The Great Commission and Church Discipline

The Great Commission is talked about, promoted, and extolled, and rightly so.[1] The Great Commission is the mandate given by Jesus to the church (Matt 28:18-20). If someone preaches about reaching people with the gospel, everyone is rightly excited and supportive—even though some may not actually contribute more than an expected amen. When someone is baptized, there are numerous amens, hallelujahs, or applause because the Great Commission is being carried out. While people and churches may fail to live up to the challenge to take the gospel to our neighbors and the uttermost parts of the earth, at least there is a serious attempt by many and an esteeming of its importance by virtually every believer. To do less would be willful disobedience to our Lord who redeemed us.

However, there seems to be a profound misunderstanding of the Great Commission by many and a serious lack of clear communication of the nature of the Great Commission by others. This is evident when people view church discipline as unrelated or irrelevant to the Great Commission or even an impediment to evangelism. The prevalence of such is evidenced by the ubiquitously glaring omission by some regarding the importance of church discipline to carrying out the Great Commission. One may go for a lifetime to evangelism and missions conferences that passionately emphasize the Great Commission and evangelism without ever hearing the need for or even a mention of church discipline, much less its importance to following Christ’s command in making disciples. For if people deemed it relevant, church discipline would receive proportionally appropriate attention when discussing the Great Commission.

The very passage known as the Great Commission demonstrates the inextricable relationship between church discipline and the Great Commission. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20). The phrase, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” does not make His post-resurrection authority greater than His pre-resurrection authority, but rather the sphere in which He exercises authority is now all encompassing. This is both an encouragement and a call to submission. Although the assignment to follow is humanly impossible, we can be encouraged because the One commissioning has absolute power and authority to empower the commissioned. Additionally, there is also the idea of encouragement in the words “lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” The absolute power is always available because He not only sends His people, but He goes with them. This passage is a call to unwavering and unreserved surrender to Christ as God.

Having established His all-encompassing, absolute authority, He now sends His disciples into all of the world to reproduce. Three components of the assigned task are go, baptizing, and teaching. These three verbs are participles in the Greek. Matheteuo is translated make disciples. It is the main verb, and it is in the imperative, which makes it the central command in the passage. It means to make learners and followers of Christ. This command can be summed up in the following way. I command you to make learners who follow Me, who in turn continue the commission to make disciples who follow Me. The participles—go, baptizing, and teaching —are dependent on the main verb, and it appears that “at least some imperatival force tinges the participle.”[2] Go is an aorist passive participle, which can be translated having gone. To wit, since they were His disciples, they were to continue His work “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), which involves intentional going. In other words, He assumed as followers, they would go as He did (Matt 4:23; 8:35), and as He had previously commanded them (Matt 10:6). Only now, their sphere of ministry included all nations. With this in mind, it seems that the word “go” incorporates imperatival force, assumption by Jesus, and intentionality by the disciples.

The two other participles, baptizing and teaching, are in the present tense, which signifies continuous action. Baptizing and teaching are not the means of making disciples, but they do characterize it. In other words, a person becomes a disciple by faith in Christ, then as a disciple, he is to be baptized and taught. The biblical response of a disciple is to submit to baptism as a sign of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as well as obedience to His instructions.

The verb observe is translated from the Greek word tareo, which means “to attend to carefully, take care of”[3] and “to cause to continue, to keep.”[4] Thus, the clear meaning is to obey carefully. A disciple of Christ is a follower of Christ who both learns and applies what he learns. Consequently, a disciple seeks to advance the kingdom by helping people come to salvation and then teaches and trains them to live in continued obedience to the commands of Christ. Notice that disciples are to observe all. There are no exceptions. The word all emphasizes that the Great Commission is to make disciples through communicating the gospel, then baptize the new disciples, and train and teach them to follow Christ in everything He commanded. To do any less is to disobey the Great Commission; to tell others to do any less than to observe all He taught is to misrepresent and molest the Great Commission.

This is not to say that we can teach everything in the first day or year, nor is it to say that some things should not take priority over others within the discipling process. Additionally, it is obvious that no one comes to know and understand all the teachings of Christ (the New Testament) without time and dedication to do so. However, it is to say that when we neglect to teach and follow certain biblical commands, or ignore them because of their difficulty, we necessarily desert the command to “observe all” and “teaching them to” do the same. Thus, we fail to fulfill the Great Commission. A person’s failure to fulfill the Great Commission because he does not know or because of human frailty, even though his heart’s desire is to obey, is categorically different than someone who intentionally disassociates what Christ intentionally bound together.

