Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode 79 · 3 weeks ago

Apologetics and Critical Race Theory with Neil Shenvi

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Although Neil has a PhD in theoretical chemistry, he’s made a name for himself as an expert on Critical Race Theory (and Critical Theory more generally). Is CRT just a legal theory? Can anyone know what it really is? Is CRT just a plot by conservatives to gin up votes? Should Christians take CRT and chew the meat and spit out of the bones? Kevin and Neil answer these questions and many more. They also dive into Neil’s new book on apologetics and explore the wild world of evangelical Twitter.

Timestamps:

Intro and Sponsor: Crossway [0:00-2:35]

Guest Introduction: Neil Shenvi [2:36-14:46]

Neil's Map of Evangelical Twitter [14:47-22:27]

Why Believe? [22:28-28:43]

What is Apologetics For? [28:44-36:50]

Sponsor 2: Westminster Seminary Press [36:51-38:02]

How to Understand Critical Race Theory [38:03-1:10:06]

Pastoral Responses [1:10:07-1:20:26]

Books:

Why Believe: A Reasoned Approach to Christianity - Neil Shenvi

The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis

Cold Case Christianity - J. Warner Wallace

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction - Richard Delgado

Is Everyone Really Equal? - Ozlem Sensoy & Robin D'Angelo

God is a Black Woman - Christena Cleveland

Greetings and salutations, welcome back to life and books and everything. I'm Kevin Deyoung and I am joined here with my special guests, who I'll say more about and just a moment, Neil sheenvy. Neil and I live in the same state of North Carolina and I've followed Neil and stuff he's written online for a long time, about several years, and we've emailed here or there, but we haven't had the chance to be in the same place at the same time. So this is the closest we've been, at least virtually in the same place at the same time. So I'm looking forward to having a wide ranging conversation with Neil. And just a moment, and fittingly, cross way, are regular sponsor for life and books and everything, has a new book and we are going to spend some time talking about this book. Among other things, New Cross way book by none other than Neil on why believe, a reasoned approach to Christianity and UH. At two fifty pages, it is a real nice apologetics book that covers the variety of issues, the historicity the resurrection, can you trust the Bible? Some of the philosophical objections to Christianity talks about God and revelation, the uniqueness of Christianity, the doctrine of sin. One of the things Neil explains in there is he doesn't try to get I don't want to say it would be sidetracked, but he doesn't go down trying to explain Christian views of sexuality, marriage and gender, though we're going to hear that he's working on a book that does talk about all of those issues. But this book, Why believe, is a book that you could give to high school student of college student, you could give to elders and your church pastors could benefit from it as well. What I appreciate about is it's pulling together a lot of the common sorts of issues that you would find in apologetics books. It's not a philosophical book in terms of debating how we should do apologetics, but it's telling us how to give some reasoned answers to these questions and we'll I'll be able to ask Neil more about that and just a moment. So thank you. Cross way. So, Neil, welcome to life and books and everything. Glad to have you here. So you are, it seems, a super smart guy. You've got a PhD from CAL Berkeley, worked as a research scientist at Yale and Duke. You've published all sorts of peer reviewed papers and you homeschool your four children, which is maybe the biggest accomplishment of all. So you've written a lot about critical race theory and critical theory and now you've got this book on apologetics. But that's not your academic background. Tell us about yourself, how you became a Christian and a little bit about what's your academic degree and work was in prior to doing all of this. Sure. Well, thank you so much for Kevin, for inviting me. Yeah, yeah, my my training is in theoretical chemistry. So people here chemistry. They think maybe I think Walter White from breaking bad or test tubes, Bunsen burners, and I say no, I'm a theorist, so I think more like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang theory. I have to confess I haven't seen either of those shows ever, not one episodes. I'm just going, just going, based on what I've heard about those shows. But I or think. How about this, I have seen a beautiful mind with Russell Crowe where scrawling equations H in his dorm room window at Princeton actually, which is the word, I did undergraduate, but that's what I do. I'm a theorist training. So I went to Princeton as an undergraduate and then got a PhD at U C Berkeley, and it was really it's really pencil and paper, uh, trying to derive the properties of Adams and molecules from the basic principles of physics. Um. So that's what I by training is in I became a Christian actually at Berkeley. I talked about this in the book a little bit. Three major factors were reading C S Lewis's book the screw tape letters, which I got for free at a campus book table run by throw. I just grabbed it as a non Christian Freshman, I think, and they never saw Hyde nor hair of me for four years. But I could not stop reading the book. It was so insightful and even as a non Christian, I asked how could he know so much about my life, my psychology, what went on in my heart? And of course the answer is that C s Lewis, as a Christian, was plugged into a reality that I was not even aware of. So that was one factor. Another fact after was meeting my future wife Christina,...

...who was a missionary kid at Princeton. Uh, and she was a princeton with with me in the same class, which was the top student in chemistry in our class. Got The highest score on organic chemistry class as a freshman. was super impressive. Anyway, uh, I met her and she was really the first genuine Christian that I ever knew really well, and so just seeing her life and seeing how different she was was great for me. And then we actually went to graduate school together at, you see, Berkeley, and I began to go into church with her and I just heard the gospel there and and more than that, I saw that people in the congregation were my professors. So I had my my quantum physics professor as a first graduate student, sang in the choir and he taught us later in class. He would where his his first president, UH, sweatshirt, first President Church at Berkeley sweatshirt to class occasionally and he told me US later at like a graduate Christian Fellowship. That was intentional as his way of saying, I'm a Christian. If you want to talk to me about it, you're welcome to just an invitation to do that. So those three things combined to basically make me think. I have to take these ideas seriously. And for me the big obstacle was that I was spiritual but not religious, and I thought I had got all figured out and confronting the idea that what if Jesus actually was the son of God, he wasn't just a cool guy or a good moral teacher, and if that's true, that I have to turn from all of my carefully constructed build to bear spirituality and embrace this historic faith. And actually I didn't like that at the time, I realized, because that would I mean, I'm I'd have to humble myself and admit that I was not this academic, brilliant superstar, was actually like a child entering God's kingdom. But I did. I just said to God it. Well, you know, if Jesus is who he claimed to be, then I'll follow him. And you know, he brought me into the end of the kingdom. And you had no background in Christianity prior to that. Not Really. Um, my mom was raised as Catholic and then we never when never went to church. My Dad was Hindu, but they kind of were just not anything very moral. Wonderful parents, um, but they're just not um religious in any sense, and so we I think they tried to read us sort of spiritual books like the Bible and some ancient, you know, Indian mythology, just to give me some kind of formal religious something exposure, but it never really took. So, you know, I was I was very clueless about anything religious. I'm gonna ask what the title of Your Theoretical Chemistry Dissertation was. I had a when I was at my last church in East Lansing and we had, you know, lots of Grad students there from Michigan State and we had a friend in our small group and he was doing a PhD in mathematics and we'd always asked him, you know, what do you? What's your dissertation? He would him and Haw, you know history and you can say, Oh, I studied John Wi their spoon, and people say, Oh, who's that? And you can understand it. And he would always say, you know, he's a humble guy like i. just you know, you kind of you wouldn't understand it. We'll just try. Yes, we're smart people, and sure enough we didn't understand it. It was something about imaginary numbers or something very complicated. So give us your very complicated titles. Complicated, and there's a funny story behind that. So the title of my dissertation was topics in quantum computation, and complication just means, yeah, we were trying to build there's a whole project at enterprise and academia broadly trying to build computers that are based not on normal physics but on quantum physics. So they're they're they're using the laws of quantum mechanics rather than the laws of classical newtonian mechanics anyway. But basically my dissertation was just a set of all of my papers tapled together. So if you look at my actual publication record, it's incredibly, uh, diverse, would be a nice way to put it. Maybe just it's like a Mutt. It's like a combination of all these random areas within quantum mechanics. And so I just had my advisor, let me table, take my five or so papers I'd written the time, just kind of stick them together and write some intermediate material, and that was my dissertation. And and do you still do work in that area? Are you are you teaching? Are you writing in the area of quantum mechanics or theoretical chemistry. No, I not, not really. I every night before I go to bed I think about a problem I've been working on in spin physics for the last seventeen years, but it helps put me to sleep. Other than that, I don't really do and occasionally I get when the when the urge takes me, I go to a white board at like my local homeschool coop, when the one's watching, I write down equation they're trying to solve them. But no, I'm not doing research actively right now. And then, how did you become interested in these other topics which I think you're your most well known for? And did you just start writing and tweeting and blogging and reading?...

