A Patriots History of the United States

I wrote an article on my official page on Howard Zinn’s two histories of the United States, one the extensive one and one for high schools.  My daughter read these and alerted me to the fact that Zinn’s text was used in many high schools.  She said it was Neo-Marxist and presented a very dark history.  She said it explains why so many young adults today, college age and after, are anti-American and not patriotic, not even in the way of support for the kind of qualified moderate patriotism I support.  I read Zinn and did an extensive review on my official Facebook page.  Yes, Zinn shows a lot of the dark side of the United States, but also exaggerates sometimes and ignores the good.  Thankfully he is critical of Stalin and the violence of the Soviet Union as a betrayal of Marx, but no nation who has followed Marx has not been violent and super oppressive.  Sad to see young people today turn to Marxism,  they are simply uneducated. Haven’t enough been slaughtered yet? From falsely seeing U. S. wealth connected to slavery (it was not so in the North), only giving limited place to the Christian fight against slavery (see Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God), and not showing how free enterprise has lifted more people, even poor people and even poor immigrants, millions of them, he presents a very skewed history.  Yes, he was right on the deep national sin of slavery, then Jim Crow, and then the terrible history with the Native Americans.  The Pilgrims and Puritans were presented in a negative and skewed way. Having read the biographies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln and more, I know about how conflicted some were over slavery, but sadly the Virginia presidents still practiced it.  Adams is not covered adequately by Zinn, and he was very anti slavery.  We cannot whitewash slavery.  But the revolution was not fought to keep the elite rich and only for them.  It was not fought to maintain slavery.  The Patriot history shows how false that claim is.  Washington did acquire land like crazy, but he also cared about the whole country.  Marxism colors Zinn’s whole presentation.  He cannot see the good, except for fighting the Nazis.  

Someone recommended the book A Patriots History of the United States by Larry Schwiekart and Michael Allen.  Both are serious tenured professors at major universities.  I wondered if this book would be a whitewash of Americas sins, but I found the presentation to be brilliant, conservative, honest and even magisterial.  Schwiekart is a noted historian of business and economics.  He shows the great gains of free enterprise in lifting the population.  He shows the good of American exceptionalism and building a nation on an idea or ideas and the reasons for its strength.  Yet, he shows the exceptionally evil aspects of American history.  He blasts the compromise that led to Jim Crow and the giving up of enforcing the 14th amendment and equality in the South. He celebrates the Civil rights laws and Martin Luther King,  but shows how the Great Society gave wrong incentives and destroyed progress.  Brilliant!  His coverage of Vietnam was excellent.  It is not the received narrative which I rejected 40 years ago. 

I think there was one weakness in the book.  It did not adequately present the almost slave labor conditions for immigrant workers, especially Chinese, who were so abused in the 19th and early 20th century.  The railroad building abuse, the sweatshops  (this included many Jewish immigrants) and unsafe working conditions for women.  Amazing that state power was used to bust unions.  But Zinn even over covers that.  I am a supporter of Unions, but against public sector unions as was Franklin Roosevelt.  Also, when labor is tight and skilled, wages go up without the need for unions.  However, they are needed for low wage services especially. 

God help the United States for fostering anti Americanism in our schools. At the same time, as followers of Yeshua (Jesus) let us be honest about the good and the bad.  Let us seek repentance for the bad when it was rooted in the churches, either in southern churches fostering evil or in the indifference in many of the white churches. 

The Great Loss of the Young Adult Generation to the Body of the Messiah

How is it possible that statistics say that the younger generation has been lost in droves to the Body of the Messiah? I don’t think the answers are difficult to find.  

The basic answer is that this generation in the deepest level of soul was formed much more by the secular world than by a culture of radical loyal followers of the Messiah.  Most parents allowed this generation to be raised by a public school system that does not respect biblical values in contradistinction to the time period when I was raised in public schools.  Teachers impart who they are.  Sometimes this includes demonic presence.  Our children were given at least 7 hours a day year after year.  Then they mostly attended secular higher education if they continued schooling.  The whole orientation and atmosphere were anti-biblical.  In addition, the young adult generation is the first generation raised on the internet.  Many found much anti-biblical content to influence them. However, there is another more insidious and hidden aspect.  Focus on the screen hour after hour produces for many an inability to focus and concentrate.  Brain physiologists and psychologists note a change in brain function and addictive behavior.  This produces an inability to read deeply or to appreciate the depth of truth, beauty, and goodness. Thomas Dubay in his great book, The Evidential Power of Beauty, one of the most profound books I have ever read, and an amazing apologetic for biblical faith, notes that beauty reveals God.  However, a jaded generation no longer can appreciate beauty on any deep level.  Their minds are dulled.  There is a lack of interest even in the beauties of sports, both participatory and spectator.  In summary, we did not produce a counterculture, but were blindsided and inadvertently allowed the world to raise our children.  

There are other reasons.  Did our children see and experience such a reality in God that it was difficult for them to deny it?  Did they witness real miracles?  Did they see an effective congregational life that brought deliverance to people according to the Luke 4:18 model of Yeshua and his Apostles where the marginalized are healed and freed?  Were they impressed with what the Church has done for the poor and marginalized?  Were they led into their own encounter with Yeshua and found that it was an unshakable reality?

So where do we begin?  First, the generation that seems lost can be awakened in revival.  Let us first repent for missing it and giving our children over to the world.  Let us pray and believe that Yeshua will reveal himself and awake the slumbering, for such is this generation of young adults, woke to deceptive philosophies of our age, but dead or asleep to the truth and reality of Yeshua. 

Secondly, let us now begin with what remains, those who are followers of Yeshua and raising young children.  We begin with preschool children.  Let us create a true counterculture including alternative schools, both private schools (as we did some 40 years ago) and home school consortiums.  Let us turn off the internet and have no unsupervised internet for minor children, and let us limit the time on the screen from none at all (yes, it is not necessary to do internet) to limited time.  Then let us create a reading culture in our families by reading great stories to our children, having them read great books, and discussing those books.  Let us give our children access to beauty, by trips in nature, camping, learning musical instruments, listening to great music, and seeing great art.  Let us center our lives on Bible reading, together and in personal devotions.  We can also take our children to venues where they will witness miracles and can see the reality of God’s interventions in amazing ways.  Let us lead them into being born again, immersed in the Spirit, and having a passionate relationship with God. 

When we speak about creating a counterculture, we are aware that the danger in so protecting our children that they will not be able to cope with the world.  We need much wisdom here.  Sufficient and guided understanding of the world, its teachings, its influence, and more is needed if our children are to be able to face this world with courage and not fall apart when exposed to it.  As children need to play in the dirt to develop their immune system, so sufficient guided exposure is needed if the children when they grow up will be able to face this world with courage and not be overwhelmed by it.  Yes, we need to educate our children about the world so they will not be overwhelmed.  We can raise a generation that for the most part will not abandon the faith. 


The Anti-Racist Church and its influence on civil society and public policy

Biblical Anti-Racism, Pt. II

CRT focuses on systemic racism but due to their leftist prejudices miss the social systems that really are fostering failure.  This is indeed very counter to what is being argued, but my views are in accord with most black conservatives that write much on this.   These views are the opposite of CRT solutions if there are such since there is such vagueness other than reparations, pouring more money into failed schools and redistribution of wealth (neo-Marxist solutions), and quotas in education and hiring.  One CRT proponent argued that right answers in math show white supremacy and are racist. Another argues that Medicare for all is anti-racist but rejecting this solution in health care is racist.  Now we get the point; not supporting socialist solutions is racist.

The embrace of cultural relativism by CRT is very destructive and will foster systemic disparity.  If there is no right answer in math or no objective evaluation of what is culturally healthy or destructive, then there is no path to success.

I am not hopeful that short of a massive religious revival that the policies presented here will prevail.  Leftists are seeking to move the society toward leveling, relativism, and mediocracy as the answer to disparities.

It should not be surprising that biblical-based solutions and conservative black ideas on solutions to race disparities are sometimes polls apart from the popularized CRT solutions if they do propose them.  This is not an exhaustive list.

