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What is Critical Race Theory? Evangelical Responses to Critical Race Theory

Date recorded: 23 Apr 2022 | Speaker: John Stevens | Event: Master Class


In recent years the Black Lives Matter movement has reignited the debate about racism in contemporary society, highlighting racial disparities and appalling abuses of power that have been directed at the black community. It has brought Critical Race Theory, which asserts that Western societies are institutionally racist by their very nature, to greater public and evangelical attention. Concepts such as ‘white privilege,’ ‘micro-aggressions,’ and ‘intersectionality’ dominate the discourse, and anti-racism training has become mainstream in many institutions.

Evangelical responses to BLM and its CRT ideology have been sharply divided, often along ethnic or political lines. Many black Christians feel that their experience of racism is not taken seriously by their white brothers and sisters, whereas white Christians feel culturally beleaguered and charged with guilt and complicity in a horrendous sin for which they do not feel responsible.

This Master Class examines the claims of CRT and considers how evangelical Christians should respond to it. The issues raised by CRT are much broader than race itself and raise questions about the relationship between minorities and the majority culture in which they are located. This broader perspective means that the Master Class addresses issues of great relevance to many European contexts, where the primary sociological division are not rooted in colour but ethnicity.

Part 1 explains the origins and claims of CRT and how it has come to such prominence in recent times. It shows how CRT developed from the wider Critical Theory derived from the Frankfurt School of Marxist intellectuals to become a totalising ideology and comprehensive worldview of contemporary society. This is part 1 of a 5-part series.