You know, you're one of these guys. I don't want to say it's always a meritocracy, but you just kept reading and writing and writing, and people seemed like in the last I don't know how many years, five or six years so, this guy has done his homework. He's thoughtful on this. He doesn't seem like he's staying up at night seething with anger towards everybody. Seems like a pretty normal guy. I want to hear what he has to say. How did this all start and have you been surprised how you've become looked at as an expert in something that was completely different from your training? Yeah, it's really amazing story of God's Providence. So it goes back to I think twenty fifteen or so. So I've got interested in apologetics as a Grad student. So I became a Christian and right away at Berkeley I got plugged into a campus apologetics ministry that was very active, partnering with Atheist Students, trying to bring them together with Christians to talk about the big issues of life. So right away I began reading apologetics. When I was at Yale I was invited to debate an atheist Yale student, agreeal graduate, about Christianity. So that got me interested in reading primary sources. So he recommended some books that I should read by atheist authors, and so I did a lot of that and that's actually, I think again, providentially, been my approach to critical theory as well, reading the primary sources and don't read what so and so says about this source, but read the source itself. Uh. But so, doing all that, I was interested in apologics. I was writing my current book, I believe at the time and providentially, a mutual friend that connected me with my collaborator, Dr Pat Sawyer, who's a faculty member at U N C G whose PhD is in education and Cultural Studies. So he's doing critical theory at a professional level. And but he we were introduced because we both had a passion for apologetics. So then we just met. We're chatting on email and it was twenty fi I think, and I had this sense that something was going on in our culture and even in the Evangelical Church around issues of race, black lives matter, gender sexuality. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, though. So when I heard what pat was doing professionally, I said that sounds familiar. I think I'm seeing these ideas popping up in evangelical circles and Pat just at his mind blow. He's like there's no way, there is no way that biblically oriented Christians are embracing these ideas. They're so patently false and unbiblical. And I said no, really, I really think you should take a look at some of these things I'm reading, and we went back and forth and eventually he's like no, actually, you are right. You know, he got involved in this field to share the Gospel with his progressive secular colleagues. He never thought he'd be trying to explain to the church why these ideas were so dangerous. So we met that way and then we began collaborating. We've written a number of articles on all kinds of topics. We've written some I've written some pure viewed articles critical theory. I have a new one coming out in a law legal journal, written with a K Rowford, with a lawyer, on critical race theory. So, Um, I have done a lot of reading, but I've also tried to try to connect with people who are trained in these areas who can, you know, make sure that I'm not just spouting off punditry. Right right. I had, I don't know, a couple of years ago, ahead lunch when PAT was here in Charlotte and really enjoyed that. Really dear guy. He's not. He's sort of halfway between where you and I are, Durham, Charlotte, Greensboro. He made it sound like that. Neil Sen vy is a genius who just reads things and then he play some video games, then he tweets some things, then he home schools his kids and then he reads some more stuff, then he writes things. What, what's? What's a day in the life of Mr Dr Shn vy? Get up six thirty with the kids, my youngest on the dot, sixties out of bed Um and we start homeschool a seven thirty. UH, my homeschool. People ask me, what's your curriculum? I say kind of academy. We just we do a lot of math. I'm a stem guy, obviously, so her up to me, I would teach them nothing but science, math and and writing. Actually, I emphasized, you know, for three RS essentially. But we're in a homeschool coop called classical conversations, which is, I think, very heavily invested in the humanities. Uh, and that's good for me because it balances me out. If it were up to me, the kids would not be learning anything. No geography. They can learn that later when they're in gradual. But it's good because they forced me to teach them, uh, world history, Latin English Grammar, things that I would probably push to the side. So it's a great balance for me to have that accountability. So I want to before we get into all this sort of stuff and talk about your book and talk about critical theory. Uh, you did this project. I don't know how many months ago it is, and it seemed to be using some of your your stem...

...background, but you did this massive study of evangelical twitter. UH, studying. You know, I didn't, I didn't track with all of the the madness behind the curtain. But you were looking at who follows who and who has shared followers or shared retweets or likes, and you had this whole conceptual map. It was really fascinating and how it was laid out. Can you tell us what you did? And it seemed to me you were sort of trying to link what are some of the tribes within Evangelical Twitter? What did you do and what did you find out? was any was it just a curiosity or did you come away with that thinking this is really useful in helping me understand what's going on out there? So it was it's funny because people got really worked up about this project that I was working on. It was totally just for me, a curiosity. So, Um, I was bored. I was like I should do something besides play video games of my free time. So I was like I will learn a new computer language. So the language called R which is very popular from thematics. I hadn't learned it. I was like, Oh, I'll learn are and then I also I remembered back Captain America, to the winter soldier, the marvel movie. One of the plot devices is that they divide this algorithm to comb the Internet and figure out people's you know, figure out information about people based on what they tweet and they're buying for all these other information out there in the public realm that they've put there. You can use the the the evil villains use that in the movie to identify targets. I'm not well know that. I was like, can we just that's true. There's all this information out there. People put it out there on social media voluntarily. Can you really gain information from the tweets that they all these things that they tweet? And it's like, well, I'll learn are. At the same time I will figure out how to data mine, how to mind data from the Internet like twitter, and so I learned all that. I learned language. I have found a library that allowed me to download data from twitter and I thought what can I do with this? And so I thought a cool idea would be could I build a conceptual map of evangelical twitter. So I put in twitter users who people just name, random people that they are are, quote unquote, evangelical or Christian twitter. Put them into this algorithm and it will identify how many shared followers they have with every other user that I identified. So, Fatle, I put you in, I would put Albert Moehler in, I would put uh, you know, maybe some Progressive Christians, and I put all of you into this map and then the let the computer decide how close your accounts were, meaning how many people followed both of like you and Al Mohler, or Al Mohler and uh Jim Wallace, that, you know, Progressive Christian, uh sojourners. So I put that all in the computer and I let it decide whose accounts had had a similar profile. And when you do that it's it's incredible. So it create created this map and it would link people and sometimes you'd be like, Oh yeah, obviously these two guys are both presidents of SBC seminaries. Obviously they look very similar in their followers. But then it would link certain people and I was like this makes no sense. Why would it link this guy and this guy or this woman and this man, and then I would tweet the map out and the people would say, oh, that's yeah, that's true. These two people, the reason they were linked is because they did a podcast together ten years ago and they have a lot of mutual followers. But now they're diverged theologically, but on the twitter footprint looks the same anyway. So all these amazing connections and yet you did see a lot of I wouldn't say tribalism, but you saw accounts that clearly fit, you know, in your intuitive idea of the Oh yeah, it makes sense that so and so and so and so look the same on twitter anyway. People got and then the other thing I did that really set people off was I said, okay, is this all just an artifact of the computer? Is it seeing the that aren't really there, or are their actual ideological similarity between these accounts? So what I did was also, I would say, look at a given persons followers. How many of their followers have pronouns in their bio? How many of their followers have mega hashtags in their bio? And you could see that certain regions of the map were like here's Maga land, here's here's Pronoun Land and again there's no I'm not making a value judgment. I'm just saying, yeah, there are real tribes within even evangelical twitter that you can denifit the computer itself spits the map any that's all I was doing, but people thought it was somehow in a nefarious evil plan. That was not my intention. Where can people go to find this or define the map? I mean, I've forgotten much about it, but it's on my website. If you if you go go to Neil shenvy twitter map, you'll probably find it on Google somewhere. But it was just it was just for fun. Well, it's really interesting. I recall I was quite low on the percentage of followers with pronouns. I yeah, you...