Jesus always called people to follow Him. The call to follow was a call to obey (Matt 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 10:38, 16:24). Both philosophers and Pharisees had disciples, but Jesus’s call to be a disciple was different. The primary difference between Jesus’s disciples and the disciples of philosophers and Pharisees was that Jesus’s disciples were committed to the person of Jesus—not just His teachings. Gerhard Kittel notes, “A unique aspect of NT discipleship is that it is commitment to the person of Jesus. His teaching has force only when there is first this commitment to His person. This personal commitment explains the deep depression of the disciples after the crucifixion (Luke 24:19ff.). It is not enough that they have the legacy of His Word. They have lost Jesus himself. The crucial importance of the resurrection reinforces this.”[5]

It is worth noting that the Scripture clearly teaches that some commands are weightier than others are. For example, Jesus excoriates the Pharisees for neglecting the weightier provisions of the law while majoring on minors. However, it is important to notice that He then commanded them to keep the weightier commands “without neglecting the others” (Matt 23:23). Even if church discipline is not a weightier command, it is still quasi-Pharisaical to know the Scripture commands churches to employ discipline and consciously choose to elide the command.

Moreover, I would suggest that it is obviously not a less important command when considered in light of the direct and explicit command of Christ in Matt 18:15-20, the inclusive all in the Great Commission, and the things Christ referred to as “weightier” in Matt 23:23, which are “justice and mercy and faithfulness.” It seems reasonable to view church discipline as one of the weightier since discipline is an act of mercy, justice, and faithfulness, and is essential to the church maximally carrying out the Great Commission.

The conclusion of this passage brings us face to face with the stark reality that the local church cannot fully obey the Great Commission without teaching and practicing church discipline since it was commanded earlier (Matt 18:15-20), and is therefore, most definitely included in the phrase “to observe all.” Additionally, since the Great Commission encompasses the whole counsel of God, which includes the entirety of the New Testament, all of the commands regarding church discipline are included as well.

Jesus emphasized the indissoluble relationship between love and obedience many times. For example, He said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15; see also John 8:31; John 14:23-26). Selective obedience only demonstrates that a person’s love for Christ falls short of what He is worthy to receive and what He requires. There are many things in the Christian life which bespeak of how much we love Christ, but perhaps none so much as our willingness to follow the teachings of Christ in areas like church discipline, where the potential for personal loss, difficulty, and misunderstanding seems boundless.

This reality is most true for the pastor and his family. To follow Christ only where it is easy is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” He wrote, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”[6] (italics added)

The church must live out its faith in every area prescribed by the Scripture. She must live it out in the most difficult and unpopular areas if she expects to be taken seriously in the battle for the souls of individuals as well as the American mind. Dr. Francis Schaeffer said it succinctly; “In an age of relativity, the practice of truth when it is costly is the only way to cause the world to take seriously our protestations concerning truth. Cooperation and unity that do not lead to purity of life and purity of doctrine are just as faulty and incomplete as an orthodoxy which does not lead to a concern for and a reaching out towards those who are lost.”[7]

[1] It is important to note that the phrase The Great Commission is not actually in the biblical text, but rather it is referred to as such because of the comprehensiveness of the passage. Thus, it is the Great Commission in the sense that everything culminates in that commissioning. However it is, according to the biblical text, a command. Thus the added term “Great” does not make it more textually significant than the command to practice church discipline since it is also commanded (many times in the New Testament), and it is also an undeniable and inseparable part of this commission to the apostles and the church. The overarching mandate to the church is to glorify God, and we do that by obeying Him (Matt 5:16; Rom 15:6; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Pet 4:11).
[2] Frank E Gaebelin and J.D. Douglas, eds. “Matthew, Mark, Luke” vol. 8, The Expositors Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 595.
[3] James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order, electronic edition (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996), s.v. “tareo.”
[4] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), s.v. “tareo.”
[5] Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-), 390-461.
[6] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1995. Previously published New York: Macmillan, 1959), 44-45. Citations refer to Touchstone edition.
[7] Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy: God Who Is There (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990), 197.

