I’m consistently insulted by others because of my words about social justice. They say I’m an uncle Tom, a coon, or a sellout. People I considered dear friends now consider me their enemy. I’ve become accustomed to being shamed and shunned by others because I do not support Black Lives Matter and social justice.
But throughout all that, I wasn’t ashamed of the gospel. I wasn’t tempted to compromise—until now.
When I suggested on Twitter in July that I was considering writing a review of White Fragility, my tweet went viral. It was “liked” by almost 20,000 people and read by almost 2 million people. Some of the people who read the tweet subsequently followed me on Twitter, including well-known and respected conservatives.
Some of these influential conservatives are New York Times best-sellers, Founding editors of major media outlets, and powerful journalists. But especially, they’re not Christians.
I was shocked that I received their attention. Then gradually, I wondered how I could maintain their attention.
Over the last five years, I’ve committed myself to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology. Though many of my Christian peers are increasingly abandoning biblical theology—by the grace of God—I haven’t wavered. I want my last article on this blog to be just as faithful to the Bible as my first article. In fact, my first article is titled, “I’m a Christian, But I’m Not Ashamed”.
And yet, when I was writing my review of White Fragility, I became ashamed of the gospel, and I was tempted to compromise.
I didn’t want to offend or alienate my new and prominent conservative followers by writing an explicitly biblical review of White Fragility. I didn’t want to address the theological problems within White Fragility and critical theory—I didn’t want to do any of that, especially after one of the prominent conservatives privately messaged me to tell me they were eagerly anticipating my article.
I wasn’t tempted to contradict biblical theology, but I was tempted to compromise on it. I wasn’t tempted to hate biblical theology, but I was tempted to hide it. I was ashamed of the gospel, and I was embarrassed by Jesus.
It’s true many Christians have abandoned biblical Christianity to embrace critical theory and social justice. But many Christians can also abandon biblical Christianity for Christless conservatism.
In some ways, Christless conservatism can be more tempting for many Christians than critical theory, since many people conflate conservatism with Christianity. However, conservatism without Christ is only philosophically and socially better than critical theory—nothing more. Conservatism without Christ—without the gospel—is just as damning as critical theory. Without Christ, conservatives like Thomas Sowell are just as lost as critical theorists like Robin DiAngelo.
Unlike critical theory, traditional conservatism isn’t contrary to Christianity, but it doesn’t make a person a Christian either.
Nevertheless, while I was writing the article, I asked God to forgive me and I asked him to help me. I asked him to help me grasp that if I compromised on the gospel for conservatives, I would make myself vulnerable to contradicting the gospel for critical theorists one day.
After all, Satan is happy to use anything, critical theory or conservatism, to draw us away from Christ. He doesn’t care if we’re critical theorists or conservatives, liberals or libertarians, Pharisees or Sadducees—so long as we’re ashamed of Christ.
Satan doesn’t care about what we compromise to—so long as we’re not committed to Christ. He doesn’t care whom we want approval from, so long as it’s not approval from Christ.
By the grace of God, I shared biblical theology in my review of White Fragility. At the end of the article, I said: “The gospel is enough. Jesus is enough.”
That’s true for those of us who are tempted to embrace critical theory and it’s just as true for those of us who are tempted to embrace Christless conservatism.
Don’t be ashamed of the gospel. Don’t be embarrassed by Jesus.