...and John Macarthur, I think, were like point zero zero one were saying. All right, I think that was fairly low. On the Maga Hashtag too, but there was surprising. There are very few Maga, you know, people on the evangelical like that. The highest percentage, I think, was like some account had like point point five percent their followers had Maga and their biosps pronouns with like some accounts said, you know, ten percent of their followers had pronouns, so it was you or black lives matter hashtags. Those were actually put common among in some regions of the map. As I recall the the look at the map, it made intuitive sense. I mean you saw sort of a grouping of say, you know, Kristin Dumay and Beth, Allison Bar and those sort of people, and then you might see Vodi and John Macarthur and g three kind of and then you would see Ligan and Kevin and I mean t four, g sort of world, and there would you could it wasn't as simple as saying a right to left spectrum, but for the most part people clustered where you kind of thought. Were there any real surprises with how people landed? You're not making a value judgment. It's not doesn't mean they agree with all these people. It's just saying something about the people that want to follow a number of the same sorts of people. Were there any big surprises? The only the real big surprise was that Um, that Mark Driscoll and John Piper were closely not closely linked. They're probably loosely linked and but one of the reasons is I realized they were actually a number of really humongous accounts like driskell and Piper and Tim Keller. They're just they're just so big that they looked like other big accounts. If you have big enough, people follow you because you're big. They don't follow you because they agree with you. They says, oh, yeah, everybody follows this guy because he's huge. So that's again that makes sense, but it's also not telling you much about their beliefs. They're just they just happened to be big and they get grouped with people like Beth Moore and other people that have these million follower accounts. Yeah, people follow her, not because they agree with her, because everyone else does. Yeah, there's there's the evangelical accounts that are that's a lot of it, and then the hundred to two hundred and then, yeah, the million Keller, Piper, Beth Moore, that are the million. Well interesting. I mean when I'm board, you know, maybe ne'll go out on a run or something, or watch a baseball game or learn a new computer language. Well, I didn't. Then people got upset, they got triggered. I just try to learn. Are you just trying to learn? Are Okay? Well, good for you. So tell us about why we believe a reasoned approach to Christianity. Are you trying to get into intra evangelical apologetic debates about classical apologetics or Vantillian apologetics? What are you trying to do in this book? So Uh, this book came out of actually a book table that I helped with at Yale. So at because I was heavily impacted by receiving a copy of Lewis's screw dip letters as a freshman at Princeton from a crew book table. Because of that, when I went to Yale as a post doc, I helped with a crew book table at Yale that was handing out again free books at their main freshman dining hall and one of the books that we handed out I bought a box of Tim Keller's reason for God and I handed them out and I told the people that were working with me I said Hey, you know, some people just grab the book walk away, you don't see them again. I said don't worry about that. I did that. You never know what God will do. You know with any anything that you do, you know providentially and I used to pass out bibles at Berkeley and the verse in the Front Cover was Isa f fifty eight. I think. I don't remember the verse. You'll know it, but it was that. You know, the word that goes out of my mouth will not return to me void. It will accomplish the purpose for which I have and that was my again. It's like this is why we give bibles out, we give out books, because God will use them to do his purposes, fulfill his purposes. So anyway, so I was giving out these copies of reason for God, but I was like I can't keep this is getting Benson if I can't afford to buy hundreds of copies of this book and give them away. So I thought maybe I will write a book and I can just self published it and give it away for free. But my goal was just to get a book that I could give out. They would be Um. So I wanted several things. Number One, I wanted to be accessible. I wanted it to be the kind of book I could give to a motivated high school student. It would get something from it. But then I also wanted it to be intellectual. This is a hard balance to strike. There are books that I really think are good, helpful books, like a great example is j Warner Wallace's book cold case Christianity, where I think the content is very helpful and good. But the book itself contains hand drawn cartoons and if I gave just for help, to help people understand these ideas, but if I gave that book to a Nobel laureate theoretical chemistry professor at Duke, they would take one look at the cartoons and say this is ridiculous. I'm gonna read this book, embarrassed to read this book. Exactly which, even though, even though, if you gave...

...it a chance, you say, Oh, this is actually really good. So I wanted to write a book that just immediately strikes you as a book written by someone who's done their homework. So my book is full of footnotes, not end notes. It contains heavy interaction with atheist scholars, people like Bart Airman, Paula Frederickson, Sean Carroll, Vick Stanger, Jerry Coyne, you know, people that are have PhD S, their scholars, their scientists, their Biblical Studies, UH folks. And so you read the book and you know, I think I cite I think I looked it up. I think the number one most cited author in the book is C S Lewis Number two is Richard Dawkins. So I've clearly people reading it. Hopefully will say this is someone who has read the other side and it's giving me the best arguments for atheism and against Christi Eddie in this very book. So that's and I wanted that to I wanted to be a book that your college student could handle their professor and not feeling eirist Um. So that's one accessible to intellectual. The other thing I wanted to be was Um was gospel centered. So I didn't want to write a book about how some kind of God exists. I wanted to write a book that pointed people to Christianity. The Christian God exists, the God of the Bible exists and he calls you to repent and believe the Gospel. So that's a big part of the book. Another point is comprehensive. I treat h you know, huge range of arguments. The trilemma Jesus either Lord, liar or UNATIC. DID HE RISE TO MEDEAD? There is evidence that. Yes, historical evidence uses did rise medead. Does God Exist? What kind of God exists? So how can we know that God exists? In Miracles happen? I wanted to respond to the most prominent objections to Christianity and to God's existence, like the problem of evil, evolution, divine hidden nous. And then I wanted to tie it all together by saying the Gospel itself is the best argument for the truth of Christianity, that the Gospel alone, among the message of all world religions, speaks directly to two humongous existential questions our heart, which is, uh, what's my main problem and how can that problem be solved? And so I argue and over, of course, with three chapters, that Christianity correctly identifies our main problem is sin and rebellion against God, and our main the only solution is redemption through Jesus. So yeah, it's comprehensive. Then, finally, it's systematic. You can see one, two, three, four five. I go through things very systemically. Readers have told me that my scientific training really comes through in the book because I walk your arguments in a very linear fashion. I then respond, I give you objections to those arguments and then respond to those objections. And so they they've told me that it really does read like it's written by a scientist, which is true, which is true, but one of the things that and this is why I think people have followed you and read your stuff. Do you have that scientific background? But you right very clearly and very excessively so. It is uh an intellectual book and there are footnotes and you interact with these people, but anyone who reads the first fifteen pages they're not going to feel like a theoretical chemist is talking down to me. There's a very, in a good way, colloquial kind of conversational tone, even as you're talking about intellectual issues. So I think you're right. I think a and a motivated high school student could read this and a college student could give it to a professor who would say oh, this is this guy's thoughtfully considered some of the objections and has responded to them. So I think you you hit that sweet spot. Well. How do you think, Neil, about the task of apologetics? Do you see it mainly for Christians to be bolstered in their faith? Do you see it mainly for trying to prove something, or do you think, well, we can't really prove these things but it helps to create plausibility structures for the Non Christian? There's lots of just conversation about the approach we take and the reason for apologetic. So how do you think about the task of apologetics itself? I think it's twofold. So I think it's both for Christians to strengthen our faith and also for non Christians to challenge their assumptions about Christianity and to call them to repentance. Uh, and so I think it's you don't have to play those against each other. I think they're they both have at the same time and I do think I you know, in terms of methodology, like well, are you an evidentialist or classical appologies? I don't get into that in the book, obviously, but I would I would personally classify myself as a soft suppositionalist, meaning that I'm not going to just ask by what standard for ten chapters, but I am going to always have an eye to people's assumptions, their pieceuppositions about reality. Do those make sense? Are they consistent with each other? And and it's a lot of it flows from my theology. I am...