Compatibilists Fail to Make Compatibilism Believable: The Frankfurt Counterexamples

In considering this article, remember that Compatibilism is the perspective of Calvinism regarding moral freedom and libertarianism is the perspective of Extensivism (non-Calvinism). Many compatibilists argue that what is known as the Frankfurt counterexamples demonstrate the falsehood of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) associated with libertarian freedom—that a person, in at least some scenarios, could have chosen differently.[1] Thus, if successful, the Frankfurt counterexamples would minimize the objections libertarians have to compatibilism by demonstrating how true free, otherwise, choice can exist within compatibilism’s determinism.[2] Continue reading →

Critical Race Theory, Social Justice, BLM and Marxism: The Connection

Here is the path to better understand the Marxist nature of these ideologies. Neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse and Antonio Gramsci laid the foundation of what is known as cultural Marxism. Mike Gonzalez has written a book, The Plot to Change America: How Identity Politics is Dividing the Land of the Free. He is also a policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. He explains that Marcuse taught critical race theorist Angela Davis at Brandeis University.[1] Significant as well, Angela Davis was the Communist Party’s candidate for Vice President in 1980 and 1984.[2]

Gonzales further explains that Angela Davis had a profound impact and was the inspiration behind the theory of Patrisse Cullors, who co-founded Black Lives Matter.[3] Gonzalez also says Alicia Garza, another Black Lives Matter co-founder, also admits on a video by Democracy Now! that she owed everything to Angela Davis.[4]

Additionally, many of us have watched the video where Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza claimed to be trained Marxists, although it has now been taken down. On another occasion, Davis explained her journey with Marcuse and The Frankfurt School; Marcuse and Davis also spoke together in her defense at Berkely. Thus, we have the link from the Neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse who trained Angela Davis, who in turn trained the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, and their well-known claim to being trained Marxists. Thus, it is easy to see that Black Lives Matter is neo-Marxist to its core.

What lies at the base of the Critical Social Justice movement (CSJ), Critical Legal Theory (CLT), Critical Race Theory (CRT), Intersectionality (INT), and other critical emphases is what is known as Critical Theory (CT). CT was developed by neo-Marxists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. Horkheimer was also the former president of The Institute of Social Research, which is best known as the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt School was established by neo-Marxists as a place to determine why the Marxist revolution failed to spread to other western countries; having determined why, they developed a plan to avoid a future repeat in their plan to spread Marxism. Unlike traditional social theories, which seek to explain society, CT seeks to change society by liberating the oppressed.

CT assumes capitalism, America, is made up of oppressors and oppressed–the majority and minority–and it seeks to deliver the oppressed by deconstructing the present capitalistic system and replacing it with socialism, which will ultimately lead to communism and the communist utopia. The process of deconstructing the US is to overemphasize and exaggerate the flaws in America and de-emphasize or even totally neglect the good. They constantly compare America, Capitalism, with a Utopic vision that does not exist. This is done to present America as irredeemably oppressive. That is to say, racism is in its very DNA, and people should hate America.

This contrast of America with their Marxian utopic vision is in spite of the fact that Marxism has never produced such a utopia nor can they even lay it out beyond the state of a dream so that people can examine it; for example, Marxism’s utopic vision of a Marxist society promises a society in which people have more leisure time than work time. All worries are taken care of, no fear, war, disparities, racism, or poverty exists.

Yet, they admit there’s no historical example of such a utopia,[5] and Marcuse says, we are at present . . . utterly incapable to draft anything, like a blueprint of such a society. Consequently, real America is contrasted with a society that only exists in the state of a dream. Even worse, in every instance that Marxian socialism has been tried it results in millions being deprived and impoverished and millions and even tens of millions of innocent human beings being exterminated with unparalleled brutality.

This vision is in absolute contradiction to civil rights leaders like Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King, who actually loved America but thought (and rightly so) America had a blind spot. They did not seek to destroy America, but rather they called on America to live up to her full potential as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.

Thus, critical theories like CRT and INT are not designed to unify, make America better, but ultimately destroy it and replace it with socialism/communism. The Marxian perspective is that capitalism and private property are inherently evil and oppressive, and from which flow the evils of the world–racism, war, poverty, and all forms of oppression. Only a Marxian, socialism/communism/ utopia is liberating. A serious study of the founding writings, founders, and leading thinkers of CLT, CRT, CSJ reveal that they are permeated by Marxian ideology. This permeation is evident in their explicit claims and that their ideas emanate from neo-Marxist writings.

