Black Friday typically heralds the beginning of the Salvation Army bellringer season. The familiar red kettles outside of stores provide opportunities for shoppers to give to those in need.
But this year, the start of Salvation Army red kettle campaign was different—at least online. That’s because just as the season started, news articles began appearing about a publication titled “Let’s Talk About Racism” the Salvation Army had produced earlier in the year:
The charity is asking its white donors to do more than just drop some coins into the kettle when they go shopping this holiday season. Leaders of the Army want whites to apologize for being racist. … The resource claims Christianity is inherently racist and calls for white Christians to repent and offer “a sincere apology” to blacks for being “antagonistic… to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.”—The Daily Wire
Of great concern to loyal supporters and faithful Salvationists is the initiative dubbed “Let’s Talk About Racism.” In a nutshell, its curriculum outlines the Christian church’s alleged racial collusion and provides action steps to analyze and combat racism through an “anti-racist” lens while incorporating Critical Race Theory.
Definitions of institutional and systemic racism are included while real or perceived differences in life outcomes (“inequities”) are attributable not to individual effort and other circumstances, but to discrimination. Sections address topics including police brutality, health care and Black unemployment linking such topics to “racial inequity.”—Newsweek
The guide, which was compiled and approved earlier this year by the International Social Justice Commission of the Salvation Army, aligns the organization with the ideology of the Black Lives Matter, antiracism, and critical race theory movements.—Just the News
Additionally, the guide says “White culture” has challenges it needs to overcome, including “denial of racism,” “defensiveness about race,” and states that “White Americans” need to “stop trying to be ‘colorblind.’” … Under the “resources” section, the guide lists books from authors such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo.—Fox Business
The Salvation Army did not apologize, but it did withdraw the “Let’s Talk About Racism” publication and issue a statement saying the resource had been misunderstood.
This incident, however, is illustrative of something larger than the Salvation Army or a single publication. It represents what is happening across America as professing Christians and religious organizations are conflating woke philosophies with Christian compassion. The two are not the same.Professing Christians and religious organizations are conflating woke philosophies with Christian compassion. The two are not the same. Click To Tweet
I have visited early Salvation Army sites such as the one in York, England, where D. L. Moody preached the dedication. At that time, they were truly preaching salvation through Christ alone, and their benevolence efforts were paired with preaching the gospel to the poor and destitute. The Salvation Army today needs to return to actually preaching salvation through Christ rather than being a tool for a woke, LGBTQ agenda.
There is a real need in our day for biblical Christians to be alert to worldly philosophies that masquerade as truth.
There is a real need in our day for biblical Christians to be alert to worldly philosophies that masquerade as truth. Click To Tweet
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. – Colossians 2:8
Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made every person in His image, and Acts 17:25–26 affirms that we all have equal value in His sight. We are part of the human race—a fallen human race in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23–26). All of us come to God the same way—through Christ. Thus, the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and within the body of Christ, there is to be no favoritism (Colossians 3:11). The New Testament strongly condemns prejudice (James 2:8–9).
It is, in fact, the ugliness of racism that makes invoking the word a prime talking point for proponents of woke ideology and Critical Race Theory (CRT). In strict definitions (at least according to Merriam-Webster), woke refers to being “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” And CRT refers to “the idea that race is a sociological rather than biological designation, and that racism pervades society and is fostered and perpetuated by the legal system.”
In practical use, there is a lot of overlap between these terms in that people who consider themselves woke often rely on reasoning that if not directly stated as CRT has definitely been influenced by CRT. But in doing so, they tend to distort the meaning of racism from a sin of the heart to a result of one’s skin color. And they end up apologizing or telling others to apologize for racism that just isn’t there. This is something that Newsweek brought out about the Salvation Army’s paper on racism:
That’s troublesome for those who note The Salvation Army has been a leader in confronting racism long before the rest of the country and over five decades before the civil rights movement. And they’re asking why then should members of an organization built by the Christian faith to actually assist people of all races in need, be repentant of behavior they never perpetuated?—Newsweek
This is not only ridiculous, but it is actually sinister. It is ripping a real sin apart from its moral definition and making it responsible for all the ills of society.
No one—especially no Christian—should think less of or despairingly toward someone because of their ethnicity, skin color, or background. And no one—especially no Christian—should assume they know the condition of another’s heart based on his or her skin color.
In contrast to the wokism of today, the New Testament calls us to awake.
In contrast to the wokism of today, the New Testament calls us to awake. Click To Tweet
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:34)
Notice the significance of this verse as applied to the issue of racism versus CRT and the direct implications for Christians.
1. Awake to righteousness. Biblical Christians care about justice (Micah 6:8). They believe in upholding righteousness because a righteous God calls for it. And, in the context of 1 Corinthians 15:34, they know that the awakening they need begins in their own heart resulting in their own actions. CRT philosophies, however, have little if any care for an absolute standard of right and wrong. In fact, many who are driving the woke agenda actually have openly stated goals for the destruction of the nuclear family and the promotion of an LBGT agenda.
2. Sin not. When racism is seen as a sin rather than as a cultural construct, the answer to it is simple—repent and agree with what God says is right. And that’s exactly what every Christian should do if they recognize racism in their heart. But once a culture rejects the authority of God to delineate sin and righteousness, then anything that culture doesn’t like becomes morally wrong. In our culture, this has come to include simply declaring what the Bible says about one’s gender or sexuality. Christians who lean toward wokism need to be aware of this trend and, while continuing to care for injustice, recognize the shifting definition of morality and sin.
3. Declare the gospel. According to 1 Corinthians 15:34, the real shame of Christians who are not awake to righteousness is that they are distracted from declaring the gospel: “for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” Injustice should move us. Racism should disgust us. But should not the plight of lost people on their way to a Christless eternity grip us? Should it not be the consuming concern of every born again child of God? Should it not be that we see racism and injustice as symptoms of the greater evils of rejecting Christ? And should we not give our energy to declaring the gospel?Injustice should move us. Racism should disgust us. But should not the plight of lost people on their way to a Christless eternity grip us? Click To Tweet
If anyone actually had a reason to despise a race, it was Christ. We are all part of the same race (Acts 17:26), but He is God. Yet He humbled Himself to take on the flesh of our fallen race, give His life for us, and then offer eternal life to us.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5–8)
Christian, don’t be pulled into “philosophy and vain deceit” that is “after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Rather, “awake to righteous, and sin not”…and declare the gospel!