  1. The restoration of the black family is a number one Bible-based anti-racist concern.  An intact marriage and family are the greatest predictor of economic success.  Therefore, welfare must be reformed to incentivize the father to marry and help raise his children.  Financial incentives for vocational training are also important. We should note that violating biblical law will not lead to prosperity.  This emphasis on family is rejected by CRT proponents who see it as a white value (note this fits Marxism).  As such CRT teaching is part of the systemic disparity problem!
  2. Public education is one of the most problematic centers of systematic racial disparity.  CRT people address education by seeking an end of testing or by more funding of failed schools.  Some of the worst examples of failure are in school systems in northern cities who graduate students who are illiterate.  Black parents have more clarity.  They want vouchers and charters.  They want competition in education and a choice.  Again, CRT people are leftists and pro-teachers unions.  This is a foundational systemic problem.  Every once and a while a largely black public school gets a principal who enforces discipline and educational standards.  It is amazing the positive change.  However, we now have several examples of Christian private schools educating the poorest from the black ghettos with an amazing success rate.
  3. Some CRT people argue that meritocracy is itself a white supremacist or white privilege idea.  It can be if not rightly applied and used as an excuse to not hire and promote qualified blacks.  However, it is obvious that people have to qualify or merit positions in society and prove their qualifications.  An engineer must prove applied math ability at a high level to be trusted to build buildings, bridges, and roads.  A surgeon like Ben Carson had to prove himself to become a top brain surgeon.  We cannot just snap our fingers and have equal outcomes without disparity.  Rather, only merit rightly applied in disciplined education can bring blacks into higher numbers into valued professions.  Even in the Bible, the builders of the Temple were highly qualified.  The Chinese and Japanese are very geared to rigorous education and merit.  It is how the Japanese built great industry.  Now we see such amazing performance among Koreans.  CRT people focus on America and ignore the progress of nations and the meritocracy that has been a key to progress in nations.  Non-meritocracy societies stagnate and foster poverty.

However, qualifications have to be justly applied.  An employer can use it as an excuse to hire a white instead of a black.  He or she can also pick the overqualified over against a fully qualified minority person.  I believe that hiring blacks who are qualified should be a social priority and unnecessary irrelevant matters of qualification should not be used whereby people are kept back.  The standard for a job needs to be reasonable.  Meritocracy rightly embraced is the way forward to black advance.  Those opposing it are fostering systemic racial disparity.  Not requiring performance in black schools is a key issue part of systemic disparity.  Replace hard learning in math and science with emotional learning will be devastating to black attainment

  1. Enterprise Zones, job training and mentoring are another key. Government incentives for businesses to locate in the black underclass neighborhoods are important.  For this to happen those neighborhoods must be safe.  CRT is not against this but hardly talks about safe neighborhoods.
  2. Housing affordability and investment corruption is another issue.  Investment companies are driving up the cost of housing by buying vast tracts of houses and then making a profit by driving up prices. There must be some regulation against this.  A large supply of houses is key to keep prices low both for purchase and renting.
  3. Massive police presence and the elimination of gang violence and guns and drugs is important.  This is the opposite of Black Lives Matter and CRT who only seem concerned about a tiny fraction of police killings of innocent unarmed blacks while many are slaughtered in crime. However, it is in agreement with black residents of poor neighborhoods.  There needs to be such massive police presence that gun and drug crime in the black and Hispanic neighborhoods become largely impossible.  The police have to be trained for good relationships in those communities.  This will take a large investment.  It was done in New York under the previous administrations.  Only then can investment be made by businesses in these communities.
  4. Fighting drugs is crucial.  Generous but legal immigration is very important as part of this since gangs and drugs like fentanyl are so destructive to those who take it and is a part of the drug wars in the cities.  China is a huge offender.  Black lives are being destroyed by the drug trade.
  5. We can face the truth that is objectively proven about past discrimination, but many of the claims for our own day have been disproved.  See the work of Voddie Baucham, the black Christian scholar who gives the statistics in Faultlines.  If the black community is taught to primarily focus on victimization and grievance it will foster disparity.
  6. Prison reform is important. Society should return to the biblical norm where those who do none violent crimes are supervised to pay off their debt to society.  Prison teaches criminal behavior.

I would have all study the writings and the work of Robert Woodson who has shown effective programs that lift poor blacks into success.

Biblical Anti-Racism

I have evaluated Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory that grows out of it, (from here designated CRT) in several articles on my Facebook official page based on reading works from supporters and reading from those who are critics of the theories, both secular and Christian critics.  My conclusion is that CRT is profoundly contrary to the Biblical World View.  One book, by Voddie Baucham, a black Baptist theologian and missionary to Africa, gives a profound evaluation on a world view basis. 

The quest for equality of worth was originally a biblical norm.  Heresies from that norm are dangerous.  They turn the biblical ideas of justice into either a Marxist idea of equality of outcomes, as in income, or to the new idea of equity in outcomes.  It teaches that American society is to be divided into different ethnicities including categories of new sexual identities represented by the letters LGBTQ etc. On this basis of equity financial prosperity, educational access, and success in various life roles and positions are to be divided by the proportion of the numbers of such people in the society. Such a quest will be a never-ending failure and a source of continual strife.  Can you imagine this dividing for those of Asian background (the Chinese are really not the same as Japanese, Indians, Philippinos, or Indians) Hispanic and others?  Biblical justice is defined in my book Social Justice.  Justice, first of all, is motivated by love.  Love is defined by passionate identification with the other that seeks their good guided by law.  Their good is their destiny fulfillment which begins with loving and knowing God and then fulfilling his calling which is according to the gifts and talents he gives.  Justice or civil righteousness is an order where the maximum number of people can fulfill their destiny.  The Bible makes it clear that God’s ideal will includes sufficient material provision for people.   The Bible does not orient us to divide in conflict over the goods of society.  Rather it calls us to a different way.  

First of all, anti-racism or anti-ethnocentrism begins with Biblical affirmations that all human beings are created in the image of God.  Each human being thus carries unique value and is worthy of being respected and treasured.  Only people influenced by the Bible gave credibility to the idea of the equal basic worth of human beings.  Study the history of the world and you will not find this idea outside of the influence of biblical faith.  Yes, societies that claimed to be Christian often did not live out the implications of biblical faith.   They reflect the well-quoted statement of G. K. Chesterton responding to people who said, “Christianity has been tried and found wanting.”  Chesterton responded and said, “No, Christianity has been found difficult and untried.”  The most profound charter of anti-racism and the only charter comes from the Bible or law influenced by the Bible.  This unique universalism of the Bible has been the foundation of human rights such as found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, largely authored by the godly Christian scholar Charles Malik.  Though there are movements for equality and equity not based on biblical norms and some contrary to biblical norms, I don’t believe due to the sinfulness of fallen humans that such movements will succeed.  Again, such equality movements are only in nations that have biblical influence in their history. In rebellion against God, these movements are bound to lead to failure and more despair.   New Testament affirmations against racist and ethnic superiority and domination are unique and profound.  “From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set the appointed times and the boundaries of their territory.   They were to search for him and perhaps grope around if and find Him.  Yet He is not far from each of us, for in him we live and move and have our being.  Jacob (James) can say concerning the tongue, “With it, we bless our ADONAI and Father, and with it, we curse people, who are made in the image of God. . . My brothers and sisters, these things should not be.”  

In Revelation 21:26, each nation brings its distinct glory into the eternal Kingdom, the New Jerusalem, the new Kingdom.  So, every nation in the redemption has a distinct glory and will make a distinct contribution. Rev. 21 shows the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham. He was not chosen, and Israel was not chosen as the superior race, but as a servant nation to bring the nations of the world into the Blessing of God.  

Biblical assertions of the foundational equal worth of all human beings if etched into the United States Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal” and have inalienable rights from the Creator.  The Good News leads to reconciliation between all races and ethnicities who become one with Jewish followers of Yeshua.  They are called new creations in the Messiah (II Cor. 5:17) and are given the highest status together, “Raised with him and seated with him in heavenly places,” at the very throne of God (Eph. 2:5). 

Contrary to CRT and CT, there is objective truth.   We are not relativists.  For CRT proponents their quests for equality and equity are power assertions of choice based on what philosophers call an emotive preference.  It is not based on objective truth and ethics.  There is no answer in CRT as to why the strong should not dominate and enslave the weak and make them serve them.  There is no answer to Nazism except for personal emotive aversion.  Nazis like the idea of the domination and survival of those who can conquer.  It causes humans to evolve and become stronger. It fits Darwin!