Therefore, it is impossible to separate CLT, CRT, CSJ, INT, or BLM from Marxism because, without Marxist ideology, they would not exist.

[1] para 12, accessed 3/12/21.
[2] para 13, accessed 3/12/21.
[3] para 14, accessed 3/12/21.
[4] para 15, accessed 3/12/21.
[5] Max Horkheimer, Critical Theory: Selected Essays, 241.

Calvinist Paul Helm Fails to Acquit God of Causing Evil

Closely related to Calvinism’s problem with the fall is its problem with the presence of evil (See my articles The Word “Permit” Is As Micro-Determined AS Everything Else; D.A. Carson Fails to Absolve God of Causing Evil, and Calvinism Fails to Absolve God from Causing the Fall ). The reality of evil is very problematic within Calvinism’s compatible determinism, as is the whole issue of sovereignty (as defined by Calvinism) and human freedom and responsibility.[1] Calvinists employ various terms when speaking of these mysteries, which I believe are contradictions within their theological system. J.I. Packer employs antinomy and mystery,[2] G.T. Shedd and others invoke the common phrase, it is a mystery.[3] Similarly used phrases are I have no answer for it, it’s hidden, and two parallel lines that meet in eternity. Extensivism’s (non-Calvinism’s) libertarian freedom does not require gauzily cloaked contradictions.[4] The contradictory problems of Calvinism are quite pronounced when they seek to explain God’s sovereignty (as they define it) and evil. Continue reading →

Calvinist D.A. Carson Fails to Acquit God of Causing Evil

D.A. Carson says of his position regarding moral freedom, In the realm of philosophical theology, this position is sometimes called compatibilism. It simply means that God’s unconditioned sovereignty and the responsibility of human beings are mutually compatible.[1] Commenting on Carson’s practice of improperly defining compatibilism (as he has done here), philosopher Paul Gould says, Notice, what Carson means by compatibilism’s is just that freedom is compatible with divine sovereignty (not determinism). In other words, he is restating the fact that Scripture upholds both divine sovereignty and human responsibility (and freedom). But, importantly, his compatibilism’s isn’t compatibilism.[2] That is to say, Carson defines compatibilism improperly–inaccurately. Continue reading →

The Word “Permit” In Calvinism Is As Micro-determined As Everything Else

When Calvinists use phrases like God does not desire man to sin, but he does permit sin, it is easy to misconstrue their meaning of the word permit and understand it in the libertarian sense. [1] The libertarian understanding, which is the normal way the word is used and understood, would simply mean God created Adam and Eve so that they could choose not to sin, and that is what God actually desired for them to do even though He permitted (allowed) them to sin if they so chose; the same is true with people today.

However, in Calvinism, God endowed man with compatible moral freedom, thereby predetermining that man would freely choose to sin. Compatibilism means that man is considered to make a free choice when he chooses according to his greatest desire. What often goes unstated is that while the choice is free, the desire from which it flows is determined by his past or nature; thus, it is precisely accurate to say, according to Calvinism, man makes a predetermined free choice. Continue reading →

In Advocacy of the Color-Blind Principle

The color-blind principle does not mean we do not see a person’s skin color or detect that others are different from us (also referred to as color-indifference). Our church has about ten different ethnicities at any given time, although the particular ethnicities have varied over the years. I assure you that everyone can tell whether we are talking to a Chinese, Indian, black, white, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Korean, or another ethnic person.

The color-blind principle means we see color, but it does not matter. Skin color tells us only a person’s skin color, but it does not, nor can it, nor should it, tell us who a person is, what kind of person an individual is, nor does it affect God’s love for them, which is what the color-blind principle calls us to as well, to see people as God does. It is to see people who are created in the image of God, loved by God, and for whom Christ died, who happen to have different colored skin (Gen 1:26-28; John 3:16). It emphasizes our shared humanity.

In contrast, critical race theory makes everything about race (known as race- consciousness), and we are to judge others based on their skin color. It deemphasizes our shared humanity. The color-blind principle is often used when speaking legally, and I agree it should be followed in legal and policy matters; however, as a Christian, it must also be on a personal level, with individual human beings interacting with other individual human beings; this belief has nothing to do with concepts like equity.