...reformed in my from Baptist. I have to have to have the caveat when talking to Presbyterians. But for I know, but in scare quotes, right, for people on Youtube it's in scare quotes. I'm reforming, but the point is that, yeah, I do think our our task is not to Um prove intellectually that God exists, because Romans One says, we all know deep down that God exists and we suppress the truth and righteousness. So that our task is to reveal to people that they're living with this dark, unspoken fear and hatred of God in their hearts that should be brought into the light and exposed, not in a nasty way, but in a way, Hey, I can tell you the true story of reality that makes sense of all of these hopes and fears and hidden sins in your heart. And that, ultimately, is what you know will bring generation, is the preaching of God's word. And so that's like and that's why the last three chapters of the Book Are All about the Gospel. Yeah, and I really like that because I do think that is unique in this book that you're appealing to the conscience in a way, and we understand as Christians, even if non Christians don't recognize that about themselves, they are made in the image of God. They do have eternity written on their hearts. They've suppressed the truth and unrighteousness, but we ought to appeal to what we know is there, even if they don't know that that's there, and that's to appeal to this sense of something is wrong. Virtually everyone has some sense, whether it's our carbon footprint or it's the food that we eat, there's something wrong in the universe. There's something there's some way we need to be right with the universe or some maker of the universe, and so I really appreciate that you're you're giving people the Gospel, you're telling people where this answer and how Christianity meets this deepest need. And I also you know, you use that phrase right there, soft presuppositionalism, which I think is a good way of describing it and resonates with what I think is a wise approach that, on the one hand, we do realize people have presuppositions. We're not trying to say if I could just convince you of the unmoved mover and convince you of these five ways, then you go from here to theist to classical theists, to Christian to protest I can just reason you all the way down. We can just pretend that we just I put the Bible behind my back and we just get there. That that's sort of crude. I don't know if anyone actually does it like that, but that's not what we're doing. We understand. We're trying to understand their own assumptions and show their incoherence. And yet, you know, you said, it's not just ten chapters of by what standard and just telling people, well, you don't know God and your own beliefs are a leap of faith in themselves. And there you go. I think most people instinctively understand there's a place to say, Hey, I can't argue you into the faith, I'm not going to give you five reasons for the resurrection and then you bow the need to Christ. But I can show you that a lot of smart people have thought about these things and there actually are really good reasons for believing that the Bible is trustworthy, for believing that God exists, for believing that the resurrection happened, for understanding the Canaanite genocide was not genocide as we would use the term. There are reasoned, rational explanations for these things. I use Turretin in my systematic theology class and he has a number of guidelines for how we use reason. But one of the things he often says is, uh, Christianity is above reason, but it's not against reason. That is reason. There are some things that look impossible to reason. Miracles look impossible to read. So we don't let reason be the final standard of judging whether something is possible. But some Christians embrace that and then they say, oh well, Christianity then must be against reason, and sometimes Christians have a fetistic approach to Christianity. I just believe this because I believe it and that's what I'm asking you to do. Well, that's not the way the Bible presents the material. That's not the way the reform tradition has has traditionally understood how to defend the faith, that it's not a compromise with the world to say here's where our beliefs are rational, where there's good reason, where there's good evidence. Even Calvin will say ultimately you need the inner testimony, the Holy Spirit, to convince you of these things. But then he goes on to say why we can trust the Bible, why there's a God, and I think you you followed that same kind of approach in the book. Did you have any certain models in your head? Of how you wanted to look at this or you just imbibed it from Luis and reading a lot of other good stuff. Yeah, I think probably the latter. I think that. I mean one of the first politics books I've ever read was John Frames,...

...a politics to the glory of God, which just gave me, and it's mainly basically all about frameworks, like what framework are you using? But he I think he would absolutely qualify as a pre suppositionalist. But if you look at how he practically explains how that looks on the ground, it doesn't strike you. He's not asking by what Sandor by what center, he's he's actually laying out evidence. And then when the Non Christian says, well, well, I can't believe that, because he's okay, when you say you can't believe that, let's look at your assumptions now. So he actually that's I think. I again, methodologies are not my area of expertise by any means, but when I looked at the way that pre suppositionalists actually go about these conversations, I think many of them, even very hard subpositionalists, do still lay out things like evidence and reason, and only when they get pushed back they say, well, now we have to turn to why you're rejecting the evidence. So I got I'm taking a similar approach. I just start with, well, look, here's the evidence, it seems pretty clear. And then when you meet resistance, like oh well, miracles just can't happen though. Okay, now we have to step back and ask why you believe that and does that make sense? So I think again, that's that's not it's not easy to put that into the category of are you doing evidentialism? Are you doing classical pologitics? H right away, but I always said I think that a category fits. Well. Greg Kocol is another one model right where. He's not. I don't think he'd call himself a piece of positionalist, but he also understands the real importance of assumptions and the positions that will inevitably influence how you interpret everything. So yeah, that's I think it's it's not an uncommon approach Um from a lot of people from different, quote unquote, camps of apologetics. Great. So the book, once again, is why we believe a reasoned approach the Christianity by cross way from Neil Shin Visa. Check that out. I'M gonna jump to our next topic in just a moment. I do want to mention another book, the pastor and the modern world. Uh, Westminster Seminary Press. If you haven't checked out Westminster Seminary Press, obviously it's connected to W T s. They they're doing a lot of good stuff, both republishing Classic Works and some newer works. Pastoral Ministry has always been hard, but the stress, isolation and conflict of recent years has been too much for many pastors and they are burning out, quitting resigning at an alarming rate. Often they simply haven't been prepared to Minister in the world as it really is. This is a short book. You'll find three short chapters by experience pastor scholars help you understand your context you're calling. So it's very short and you can order a copy of the pastor of the modern world at W T S BOOKS DOT COM or Reformation Heritage Christian Book Amazon. Alright, Neil, I want to talk about critical theory. I have three objections that I want you to respond to. First, critical theory is just legal theory. It's just an analytical tool for trying to understand how racism and, let's I know, critical theory is a broader topic. So let's just think right now critical race theory. It's not the same thing. It's a subset of a larger thing. But just critical race theory is just a legal theory, it's just for analyzing some texts and it's just a hermonutical approach to the past. That's all that it is. Agree or disagree. Why? Hard disagree, and the reason why? I would just say listen to what critical race theories themselves say about critical race theory. So if you look at the number one most prominent text on critical race theory is Dougato and Stefan Chick's book crt. There you go, you have it. I have it. What page the preface? I think it's page eleven X. I of the preface. It's Angela Harris. It's a critical race theorist and she says it used to be that critical race there was this esoteric, sparsely read legal theory, but today it is like she's running in I think, first nation. Today it is read by sociologists, by philosophers, it's working into healthcare, it's read everywhere and they'll get in the authors. They'll go and stefanick say the same thing. It's influencing all kinds of policy. It's in the government, it's in healthcare, it's in theology. Um, if you look at uh Kira Bridges, as a U C Berkeley law professor, her excellent book, it's really helpful as a as to understand CRT. It's called C rt a primer and she talks about just how influential CRT has become. In fact, in Delgado and Savchik's book, at the end of it they say this is in. It was first edition, third edition was in seventeen. But they ask whether critical a race here. It's gonna Happen to it in the future?...

