In an article for USA Today, former LifeWay head Ed Stetzer, whom we last wrote about here: Ed Stetzer, Insufferable Expert on Everything, Says Pastors Can’t Give ‘Medical Opinion,’ and here: Stetzer Wonders Why Conservatives Can’t “Look Past Abortion” to Vote Democrat, waxed eloquent on issues of BLM and race. In this new effort, Stetzer engages in some revisionist history, repeats long disproven progressive talking points, and basically beats to death the horse that is “evangelical racism” then mails the pieces off to the 11 corners of the christian interwebs as if his missives are about some sort of Levite concubine.
Commenting on apologist Josh McDowell getting canceled after the 82-year old made some allegedly “racist” comments, Stetzer says the event is an “instructive example of the broader—and often cyclical—challenge the evangelical movement faces in making lasting progress around issues of race.”
Stetzer then pivots to the killing of George Floyd and talks about the power dynamics at play, making it racial when there was no evidence it was racial.
Suddenly, many evangelicals who had avoided issues of race were asking questions and looking for leaders to speak out. While many voices rose to the occasion, too often white evangelicals were often more eager to speak about race issues than to listen to those on the receiving end of racism.
He goes on to describe how after Floyd’s death, he marched and prayed for “racial justice” with the aim to “simply be present in the midst of what was their event as they spoke up against racial injustice” because he “needed to learn from them about how Floyd’s murder was simultaneously climactic and emblematic of a lived reality that was far different than my own.”
A more apt and accurate pastime would have been perhaps to rebuke them for making the death of Floyd be about race while beautifying and making idols out of a criminal.
In a Church Leaders article published earlier in the day, he unironically writes that Christians need to resist “oversimplifying complex issues” while at the same time pleading:
When we think of the names like Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, George Floyd, and more, I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.
Modeling the words of Beth Moore, who frequently lamented that so many churches are full of racists, he asks:
Why is it that so few African Americans go to white churches and vice versa? That so few churches reflect the racial demographics of their host community? That so many white (Christian) parents would still rather have their daughter marry a non-Christian white man than a godly, Christ-honoring African-American young man? Why the judgment on Mexicans?
Back to the USA article, he reveals:
To be sure, there are many non-Christian leaders or ideologies that threaten to co-opt the mission of the church. However, the greatest obstacles to the flourishing of the evangelical movement—particularly in regards to substantively engaging our failings on race—have arisen from within.
He cautions against the desire of evangelicals to “weaponize words like ‘CRT’ and ‘social justice’ as buzz words for dangerous ideology” as that only fortifies “the barricades and cripple[s] fruitful discussion among orthodox believers about the existence of systemic sin and injustice.” Stetzer concludes by condemning anyone who takes the viewpoint that we are to be color blind towards race and “not see race.” People with a different skin color are not to be viewed as just another human being—a brother or sister, but specifically a “black brother” or an “Asian sister.”
It is important to recognize that Scripture does not flatten race into a homogenized culture. It is an enduring exegetical mistake of many evangelicals to depict Scripture as reinforcing a “color-blind” approach to race…Scripture presents a positive interpretation of race as holding a distinctive place within the kingdom of God.”
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