Natasha Crain is a conservative Evangelical writer and blogger. She posted recently about her concern that Evangelicals are jumping on the bandwagon of Black Lives Matter, and need to think more critically.
I usually wouldn’t comment on another person’s blog, but in this case, her arguments have been making their rounds on social media, and I think it is essential they are addressed.
Natasha makes two major errors in her argument which lead her into dangerous waters. This ends up distracting her reader from addressing the sin of racism, and focuses instead on ulterior debates.
First, She believes she is operating under a “biblical worldview.”
Yet, in truth, this post doesn’t reference scripture once. She is taking her perspective, which appears to be a contemporary conservative perspective, and is labeling it “biblical.“
When someone says they are expressing a biblical view but do not proceed with using at least one scriptural reference, their perspective cannot be called “biblical.”
(I have written about the word “biblical, and you can read more of my thoughts here)
Second, She sets her argument against a secular worldview without defining it.
This leads the reader to assume that since she is labeling her conservative worldview “biblical” that a progressive worldview is “secular.”
Conservative thinking has long operated as if it holds a monopoly on God, Jesus, and the Bible.
However, this is simply not the case. Tons of Christians have devoted their lives to following Christ’s teachings laid out in the Bible, and hold progressive views on politics and scripture.
Progressive views do not make someone’s conclusions less biblical; it makes them different.
But now lets get into her primary arguments . . .
Natasha is nervous about BLM because they are pro-choice and support LGBTQ rights, assuming that anyone who agrees with theses ideals is not following scripture.
As I have expressed above, this is simply not reality.
However, there are also tons of people who don’t support LGBTQ rights or the right to choose but do value black lives. This is also reality.
Hashtags connect posts/tweets to other conversations. And while many people who use #BLM it stand with BLM on all issues, there are plenty of people who don’t. A hashtag shows support in a context.
Right now, we are in a time of learning. Christians are re-examining dangerous beliefs and moving closer to what it means to love like Christ in a society facing racism.
If people are changing their stance on other issues, they are likely doing it because of their research, questions, and hunt for answers, not merely because of a hashtag they use. (Proverbs 2:2)
Her worry on this point seems to stem from being asked to listen to Black people express pro-choice beliefs while sharing experiences with racism.
First, let me say, I agree with Natasha that soon we will need to have a essential conversation about what it means to be pro-life in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for the lives of Black Americans.
But right now is not the time to begin those conversations.
AND Listening does NOT equal agreement. It doesn’t even equate to action!
This moment is simply not the time to begin a debate about abortion, especially not when our brothers and sisters are expressing their pain.
Empathy is not about bringing a debate into a conversation when someone is sharing their heart.
Right now, Black America is sharing their heart; the only action that is needed is listening.
For Natasha, it seems this means disregarding sin, calling it love, and not holding people accountable for their actions.
Indeed, love, when looked at through the Bible (and many other spiritual and philosophical writings) does not equate to overlooking another’s mistakes and wrongdoings.
Love means addressing sin.
And as Natasha points out, this is what justice means, which is why protests are acts of love. They are saying to a nation, I love you, we can do better.
However, here again, is where Natasha’s assumption of a monolithic biblical understanding rears its ugly head. She is assuming she is correct about what God wants for others, and that her worldview is the absolute Christian perspective. Without actual scripture to support her opinion.
But when we look at scripture we can see a biblical love being played out in the current social movement.
The story of the prodigal son teaches us that sometimes we abandon our Father’s teachings and go on our path. The Father in this story doesn’t scold his son; he doesn’t yell or scream. Instead, he gives him money and sends him on his way.
As Christians, we may disagree about what it means to walk away from the Father. But our response to one another’s sins shouldn’t be condemnation or to abandon one another. Especially when someone’s life is at stake due to oppression.
Like the Father in Luke 15, it love means holding our arms open, ready to embrace each other again.
For me, this means I can stand with fellow White Christ-followers against racism even when I disagree with their other theologies, because together, we are acknowledging how far we have wandered from the Father.
It also means that when I disagree with how someone is living, I can still stand against their oppression.
BLM is advocating for the recognition and repentance of white America’s sin of racism, which has permeated our society since it’s inception. From a prodigal son perspective, they are asking us to go back to the Father.
To me, this seems like a robust biblical perspective on love. A love that demands repentance and hopes towards embrace.
Another example of pushing against worldly love in times of social unrest is seen in Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
In a sermon about “cheap grace” He addressed the sin of antisemitism taking hold in German society. Christians were overlooking the sins of their racist neighbors, claiming love meant ignoring their sin. Bonhoeffer called this “cheap grace.”
Today I fear we are repeating this trend, choosing to show cheap grace to our friends, family members, and political leaders who spout racism, instead of calling out their sins.
We are clinging to a secular worldly standard of love, that embraces racism for temporary profit.
This one, for me, is the oddest point in the whole blog. I read through the links she included, and while they all say there is a problem with critical theory, they do not offer a concrete explanation for why. While they do claim it is unbiblical they do not follow that points with scripture.
Critical theory is about understanding why and how injustice happens in a society. It is important to study because we cannot combat injustice without understanding how it manifests in our current context.
In a democratic political system, it looks like hard conversations about inequality, research into our history, and protests against unjust laws and policies.
In the US, throughout the past century, it was used to address inequality, resulting in women’s right to vote, the end of Jim Crow, and desegregation.
Some people are concerned with critical theory’s Marxist roots, but it also has a history rooted in theology. If you ever enjoyed a Martin Luther King speech, or something he wrote, then you enjoyed a very theological critical theory.
For more info, see this video I made on the topic.
She not wrong. Racism is a dark sin that has been terrorizing America and American citizens for far too long. However, I don’t know exactly what she means by “secular worldview.” Especially since it’s never defined.
A definition is needed because Christians supported slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation throughout American history. This was done while claiming they held the “biblical view” in the debate. (see Thornton Stringfellow’s, The Bible Argument: Or, Slavery in the Light of Divine Revelation, 1860, and Cotton Is King, and Pro-Slavery Arguments, edited by E. N. Elliott, 1860)
Saying racism is secular is like saying Christmas lights are secular. Non-Christians may hang them but, plenty of Christians are also joining the neighborhood decorating contests and walking around enjoying the lights.
White American Christians are just as responsible for racism in our society as any other white person.
Perhaps even more, because we are commanded to love our neighbor, and we continually have failed. Instead, we cling to the riches and profits of white supremacy over our black brothers and sisters’ lives.
We hypocritically have set our selves up as the moral standard and failed to address our own sins.
Today, Christians are supporting racist policies, and condemning victims of oppression, instead of the people who commit violence against them.
That is what embracing a secular worldview looks like. And we will have to answer for it when we reach Glory.
Natasha Crain makes some excellent points.
I agree with her that Christians are called to justice, and I agree that this call means we will have to get uncomfortable. We will have to abandon what makes us feel good in order to move closer to God’s will.
Examining whiteness in a racist society is not comfortable.
I worry, however, that since Natasha does not reference scripture, she is not really addressing biblical principles, but instead pushing for her own social ideals.
She seem intent on switching the conversation from racism to LGBTQ rights and abortion. A strategy which is a red herring—averting the discussion to arenas where she feels more comfortable.
There will be a time to discuss the LGBTQ experience and a woman’s right to choose.
All these issues (racism, gender, and women’s rights) are intertwined, and we cannot dismantle one without address the others. However, right now, we are talking about the lives of Black Americans, which are being threatened by police violence.
Let’s stay on topic, shall we?