We are speaking here of the ultimate foundations and the picture of ultimate redemption.  However, the human race is divided by self-centeredness, strife, hatred, prejudice, the domination of one nation by another and even slaughter and genocide.  The profound level of sin and its effect on the world is clearly revealed in a study of world history.  CRT people point to the sins of western civilization but rarely point to the slavery and genocide that has been a great part of world history, especially in the East or in Africa or even in pre-colonial Mexico for example.   

The Gospel of the Kingdom makes its debut in Israel and Yeshua announces  Good News to the poor.  The power of God is so great that Yeshua announces his ministry through the power of the Spirit as being Good News to the poor, recovery of sight to the blind, the release of prisoners, etc.”  (Luke 4:18) The Gospel first comes to those in society beginning in Israel with those who are marginalized.  This is so contrary to Roman culture.  The often misunderstood beatitudes in Matthew 5 are very much in line with Luke 4:18. Blessed are the poor, for poverty no longer determines their identity or destiny.  The meek who are trampled upon will inherit the earth. The mourners will no longer be trapped in mourning, for they will be adequately comforted.  The great reversal of conditions comes with the coming of Yeshua.  If one is truly in Yeshua then one can no longer claim to be a victim since his power enables us to fulfill a destiny and purpose in him with eternal reward. 

Gospel realism states that all have sinned, and that sin will land us in Hell if we do not repent and receive the great atonement of his death for our sins and resurrection life in his Spirit.  Once this is embraced, God calls us to be joined to communities of reconciliation.  Galatians 3:28 provides a most radical anti-racist text, that in Yeshua there is, “Neither Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave for free.”  Rather we are all one in him and form one new humanity in him (Eph. 2:15).  This should not be read as eliminating Jewish calling and identity or homogenizing ethnic identities.  The Bible values the good in cultures, but the Bible is also the norming norm for evaluating what is good and bad in cultures.  Biblical multi-culturalism does not like CRT trivialize the value of all cultures by claiming they are all equal.  However, the value of our ethnic identity, even Jewish identity is now made secondary to the centrality of our oneness and equal status in Yeshua (Eph. 2:5).  The Bible, therefore, calls us to the ministry of reconciliation, to be reconciled to God and to one another.  

The Bible also is very clear about our priorities of commitment in sharing the Gospel. It is first to the poor and marginalized.  They have the first right of refusal.  The preaching of the Gospel is offered first as well to the Jews as the covenant people (Romans 1:16) but other than this, the first right of refusal in the great Gospel offer is to the marginalized, the poor, imprisoned, the crippled, the disposed of, the ill, the rejected.  This offer is not made on the basis of race preferences but without regard to race and ethnicity.  Not many of high status first responded, says Paul.  While the Bible allows for disparities of wealth, those who are rich are exhorted in the strongest terms to invest their wealth to lift the weak and poor or they and also that their riches will perish.  God, says James, has chosen the poor of this world to inherit the Kingdom.  (James 2:1-4, 5:1-6).  His warning to the rich is delivered with severe words of warning.  Lifting the poor is part of the essence of the Gospel and its outworking.  

Generally, the history of the world does not include multi-ethnic, multi-racial societies (my view is that race is a social-cultural construct but ethnicity is real and objective).  The Roman Empire comes closer to this but still was far different than the United States and its liberties. So, the Bible does not speak to the situation of the new reality of such societies directly, but its principles have profound implications.  If a particular race or ethnicity has a high proportion of those who are poor, marginalized, and imprisoned, that race or ethnicity should receive a high or disproportionate focus of outreach and care.  This is the clear implication of Luke 4:18 and the teaching of Yeshua and the Apostles.  In one sense the Gospel is race-neutral but in another sense, the issue of race is dealt with on the basis of the Gospel mandate if a group is poor and marginalized.  Yes, the rich are offered the Gospel, but they are not the primary focus of the efforts!  The power of the Gospel really does deliver!  Salvation is more than going to heaven. 

I note that the issue of privilege can never be solved by multiplying civil laws. Those with two parents in a loving marriage have the privilege.  Those who are beautiful versus those who are homely (this does affect hiring!), those who are handicapped versus those who have normal physical abilities, those who come from prosperous homes versus those from poor families, those children who were not abused, and those who were, show all kinds of privilege and disadvantage.  CRT does not know what to do with the prosperity of Asians who obviously are not white and not held back by white privilege.  There are social patterns and values in Asian families that do give them a leg up (privilege).  The Bible teaches that God gives different giftings and callings; gifts and talents are distributed by God. However, again the answer is the Gospel.  Those who embrace the Gospel and live in and from the Kingdom of God are empowered by the Spirit and can hear the voice of God leading them to a successful life.  All levels of underprivilege can be overcome by the Spirit and power of God. 

The outworking of the Gospel is to create communities of reconciliation.  Before society is influenced (the New Testament talks little about this) we are to create communities that are a model for society, communities of transformation with great interethnic love and mutual appreciation, serving and humility.  

At this point, I evaluate the American Church as mostly a failure.  There are wonderful exceptions.  The idea of mobilizing the churches in mass to be involved and focused without distraction on the poor and marginalized just has not captured the minds and hearts of the 20th century and now the 21st century Church in America. Yes, again, I can point to wonderful exceptions.  There have been rescue missions, ministries like David Wilkerson in Teen Challenge, reaching gangs and those dealing in drugs.  What would have happened if the Black, White and Hispanic churches pledged themselves in mutual love and commitment and created massive programs for the needy.   

I will return to the issue of who should repent.  For CRT all whites are guilty and should repent and even pay reparations (almost forever and ongoing!).  The Pole, the Arminian, and the Ukrainian who came last week to America now have white privilege and have to repent for white privilege and systemic racism.  CRT fosters false guilt and no possibility of real redemption.  However, the Bible does foster repentance from real guilt, and corporate guilt can be inherited if there is no repentance and restitution.  First, any individual who has held prejudice in his or her heart must repent.  Secondly, we repent for the history of racism in the Church bodies, both the racism that was overt and the actions of not caring or apathy.  Every individual who did now care about poor blacks can repent of apathy and leaders can repent for not leading churches out of apathy.   When the Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God repented for purposely embracing segregation as a policy in their past, this was appropriate repentance for real guilt. The next steps would be involvement in poor communities, preaching the Gospel, mentoring, serving, educating, and more.  Perhaps whites who had ancestors who held slaves can repent and renounce the sins of their ancestors and act redemptively in involvement to lift poor black people. That would be wonderful.   The United States can still repent for not passing laws in the past that would have eliminated discriminatory practices, such as housing loans for those who qualify but are black. Great progress has been made on this.  Such repentance needs to ask God’s forgiveness.  Bible teaching is focused on real guilt, not a generalized fake guilt where the specifics of sin are not made clear.  The idea that an institution is racist can only be the case if people with racist intent set up institutions that discriminated in unfair ways.  There has to be clear objective evidence (CRT does not believe in objectivity!)  The institution may inadvertently be wrongly organized and need changing but racism is a wrong redefinition of the term. 

One more thing that will be hated by secularists is that the poor and underclass blacks have to repent when they embrace the Gospel, repent of bitterness, anger, and hatred, and to forgive the whites that did wrong to them.  Of course, they repent of their violations of God’s laws.  When CRT teaches that all cultures are equal and that such standards as punctuality, correct math answers, precision, language skills, etc. are racist, they destroy the potential for blacks to succeed.  All cultures are not equal. Some are better and others as judged by the Bible as the norming norm.  The Bible teaches that all have radically sinned and that our debt before God is incomparably greater than any debt we are owed.  This stand brings mutual humility and forgiveness though we indeed weigh the sin of the wealthier as much greater.  

When CRT lays guilt on all whites, no matter their history, and points to vague institutional guilt due to disparate levels of success in racial and ethnic groups, it lowers the potential for real healing and progress.  CRT really offends truth when socialistic solutions to help the poor are considered the only absolute answer.   Those who oppose such solutions are racist, eg. Medicare for all.  Actually, vouchers for the needy would bring competition and much better medical care for the poor than government-run health care.  

So, we begin our anti-racism program with massive church repentance and a massive re-direction of the Church.  May there be a movement toward this end that will grow and grow.  Some years ago, Donald McGavran argued that churches grow best when they are more homogenous.  People gravitate to their kind of people, their style of music and worship, their cultural ways of being.  While we may give some acceptance to this being natural, the Gospel requires that we act beyond being comfortable with our own kind.  A mostly white Church and a mostly black church need to deepen mutual involvement and relationships to demonstrate the power of reconciliation and effective ministry together. 