They're writing this inn maybe, and they say one possibility is that it becomes, quote, the New Civil Rights Orthodoxy. Right, and it's it's just in the water and it's way you think everyone, everyone might might one day think in terms of cyrity without even knowing it. And I'd say that's where we are. So if you actually read what critical race theorists say, they will brag about how it's no longer just a legal theory. It is absolutely being applied and used by all kinds of people. And so that again actually and then here's the other thing. I'll say time on KLIENT and I. He has an end from Westminster. He's a as an j d from rutgers, he's a lawyer and as a theology degree. We are publishing a forthcoming law review article on the title is what if crt wre quote, just a legal theory, a Christian critique? It's you should read the article. It's accessible article, but it begins with the the idea, this hypothetical idea. What if it were just legal theory and then examined only on those terms, it would still be totally incompatible with Christianity because, for example, I'm manna try to pull up some quotes. But critical race theorists Um deny that there is some universal, abstract set of principles of morality or right and wrong that undergo the law. They straight up deny that. They think that law just is a way to enshrine the values of the white ruling class, uh, to to make those part of society and to preserve white privilege. So here's Derek Bell, the Godfather of critical race theory, writing in crenshaw's anthology crt, the key writings that shape the movement, and she said he says, this precedent, it's a legal precedent. Rights theory and objectivity merely are formal rules that serve a covert, a hidden purpose. Even in the context of equality theory. They Will Never vindicate the Legal Rights of Black Americans. And again they'll got into age say that that CRT unlike, it's a quote, unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step by step progress. Critical race. Three questions, the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality. Three legal reasoning, enlightenment, rationalism and neutral principles of constitutional law. So scarty rejects the idea that there's some you know, objective, universal lead moral framework that is then supposed to be enacted and reflected in the law. They reject that view. They think law is just a mechanism for preserving white power. And then that's you can't a Christian, can't believe that laws just a mechanism of corrision, because God literally gave a legal code days reel. There you go, right off the bat. God gave Moses a legal code. There was not just a way too, you know, to secure Israel power, power, it was it was God's law. This is from critical race theory. The introduction. Yes, this is from the forward X v I, and it says critical race theory has exploded from this is what you're referring to, from a narrow subspecialty of jurance prudence, chiefly of interest to academic lawyers, into a literature read in departments of Education, Cultural Studies, English sociology, Comparative Literature, Political Science, history and anthropology around the country. We could add now around the world. It not only dares to treat race as central to the law and policy of the United States, that dares to look beyond the popular belief that getting rid of racism means simply getting rid of ignorance or encouraging everyone to get along. So not simply a legal theory. Here's second objection I want you to respond to. Look, we can't. Nobody really knows. It's a massive topic. No one really knows what CRT is. Everyone just throws around crt. They're slapping labels on it. Neil Shenvy, you don't even have a degree in this. This isn't even your specialty. You don't even have a PhD. You don't really understand what it is. If you understood what it was and you were a real expert. You know that it's something different. So all of these Christians talking about it, no one really knows what it is. Yeah, so one thing I'd say is that there are people out there who don't know what CRT is. You're just using it as a label, throwing it around at CRT. You know the C rt is is in the room with you right now. It's hiding. It's under my bed. Okay, there are people like that who are using it just as a shiplath to say are you woke or not? That said, uh, I have an article called what is critical race theory on my website and it is there's zero commentary. It is about a two thousand word article with nothing but quotes from many sources. I've seen...

...it many, many times. Encourage others to look at it, and it's it's just quotes from primary sources by critical racers who are not just spouting off their own opinions. That's their list of the defining elements. That's a quote from Matsuda at all words. That wound the defining elements of CRT and IT SPANS thirty years. One of the things I do is all. I don't just quote all these primary sources, these highly respected sources. So one of the articles I quote is Yasso's, whose culture has capital, has been sided like six thousand times. It's the increminously important article and she lists the, I think, the core tenets of critical race theory. But the point is I don't just cite all these prominent articles, I go back to the earliest collections of these defining elements. So I said, Matsuda at all the words. That wound was an anthology with four co editors, Matsudo, Lawrence, crenshaw and Delgado, who are all co founders of CRT, and it's written in which is literally four years after the movement sort of emerged, in around nine, and they list the defining elements of CRT. They give six points and if you look at those six points, they are constant over the next thirty years. Everywhere you turn you'll find those those in the various forms and four points, five points, seven points, but it's always the same things. LAWS, mechanisms of legal power, racism and sexism and Hetero sexism are all interlocking forms of oppression that must be dismantled simultaneously. You'll see that all over the literature and so this idea that no one knows what the subject actually is. Well, they do, presumably. I mean crenshaw coined the term critical race theory in or so you know. That's what she she she and bridges both claimed that she was the one who invent to that term. So surely she knows what it means and she'll tell you if you listen to her. Yeah, so let's come back to what some of the characteristics are. You just rattled off some. Let me get that's a good response. Let me give you the third objection then. Okay, so maybe it's not just a legal theory. It is this whole warp and woof. Okay, and you can read it and know what it is, but really, this is not you're telling me that this is the problem in our churches. You can go to the rank and file SBC P C A church is the sort of people who like what Neil Sheen vy or maybe like what Kevin Deyoung says. None of these people are reading CRT. It's not an issue for them and in fact the only reason we're talking about crt is because maybe Fox News gendered up or Christopher Rufo. It just became a conservative talking point. It just became a political wedge issue to make up crt in order to either just get white votes or maybe even more nefarious, to tap into latent, suppressed, hidden white racism. This whole thing, even if it's as bad as you say it is, it's vastly overblown. It's not the issue in our churches and it just has been invented to try to get votes and try to divide people and it's working and so you should move on and talk about something else. Sure. And so I always say I'M NOT gonna rank heresies, I'm not going to rank problems and say, well, this is the number one threat to the the church as a whole. What do you mean the church as a whole? Obviously everyone's in different context. So I actually probably would agree that some rural church in a deep red county of Nebraska right their number one problem is probably not critical race theory. Probably they probably, I don't have a lot of people in the congregation who are reading Robin D'Angelo and neigh Brooks Kendy and getting these ideas from the coach. Probably not. Probably have other problems. Maybe racism itself is the main problem in that church. I don't know the church. That said, there are churches who have the opposite context. If you're in a deep blue county, if you're in the middle of Manhattan, if you have if your church is filled with people who are in the corporate world or in academia, this absolutely is a major problem. I'm not saying it's the worst problem, I'm just saying it is a problem and one of the things. I'm actually working on a book right now with Dr Sawyer Pat on critical theory broadly, which includes critical race theory, critical pedagogy, queer theory. These are all critical theories, critical social theories. Um, we explain that these ideas are everywhere. The people in your church are not getting them from reading crenshaw or Derek Bell, they're getting them from their knitting group or their book club and there and there, and we give...

