The PCA Must Reject God-less Ideologies

At the risk of being labeled a dreaded "Reformed Fundamentalist" I offer this call for the PCA to reject God-less ideologies such as Critical Theory, Intersectionality and their religious cousin Liberation Theology. I'm honestly shocked that this even has to be said. I spent a rather significant amount of time researching Liberation Theology while in seminary and wrote a research paper on Jurgen Moltmann's theology of God's suffering. Indeed, Moltmann was my primary focus during seminary. Those of you familiar with Motlmann know that he was a Liberation Theology enthusiast and helped popularize it outside Latin America. When I took my ordination vows I never expected that ideas springing from the poison well of Critical Theory and Liberation Theology would start to gain traction in the PCA. And yet that is precisely what is happening. As I look across the social media landscape and see PCA Teaching Elders enthusiastically commending the works of James Cone (the father of Black Liberation Theology) I wonder how much longer before denials of orthodox trinitarianism, substitutionary atonement, justificiation by faith alone, the necessity of the new birth, etc will be deemed in some Presbyteries as "not striking at the vitals of our religion."

 

Yes, I know. I sound like an alarmist. I'm sure somewhere in the above paragraph some rather creative minds may even imagine a 9th Commandment violation.
 

But it was less than 4 years ago when I was mocked rather broadly for suggesting that Liberation Theology was starting to pop up in some circles in the PCA. I was told I must be a racist for imagining such things. "No one in the PCA is embracing Liberation Theology!" I was told. And yet before long we were being told to read James Cone. Now I'm even seeing that the resistance to James Cone among some in the PCA must be born in racism. It is even being suggested in certain Presbyteries that candidates for ordination should demonstrate an appreciation for Liberation Theology. We are being told that Liberation Theology and Critical Theory are important interpretive tools when approaching the Bible. You do the math. I know there is no such thing as a slippery slope. No sir. Never has been one of those. But we do have 100 years of denominational history in the United States from which we may draw a lesson or two.
 

The folks at Table Talk have just published a short but very helpful piece on intersectionality (very much the fruit of Critical Theory) by Rosaria Butterfield. She states with great accuracy:
 


The question at hand, however, is this: Can intersectionality serve the gospel? Can we add intersectional teaching to the gospel to arrive at a better way of loving our neighbor? A number of churches and parachurch groups say yes. Intersectionality has found a home in many of our Reformed churches, notably in sensitivity training to make the church a friendlier place for “sexual minorities.”

Denny Burk has helpfully identified the two most prominent ways that intersectionality works at cross-purposes with the gospel: first, by fostering an unbiblical view of human identity, and second, by producing social fragmentation.

Intersectionality fails to distinguish between morally neutral descriptions of people’s lived experience (ethnicity and class) with morally charged descriptions (sexual orientation and gender identity). Because intersectionality does not have a biblical category of sin, it does not have a biblical category of repentance, redemption, or grace. Because it does not start with a robust understanding that human identity is an image-bearing reflection of God—that all people are made in His image (Gen. 1:27)—it has no concept of what it means to grow in the knowledge, righteousness, and holiness of Christ.

Intersectionality produces never-ending social division and fragmentation. This is ironic, because when intersectionality first appeared in U.S. universities in the 1990s, it was hoped that it would challenge the idea that dominant and oppressive social groups are easily identifiable. Instead, it multiplied social groups and attributed to them an invented reality, leaving us with a culture of identity politics on steroids...

Intersectionality confuses justice, a command of God to defend the poor and the needy (Mic. 6:8), with a conception of justice not defined by Scripture. Biblically speaking, sin causes suffering, and even oppressed people need soul care in addition to body care because oppressed people are sinners in need of a Savior too. Sin produces suffering, both our own sin and the sin of others that hurts us. The order between sin and suffering matters. Miss this point or change the order and you have bypassed the entire gospel...

Churches and parachurch organizations should be aware: intersectionality will not serve the gospel. It will not help you become kinder, more aware of the world around you, or better able to deal with diversity. Rather, it will introduce a new set of false virtues and false vices into your ministry. Take heed to your ministry. Paul’s first epistle to Timothy tells us how: he calls our pastors and elders to be examples of righteousness (1 Tim. 4:12), to “give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (v. 13, NKJV), to not neglect the gifts of teaching (v. 14), to “meditate on these things [and] give yourself entirely to them,” and to “take heed to yourself and to the doctrine” (v. 15).

 

Read the entire piece HERE.

 

Todd Pruitt