It is generally accepted that politics flows downstream from the culture, but most do not realize that the culture flows downstream from the Church!1 In other words, when the culture descends under the influence of ungodly principles and ideas, the church is responsible.
Because we are the keepers of the Absolute Truth found only in the Bible. In times of social upheaval, Scripture is the only sure foundation upon which to stand; and those who are called to be shepherds of the Word are required to stand boldly against the lies of the enemy who seeks 24/7 to take us down.
One such man for the moment is Voddie Baucham, pastor and author of the new book “Fault Lines – The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe”. Listen to his powerful words towards the conclusion of this insightful work:
“This book is, among many things, a plea to the Church. I believe we are being duped by an ideology bent on our demise. This ideology has used our guilt and shame over America’s past, our love for the brethren, and our good and godly desire for reconciliation and justice as a means through which to introduce destructive heresies. We cannot embrace, modify, baptize, or Christianize these ideologies. We must identify, resist, and repudiate them. We cannot be held hostage through emotional blackmail and name-calling. Instead, we must “see to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).”2
Because I want to encourage you to read this book yourself, I will share only a few select passages meant to whet your appetite for more by presenting those passages within the context of an overview meant to answer four questions: 1) Who is this pastor? 2) Why is he especially qualified to speak on this subject? 3) Why is He Speaking Out So Strongly Against This Racially Charged Issue? and 4) What IS He Saying?
Who is This Pastor?
In his own words, Voddie Bauchman…
“was born on the San Andreas Fault. More specifically, I was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 11, 1969. This was the end of the Great Migration between 1915 and 1970 that saw somewhere between five and ten million blacks leave the South in search of a better life. This migration took place along very specific routes to the North and West and landed large swaths of the black population in cities like New York, Boston, Detroit, Oakland, Los Angeles, and other major urban areas. My family was among those who trod those well-worn paths. My third-great paternal grandfather, Nazarin, was born a slave in North Carolina in 1835. On my mother’s side, I have been able to trace my third- and fourth-great-grandparents back to slavery in Alabama, Virginia, and Texas between the 1830s and 1860s. Both my maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather came from Texas, while my maternal grandmother made her way up I-10 from Louisiana. They all eventually found their way to the City of Angels, where they, along with scores of other immigrants, made a life for themselves and their loved ones that offered more promise than they ever could have hoped for in the land they left."
Reminiscent of George Washington Carver and Dr. Ben Carson, Voddie attributes his success as a man – specifically as a black man – to the unwavering commitment by his mother to his moral upbringing and his education. All those men grew up without a father in the home and a mother who had very little, if any, formal education, and yet they all were able to break through the cultural barriers and rise from the slums of America to become leaders inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
“The life of a single mother raising a son in Los Angeles in the late 1970s and early 1980s was tough. There were drugs, gangs, crime, poverty, and a host of other traps to which a young man could fall prey. People often ask how I came out of all that unscathed. My answer is always the same: Frances Baucham. My mother was a tough, smart, hard-working, no-nonsense woman who did not suffer fools. Growing up, there were two things I never doubted: 1) my mother loved me, and 2) if I got out of line, she’d kill me!"
Speaking of the importance Frances Bauchman placed on Voddie’s education, he writes:
“I was a little black boy growing up in South Central Los Angeles during the heyday of the Crips and Bloods. It wasn’t “cool” to hit the books, so I underperformed so as not to stand out. [Until the] day Frances Baucham had come to class. That day, she reminded me (and my teacher) that she, not the streets, had the last word.”
The lesson: Moms (and dads) – oversee your children’s moral and educational upbringing! Don’t trust their very lives into the hands of countless strangers over the years and to other children of their own age.
It should be noted particularly that Voddie was not raised as a Christian and he readily acknowledges that he did not become one because he searched for God. On the contrary, he states: “[I am not] a Christian because I was smart enough to figure it out, good enough to find my way, or lucky enough to meet the right people. I am a Christian because the grace of God found me when I wasn’t even looking. I am a Christian because of God’s miraculous intervention in my life.” The message to Christian parents here: Become the means that God uses to intervene in your child’s life while they live under your care.
