Tony Evans and Kingdom Race Theology
If you are white, American, and Christian, and if you think and wonder about things, then you’ve thought and wondered about race and gender. If you are anything like me, you’ve wondered about glacier mice, too, but that’s another topic. Maybe you haven’t wondered about these things? Maybe they’ve never even crossed your mind, and maybe you’re positive about the truth of everything you’ve learned and experienced up ‘til now. If so, well, there’s likely nothing for you here. Good luck.
I do, in fact, think about these things. I go to a men’s Bible study on Wednesday mornings at my local Baptist church at 6:30, and you might be surprised at the trails we forge. It’s easy to imagine that you know our thoughts and motivations. We’re a bunch of mostly old white codgers, after all, and our thoughts and motivations have been laid bare for decades now. This is the heart of prejudice: imagining that you know someone because you see them fitting neatly into a group of your making. It would be silly to argue that the group labeled white men and women haven’t acted with prejudice against others not in this group. It’s ludicrous now when they do it, and was ludicrous in the past. It’s just as ludicrous to have it done reciprocally.
Old White Christians
These old white Christians – only one black guy attends with any regularity – decided that we need to bone up on race and race theory. I admit to harboring some weirdness about this. I’m a molecular and evolutionary biologist who is pretty darned sure that we did away with the idea of race twenty or thirty years ago with a deepened understanding of genetics. I still think we were right.
Kingdom Race Theology
My recommendation today is Dr. Tony Evens‘ short study on what he calls Kingdom Race Theology, a fancy label for a mostly Baptist theology of human beings. This, of course, is offered in opposition to Critical Race Theory which Evens’ argues is divisive and historically untenable. I’m guessing that proponents of Critical Race Theory assume and intend for it to be divisive as they use it to right historical and cultural wrongs. Evens doesn’t, however, ignore racism, slavery, or history and claims on the grounds of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, that the Liberty Bell is still broken. Evens’ primary thesis aligns with anti-racism: when the church is silent, the kingdom of hell prevails. Detractors shrug these statements off as something expected from a Black man playing a white Christian game.
Evans continues and talks about historical and current racism and the George Floyd episode as characterized by ‘systemic racism.’ He argues here in the same vein as Critical Race Theorists that this is a mindless racism that festers in culture even after racist laws are struck down, but leave embedded ideas into the fabric of the nation’s thinking. It is the job of the Christian, he says, it’s the job of everyone standing on the hill over a city, to shine a light of love and respect and acceptance for brothers and sisters everywhere to form that one union, under G. It’s not enough, people say, to shun racism, but it’s even more important to do the right thing and crush it when we see it. To seek it out and eradicate it.
Anti-Racism = G’s hands and feet
I think Evens would agree with this. Indeed, I think he would agree that it is our job, the job of all who call themselves Christians, to call for unity and to seek out places where racism remains hidden and accepted. It is exactly what we ask for when we pray: thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. As in so many things, it’s our job to be the hands and feet of G.
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