...examples, and I am notorious for not naming names. I'm not attacking some person, but in our book we do go through these prominent examples of Evangelical Christian leaders who are being platformed by like Christianity today and Campus Crusade for Christ crew and inner varsity and that have literally apostasized. The example I use as so glaring as Christiana Cleveland, who was writing a column in Christianity today in on race and now just came out with a book called God is a black woman, and it is and she has actually literally abandoned the Christian faith and now worships being that she calls the quote sacred Black Feminine. So she is now just a openly abandoning and she will tell she gave a talk in nineteen entitled, I think it's called the mission, global missions at the as the heroicization of a whiteness, and in that talk she explains how critical race theory by name is the framework through which he understands things like missions and race and justice in the church. At the time I think she was still professing to be a Christian. Now she's not, and but you can see this happening frankly, all over the church now. Whether that's the biggest problem for your church in your context, I don't know. I don't know your church, but it is a problem and we can't pretend it's not even there. There are examples like this that are just prominent figures whose theology has been completely shattered by these ideas. Really really helpful. Let's let's talk about what some of the core tenants might be, and let me just throw this out and see what you think and you can add to this, subtract to it, you can go into more depth. I've been trying to think how to simplify this, and so I have an act, an acronym, and the acronym is actually pride, which I don't mean to automatically say it links with all of the but sometimes it does. is but it just happened to work that it. So here's my five words that form the acronym. Pride, power, intersectionality. No, I'm doing it out of our power. Revolutionary, intersectionality, disparity and everywhere. Let me just some power. You said this that the moral standards, the legal standards, are about the Lording of power of one group over another. Revolutionary. What I mean by that is the quote you gave earlier. Not incrementalism, not objective standards, because there is no objective standard. But what we need is not incrementalism, not just we need radical in the sense of down to the very roots. It requires a revolutionary change in how our entire society. So it's not this Western project is got most things right. Slavery Racism Bad. Let's change laws, change hearts. No, the whole lightenment project has been wrong. Western civilization has probably largely been wrong. So That's the R I intersectionality, which is the belief that you have this matrix of oppressive identities or oppress or identities. So I score very highly on oppress or identities. I'm married to a woman, I'm I'm white, now I'm middle aged. I just I got all of the bad. You're sort of a mixed bag, Neil. You've got a few good ones. You're half Indian. And then disparity, the idea that disparities are always so I'm trying about racial disparities are if they don't match up with the population itself. percentage. Those disparities are always examples of racist structures and systems, which is how Kendy defines it. And then everywhere, meaning racism is not abnormal, it's normal. It has not been eradicated. In fact, it may not have improved much at all since the nineteen sixties. In fact it may actually be worse because it's more subtle and it's more underground. But racism is everywhere. So power, revolution, intersectionality, disparity and racism is everywhere. That's just my trying to get if I had to give five words, what else would you say or how would you double click on any of those concepts? I think that's basically right. If you look at if you look at my article, what is critical race thory? You can have critical race theory is saying those things in their own words. So, for example, the number one most common tenant of crt in all the literature. It's often listened as the first tenant of CRT. Here's a quote, direct quote from words that wound. Critical Race Theory recognized that racism is endemic to American life. You know, it's the words like normal, permanent, pervasive. It's endemic, sent from his reading quote. Central, endemic, permanent and a fundamental part of defining explaining how us, Saidy, functions. This is...

...totally standard as the number one core setative critical race theory, that racism is everywhere's ubiquitous. On the intersectionality, the idea that racism, sexism, Heterosexism, able is m classism, all these various suppressions are interlocking and they must be dismantled in a radical way. Again, words that wound talks about how critical racors, critical race theory measures progress by a yardstick that looks to fundamental social transformation. The interests of all people of color necessarily require not just adjustments within the established hierarchies, but a challenge to hierarchy itself, and they list gender, class and sexual orientation as forms of these hierarchies anyway. So everything you said I totally agree. The only one that is a little bit squishy is the disparities. Candy. It remcs Candy, the author of how to be an anti racist, will say very, very clearly that race, that disparities are solely the result of discrimination and if you deny that, if you think that even a little bit of disparities are explain some other way, any other way, than you're a racist. He says that flat out. His books, UH, other critical race and he's maybe a pop critical race theorist. He talks about how he's been heavily influenced by intersectionality, how it undergrids his work. That said, other critical racers would pull back, would hedge on that last issue and would say, for example, of that I think crenshaw says that, Um, they presume it is a quote critical race theorists adopted stance that presumes that racism has contributed to all contemporary manifestations of group advantage and disadvantage along racial lines. They but they say that's a presumption and given our history. But they don't go out and say no, it's it's all it is. But in practice, if you look at their analyzes, it's always structural there. They never say, oh well, this disparity is due to some other factors. That's that's something on their horizon. It's always how did this disparity show the subtle ways, the insidious ways in which the racial power has operated to the disadvantage people of Color. So again I would just pull back and say they're people that are not Kendy, uh, talking about with a little more nuance, a little more nuance, but in practice, how it actually looks on the ground? It looks pretty similar. That's helpful. So, Neil, do you think can Christians in any way appropriate the concept of structural racism, systemic injustice? Uh, if they can, how do they do that in the right way? And what's the wrong way? Sure so, I have a whole article on this topic called does systemic racism exist, and I basically explain how critical Racory conceptualizes the term systemic racism, explain that it is inseparable from their views on how power operates and disparities operate. And so you the way that they conceptualize that term. You have to reject that because they're just wrong. They basically do take the approach that if you see disparities, it's the result of this nebulous, floating, insidious, pervasive structural systemic racism. But we can't. It's just not true. Some disparities are the result of other things, Um, and I go into that in the article, but there I mean I quote an economist like Thomas Sowell, who showed that there's disparities of all kinds that are not the result of discrimination, Um, and then from innocuous things like birth order, right, and that, you know, no discriminating against fifth board in children, right, but they so anyway. The UM. What I would say is I do not like the phrase eat the meat, spit out the bones. People often use that you describe critical racoring. My point is it's and I would say this is in complete seriousness. If you want to use that phrase to describe CRT, you should be equally comfortable using that same phrase, eat the meat and spit out the bones. With respect to queer theory, they're they're equally. It's really they're different species of the same genus. They are both descended from the critical theory broadly, and their their differences in their origins. Iain. My whole book will deal with this. I'm out with PAT but the bottom line is that you would pull back, you you would recoil from saying that about Queer theory because why? Because it's core tenants are so antithetical to a Christian view of reality. We can't risk, you know, leading people astray and saying, Oh, it looks harmless than no, it's not harmless. In the same way, I don't think we should try to reappropriate things like systemic racism, uh, for the Christian no, I think I would say is you can affirm certain things. You can affirm, for example, that there is a legacy of historic racism in our country. Absolutely there's a legacy. You can see it on maps. You can see how certain neighborhoods were are predominantly black or Hispanic because of real estate practices like redlining. Um you can see how wealth differences are perpetuated by inheritance and by then they...