Additionally, believing in the color-blind principle does not mean we must follow it perfectly (although that should be our intent and goal) for it to be reflective of biblical truth and, therefore, the right thing to do. For example, we are to be holy (1 Pet 1:15), love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 22:39), and only be speaking the truth in love (Eph 4: 15). But our failure to practice these perfectly makes them no less true, nor does our imperfection signify that we do not genuinely believe them and seek to live them perfectly. The same is true with the color-blind principle. Of course, not actually believing in any of these ideas coupled with not really trying to practice them is hypocrisy, which is not the same as a sinner failing and repenting.

Frederick Douglass, the 19th century’s greatest abolitionist and civil rights advocate, [had] an abiding faith in reason, in truth and justice [which] sustained an expectation that the color line . . . will cease to have any civil, political, or moral significance in America.[1]

Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, in Plessy v. Ferguson, wrote, Our constitution is color-blind . . . The law regards man as man, and takes no account . . . of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.[2]

Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech immortalized the color-blind principle saying, I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.[3] King believed and said that is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.[4]

In his brief for the plaintiffs in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, Thurgood Marshall argued, distinctions . . . based upon race or color alone . . . [are] the epitome of that arbitrariness and capriciousness constitutionally impermissive under our system of government.[5]

Critical race theorists either ignore or actually disdain the color-blind principle. For example, in his best-selling book, How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi, says, “The language of colorblindness . . .is a mask to hide racism.”[6]

In her best-selling book, White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo speaks of the idea of color blindness as simplistic and something seized upon by the white public because the words were seen to provide a simple and immediate solution to racial tensions: pretend that we don’t see race, and racism will end.[7] Her perspective is a blanket derogation toward the character and sincerity of white people, and, maybe even more startling, it seems exceptionally dismissive of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

According to Kendi, Manhattan Institute fellow Tamar Jacoby said in 1998, Like many whites who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, I had always thought the ultimate goal of better race relations was integration. The very word had a kind of magic to it but now few of us talk about it anymore. We are not pursuing Martin Luther King’s color-blind dream of a more or less race-neutral America.[8]

Kimberlé Crenshaw, who supported Derrick Bell and others in founding critical race theory, rejects emphasizing our universal humanity with statements like, I am a person who happens to be black. Instead, she divides by emphasizing the statement I am black as a resistance statement.[9]

Crenshaw’s first statement would reflect the color-blind principle, whereas the latter reflects the race-consciousness perspective. Color blindness has a goal for people to become individuals where race does not matter, and for the United States to be a country where race does not matter, where all races are treated equally before the law and between each other. It does not require the total elimination of every racist to be considered successful any more than to be a safe neighborhood requires the absolute elimination of every troublemaker and crime, which takes place only in heaven. There will always be criminals, troublemakers, immoralists, racists (according to true racism in which no race is exempt from having its own racists), and idiots on earth.

In contrast, the race-conscious perspective aims to make race matter preeminently in everything, and it seeks to make sure that races are not treated equally before the law and between each other. One race is given preference while another is punished. Color blindness has the potential of unifying all races as Americans. In contrast, race consciousness via critical race theory and intersectionality divides us into an endless array of groups who will forever be divided and embittered toward each other.

The race-conscious advocates focus their energies on the evilness of America, casting all blacks as victims of white oppressors, which virtually all (or all in some systems of thought by CR theorists) white people are. In contrast, the advocates of color blindness focus their energies on the progress of race relations already made and the grand opportunities and blessings of being an American. The color-blind focus is not a naive or blind loyalty to America, but rather color-blind advocates see huge societal problems to still be addressed. However, we do so by recognizing how far we have come, the progress made, and the confidence that we can continue to make progress of working toward more perfect union, as stated in the preamble of our Constitution.

Martin Luther King and previous civil rights advocates loved America and desired to be a part of the American dream, as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, they fought for equal assimilation as citizens, human beings, under America’s law and full freedoms. In contrast, assimilation is seen as a racist problem by critical race theorists like Ibram Kendi.[10]

There is no denying that racism existed structurally before the 1964 civil rights act and supporting acts passed later and that racism exists today. But I do not believe systemic racism, which existed in the past, exists today. While I believe racism can still be an obstacle to overcome (similar to others who have non-race obstacles to overcome to participate in America’s dream), I do not believe it is the biggest obstacle for non-whites in America.

I do not believe virtually every disparity in society can be justifiably attributed to racism, as critical race theorists advocate. I think this is demonstrated every day by black and brown people who excel and succeed in America, and yes, quite often surpass their white counterparts. Many of the reasons black people fail in our day are the very same reasons so many white people fail in America today; they are human reasons, not racist reasons.