The program of the churches that commit themselves to anti-racism focus first on the basic Gospel and discipleship programs.  It incorporates those who are won into the church with a strong emphasis on discipleship.  Training programs are also needed for parenting.  Rebuilding marriage and biblical families in the black underclass will be a crucial emphasis.  

However, we have to begin with the situation as it exists with many coming from single-parent mother-led homes. Discipling the mothers is so important.  Many single mothers are illiterate.  They need education and training.  Some of the best programs I have seen begin with children and teens and puts them into tutoring programs and then full-time schools with a Gospel emphasis.  There are several such programs.  Until vouchers are available from public funds (they are available in some states) we need to mobilize wealthy people and all who can give to fund such schools.  The CHATS (Church Hill Activities and Tutoring and Schooling) program in Richmond, Virginia, is one such program I support.  They maintain a full high school and the success rate is amazing.  It challenges the lie that blacks must fail due to racism for the graduates of this ghetto school to succeed, and greatly so.  Overcoming massive illiteracy is crucial.  Public schools in ghetto communities graduate many illiterate poor from high school if they stay in school!  Practical job training needs to be part of such schools.  Christians can provide vocational training. 

Other programs that attract children and teens in sports and art are helpful. This opens people up to the joy of performance and beauty.  

If the Church had focused on prayer, power ministry, and serving as it should have, we would not have the racial issues today which frankly are exploited by the neo-Marxist left to foster their revolution.  

Understanding Biblical Teaching from the Best Biblical Teachers

I recently got an earful of anti-Bible and anti-Christian vilification from an unbeliever. I realized that the Bible and Christianity were being understood by the narrative of the secular anti-Christian culture, that the Bible is misogynistic, pro-slavery, and sends people to Hell lightly. I realized what a violation of fairness that evaluation is. Rather, we are to understand any religion through the eyes of its strongest proponents. Only then can we fairly disagree.  We have to show that we understand their point of view to their satisfaction.  Such was my study of other religions at Wheaton College.  After that, I studied liberal Christianity at a liberal seminary from strong proponents.

Actually, the Bible and Christianity should be evaluated in a very opposite way from the critics.  Christianity was a key to ending slavery among Christians in the second century.  Christians could not see enslaving brothers in the Lord and others created in the image of God.  Slavery at that time was not race-based slavery, but a matter of indenture due to economic situations. 

The Bible lifted the position of women far beyond the Greeks and the Middle Eastern and Roman cultures and really more than all the major cultures of the world.   Some point to the wife’s submission to the husband and are very negative to this.  The Kings of Israel had multiple wives, isn’t that misogynistic?  So how did Christianity establish monogamy in the Western World?  All the Kings of western nations were required to be monogamous.  What a contrast!  What happened.  The west came to enforce the teaching of Jesus that God’s ideal was one man and one woman for a lifetime.  This greatly transcended the culture and elevated women to a level of respect previously not entertained.  In Plato, women were only part of the value of men.  But in the Bible women are created equal in God’s image, deserving care and love to the level that Jesus loved his Church. (Eph. 5). Nothing was ever heard before of such a level of respect for women.  Read the history of India, China, or Japan and note the contrast.  On the status of women compared to the Roman world, see Rodney Stark.  The contrast is amazing. 

The Bible has been the great lifter of humanity.  The idea of just courts and clear evidence is from the Bible; the basic equal value of all people comes from the Bible, you won’t find it in other cultures to this level.  But you would not know this from the social media attack. 

Only a few years back, Reuven Hammer, the Jewish Conservative Rabbi wrote The Torah Revolution on ten revolutionary matters of progress from the Torah, great advances in the world. But when we do not understand the culture of the times and don’t treat the Bible fairly, then there is arrogant disrespect. 

One example of cultural context is the trial by ordeal of the woman accused by her husband of adultery (Num. 5). She drinks the dust of the Temple mixed in water. If she does not get sick, she is innocent. This looks like a terrible thing for the poor woman. It is actually the opposite, a great gain for women. In that culture and today in parts of the Middle East, a woman has no equal justice in the courts. Two witnesses to adultery are not required. The husband could kill her from suspicion or false accusation. So, therefore, the women are given supernatural protection by God in the Temple and a way out of false accusation or unjust suspicion. She is protected by the test and God supernaturally acts for her. If innocent, her husband must receive her, not divorce her, and not again accuse her. All Western movements seeking greater equality only came about in nations influenced by Christianity. Can there be a fair discussion?

The emphasis on care for the poor and marginalized comes from the Bible. You will not find it in most other cultures.  The underclasses were despised. The emphasis on mercy was the key to establish hospitals.  Hospitals were a Christian invention.  

One critic said the Bible was pre-science and its ideas antiquated.  However, the Bible and biblical faith only arose leading to great advancement due to Biblical emphases.  As many have pointed out; Stark, Whitehead of Harvard (Science and the Modern World), and the historian Herbert Butterfield, the Bible taught that nature was the creation of a God of order and followed his laws.  Such laws could be discovered.  This was a key to science.  The Bible anticipated science and its accuracies show its amazing divine origins.  

The quest for human rights only arose in cultures influenced by the Bible.  Again and again, we see how advanced the Bible is.  

Most of what I write here is not new to cultural apologists.  

The First Right Of Refusal

I have written several articles on the dangers of Critical Race Theory and that its orientation is contrary to the Bible’s solution to racial disparities.  I won’t repeat any of that here.  

I wonder how many of my readers have concluded that the CRT movement and the continued disparities in outcomes among races is due to a failure of the Church and its disobedience to make the priority of the Church the Gospel to the poor, needy and marginalized.  Yeshua makes this most clear in Luke 4 when He says that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him to bring Good News to the Poor, to the imprisoned, to the blind and their recovering sight.  The ministry of Yeshua demonstrates that two groups have the first right of refusal, the Jews (Rom. 1:16) and the poor and marginalized.  

The reconciliation of races and ethnicities in the Gospel, in a context where the emphasis of the ministry of the churches would bring great transformation.  It would lead to stable families, spiritually healthy children, mutual sharing of resources.  Though persecution would be possible, it would bring an economic lift to the poor and marginalized who would find the provision of Yeshua and their brothers and sisters.  They would see themselves as new creatures in the Messiah and would have the power of God to succeed.  In the Gospel our separate ethnic identities can be appreciated for the good things in cultures, but the value of those different cultures has to become second to our overall identity together in Yeshua and our love for one another. Serving the poor well may be a key to revival and also a reason why we have lost so many young adults. 

Eight Key Theological\Values Commitments: A Biographical Sketch

These Became Part Of Tikkun 

At the Kingdom Living Congregation in the Kansas City area on June 19, 2021, I reviewed the foundations of our theology in a biographical way.  Here is the progression. 

When I was 19 years old as a sophomore at The King’s College in New York, in the fall of 1966, I discovered that the teaching I had embraced, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, was not in the Bible. It was a shock. Though I had a Reformed Pastor in high school that did not believe it, I was convinced by my Dispensational mentors and teachers.  This began 3 ½ years of skepticism and very difficult searching.  As I built back theological understanding, there was a progression.  These points of conviction are today established in part of the Messianic Jewish Movement, but all of the points are foundational in Tikkun, our American and Global network.  