...go back to like things like the again Red Lining, Jim Crow G I build things like that. I mean not directly, but just in a in a very loose sense. Yes, there's some effect of the of history on today's disparities, but I would not want to use the term systemic racism to describe that because people will be confused. You're using a term that today means you're buying into CRT and we can't do that. So again I have a whole article called does Systemic Racism Exist? where I pull apart, I disaggregate these various ideas and show when Christians can and can't use them. Yeah, that's really good because, as you said, are we talking about there are continuing legacies of racism? Undoubtedly there are. Or are we saying that every every one of US comes into the world, and not just comes into the world, but we have, by virtue of our opportunities in the world, a whole set of let's call them, advantages and disadvantages, and that I still think America is more of a meritocracy than almost any other place on earth, that there still is an American dream, but it's not yeah, it's it's simply not the case that everyone just go work hard and everyone will be rewarded. There's a whole set of things and my objection has been not that some people want to identify that sex or race maybe one of those things that provide advantages. My contention is sometimes they do. No doubt sometimes being a white male has has been an advantage, and if I were trying to get a tenure track position at a secular university, it would undoubtedly not be an advantage. UH, Thomas Soul's phrase, the quest for cosmic justice. If we were God, we could understand how everything has contributed. So there are, I have no problem saying I have privileges. I had parents who love each other, I was raised in a safe neighborhood, I went to a good public school, lots of advantages such that if I had made a failure of my life, uh, I would have had to try hard to have failed, where some people have to try very, very hard to succeed. That is undoubtedly true, and so Christians ought to be able to recognize that and speak in that way. But the danger with structural racism, systemic races, as you say, or injustice, is it's borrowed from these other conceptual worldviews and while some people are quick to just slap Marxist label on everything, it is true that this, this is downstream from a Marxist view, which had to do with class oppression, and then this has a different kind of racial oppression, and then you add the intersectionality and there's also sexual or orientation oppression. So it is related to a Marxist way of looking at things. I don't know if you've read, if you've gotten your hands on, Edward Phaser's new book, all one in Christ, a Catholic critique of racism and critical race theory. Yeah, it just came out. It's it's it's short. It would he's reading all the same stuff you are and it's obviously Catholic critique. But one of the the phrases he uses, which was helpful, he says, uh, often critical race theories are guilty of the fallacy of hypostasization. So what he means is giving personal agency two impersonal, ambiguous forces. So, for example, you could just look and say, uh, the average baseball player in America, I don't know, pulling it out, you know, gets paid two million dollars a year, where the average teacher salary is forty dollars a year. And then somebody says, I don't want to live in an economic system that values baseball players at two million dollars a year and values teachers. It says that's the hypostesization, that is giving a hypostasis, giving an identity, you might say, a substantiation, personalizing impersonal forces, when actually there is no great and powerful odds behind the scenes. That saying we value baseball players, you know, Fifty Times more than we value teachers. And actually, if you looked at that you'd realize, well, the reason baseball players make that much is because there's only a few hundred of them that can do this at this level in the whole country, and there are thousands and ten thousands of teachers who do this. So it's a it's a supply and demand UH. And that was very helpful because I think the systemic social, racism and justice often takes forces that, whether good or...

...bad, are the product of so many historical, cultural, free personal choices and makes it into something. I sometimes reference a line from MOE, the bartender on the simpsons, where he says to Homer, you know what I blame this on the breakdown of society. That's just sort of the answer. This society has done this. How do how do you see that? How do you respond to that, and any other before we have to bring this to close, any other core problems that Christians should recognize with CRT? Yeah, I agree that there's some people call it the reification fallacy. They make real and make concrete these abstract concepts. Example I thought of when you're talking is whiteness. Whiteness is like this force, and actually people even talk about it this way. Whiteness is like a toxic gas that seeps into everything. It's just around you, it's it's in the air, you breathe it, you, it seeps into your veins and it's make it's almost the way the Christians talk about the demonic or the world right. It's like it's a system that we're in, the Matrix and the familiar movie. But they, they, they, and again, I'll talk about this in the book with Pat. But in some ways, in some ways, the reason that this ideology of critical theory, broadly you know, queer theory, critical race theory, decolonial theory, all these the reason it has a purchase on the human soul is that it's actually Um, a parody of Christianity. It's a cosmic battle between good and evil and there's evil all around. You have to purify yourself from the world and and the way to do that is through cleansing yourself, investing yourself of your whiteness and your male privilege. And you can do these things and feel pure and clean. And you're not. You're on the light side of lightness and goodness. You're and we go and we if we go through it. But James Lindsay and Helen Pluck rose in their book cynical theories, who are atheists, talking about how there are are now. There's now a hospital of social justice with holy texts and a priesthood. So and Carl Truman, lots of people, David Frenchlizabeth Corey, have talked about how this, whatever you want to call it, critical theory, intersectionality, there's no name for it, unfortunately, but whatever it is, it's functioning like a pseudo religion and it's meeting people's spiritual needs. That's why, one of the reasons why it's so effective, it's it's speaking our hearts language and our need for justification. How can you be pure? How can a man keep his way pure by watching himself? According to Robin D'Angelo's word, right that that's that's essentially the message they're telling you, and so I did. I do think that that is part of it, and there are many. It's not just there's one problem. People often say a Marxist view of race, and I'm like, it's sort of to a zeroth order approximation. But if you look at the actual history, you're drawing on postmodernism, on radical black thought, on womanist thought, on and so. In the end it doesn't a matter. It's just it's wrong. But understanding how this is drawn on all these different schools of thought can help you understand get in their heads. Essentially. Why do they think that I can't know the truth because I'm a white male, or you at least, but we'll because here's why they're drawing on the work of so and so anyway. So yes, I do agree with with Phaser uh and then, but there's a lot more to it than that. And I'll just finally say one thing. I really the one bug I'd recommend in a bad way to people is uh oslom sense and Robin D'Angelo's book. Is everyone really equal? I have a ton of quotes from it on my website, but if I actually wrote a years ago, when I first read it, it was like discovering the dead body at the bottom of the well that was poison the town's water supply. It is just, and they, I mean it's explaining what they call critical social justice, is it's core tenants, how it applies to raise class, gender, sexuality, physical ability, etcetera. They have biagrams of different matrice's oppression, but it's if you want to understand in their own words what they believe about reality, read that book by Osmond's essentially, and D'Angelo. Um, it's really helpful. But yeah, that's and I just I'm just pleading with Christians to take this problem seriously. Please do not just dismiss it as oh, it's a bunch of culture warriors. No, the reason I got into this issue as a theoretical chemist was because I was seeing these ideas destroy the lives of people that I knew personally. I was seeing it shipwrecked their their theology. That's why I care about it so much, and it's not because I am here to get you to vote for trump in whoever's running. I'm not. That's not my goal. My goal is to make sure that your theology is rooted in what the Bible teaches and is not um destroyed by these unbiblical ideas. Yeah, that's really good. Let's just finish it this way. I'm thinking of two types of people who are maybe listening to this. And maybe there's someone probably,...

