Just Say No

The church needs to say “no” to these two strange doctrines: critical race theory and gender apartheid.

We say no to segregation and no to patriarchy. But there are two things now trending that need to hear, “No” from the churches and their leaders: (1) Application of the concepts of critical race theory to the definition and practice of racial reconciliation in the body of Christ. (2) Description of the different callings of men and women within the church and home as gender apartheid. 

 

It’s hard to say no. Nancy Reagan wanted kids to just say no to drugs. It didn’t work. Many evangelical churches want their young people to say no to sex. That doesn’t seem to be working out too well either. But, we don’t have to look at failed campaigns to know how hard it is to say no. We can just look inside ourselves as Christian sinners to know how easy it is to say yes and how hard it is to say no to sin.

White Southerners of my generation know how hard it was to say no to racism and segregation. I recall at college one Sunday night when a group of guys wanted to go after a male student who had gained entrance for a black girl to see the Billy Graham film “The Restless Ones” by escorting her into the Mississippi Coliseum. I have written at my old Blog The Christian Curmudgeon about the negative attitudes and actions of people, including friends, because our campus ministry group at the University of Southern Mississippi was integrated. Happily such experiences are mostly behind us.

Then there is the challenge of patriarchy and the scorn people such as Tim Bayly and his cultish followers have for those who do disagree with their advocacy of patriarchy. Opposition to patriarchy allows Tim gleefully to fire his big guns, accusing men of attacking God’s fatherhood, of rejecting God’s creation order, and being afraid of their wives and too weak to rule enforce “father rule” on them. But we bravely soldier on answering Dorothy Sayers’s question, “Are women human?” with “Yes.”

We say no to segregation and no to patriarchy. But there are two things now trending that need to hear, “No” from the churches and their leaders: (1) Application of the concepts of critical race theory to the definition and practice of racial reconciliation in the body of Christ. (2) Description of the different callings of men and women within the church and home as gender apartheid.

The church needs to say, “Black people are not the Israelites, white people are not the Egyptians, and Jesus is not saying, ‘Let my people go from the land white privilege and the house of micro-aggressions.'” This may be the way the Roman Catholic liberation theologians and liberal denominations talk, but it is not the language of the Bible, the gospel, or the church. If that’s the language you want to speak, it’s the language of another country, not of the Israel of God.

The church needs also to say, “Women are not the blacks of South Africa forced into their own segregated areas by male Afrikaners who save the best of the land for themselves.” We want husbands to live with their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life. We want our churches to listen to women and to affirm and use their gifts. Most of us are rather mild complementarians, the kind that the Bayly boys scorn. But the Bible does not allow us to be sufficiently egalitarian to culturally relativize Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, or 1 Timothy 2. And, no, we don’t want to hear about “penis shaped microphones” so you can preach.

I am not optimistic the church will find the courage to do it. The church is too easily intimidated by people ready to accuse of racism and sexism. But the church needs to just say no to these two strange doctrines. If it doesn’t find the wherewithal to say it and mean it soon, it will be too late.

Bill Smith is a minister in the Reformed Episcopal Church. This article appeared on his blog and is used with permission.