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Dr. Tony Evans: Critical Race Theory? God Is Calling Us to ‘Kingdom Race Theology’

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In a recent sermon to his Dallas congregation, Dr. Tony Evans proposed a biblical alternative to critical race theory (CRT), saying Christ has set new rules and made us new people. Speaking at the July 14 midweek meeting at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Evans defines CRT, describes why it’s become such a hot-button topic, and offers insights from Scripture about how God wants us to live as members of his kingdom.

Dwight McKissic used Twitter to encourage people to listen to Evans’ message, titled “The Truth About Critical Race Theory.” McKissic, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, writes, “Do yourself a favor & hear this message from Dr. Tony Evans on Critical Race Theory. The body of Christ is divided over this topic. God has given Dr. Evans a message on this topic that can bring healing & unity to the body. You won’t regret the investment.”

Dr. Tony Evans: The CRT Social Construct Has Become ‘Convoluted’

CRT and the firestorm over it have exploded, Evans says, leaving everyone confused about various terms. “So much has gotten attached to [CRT] and convoluted it,” he says, but it boils down to “a post-Civil Rights social construct” about “how unjust laws that were racist in nature filtered themselves into the operating system of the culture,” becoming “a way of life.” As a result, even after well-meaning laws such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voters Rights Act passed, society itself didn’t change because “the system had already been infiltrated with the previous unrighteous laws and unjust laws” such as Jim Crow.

Evans says CRT attempts “to track how the legal implications of the unjust laws manifest themselves today,” such as through the discriminatory practice of redlining. The pastor points out that CRT is concerned about “racism infiltrating the structures and the systems of society,” not about whether an individual person is racist.

As an example, Evans points to the nearby golf course his church now owns. At one point, it had a whites-only policy before becoming member-owned. After that, though, members set up a system that essentially barred African Americans from the course because they had to be voted in. An individual member could claim that they, as a person, weren’t racist, Evans says, “But the system that you are a part of is.”

Recent debates about the 1619 Project, slavery reparations, police violence, Black Lives Matter, and the Marxist framework of various iterations all end up putting a different spin on CRT, Evans says. That leads to a “lack of clarity” and confuses Christians, he says. “My phone’s blowing up. … My congregation is divided. … And now it’s interfered with our personal relationships.” And while “everybody talks about critical race,” people are talking about so many different things, “which means they’re never gonna agree.”

Dr. Tony Evans Introduces ‘Kingdom Race Theology’

To sort through all the confusion and use God’s Word as a guide, Evans proposes the KRT theory: Kingdom Race Theology. He defines it as “the reconciled recognition, affirmation, and celebration of the divinely created…ethnic differences through which God displays his multifaceted glory, as his people justly, righteously and responsibly function personally, and corporately, in unity under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

Evans says KRT is based on Ephesians 2:11-22, in which Paul discusses the reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles that Jesus made possible. Paul’s letter describes how the circumcision debate led to division and name-calling, even among people attending the same church. In that society, the Jews were privileged, and then the Gentiles entered in. Paul has to spell it out: “Y’all are now Christians,” says Evans. “You’re going to the same church. So it’s time for new rules.”

Verse 13, which begins “but now,” indicates there’s a new “Christo-centric perspective,” Evans says. And verses 14 and 15 sum that up: “For [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.”

“If you’re spending more time discussing CRT than you are KRT, then you’ve been tricked by the world,” Evans says. “Now in Christ, there are new rules. And if you will abide by the new rules of Christ, we will create something new. So while they’re fighting out there, we have peace in here. Because we’re operating on one new man.”

Race becomes an idol, Evans says, when you spend more time focusing on it than on God’s Word. And Christians who fight about CRT may never get around to KRT. The pastor also reminds Christians not to jump to conclusions because of their historically based “racial sensitivities.” Instead, he says, let’s take time to seek clarity.

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 28 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her family.