- Why is He Especially Qualified to Speak on this Subject?
There is much more to Voddie’s story growing up as a young black man during those tumultuous years following the Civil Rights movement, but these short excerpts were given to impress upon the reader that his life resembles that of most black boys raised in the inner cities of America, yet his choices since entering adulthood reflect a mindset that firmly rejects the attitude of anger and resentment toward whites that has been promoted by most black leaders over the last decade… an attitude that promotes hatred and covetousness, and which feeds the beast of cultural Marxism that is taking over and threatens to take down American society.
Had he not been challenged about his moral foundations by a young staffer from Campus Crusade in his early days in college, Voddie might have adapted the “group-think” mentality of many in his generation. But providentially, he responded to the call of the Gospel message, acknowledged his sinful nature, placed his faith in Christ as the source of truth and righteousness, and began his new life trusting in Scripture and the Spirit of God to lead him in all his thinking and living from then on. And this is the key: when battling ideas, what or Who is the authority we rely upon for a solid foundation for truth… Man or God? It appears that many in today’s Church have chosen to put their trust in the former. Voddie brings this unfortunate fact to the surface with many examples through the course of his book.
- Why is He Speaking Out So Strongly Against This Racially Charged Issue?
During his early years as a pastor and dedicated member of the Southern Baptist churches, Voddie observed that the racial reconciliation movement was occurring mainly in only white congregations. He recounts: “I was not aware of, nor had I ever met, a black pastor who was working for or even passionate about racial reconciliation. Not one had ever lamented the fact that their church was 99 percent black, or that the remaining 1 percent included exactly zero white members. I am not saying that was the entirety of the black church experience, or that those leaders were evil or ungodly—only that for the first time, I was coming face-to-face with brothers who, through tear-stained eyes, were begging God to diversify His church, and all of them were white.” From that point, he purposed himself to no longer ”live and serve in environments where everybody looked like me.” He spent the next few years attempting to model that commitment to diversity by serving in white churches.
But that commitment created other problems of its own, namely that many blacks began to point out that his gifts were being given almost exclusively to whites while those of his own skin color who needed his teaching and his example the most were being deprived. Providentially, he was led in 2014 to Zambia, Africa, where he took on the task of “starting the African Christian University (ACU), a semi-classical liberal arts university committed to a biblical worldview, academic excellence, and theological fidelity.” He soon gained an entirely new perspective on many things...
First, he gained “a renewed appreciation for God’s providence.” He states: “I saw God’s [Providential] hand in American history in ways I hadn’t appreciated before—not only in establishing what I believe is the greatest Republic in the history of the world, but also in allowing me to be born, educated, and trained for the ministry there. Most Africans would give all they had to get to America. Ironically, I didn’t have to do that because my ancestors were forced to give all they had as African slaves.”
Second, his experience in Africa broadened his perspective on slavery – which is key because for many years the teaching in America’s public school systems have radically distorted the true history of the slave trade. And though slavery should always be condemned as immoral, history reveals a far different view of who did what to either promote it or eradicate slavery than we’re being told. Voddie recounts: “A visit to the Slave Tree in Ndola, Zambia, poignantly reminded me that, contrary to popular belief, white slavers did not come to Africa and track through the bush to find and capture slaves; they bought them from other Africans who had already enslaved them. It was sobering to realize that my ancestors—far from being kings and queens—were actually debtors, criminals, or conquered people who were sold to Westerners by their own kinsmen. And thank God they sold them to the Westerners and not the Arabs! The Arab slave trade lasted more than thirteen centuries and was far more brutal; few Africans sold to the Arabs even survived the journey.”
Lastly, life in Africa broadened his view on the social justice movement in two major ways:
- "I have come to understand that the Critical Social Justice (CSJ) movement is global. Just like people in the U.S. are arguing that racial disparities are de facto evidence of racism and white supremacy, the global version of CSJ is arguing that the same is true in regard to global inequities. Thus, power and resources must be redistributed not only within nations, but between them. And since America is the wealthiest nation on earth, guess who needs to “check their privilege” and divest themselves of power the most?