  1. Understanding the relationship of Law and Grace.  I had amazing professors in college and graduate school who were, without my knowing it, helping my theological understanding in a way that would prepare me for Messianic Jewish leadership.  In dealing with the issue of the relationship of salvation by grace and the Law, I became convinced that Reformed theology was right on this and not dispensationalism.  We are saved by grace through faith and through not good works of our own. However, that grace is transforming and leads to obedience to the Law as rightly applied in the New Covenant.  This is affirmed in Romans 3:31, and 8:3 and explained in Calvin’s Institutes, Book II, Section VII.    
  2. The Mosaic Covenant is a Covenant Grace and Salvation.  In 1969 I was taught by Dr. Samuel Schultz who wrote The Gospel of Moses and Deuteronomy, The Gospel of God’s Love.  I was also introduced to Meredith Kline of Gordon Conwell Seminary and his Treaty of the Great King.  I understood from them that the Mosaic Covenant material was in the form of a vassal treaty from the 15th century B. C.  Its form proved that God saved Israel by grace and then required obedience as a thankful response.  It was not given as a covenant of works righteousness.  The New Covenant is a greater grace covenant than Moses and gives much greater power for obedience.  The Mosaic Covenant is a covenant of salvation by grace. 
  3. We are to build Acts 2:42 Community (1970-71):  In 1970 Patty, my wife today, and I were searching for the meaning of the Church.  We were not satisfied with just going to meetings.  We met with fellow students who believed we were to build lasting communities with intimate shared life, covenant relationships that would last a lifetime.  We were to build community under an eldership.  We were to be like an extended family, a tribe in Yeshua.  This has been my ideal ever since. 
  4. The Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom (1971).  I was before 1971 skeptical about the last days (eschatology) My spiritual father from Wheaton, the college chaplain, Dr. Evan Welsh, gave me a book. With tears in his eyes he said the teaching that my father gave is returning to the Church.  He gave me George Ladd’s book, The Gospel of the Kingdom.  It was so important.  I came to understand that the New Testament is eschatology and teaches that the future Kingdom has broken into this age with the coming of Yeshua and the gift of the Spirit.  The Gospel is the invitation into the Kingdom of God which is here now, but only partially. It is already but not yet, inaugurated but not consummated.  When the Kingdom is extended to the nations, history is moving toward the second coming of Yeshua where the not yet will be fulfilled.  We are called to live in and from the Kingdom.  The Kingdom is seen when people live by the Kingdom and its power is shown.
  5. We are to be a Connectional Church (1971)  (a church of city: Presbyterian (1971).  As the pull toward ministry returned to me, I asked the question, how is the Church to be ordered or governed?  I saw a disaster in college days in an independent church. No one could bring correction.  Then I understood that by the time of the end of the New Testament period, some cities had thousands of believers like Jerusalem.  They met in different house gatherings, but all were under one eldership of the city.  The cities were also linked.  The closest thing to what I saw in the Scriptures was Presbyterianism, where the churches were one in each city under an eldership.  I went to Presbyterian seminary and joined a Presbyterian Church.
  6. Jews Who come to Faith are to Identify and Live as Jews, as part of their people.  (1972-1973) Through Chaplain Welsh at Wheaton, I was encouraged to consider being called to the Jewish Presbyterian Church in Chicago where he was the interim minister.  I was called and accepted at the First Hebrew Christian Church, June 1972.  There some of the elders had come to believe in continuing Jewish life and identity in Yeshua.  They challenged me.  I studied the issue for a year, both biblically and in scholarly writings.  From the example of Paul, the early Messianic Jewish Community and Romans 9-11 especially, I came to believe that Jews who come to faith in Yeshua are called to identify and live as Jews and that Messianic Jewish congregations were crucial to fulfill that calling.  We became Adat Ha Tikvah Congregation.  We also affirmed embracing the Jewish rabbinic heritage where it is coherent to the Bible. 
  7. We must embrace Charismatic power, deliverance and healing.  (1975-1976).  I was challenged to bring psychological and spiritual health to very troubled people in my congregation.   I was not succeeding.  Through a dear couple whom I led to the Lord, I was encouraged to go to a church meeting with leadership that believed in deliverance.  I discovered deliverance ministry and inner spiritual healing when there were few books on the subject.  We learned by doing.  From this experience, I was now a committed charismatic that saw the power of the gifts of the Spirit in operation. 
  8. God Will Restore His Church, Eph. 4, John 17:21, Acts 2 and Five Pillars. (1980).  I was called to Beth Messiah Congregation in Rockville, Maryland outside of Washington, D. C.  (January 1978). A leader in one of the local churches visited me at our home and asked if I believed in the restoration of the Church.  I did not know what he was talking about.  I asked him if he believed in the restoration of Israel.  He was replacement theology and said, the Church is Israel.  He later had a total change of view on this.  Within the next month in a devotional time, I experienced a visitation form the Lord.  He encouraged me by sharing that all I was came from a succession of impartations from parents, relatives, and godly leaders.  He also noted that my calling was connected to honoring my Jewish father and the heritage of my Norwegian mother.  He then said that my Jewish calling was very rooted in my Norwegian ancestors. I later traveled to Norway and found that there was a heritage of support for the Jewish people and their restoration to the Land reaching back to the mid-19th century.   After this, God led me to connect John 17:21 and Ephesians 4:11ff.  I came to conviction that God would restore his Church to unity as both passages envision and that through five-fold ministry, especially through apostles and prophets, we would see the fulfillment of the prayer of Yeshua for unity and the vision for unity and maturity in Eph. 4.  This would be a key to the salvation of Israel and the return of Yeshua.  Our network that today is called Tikkun was started in 1984 to live out these convictions. 

For the first 9 years of its existence, I led the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations.  The UMJC affirmed the first six points of this theology.  However, despite my efforts, they did not generally affirm the seventh and eighth points.  I am committed to the UMJC for the first 6 points.  Tikkun embraces the seventh and eighth.  Much of what I taught in the early years was also taught by Dr. David Stern.  His books and mine are quite parallel. 

IBRAHIM KENDI; ANTI RACISM: How to be an Anti-racist

Sometimes I want to concentrate on Biblical theology, Messianic Jewish themes and the Church.  However, I have a background in apologetics.  This goes back to the cultural apologetics of Francis Schaeffer who spoke at Wheaton College in the fall of 1967.  It is part of my text, The Biblical Worldview, An Apologetic.  Cultural apologetics analyzes the culture(s) around us from a biblical perspective.  It shows the dead ends in those cultures and the destructive aspects that lead us on to biblical faith as the only basis for lasting human fulfillment.  This is my personal background and why I sometimes address cultural issues, including political issues. 

I have written before on the important topic of critical race theory.   I have been reading more.  There are good books and articles evaluating this from a biblical faith position, but I wanted to read more in the original, just as I did for critical theory in general.  Readers may remember my review of Herbert Marcuse.  Critical race theory understands race as a social construct (it is, much more than ethnicity and culture) which because of its use by white skinned people created oppressive structures to maintain power and privilege.  This in my view was indeed historically true.  However, the CRT people believe that these power structures still exist and systematically produce inequity or disparities in outcomes for race representation and prosperity that are obscene.  The term racism is re-defined from the belief that some races are inherently or essentially inferior to the new definition of systems and policies that are in place that bring about the disparities among races, in this case, primarily Blacks and Hispanics.  Somehow it does not affect Asians!   I did find that different proponents of CRT have very different views on white guilt.  Some CRT folks have an essentialism that contradicts their relativistic epistemology and see whites an in inherently defective race such as in the black Nation of Islam.   Others do not teach race essentialism. Some teach an inherent with guilt, and some do not on other bases.  For Ibrahim Kendi, systemic racism is not based for many in the belief of blacks being inferior but is just a matter of self-interest to maintain position and many are actually oblivious to how their orientation fosters systemic racism.  The key for Kendi is anti-racist policies not getting whites to naval gaze in guilt as others do.  The anti-racist fosters effective policies that change the game.  For some CRT proponents only those in power can be racists.  Blacks thus cannot be racists. For Kendi, blacks indeed can be racists if they embrace the inferiority of whites as a race.   CRT is a complex movement, and it is better to say what particular writers say beyond the basic assertions where all agree on the issue of power and institutional racist structures. 

It is very interesting that Kendi’s parents were at one time Evangelicals.  They were at the Intervarsity Urbana Missions Conference in 1970 at the University of Illinois.  His mother was a student at Nyack Missionary College of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.  However, after those years they were affected by liberation theology which was very liberal in theological views (not just political and social).  The next generation sometimes is even more radical as is the case with their son Kendi.  Kendi’s book is both biographical and a presentation of his basic views.  I note that relativism in the theory of knowledge (epistemology) has been devastating in academia, is irrational, and leads to much lower standards of scholarship. It is destructive to scholarship and makes scholarship a tool for the power assertions of preferred narratives.  We will see this constantly in Kendi. 

My empathy is with African Americans who are frustrated that 60 years after civil rights there are still such disparities in outcomes in attainment, income, health and so much more. Why?  The right analysis is crucial.

Ibrahim Kendi is now probably the most popular CRT proponent.  His books are widely promoted on campuses across America.  It is assigned reading in our military!   I started this essay and then on the same night, Tucker Carlson had a whole segment on it, some of which was right and some unfair and out of context.  

