Home Voices The Exchange Pat Sawyer: Cautions Regarding Critical Race Theory, Part 3

Pat Sawyer: Cautions Regarding Critical Race Theory, Part 3

The third and final post of Dr. Sawyer's thoughts and concerns on CRT.

As Christians we must keep in mind that as receivers of God’s revelation, we have to be careful not to impose our race, ethnicity, gender, class, or social standing on the interpretation (derived meaning) of Scripture. Naturally, those things will be in play for anyone approaching the Scriptures but we must be careful to bracket them and not let them unduly influence how we come to the proper and specific meaning of the text. Every text of Scripture has specific meaning(s) that is never codependent or determined by our personal attributes or demographic markers and is available to all (across time and cultures) via study (reason) and/or illumination of the Spirit (John 16:13; Acts 17:2-3).

In addition, there is a difference between interpretation and application when it comes to Scripture. We should generally view interpretation and application as somewhat distinctive recognizing at times the meaning of a text is derived by way of its application (see the important work of theologian, John Frame, on this point). While there certainly can be wrong applications of Scripture that are at variance with its meaning and/or the meaning of other texts of Scripture, it is nevertheless true that there can be several accurate applications of texts of Scripture. As such, one’s social demographics and lived experience can become germane in terms of how a certain text may be applied to the life.

Finally, as it pertains to the Scriptures, a thoroughgoing embracement of CRT can begin to erode the belief in both the inerrancy and sufficiency of God’s word. The nature of critical social theory in general and critical race theory specifically is that it wants a higher and higher preeminence in one’s worldview. It wants more and more jurisdiction in the mind. In a sense it wants to colonize one’s thinking. This is partly why CST (and CRT within it) has penetrated other fields of study in the academy as well as various sectors and institutions in broader society. The path of apostasy is paved with the discarded bricks of inerrancy and sufficiency. May we take heed, and may we be determined to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).