socially transformational. However, the recognition of Scripture’s rich diversity of perspectives on God’s salvation through Christ does not eliminate the need for careful understanding of the order and logic of the gospel. It is entirely possible to proclaim gospel truths in a manner that distorts the biblical shape of the good news and, consequently, tends to lead people astray from the true gospel of Christ. And so, if we are going to proclaim the gospel rightly, we must ask the question: what is the primary orientation of the good news of Christ’s redeeming work?

Categories
Christology Critical Race Theory Critical Theory Racism Scripture

The Christological Heresy of Critical Theory

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.