The Need for Kingdom Race Theology
by Tony Evans
As a biblical kingdomologist, I am unashamedly committed to the absolute authority and inerrancy of Scripture as my final source of truth (John 17:17). As a black man, I am proud of the unique history and culture God has allowed me to partake of, as well as the unique perspective they give me. As an American, I am committed to this nation of my birth, along with the freedom and opportunities it offers and the oneness it seeks to achieve. It is my goal in work and ministry to provide and promote a kingdom approach to the subject of the church, race, justice, and oneness. I seek to take the issues out of the realm of human speculation and esoteric analysis as well as the limitation of the kingdom of men and place them squarely in the hands of the kingdom of God, which is where they belong.
Our racial divide is a sinful disease. Over-the-counter human remedies won’t fix it; they merely mask the symptoms for a season. What we need is a prescription from the Creator to destroy this cancer before it destroys us. What the church desperately needs is a Kingdom Race Theology (KRT) that gives a biblical framework and practical solutions to our ongoing ethnic divide. In my book, Kingdom Race Theology, is my humble attempt to provide such an ecclesiological framework. If the church can ever get this issue of oneness right, then we can help America finally become the “one nation under God” that we declare ourselves to be.
In the wake of the collective upheaval in 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement gave fresh legs to Critical Race Theory (CRT), which now stands tall at the core of today’s racial debate.
Critical Race Theory may be defined as a post-civil rights social theory that demonstrates how unjust laws have served as the embedded foundation and filter through which racist attitudes, behavior, policies, and structures have been rooted and continue to influence the fabric of American life, politics, and systems, even after those laws were changed.
CRT proponents view race as a social construct created to expand or protect power and control. It also holds that the foundation of society’s institutions and power structures are based on white privilege. Proponents frequently contend that these institutions and structures are inherently racist in that they are consciously or subconsciously used to maintain and expand the economic and political power of white people at the expense of people of color.1 Proponents of CRT also contend that storytelling and narrative-based knowledge is a leading element in changing cultures, affecting worldviews, and even addressing systemic issues.
One of the leading CRT theorists, Kimberlé Crenshaw, defines it as “a way of looking at law’s role platforming, facilitating, producing, and even insulating racial inequality in our country.”2 Never has there been a more volatile subject separating schools, school boards, churches, denominations, organizations, businesses, and even personal relationships, through heated emotions and often verbal vitriol.
Perhaps a theological comparison can help illustrate the need for a kingdom perspective.
Men are born under the evil law of sin and death. This sentences all mankind to the slavery and oppression of sin (Rom. 8:2; Eph. 2:1–3). Upon conversion, that law is cancelled and replaced with a new law, the law of the spirit (Rom. 6:6). This new law legally frees believers from the law of sin and death. However, just because the law changed, the abiding struggle with sin did not automatically disappear (Rom. 7:14–25). Only consistent growth in the application of the law of the spirit can overcome the flesh’s attempt to keep us functioning as spiritual slaves (Gal. 5:16–18). Failure to apply the new law means that the abiding effects of the evil system of the old law continues due to the historical power of the old laws’ influence on our flesh, even though it has been replaced. This reality serves to deny believers the full experience of freedom the new law promises (Rom. 8:3–13; Gal. 5:13). Likewise, the abiding effects of racism continue at various levels depending on the willingness of people to submit to the new laws of justice that have been established.
When we get it right in the church house—first—then we can spread it to the White House and beyond (Eph. 3:10). Scripture is clear that the spiritual condition of God’s people greatly affects whether there is order or chaos in society (2 Chron. 15:3–6). Kingdom Race Theology is part of a broader theological framework and worldview that I call the Kingdom Agenda (see my book of the same title for a comprehensive review of this worldview). In short, the “Kingdom Agenda” is the visible manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life. God’s kingdom has clearly addressed the issue of race and racism. He has spoken on this subject and has not stuttered. It is my humble goal to present a message that provides a biblical, theological, and practical analysis of the issues along with an individual and collective action plan for resolving this stain on the church and our nation.
While racism is an evil sin severely condemned by God, it is neither the first sin, the only sin, nor the defining classification of sin. Idolatry, which is always rooted in pride, is the superintending sin in Scripture. Racism is certainly one major humanistic evil expression of the sin of idolatry since it is an attack on the value of the image of God in which all mankind of every ethnicity is created. When the idolatrous sin of racism is properly and comprehensively addressed by the church and is accompanied by the practice of biblical unity, then we can offer the culture more than pious rhetoric but also visible solutions. This is the goal of Kingdom Race Theology.
Adapted from Kingdom Race Theology: God’s Answer to Our Racial Crisis by Tony Evans. (©2022) Published by Moody Publishers. Used with permission.
1 “What Is Critical Race Theory?” UCLA School of Public Affairs, https://spacrs.wordpress.com/what-is-critical-race-theory/: “CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. . . . Legal discourse says that the law is neutral and colorblind, however, CRT challenges this legal ‘truth’ by examining liberalism and meritocracy as a vehicle for self-interest, power, and privilege.”
2 Quoted in “What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is Everyone Talking about It?” Columbia News, July 1, 2021, https://news.columbia.edu/news/what-critical-race-theory-and-why-everyone-talking-about-it-0. See also the discussion by Ibram X. Kendi, “There Is No Debate over Critical Race Theory,” The Atlantic, July 9, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/opponents-critical-race-theory-are-arguing-themselves/619391/.