Here are some points for understanding and evaluation.  First the good points.  

  1. Kendi points out that the idea of integration as the solution was not effective.  He rather says the solution is resourcing the black community.  While I do not believe in race based affirmative action (how much black blood percentages or white blood or between is discussed by him), I believe in affirmative action for the poor and marginalized.  This then will effect the ethnic groups that are most in need. The issue however is that resourcing has to go to what is proven effective and not just flushing the money down the drain.  However, a black school can be effective and there are examples. I support one very effective black school.  Quality is more important than integration. 
  2. Kendi wants to preserve black spaces so blacks can be themselves in their own cultural contexts.  However, he does not want segregation but only times of separation.  He is in favor of black and white interaction and points of integration.  
  3. He wants to emphasize that white European cultures are not the norm for evaluating other cultures.  I strongly agree with that.  Somethings are great in these cultures historically and some are not; so also with African cultures. 
  4. Kendi sees the center of racism not as ideological prejudice but self-centeredness. Self-centeredness is behind the creation of the racists ideas that can use and oppress others for self.  I think this is indeed very true.  There are those who historically could not grasp cultures and their positive values when they were not white Europeans, and they were only drawing conclusions out of their own ethnocentrism and did not use others for themselves. But others took these evaluations of inferiority to aggrandize themselves.    
  5. Kendi does seek a more just world where advancement and prosperity is more well distributed and benefits more.  This is a biblical ideal which I will explain toward the end of this article. He does not realize that his ideals of equality are partly Bible based and in the long run will not be sustained without the Bible.  
  6. Kendi understands that race is a social construction and that there are many ethnicities and many shades of skin color. However, because of racism, we have to deal with race as a category to overcome the oppression of the past.   

Here are the most problematic and troubling views

  1. Relativistic Theory of Knowledge.  (Relativistic Epistemology).  The idea of objective truth is rejected.  Readers who have not studied his area of philosophy may not realize what this means, but it is central.  All students of the theory of how we come to know something is true and really the way things are (objective) know that the quest is hard.  Yet there must be no giving up of the quest.  The quest for objective knowledge is not just a western idea or something that is part of white culture and white supremacy as asserted.  Many cultures have developed the basic laws of logic.  Yeshua appeals to logic and shows the contradictions of the Pharisees.  When one rejects logic and objective truth one loses the ability of evaluation.  It leads to irrationality and incoherence.  Narratives are created.  Arguing for a view is a power assertion for how one wants to things to be, but with no basis of reality.  Kendi asserts this relativism and undercuts his whole argument.  
  2. Cultural relativism.  Kendi asserts that all cultures are equal and none superior to others.  Yes, it is wrong to make western European and American culture the norm to judge cultures.  Indeed, this was done historically in glaring ways.  But Kendi is profoundly incoherent.  Kendi seeks a culture of equity meaning that different races and ethnicities attain broad equality in prosperity and representation in societal roles.  However, most cultures never sought or practiced such, not India, China, Japan, or even much of Africa.  Certainly, it is not found in Islamic nations where women are not given equality. There must be a norm to evaluate cultures.  For us that norm is the Bible, but since Kendi has rejected the Bible and its law as the norm, he is left simply asserting his desires.  It reminds me of the story of a guest at a Passover Seder in our home years ago. She asserted that all cultures were equal and we were not to judge.  I asked about cultures of head hunters where eating people was a religious act.  She at first reacted as if the truth was getting through, but then said, “If that is their religion, who am I do judge.”  The cultural relativism of Kendi is profoundly wrong and self-defeating even for his own goals. 
  3. Equality or Equity is largely defined as equal resourcing and outcomes.  Assuring equal outcomes in income and social roles moves us to redistribution.  As soon as we use race as a basis for income transfer, the get into the unsolvable problems as to who receives the help.  How black does a person have to be?  What if one is ¼ black and looks like a white?   The idea of equity of outcome is impossible to attain.  See #5 below.  
  4. The emphasis on micro-agressions is so subjective that it will not produce solutions but only tie up people in knots and walking on eggshells.  Such an overemphasis will lead to whites avoiding blacks since they will not be able to pass the test of not violating micro-aggressions which is always changing.  Some employers, not of the big corporations but smaller businesses, avoid hiring blacks so as to avoid the never ending magnifying glass of micro aggression accusations.  They perceive that this will bring strife into their business.   The overemphasis on race is bad for race relationships. 
  5. While he admits race is a construct (cultures are more real) he then wants to have race based solutions.  Since discrimination was the sin of the past the solution is reverse discrimination in race based affirmative action.  Sadly, this will produce resentment and tribalism.   
  6. One what basis do you favor a race?  Are Nigerian immigrants included since they are doing very well in the country?  How about the Chinese, Japanese or dark sinned Indians from India?  All are doing very well. The Indians are at the top in learning and income.  Do we give special support to rich African Americans?  All attempts to give support based on race will lead to failure.  When the support is need based, it will go more to the race that needs it.  Though not based on race, it will help the poor blacks the most since they are the ones most in need.  As soon as one goes to race based, one again is dealing with percent of blood, colorism (how black is the person) etc.   
  7. Kendi criticizes ablism.  That is a term that referred to those who had disabilities.  People with disabilities should be able to qualify for positions that that are not made impossible by their disability.  However, ableism, and merit-based promotion is rejected as from white supremacy for a new kind of system where there are more equal results even in math etc.  This has led to school systems claiming math as discriminatory and changing the math programs to eliminate advanced math courses so all can be more equal.  It also leads to eliminating testing.  Yes, tests need to be examined for objective quality and not cultural discrimination, but objective norms are crucial.  How can you have engineers who build buildings that do not collapse and bridges that are safe without objective standards.  Imagine brain surgeons being given certification due to their racial categorization rather than rigorous standards?  The gains of medicine, technology and health come from people who pass highly exacting standards. Dumbing down math will not improve the Black situation with the claim that testing is white. 
  8. Kendi as many others joins the gay and the whole LGBTQ agenda as intersecting.  Hence the most important aggrieved person is the black transgender women, since she/he intersects with three oppressed categories, transgender, women and black.  This person is l the acid test of policy.   
  9. So much is incoherent.  Systemic racism in this book is systemically incoherent
  10. Kendi does not explicitly assert radical socialism as the solution to disparate outcomes in race -equality.  However, he again and again asserts his anti-capitalism.  There is much to criticize in contemporary capitalism, its crony capitalism, the control of the society by the super-rich whose wealth gives them too much power.  However, nothing has been more proven than that socialism leads to poverty for the many.  Reforming capitalism is always needed, but socialism as a system will produce no gains for the black people.  The key to capitalism is requiring investment that expands opportunity for all and limiting the political power of the superrich and maybe even having a limit to personal wealth.  However, only capitalism increases wealth and potentially for all. 
  11. Kendi uses strange language and speaks constantly about black people as black bodies.  Is this emphasis on physicality part of a materialistic atheism?  It is just strange with amazing Incoherence in the confluence of ideas and  intersectionality.
  12. Here is an amazing incoherence.  Kendi asserts a radical equality of all cultures in his cultural relativism, but also asserts the superiority of a culture or political situation in which all races and ethnicities as equal and successful (equity).  The idea of equality in the west is rooted in the Bible.  All are created in the image of God and as Paul says, God has made every ethnicity on the earth from one original human couple.  Hence all are to be offered eternal life and are important to God.  Removing this idea and replacing it with atheistic Marxist notions of equality will certainly lead to failure since the roots for this understanding will cause the tree to wither.  Eventually sinful man will use power assertion to oppress other categories of people.  
  13. Kendi does not perceive that there are cultural patterns that do lead to greater poverty.  He seems to give no credit to a stable family with a father and mother as a key predictor of overcoming poverty.  This has been proven again and again. 
  14. Kendi constantly affirms the nostrums of the left, and it undercuts his credibility.  For example, Judge Kavanaugh appointed to the Supreme Court is still said to be a women abuser (despite no proven evidence) and conservatives on the court further white supremacy. There is prejudice after prejudice in Kendi on these kinds of things.   Justice Thomas, a black conservative, furthers white supremacy and is part of that contingent of blacks that do so.  So, a true black anti-racist must support socialistic, affirmative action discrimination and more or is an Uncle Tom.  He must be a leftist. 

