Trouble has been brewing for some while now. Social justice warriors have taken to the streets, courtroom, and universities. Most recently, social justice has penetrated the church walls. While many applaud the social justice movement, including well-known evangelical leaders, a few are standing strong and voicing deep concern. One such man is Dr. Voddie T. Baucham. In his most recent book, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe, Dr. Baucham exposes the underbelly of the social justice movement. He sees a looming catastrophe on the horizon as scores of professing Christians begin assimilating the tenets of social justice into the fabric of their lives and worldviews.
Fault Lines has a specific goal in mind. Dr. Baucham speaks in clear terms:
I want to unmask the ideology of Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality in hopes that those who have imbibed it can have the blinders removed from their eyes, and those who have bowed in the face of it can stand up, take courage, and ‘contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
The author accomplishes his goal by beginning with a personal narrative. He reveals several pertinent points about his background, including family, faith, and some of the racial tension that was a regular part of his life as a young person. Readers unfamiliar with Baucham’s background will be humbled by his candor and encouraged by a marvelous story of God’s grace.
Grace is the theme that dominates in this book. While some parts may appear combative in tone, the author’s heart is revealed throughout. This is a man who has been conquered by the sovereign grace of God. This mighty work of grace not only saved Voddie from sin, death, and hell, it has propelled him to a platform where he is quick to warn people about the dangers of the social justice movement.
Baucham clears up any misconceptions at the beginning of the book. When critics ask, “What does Critical Race Theory have to do with the church?” “What does social justice have to do with the church?” Baucham’s answer: “Everything.”
The author explains the origins of Critical Social Justice (CSJ) with the rise of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. He cites Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, who argue that these theories are “geared toward identifying and exposing problems to facilitate revolutionary political change.” Such an explanation puts “meat on the bones” and enables readers to see behind much of the social justice agenda.
The warning is set forth with evangelicals in mind. John MacArthur calls it “the greatest threat to the gospel in his lifetime.” Baucham’s task is to unveil the threat understandably and compellingly for people in the pews.
Baucham sounds the alarm, much like Paul warned the Colossian believers. He urged them to:
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, ESV)
Baucham reveals how the various fault lines are impacting the church as leaders succumb to the spirit of the age. He unpacks the false narratives that are being promoted in the media and willingly consumed by Americans.
The author sets forth the unbiblical underpinnings of CRT, intersectionality, white fragility, etc. In the end, what is revealed is a strategic worldview that is being propagated. At the heart of this worldview is the radical promotion of the hegemony – the group of people who are white, heterosexual, native-born, able-bodied, and male. Anyone not a part of this group is considered a minority. But more importantly, this minority is numbered among the oppressed. In classic Marxist fashion, the oppressed must rise up and overtake the hegemony.
In this fabricated arrangement, there is no forgiveness. There is no gospel. The only thing left are the oppressors and the oppressed. In this scheme, original sin is redefined as “racism.” The agenda of social justice, which is presented as a worldview, renders the gospel invalid and impotent.
According to Baucham, the antiracist goal is “equitable outcomes.” Readers who are paying attention to the worldview shifts in our culture will recognize these themes. Gone are the days when equality is emphasized. The new buzzword is equity. The author maintains this goal “is neither biblical, reasonable, nor achievable.” Instead of grace, the only thing that remains is law.
Baucham cites Albert Schweitzer, who said, “A heavy guilt upon us from what the whites of all nations have done to the colored peoples. When we do good to them, it is not benevolence – it is atonement.” Such a sentiment drill deep into the heart and soul of antiracism. Tragically, this worldview is invading the church. It is anti-gospel.
The Way Forward
Baucham believes that the coming catastrophe is unavoidable: “These fault lines are so deeply entrenched, and the rules of engagement so seriously complex, that the question is not if but when the catastrophe will strike.” The way forward will require clear thinking and Christian courage. The way forward involves faithful allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ringing in my ears is a line from a sermon that John Piper preached many years ago, where he exhorted his readers to “out rejoice all their enemies.” Like Athanasius, we must rise up and live contra mundum. But living against the world does not suggest that we stop loving people in the world. As Baucham notes, “We must love each other with a tenacious, biblical, Christlike love.”
The author concludes by urging his readers to 1) take every thought captive, 2) confront the lie and hold to the truth, 3) listen with discernment, and 4) correct people who are peddling a worldview that opposes the truth of the gospel.
Fault Lines is a greatly needed book. Dr. Baucham’s work is a true labor of love, which is grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Readers should read this work carefully and thoughtfully and make it their aim to move into the marketplace of ideas, armed with the truth of God’s Word, and ready to make a difference in a world that is desperately in need of Jesus’s saving work on the cross.
Dr. David Steele has been in pastoral ministry since 1991. He holds BS and MA degrees from Multnomah University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary and a D. Min from Bakke Graduate University. Following graduation from Multnomah University, he served eight years as Pastor to Students at Lacey Chapel. In 2000, he became the Pastor of Theology at First Baptist Church in La Grande, Oregon where he served for over eleven years. In 2012, he became the Senior Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Everson, Washington.
He is the author of Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther, A Godward Gaze: The Holy Pursuit of John Calvin, and The White Flag: When Compromise Cripples the Church.
At Christ Fellowship he leads the staff, serves as the Pastor for preaching and vision casting, and oversees Veritas (adult theological education) and Iron Men (men’s leadership development).
His personal mission is to positively influence people, impact the world one person at a time and to glorify God by enjoying him forever. His passion in ministry is preaching, teaching, and leadership development. Specifically, his aim is to educate the mind, engage the affections, equip the whole person, and encourage God-centered living that treasures Christ above all things.
He and his wife, Gerrene were married in 1991 and they have two children.