- "I have come to realize that culture does matter, that not all cultures are equal, that Christian culture has produced the highest levels of freedom and prosperity and the lowest levels of corruption and oppression in the world, and that transforming culture is a laudable and worthwhile goal."
4. What IS He Saying?
He opens this section of the book with this quote from Proverbs 6:16-19:
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
“There are falsehoods in the current cultural moment that tick every one of these boxes. As such, these falsehoods must be confronted”, he states. And from then on, Voddie addresses the many lies and distortions that have fueled the fires of hate and tension in America and worldwide. Here is how he begins to address these falsehoods:
“Taking a knee” - Beginning with Colin Kaepernick’s crusade to blame police for seeking to kill innocent black men, then moving on to consider the national attention focused upon the deaths of Trayvon Martin in 2012, Michael Brown in 2014, and Tamir Rice, also in 2014, and others, Voddie reveals the true facts of each situation. He states unapologetically:
“My goal when I hear about ‘injustices’ is to bear in mind that I am biased. I am a single witness with limited information, and I carry a ton of baggage. So when I am evaluating people’s testimonies and pleas, and when people are shouting, ‘Justice for George, Ahmaud, Breonna, Trayvon!’ or anyone else, I always want to bear in mind the words of John 7:51: ‘Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?’ I also want to remember that ‘the one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him’ (Proverbs 18:17), which is why ‘if one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame’ (Proverbs 18:13). Today, people are rioting and demanding justice before knowing the facts, and in most cases, without ever considering the aforementioned principles. And here is the key: People are ignoring these principles because the standard of justice upon which their pleas are built does not come from the God of the Scriptures. While that may be fine for others, those of us who claim to know Christ are held to a different standard." (Emphasis mine)
Based upon those principles, Voddie spends nearly an entire chapter on “Exposing False Narratives” – telling the “other side of the story” most people never hear regarding the statistical facts of police treatment of blacks vs. other ethnicities, as well as the specific details relating to the deaths of George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, and Breonna Taylor.
Voddie then dedicates the remaining eight chapters to dissecting the social justice movement, showing clearly that it is a religion in itself with its own priesthood and “bible” of principles and laws. Here are a few noteworthy statements:
"Critical Race Theory, or Antiracism has created its own bible complete with definitions of terms which, sadly, many Christians have adopted. Among them are the following.
- Whiteness: a set of normative privileges granted to white-skinned individuals and groups which is “invisible” to those privileged by it.
- Critical race theory (CRT), the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of colour.8
- White Privilege: a series of unearned advantages that accrue to white people by virtue of their whiteness.
- White Supremacy: any belief, behavior, or system that supports, promotes, or enhances white privilege.
- White Complicity: White people, through the practices of whiteness and by benefiting from white privilege, contribute to the maintenance of systemic racial injustice.
- White Equilibrium: The belief system that allows white people to remain comfortably ignorant.
- White Fragility: the inability and unwillingness of white people to talk about race due to the grip that whiteness, white supremacy, white privilege, white complicity, and white equilibrium exert on them (knowingly or unknowingly)."
Pastor Baucham either directly or indirectly concludes the following (these are my observations)
- If you are a Christian, regardless of the shade of your skin, you are accountable to God for your decisions and actions before God. King David stated “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge (Ps. 51:4).
- We are personally accountable to His Word when God says: “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
- We are commanded to model the Scripture which states: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile [no racism], neither slave nor free [no classism], nor is there male and female [no sexism], for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
- We are to think God’s thoughts after Him when He says: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, … For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” And of course, this is the Scripture from which Martin Luther King, Jr. surmised his famous statement "I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Our conclusion is that Sin is inherited by all, but the practice of sin is a choice. Neither an ethnic group nor a people of a particular shade of flesh is to be judged as a whole. To do so exemplifies the true definition of racism.
Again, we highly encourage you to read this book. There is a wealth of wisdom and warning to equip you, your family, your church, and your friends so that “no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” (Col. 2:8)
Wheelock, Roger. The Church, the State, and Education: An Urgent call for the Church to Consider a Paradigm Shift in Our Priorities . Kindle Edition.
Baucham Jr., Voddie. Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe. Salem Books. Kindle Edition.