Kendi provides very little in policy solutions.  His view is that systemic racism is a matter of bad policy.  I agree that racial disparities is partly based in bad policy, but which policies is a issue.  It is hard to say what he really thinks will work.  Socialism?  Quotas for race disparities? Reparations or payments based on race?   Really, I don’t think he presents real workable solutions to the systemic racial disparities of income and attainment in our society.  The fuzziness on policy is quite notable.  Bigger government and its controls seem to be what he is indicating. 

One other thing of is important.   If a nation is to have unity, it must emphasize its common values.  While ethnic distinctions may be valued, they have to give way to the larger framework of the unity in values or we will produce warring tribalism forever fighting over fair distribution for the tribe.  The perception of unfairness will become rooted in every grouping with its consequent resentment and anger.  Blacks, Hispanics, darker blacks vs. lighter blacks, whiter Hispanics verses dark Hispanics, India Indians, Native Americans, European descendants, Chinese, Japanese, darker Philippine people, and more will all be aggrieved. Rather, the emphasis on our common humanity and helping those in need equally has to be the norm, need based not race or ethic based. 

Biblical Anti-Racism 

Biblical anti-racism addresses ethnic pride and assertions of dominance.  Two foundational biblical teachings are key. The first is that all human beings are created in the image of God.  Therefore, the basic equality of worth in the image of God is firmly established.  As such the Bible can assert, ‘From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth.”  

The second truth is that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. This is asserted again and again.  All need the Gospel and its transforming power.  Kendi gets closer to the Bible view when he asserts that racism is rooted in self-interest!   Yes, the Bible says that sinful self-interest seeks to use others, to dominate them.  It seeks to put ourselves, our families and our tribes into the position of dominance, use them and then to demean others.  It defends the superiority of those who are like us and of us.  This is not,, contrary to Kendi, only a western colonial problem.   The Chinese leaders today see themselves as superior and having a right to dominate.  The Japanese did.  The warring Indian tribes of India did.  The genocide in Rwanda has such roots of sin.  

In the Bible only one nation is chosen and they are chosen to bring blessing to the other nations or ethnic peoples.  Their election was not based in their superiority.  God warns them again and again, especially in Deut.8-10, that they are not a superior people but sinful, stubborn and unworthy people who are only elect due to his gracious calling.  

Ethnic pride and the assertion of the superiority of one’s culture has to die at the cross. Now in Yeshua all people who embrace the Gospel also become elect or chosen.  The calling to overcome ethnic division is at the heart of discipleship.  The valuing of one’s own ethnic identity has to decrease and become secondary to the reality of our common identity as God’s elect people in Yeshua.  Love must overcome temptation to self.  One can value the good things in one’s culture or the culture of others but there is an overarching Kingdom culture from the Sermon on the Mount and the Bible as the norming norm.  Cultures are only better or worse to the extent that they live by biblical norms and values. 

Kendi’s embrace of sexual aberrations as intersectional in deprivation with racism will bring destruction to those who embrace such aberrant lifestyles.  Kingdom values bring all cultures into criticism.  We can all it the biblical critical school!  Only that which passes in agreement with biblical moral teaching can be embraced.  As such, Kendi’s cultural relativism is profoundly anti biblical.  It produces terrible incoherence.  On the values side he seeks equality and equity, but cannot criticize Islamic nations or others that are not western due to intersectionality since all that is non-western has to be embraced as representing peoples who were exploited.  Oppression in other societies is given a bye.  However, in the Bible, all cultures that oppress are brought into judgement by God (see Amos1-3).  Only biblical norms can redeem cultures. Without biblical transformation, today’s atheist and secular quest for equity will end with new oppression.   The self-root cannot be overcome in a humanistic way. Opposing one race to another and fostering a secular white guilt will fail. Real guilt can be atoned for only at the cross.  One must not see all whites as guilty for being white so that recent immigrants are as guilty as descendants of slave owners.  

So where do we begin?

  1. First, Critical Race Theory and secular anti-racism challenge the Church for its failure.  The most profound failure of the Church is to miss the priority of offering the Gospel and works of compassion.  Luke 4 brings this out where Yeshua says his Gospel is to the poor, the captive, and the prisoner. The Gospel is for all, but the first right of refusal is always to the most needy.  As such every church, every denomination and association should have been making serving the poor and needy the center of their ministry.  Most of the wrong nostrums for dealing with race in our society can be traced to the abysmal failure of the Church to live according to the Biblical emphasis from the Torah, to the prophets to the New Testament. 
  2. The way to biblical prosperity or success in the Bible is to become a disciple of Yeshua, to enter the Kingdom and then experience the great reversal of conditions from his power.  The poor are blessed because poverty does not define a follower of Yeshua. (Matt. 5).  The Kingdom has come.  Lasting success and prosperity cannot be attained apart from Biblical moral norms and this includes biblical norms for sexuality, marriage and the family.  When the society fosters lifestyles contrary to these norms it fosters poverty and ultimate destruction. 
  3. Many big government policies to lift the poor and the African American community have at least partly failed.  Kendi is right about wrong policies, but he misses just where policies are wrong and will prescribe, in part, the same solutions that have failed.  For example, some public schools in poor communities are underfunded. This would be his emphasis.  But two such school systems in black cities are some of the highest funded in America, and most students from poor black communities are not learning to read.  The schools graduating a majority as illiterates.  Imagine if Blacks and all poor people were given vouchers to choose the schools they desire, but only schools showing good outcomes would be qualified for the choice.  What a revolution that would be!  Yes, the public teachers unions are part of the reason for systemic racial disparities! Does Kendi see this?   No, but many black parents do!  They want vouchers and charters!

Here is a list of policies that could help, but remember that only so much progress will be made without the Gospel. 

  1. Education vouchers and true education choice for all; equal funding for such vouchers. 
  2. Change welfare to incentivize fathers to stay in the home and subsidize income rather than penalizing those families that lose support and have less due to a working father. 
  3. Connect welfare to workfare and job training. 
  4. Incentives for enterprise zones in poor communities and police protection for such businesses so riots and criminals will not make businesses unfeasible. Walgreens leaving San Francisco neighborhoods is not helpful to poor communities!
  5. Bring a well-trained and massive police presence in poor neighborhoods to end gun violence, gangs, and drug dealing is key.  
  6. Encourage business to hire the poor who can do the job and not go for hiring the overqualified. 
  7. End prison for non-violent crimes and have community work and restoration programs.  

Yes, we do agree that the outcomes for different races and ethnicities should not be so unequal.  But we cannot just snap our fingers and pass laws making outcomes equal. The answer is not to dumb down education, math etc. and end the basic norms of meritocracy.  Rather it is to work to qualify more.  One cannot have bridge builder engineers and brain surgeons who do not qualify just to fill a quota.  One has to be able to do the job well.  The key is programs to qualify more.  Again and again, we see that an intact family is a key matter in all this again and again.  Socialism is not the answer, but we should limit the obscene levels of individual wealth that brings controlling power over the whole society.  Creating more wealth for all requires a regulated free enterprise.  Only the dynamic of people in free enterprise, some making more, some less, but all with adequate provision, can expand wealth. Socialism brings poverty for all but for those in charge of the system.   We should indeed have incentives to hire the poor, but not base it on race but poverty.  The overemphasis on race, micro aggressions and more will produce more resentment and division.  Some CRT theorists are anti white racists, but thankfully not Kendi.  

This is my answer to Kendi.  

Be Not Unequally Yoked

A few days ago in my devotions, I was reading II Cor. 6.  The verses were highlighted to me by the Holy Spirit.  

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness.  Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?  What harmony does Messiah have with Belial?  What agreement does God’s Temple have with idols?  For we are the Temple of the living God—just as God said. . . “Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says ADONAI.” v. 14-17

I gave some time for reflection.  We often see these verses as precluding a marriage between a follower of Yeshua and a non-follower.  The verses certainly so apply.  The verse is also often applied to unequal business relationships.  However, it is much broader than that.  The text speaks in general terms and challenges us to reflect on what constitutes an unequal yoke.  I think it best applies to yoking that will tend to bring a person or persons who claim to follow Yeshua into influences that will undercut the soundness of their faith walk with God.  Such a yoke will end up producing weakness in commitment to the biblical worldview and confidence in its teaching.  As a young person, I chose an Evangelical College (The King’s College and Wheaton) because I wanted to learn in a context that would bolster my faith/walk.  I did want to be fair and study other views with as much objectivity as possible, but not to be thrown into an ocean to sink or swim without the guidance of godly professors.   