We choose what we focus on, the failures or the successes. This is not to say racism does not exist or is not a problem blacks have to face because racism does exist, and I suspect there will always be actual racists (not as defined by CRT). But it is to say, the structural racism that prohibited blacks from having opportunities by law no longer exists. The existing problems can be overcome in large measure in the same way others overcome different obstacles. But black people cannot justify blaming the past or blaming whites. I mean this in the same sense that whites cannot blame their upbringing or difficult history for what kind of person they become. The past carries influence, but it is not determinative of what kind of person we become. To look for blame is to overlook the decisive role of personal responsibility in determining what kind of person we become and our successes or failures in life.

For example, the black scholar Shelby Steele contends that racist oppression is no longer the primary problem blacks face. He says, It must be acknowledged that blacks are no longer oppressed in America.[11] Another black scholar, Thomas Sowell, says, The causal question is whether racism is either the cause or one of the major causes of poverty and other social problems among black Americans today. Many might consider the obvious answer to be yes. Yet some incontrovertible facts undermine that conclusion.[12]

Although I could give a virtually unlimited list of successful blacks, I offer two as examples. I draw from an interview with Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson in which they discuss the origins, impact, and response to critical race theory.[13]

Dr. Carson said, The thing that really determines who a person is, as Dr. MLK emphasized so strongly I suspect that he would be quite disappointed with critical race theory it’s the character that makes a person, not the color of their skin, He went on to say, Critical race theory turns that completely upside down and says that the color of their skin makes an enormous difference in terms of who you are and what you should think.[14]

Dr. Swain reflected on her own experiences of becoming an outspoken opponent of critical race theory. She recounted the difficulties of her own beginnings and how she became a conservative. She was one of twelve children raised in rural poverty who dropped out of school after the 8th grade, got married at 16, and had three children by age 21. At that point, Dr. Swain got her high school equivalency and went to college, where she earned the first of five degrees. As Dr. Swain moved into academia, first at Princeton University, then Vanderbilt University. She shared that she enjoyed her work. Everything changed, however, the moment she became a Christian. Dr. Swain shared that she became more conservative after that.[15]

Dr. Swain is firmly against critical race theory. She said, What I see taking place today with critical race theory, I believe it is the civil rights challenge of our time.[16] Like the previous quotes by Steele and Sowell, Dr. Swain asserted that systemic racism no longer exists because [I] watched it fail and observed its downfall through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Open Housing of 1968.[17]

She speaks as one who actually lived in genuine structural and systemic racism. She says, I was born into systemic racism. I watched it crumble.[18] Swain provides a very different perspective about the progress that has been made when compared to critical race theorists who blame everything on past and present systemic racism. Speaking about what followed the civil rights advances of the sixties, Swain said, What I saw develop and evolve [after that] was a system of opportunities for people like me, and I can tell you many of my mentors most were white.[19]

Dr. Carson speaks reminiscently of Martin Luther King and, I believe, congruent with Scripture and wisdom. He said, “Your race is not something you can control. Your character is something that you can control.” Carson further stated, “Why would you judge someone based on something they can’t control versus something they can control?”[20]

The choice between embracing the color-blind principle or the race-conscious perspective hinges on two considerations.

First, the color-blind principle is perfectly consistent with and reflective of Scripture beginning in creation (Gen 1:26,27). God is the creator of every human being, and there is actually one human race, even though there are superficial differences within groups within the human race. The color-blind principle seeks to guide us back to the unity we had in the mind, heart, and creation of God. It also reflects the unity believers will have in heaven.

Second, the race-conscious perspective is not consistent with or reflective of the Bible. It generally judges people based on their skin color, makes only one group susceptible to the sin of racism, and makes everything about our skin color rather than our character and shared humanity. The race-conscious principle embedded in critical race theory and intersectionality seeks to guide us into more and more groups leading to greater and greater disunity and inhumanity. It does not reflect the mind and heart of God about his creation, nor does it even have the potential to grow in being more reflective of heaven.

Leroy D. Clark, in his critique of Derrick Bell’s argument that racism is permanent and no real progress has been made, makes an argument in support of the civil rights movement, which of course, embodied the color-blind principle. He said, “The genius of that movement was its openness to involvement by as broad a spectrum of the black and white public as wished to make a contribution. Its message of mutually beneficial racial harmony changed public attitudes and the way institutions functioned.”[21] That message of mutually beneficial racial harmony is existent in the color-blind approach, but it is excluded in the race-conscious perspective.

