There are no sacred cows for the writers at popular Christian satire site The Babylon Bee, and this was evident yesterday when they took a not so subtle jab at the discussions that took place after the MLK50 conference, which featured influential speakers such as Matt Chandler.
The post zeroes in on the growing calls for white evangelical Christians to realize their privileged status in society, but not much else is made clear what white people are supposed to do with this knowledge. This has been a standard position for progressive Christians for years, but now more conservative members of the faith are picking up similar talking points. The Bee post took issue with the apparent the lack of clarity surrounding any solution to the issue of privilege, and simply headlines that progress has been made because this “straight white male hates himself” after realizing he is responsible for a litany of societal woes. Here’s a portion of the post:
“responsible for thrusting terrible violence upon every other gender (all of them), race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion (did we mention he’s a Christian?? UGH!) that has ever existed since the beginning of time, even though by all accounts he’s a good guy who works hard, takes care of his family, tries his best to love his neighbor as himself, and all that other stuff that doesn’t matter because we only regard him as part of a collective group to which we assign blame.”
The MLK50 conference was supported by several organizations, including John Piper’s The Gospel Coalition.
The conference sparked some debate between Christians, one of the most prominent critics of the even was theologian Dr. James White. In a series of podcasts and articles and back and forth exchanges on social media, White took issue
with the “racialist lens” that he says “disrupts true Christian unity.” This was part of a back and forth with Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C..
Here’s a bit of the background and why he has taken his current stance:
Over the past couple of weeks on my webcast, The Dividing Line, I have taken time to address a few issues related to the unity of the Church and the topic of racialism.
I have walked through Colossians 3 and argued that within the fellowship of faith the singular lens by which we are to view each other is found in our common redemption, our common faith, our common indwelling Spirit, and the common renewal that is being worked out in us whereby we are being conformed to the image of Christ. I argue that the Apostle specifically and clearly denies that there are any distinctions in this renewal based upon one’s history, one’s ethnicity, or social standing.
The unity of the body is found not in the noting and prioritizing of such things, but in recognizing that in light of the redemptive work of Christ, those distinctions are no more. “In this renewing work there is no Greek and no Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, freeman, but Christ is all, and in all” (v. 11). The phrase “but Christ is all” should not be overlooked. There is something utterly unique in the Christian faith found in the uniqueness of the God-man, in the Incarnate One, Jesus. The reason “every tribe, tongue, people and nation” can be one is that they are focused not upon themselves but upon another, Jesus. I assert that this means that my relationship with each and every true believer in Christ must, by nature of who Jesus is and what He did, transcend and eclipse any other human relationship, and that includes ethnicity, history or skin color.
Individuals who once hated every member of another ethnic group (and the history of this in the world is long, and nowhere limited to any particular spectrum of human skin color) can come to the Lord’s table with those they once hated without hesitation because all of those hatreds and hurts are in the past and are rendered irrelevant by the “new man.” Both are being renewed and made that “new man,” so everything that has come before must be buried at the foot of the cross. When this reality is ignored the peace-making capacity of Christian fellowship worldwide is sacrificed.
It’s a brewing debate that will surely continue, as many conservative leaning Church leaders appear to be adopting some of the phraseology and messaging of far left social justice progressives.