When our oldest children, now 46 and 44, were entering kindergarten, my wife Patty asked if we were going to send our children to the public school.  Seeing where things were going, we had real reservations and started a school that lasted 30 years and whose last principal continues to lead a successor school today.  Our motto was “Raising children who are mighty in Spirit.” 

The issue of how to draw the line of being in the world but not of the world is a constant challenge.  The Amish and Chabad Chasidic Jews lose very few of their young people.  They are growing inter-generationally.  Rabbi Schneerson’s teaching on where to draw the line is challenging and has lessons for us.  The way of these communities is to create alternative societies where the influence of the larger world is very limited and mediated.   I did not conclude that we had to go that far. I will give an example. 

Growing up in the 1950s was such a contrast to today.  The public schools considered it to be their responsibility to never undercut the teachings of the families and churches of their students.  Most were in churches.  Indeed, schools reinforced the moral teachings.  However, though most of my classmates were in churches and synagogues (I was not) by high school there was a great shift.  Most of my classmates dropped out of church in high school.  I attributed it to the teaching of naturalistic evolution in the science classes, especially 9th and 10th grades.  The end of Bible reading and prayer before class (1962) was another loss.  Now the school systems explicitly teach contrary to God’s word.  At that time health classes for teen boys told them to take a cold shower, today they teach how to use a condom.  Socialism, critical race theory which contradicts God’s teaching on sin and reconciliation, gender fluidity, the LGBT movement’s teachings and so much more are intensively part of indoctrination.  Sex education is immoral, even in elementary school.   So how can parents in America today place their children and young people under teachers who are sometimes themselves influenced by the demonic for six or more hours every day, then send them to secular colleges and expect their faith to survive?  The statistics say their faith is not surviving.   So, what is an unequal yoke? It is at least a yoke that is likely over time to destroy faith.  I was pondering all this when a pop-up on my computer led to an article from Dennis Prager, one of my favorite Jewish writers.  Here is what he said.  I think quoting him is well worth it.  Perhaps my school in the 1950s was not an unequal yoke. 

“The single best thing Americans can do to counter the left-wing attack on America—against its freedoms, its schools, its families, its children, its governmental institutions, its sports, its news and entertainment media, its medical establishment, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department, and the military—is to take their children out of America’s schools.

Other than in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the vast majority of America’s elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities teach your child or grandchild almost nothing important; prematurely sexualize them, thereby robbing them of their innocence; and harm them intellectually and morally. They rarely teach them, for example, art or music because they are too busy teaching them race-centered hatred of whites, of America, and of America’s values. Sending your child(ren) to most American schools is playing Russian roulette with their values—but unlike the gun in Russian roulette, which has a bullet in only one of its six chambers, the schools’ guns hold four or five bullets.

In many elementary schools, your child is taught that gender is chosen and that there is no difference between boys and girls (in a growing number of schools, the teachers are told not to call their students “boys and girls”); they are taught about masturbation; and many children from first grade on attending “Drag Queen Story Hour,” wherein an obvious man wearing women’s clothing, garish makeup, and a wig entertains them.

Why do parents send their children to these schools? One reason is they are in denial. Many parents do not want to know what their children are being taught and the consequent damage done to them. They don’t really believe school(s) will ruin their child, let alone their child’s relationship with them.

These parents should speak to any of the millions—yes, millions—of Americans whose children have contempt for America, for free speech, and for their parents as a result of attending an American college or even high school. I meet such people at every speech I give, and I speak to them regularly on my radio show. Ask these parents, if they could redo their lives, whether they would keep their child in school.”

Prager is speaking about values that are largely biblical, but my concern is directly biblical faith.  We are losing the battle and need a mighty move of God for repentance and reformation. 

Toxic Shame 

Recently I read a great book that describes building a truly loving community.   The authors call it a “hesed” community using the Hebrew word that has been translated covenant love, steadfast love, loving kindness and more.  The book is The Other Half of the Church by Michal Hendricks and Jim Wilder.  They call their vision full brained Christianity and claim that Christianity in the West is too left brained; rational, logical and information heavy.  The left brain is important, but the intuitive and the quality of immediate response habits are built in the right brain, from depth of relationships and love.  This is foundational to discipleship. I am not a materialist so I would rather call this the other side of the soul or mind that is connected to these spheres of the brain. The relationship of the mind/soul to the braine is a deep philosophical issue that I cannot unpack here.  Building upon the great books by Dallas Willard on discipleship, they argue that only loving community with mutual correction, humility and openness can disciple most people.  It must be modeled by the leaders of the community. Their case is very strong.  They put into new language something I have believed and taught now for more than 40 years.  

One of the more salient parts of the book is their development of the concept of shame.  They distinguish between toxic shame and healthy shame.  All sin carries a degree of shame, but God and healthy brothers and sisters meet us with restorative correction.  They come along side, not with an accusative you, but identification, showing the person that their behavior is not in line with the “we” of the community and the example and teaching of Yeshua.  In this way the person who sins does not slink away in isolation but repents in the context of restorative love.  In such community restoration and growth takes place.  Shame is temporary in a context of love; deliverance takes place in repentance and forgiveness.  Such a community requires loving, humble and vulnerable leaders.  

The authors contrast a healthy community to congregations led by dominant leaders who use toxic shame to cow others into submission and to remove themselves from correction, questioning or challenge.  Toxic shame leaders have a narcissistic part to their personality, not in the full psychiatric sense, but in a broader sense of meaning whereby self-centeredness and ego is too much a part of their personality and style of leadership.  Such leaders can build large congregations or gatherings, but not quality community.  These leaders, who do not live an open life, sometimes fall into serious sins.  People are shocked, but if we would look at the narcissist aspect of such leaders, we would be less surprised.

The issue of toxic shame is not only relevant for the Body of the Messiah, but to life in the sphere of politics, education, corporate life and family life.  In the book Good to Great, Collins et. el, describe a healthy corporation and its leadership.  It is one where the employees want to work.  It is a corporate community whose leaders do not operate though toxic shame.  However, there are corporations where leaders keep order and obedience while fostering resentment though the use of toxic shame, calling out others in a terrible way.  This is now so prominent in our present social culture.  Cancel culture is an explicitly enjoined method (see the writings of Herbert Marcuse) to use shame to shut down debate and assert power to gain the ends of the people who cancel.  It is an amazing power tool.  Shaming vocabulary is unmistakable.  Those who are not racists are called racists, others are called homophobes and others called transphobes.  This shuts down reasoning and good debate.  It is not possible, and people, in fear of being canceled and shamed back down.  Questions about global warming? You are shamed as a science denier.  Questions about naturalistic evolution? You are a fundamentalist flat earth devotee.  Question critical race theory?  You are a racist. 

In the political sphere today toxic shaming in rampant.  Chuck Schumer regularly says of his Republican opponents, they should be ashamed.  Usually it is really just cancel move, a power assertion to preclude policy disagreements.  Our former President, for all the good policies his administration implemented, engaged in toxic shaming at a terrible level.  This has been a continues pattern.  Think of his shaming of Carlie Fiorina, Mark O’Rubio and others in the primaries.  The name calling was very disturbing.  It continued with shaming those who formerly worked for him like James Mattis, or other colleagues, Paul Ryan, John McCain and many others.  Yet is it so common in politics on both sides.  

Toxic shaming is way for a person to remove himself or herself from vulnerability and correction. It is a way of self-protection and a blunt instrument of power assertion and domination.  We see it as the left seeks to shame the police in general or diners who will not stand up and shout Black Lives Matter. 

Most people do not even understand what is happening when this goes on.  They may see a strong leader or say it is just politics or being New Yorkish.  However, it is very destructive. 

I believe that we would do wall to raise consciousness on this issue, name it as a gross and unacceptable sin, and push back against people who engage in it; at schools, businesses, in politics, family and in all spheres where toxic shaming is used.  Can you imagine how our politics would change if toxic shaming was called out eliminated?  Can you imagine social debates without such toxic shaming?  I have actually had to defriend Facebook friends for engaging in this.  Social media is rife with it.  But I will push back and hard from now on.  Toxic shaming should have no part in our behavior as followers of Yeshua.  We may severely disagree with the sinful life of others, but will speak in redemptive love.