Neither approach is perfect, and each course is doomed to imperfection because each is filled with sinful people. But that does not mean that one approach is not better than the other. I believe the better of the two is, without a doubt, the color-blind approach.

“And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Rev 5:9,10).

[1] Peter C. Myers, The Case for Color-Blindness, The Heritage Foundation, September 6, 2019,, para 3, accessed 6/23/21.
[2] Peter C. Myers, The Case for Color-Blindness, The Heritage Foundation, September 6, 2019,, para 3, accessed 6/23/21.
[3] Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream, August 28, 1963,, para 20.
[4] Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream, August 28, 1963,, para 16.
[5] Mark Tushnet, ed., Thurgood Marshall: Speeches, Writings, Arguments (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2001), 21 as quoted by Peter C. Myers, The Case for Color-Blindness, The Heritage Foundation, September 6, 2019,, para 3, accessed 6/23/21.
[6] Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist (New York: One World, 2019), 10.
[7] Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility (Boston: Beacon, 2018), 41.
[8] Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist (New York: One World, 2019), p 178-179. What Became of Integration, The Washington Post, June 28, 1998.
[9] Kimberlé Crenshaw says, We all can recognize the distinction between the claims I am Black and the claim I am a person who happens to be Black. . . . I am Black becomes not simply a statement of resistance, but also a positive discourse of self-identification. . . . I am a person who happens to be Black, on the other hand, achieves self-identification by straining for a certain universality (in effect, I am first a person’). Kimberlé Crenshaw, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color, 1297, Stanford Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 6 (Jul., 1991), 1241,1299.
[10] Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist (New York: One World, 2019), 30–31, 33, 83.
[11] Shelby Steele, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007), 67.
[12] Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities (New York: Basic, 2019), 116.
[13] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, accessed 6/21/21.
[14] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, para. 4, accessed 6/21/21.
[15] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, para. 5,6, accessed 6/21/21.
[16] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, para. 10, accessed 6/21/21.
[17] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, para. 12, accessed 6/21/21.
[18] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, para. 13, accessed 6/21/21.
[19] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, para. 13, accessed 6/21/21.
[20] Corinne Murdock, Dr. Carol Swain and Dr. Ben Carson Discuss the Origins, Impact, and Response to Critical Race Theory, Be The People News, June 11, 2021,, para. 22, accessed 6/21/21.
[21] Leroy D. Clark A Critique of Professor Derrick A. Bell’s Thesis of the Permanence of Racism and His Strategy of Confrontation, 73 Denv. U. L. Rev. 23 (1995). “A Critique of Professor Derrick A. Bell’s Thesis of the Permanence of ” by Leroy D. Clark ( accessed 7/3/21.

Critical Race Theory, The Military, And Your Unredeemable Family

Robin DiAngelo’s best-selling book, White Fragility, is used in educational, corporate, and government sensitivity training to advance so-called social justice. White children in schools and white adults in government and businesses are told they are racists because they are white, and they must work at becoming less white. She tells white people to get over their white fragility (unwillingness to admit they are racists) and says, “I strive to be ‘less white.’ To be less white is to be less racially oppressive.”[1] To make it clearer that white people are inherently and, therefore, irredeemably white supremacists, DiAngelo says, “A positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist.”[2] The racism of white people being inherent means it cannot be overcome. Continue reading →

The Gospel Destroys Racism

A friend of mine ministers to inmates in a state prison. He recently shared this story an inmate shared with him. The man was in prison a few years ago, and while there, he belonged to a white supremacist gang. He was released from prison but then committed another crime. This time, he was sent to the prison where my friend ministers.

In the fall of 2019, my friend led the inmate to Christ and has been discipling him ever since. Soon after he was saved, the white supremacist gang at this prison saw his tattoo from his former life in a white supremacist gang. They sought to recruit him to help beat up a black inmate. He refused and told them he is now a follower of Jesus Christ. The white supremacists beat him so severely that he spent over a month in the hospital. But he did not compromise, and he is still being discipled and following Christ.

Although he still bears the physical tattooed markings of being a white supremacist, he has become a new creation, he has walked away from his old life, and his sins have been washed away. He has a new heart (John 3:3; 2 Cor 5:17).

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool” (Isa 1:18).

The gospel is the great reconciler.