by Ryan Fullerton
Although it may not look like it, we are in the run-up to the 2020 election. In addition to a pandemic, protests, and riots we have an election this year. A lot is at stake: the re-election of one of the most polarizing Presidents of all time or the election of a man whose party supports one of the most godless platforms of all time (please notice that I did not say that the Republican platform was all sunshine and godliness). Also, did I mention the balance of power in the Supreme Court is in play? It’s going to get heated—and life in America is already burning.
As a pastor, my first concern is for the faithfulness, unity, and love of my people. For that reason, even though I am deeply concerned with our present situation, I am looking ahead. I am thinking about the joy of my people. Here are two lies that I think will divide the Church this election season. My hope is that if you are aware of these lies you can avoid unfaithfulness, needless division, and lovelessness.
Lie #1: All Concern For Oppression is Evidence of Critical Theory at Work
You read right, this is a lie.
This election season the racial divide in America will be a central focus. Issues of poverty, policing, racism, and injustice will be central concerns. Many of these concerns will be raised by left-leaning politicians. Many of these concerns will be raised by devoutly godless organizations. This fact will cause many Christians to see anyone who expresses concerns about racism, oppression, police brutality, or poverty as caving to a liberal agenda. Many Christians will not be able to see those who raise concerns over these issues as anything other than “social justice warriors.” This is a serious mistake. Although we should educate ourselves about Critical Theory and reject Critical Theory, we should also look carefully into claims and concerns of oppression.
God wants us to care for the oppressed (Job 29:11-17, Prov 31:8). So when you hear Christian brothers and sisters expressing concerns about injustice, racism, policing, racial disparity in poverty rates, and incarceration rates you might be hearing from someone who has drunk the kool-aid of the false worldview of Critical Theory. But you might also be hearing from a biblically informed, faithful saint and co-heir of the grace of life. Listen closely and we will avoid needless division. We might also learn to lead the charge against real oppression (Eccl 4:1).
Lie #2: Conservatives are Racists
We are about to see many Evangelicals on social media articulating for conservative principles and candidates in the coming months. Why? Because many Evangelicals in America are politically conservative. That should not mean that they approve of everything the Republican party does or everything Donald Trump does (if you do approve of everything the Republican party does or everything Donald Trump says, you should check yourself).
As conservatives articulate conservative principles, you may think that some of those principles are racist or lead to racism. For example, some hear calls to “Law and Order” and calls to “Make America Great Again” as dog whistles meant to call in racist groups. And, admittedly, these phrases do sadly call in the support of abominable racist groups. However, in the same way that everyone concerned about oppression is not a social justice warrior, not everyone advocating for conservative principles and candidates is a racist. The large and growing number of African American political conservative commentators ought to be proof of that fact. Conservative ≠ Racist.
So when you hear conservative principles articulated you might be hearing from someone who has drunk the kool-aid of racism, but you might also be hearing from a biblically informed, faithful saint and co-heir of the grace of life. Listen closely and we will avoid needless division. We might also learn to lead the charge against racism!Finally, I am sure by this time you might have forgotten this is not a political post. I am not calling you to vote or not vote for someone. I am simply alerting us to two lies which, if not understood, will tear the Church of Jesus Christ apart. #Unity&Truth2020