...if they're listening to us, they're inclined to to agree. That's why they've found their way to this podcast. So I'm thinking of the person that maybe agrees and it's really stirred up, fired up. This is a huge problem. This is everywhere. I'm going to my school board, I'm going to the library, this is uh. Is there anything to that person WHO's already convinced this is a big maybe one of the central issues of our time and in the church and they see it everywhere. Is there anything you think we need to say to that person, particularly sort of a pastoral word to their heart, the person who's really, really already convinced this is a major, major issue? Yeah, the first thing I'd say is I agree with you. The first thing I was out and say no, no, hold on, hold on, I would just say, yes, you are totally right. You are seeing that are very pernicious element of our culture that we must expose and and reject. I agree. The second thing I say it would be that you should definitely try to understand the people, the Christians, Evangelical Christians, your brothers and sisters in Christ who are being seduced. I mean that word. They're seduced by these ideas. Try to understand them. I don't say you should agree with them, I don't say you shouldn't speak out against these ideas. Try to understand them, and then the last thing is try to win them. Now there's a point at which the cancer is so bad you have to amputate the limb. There is a point, I'm not denying that. There's a point where you say this person is beyond my reach, but also they're hurting other people. We have to simply say you cannot follow this person because they're just so enamored of these ideas. But there are other people who, Steven today, are still on the fence. Try to win them and again not by downplaying the problem but by saying I want to understand you. Talk to me how can I convince you that I do care about racism, I do hate it. There are things that I do have to learn, maybe that I have never thought of that before. I'm totally open to but how can I convince you that really, I'm not doing this because I hate you or because I'm just a white supremacist? I'm doing this because I genuinely care about you and the church. So that's that's what I'd say. But I think people sometimes they hear that word of admonition and they say you're just trying to downplay these problems, you're trying to be a third way. No, I'm saying I agree with you, but we still want to win people right. These are these are your brothers and sisters in Christ, their family. You don't want them to wander away. You want to bring them back to what solid biblical understandings of these ideas. So that's that's my that's a way to do that is, and you've modeled this well carefully. Read quote. UH, don't turn up the temperature unnecessarily. Don't shame people. That rarely works, and getting people to agree with you again. That may be sort of the amputation approach. While there's still a chance to to reason, and I think you would agree with this. UH, not to slam every attempt at, I mean Good Gospel attempt at racial reconciliation, or your pastor quoted from mlk in a sermon or mentioned that actually slavery was really bad. It's not a benign institution and actually white people did bad things in the past, these sort of things that I think used to just be no one got upset about. I think because CRT is so pernicious and it's become so pervasive, sometimes we we've lost the ability to say no, the Gospel should bring people to to use those words. It does not make you guilty of of CRT. Uh. So so let's go after what the problem is, what it isn't. And so here's my follow up question, and you already hit on it. So, if that's the person who's really fired up and we want to affirm your seeing the problem, let's try to win people. What about the person who's listening to this and you know they're not. They're not way off and uh, you know, smashing windows or something, but but they're not really convinced and they're sort of I know you guys, are you guys are really conservative and you're into this, but you know, I don't think it's quite that bad and actually they do find a lot of meaning and purpose in combating racism and they see that it's a major problem in our history and it's a real passion for their's. What sort of final word would you give to them? And again I would say you need to listen to people on the other side. This is for both sides. Were never there's no. There's no, especially with other Christian other genuine believers, when is listening not allowed? You're always supposed to listen, to be slow to speaking, quick to listen. I'm not saying agree, I'm saying...

...listen. So for the people that are sympathetic to quote unquote wokeness or critical racery, I would say, well, at least listen. He'd listened to the people telling you this is really bad stuff. And then I do think there's a lot of because I'm obviously on the very alarmed side of things. Um, I think that there's a lot of route not need for people to be scared straight in a sense. Uh, and I would say the book I'd Recommend Number One would be Christina Cleveland's God is a black woman. Read that book that she just published this year and realized this is someone who literally five years ago was being platformed by life way Christiand a day inner varsity crew, all these major, major conservative evangelical organizations. We're platforming her and now, five years later, she is saying things like, above all else, we need to be uh, not be transphobic, because if God is a black woman, then she is definitely a black trans woman. That's actually a line from her book. That's five years and that's just one example, but read the entire book and just see exactly how heretical her beliefs are today and how she attributes that whole way of thinking too critical race theory and that, you're well, that's just one I am unfortunately she's not the only one, and again I'm notorious sometimes for not naming names, but there are many figures like that who are on that same trajectory right now. And it's not about rejecting individual bad apples. It's about recognizing the ideas behind that trajectory and saying those ideas are false and, during a line of the sand, say I cannot affirm these ideas. That's really important. And if you ignore that warning, you're going to be pushed in that same direction. Very serious. It's good word and, as you said earlier, you know it's not even is it is the the instant, the intellectual ideas, but most, I mean human beings, were driven by our hearts and it is on an even deeper level, often a a a rival animating spirit. I think that's what you see. And so you do find what used to kind of get you up in the morning as a Christian sort of what you see about the problem in the world, the solution in the world, you said at the very beginning talking about your apologetics book. So when Christians say the problem is sin and an offended God, therefore the answer is we need a savior. Oh, there's lots of other problems, obviously, but that's the fundamental one and the one from which all others flow. When you set up a a a rival set up, you may still hold to the same statement of faith somewhere in the attic and you say, well, I don't deny any of those things, but your animal mating, your energizing spirit is now the problem is environmental degradation. The problem is the sort of oppression that, instead of moving vertical, David saying against you only have h sinned, even though he's sinned against almost everyone. It moves entirely horizontal, and so the offended nous is just here. And when that line goes there, then you have good guys and bad guys in our world, oppressors and oppressed instead of fundamentally we're sinners and were need of a savior, and that that's what I would want. I don't want people to stop being passionate about, you know, speaking out against racism. The Bible gives no quarter to racism or uh, you know, people in the majority, to have open, humble hearts, to consider ways things they don't see. All of that is what we should do as Christians. As you said, we should be quick to listen, uh, and slow to anger, slow to speak, but we ought to be discerning in this is, pastorally, the concern that pastors ought to have. We ought to be concerning when young people in particular, but it's not just young people, find in their hearts the sort of rival energy. They don't quite call it a religion, but what's getting them most animated, most exercised, is something other than this old, Old Gospel Story and of all the people out there who have just done a Yeoman's work on reading this stuff, digesting this stuff, publishing this stuff. Um, you've done such a great job, you know. So thank you for that. Blessings to you and pat as you work on this really important book that's going to talk about crt but also critical theory more broadly. I know you're reading a lot of the gender and sexuality stuff. And then, once again, just to mention the apologetics book. Why believe a reasoned approach to Christie Hannitity Neil. I hope since we're just a few hours down the road, we can be in the same place at the same time. But thank you for coming on the program this morning. Thank you. Thank you. Until next time, glorify God, enjoy him forever and read a good book. MM HM.

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