Christianity,  Social Justice

A Christian Podcast with a Positive Outlook on CRT

Mike Bird alerted me over the weekend to The Two Cities Podcast dealing with Critical Theory (CT) and its offshoot Critical Race Theory (CRT). I share it not to commend its positive outlook on CT and CRT but to show how Christian defenders of Critical Theory tend to make their case. I don’t think that any of the speakers are proponents of CT/CRT per se. Rather, they seem to be defending CT/CRT against Evangelical “paranoia” about them. For them, Evangelical alarm about CT/CRT is unjustified.

Below is a brief summary, which I offer without comment. Obviously, all summaries are reductive, and there is much more to the podcast than what I include here. By all means, listen to the whole thing to get context, nuance, etc. But here are some key points I jotted down while listening:

1. Evangelical apologetics tends to be naïve about Critical Theory in particular and about postmodernism in general. If evangelical apologists and other critics of CT actually read the sources and understood them, they would find that CT is helpful. Same for CRT.

2. Evangelicals have unwittingly conflated their faith with modernism. That is why they are defensive about Critical Theory. They view CT as a threat to Christianity, but CT is mainly a threat to modernism. Christianity and Critical Theory share significant common ground.

3. Evangelicals are confused about Karl Marx. Yes, he stands at the font of CT and CRT. Yes, maybe some of his ideas are problematic, but he’s also really insightful. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

4. Evangelical apologetics tends toward a “hermeneutic of paranoia” when it comes to Critical Theory. When Christian apologists read Critical Theory, they become “sin sleuths” rather than reading the sources charitably. They must have a heresy to prosecute, and right now it’s CT.

5. Evangelical critics of CT use inerrancy and the sufficiency of scripture not as consistent theological convictions but as malignant political power plays.

“Inerrancy and sufficiency are just political weapons masquerading as theological principles.”

In other words, evangelical critics of CT deploy inerrancy and sufficiency cynically to prop up their cultural and political agenda, even if it means tolerating heterodoxy (e.g. heretical views of the Trinity). Thus, CT may fall afoul of their political agenda, but that doesn’t mean that it falls afoul of the Bible.

6. Evangelical critics of CT tend to be paranoid about their responsibility to defend the truth. Ironically, “These people talk about the truth… like it’s a damsel in distress… ‘What will the truth do if we don’t defend it?'”

7. Evangelicals don’t accept their responsibility to make right what their slave-holding ancestors made wrong.

“… by virtue of my membership in a certain group I’ve inherited things that don’t rightfully belong to me. And I’m obligated to do whatever I possibly can to make that right. And if I don’t, then I am morally responsible, not for the original taking but for my unwillingness to divest myself of that which I ought not to have inherited.”

8. Evangelicals often fail to acknowledge systemic racism because they don’t believe themselves to be intentionally racist. This point of view fails to account for unconscious sins and the fact that sinful groups of people can collectively sin.

9. Evangelicals fail to account for wealth inequality between whites and blacks. Since “meritocracy” is not a credible explanation for the inequity, the most plausible explanation (based on our history) is racism.

10. Evangelical critics of CT and CRT are mistaken to allege a slippery slope from an affirmation of CT/CRT to an affirmation of LGBT identities. Just as evangelicals chew up the meat and spit out the bones of modern science, so also they can do the same with CT and CRT.


Anyone reading this site for any period of time knows that I don’t agree with the perspectives in the podcast. I believe that Evangelicals are right to be alarmed about CT/CRT and that those who aren’t should be. For more on this, I recommend Carl Trueman’s recent essay “Evangelicals and Race Theory.”

UPDATE (2/11/21): I just saw tonight that one of the podcasters has gone on social media to question the accuracy of my summary above. To that, I simply respond that I certainly did not mean to be inaccurate. But neither did I intend to give a detailed accounting of what was said on the podcast. My aim was to give the gist of the arguments that were made so that readers might be interested in listening to the podcast for themselves. Having reviewed the above-mentioned push-back on social media, I still think my summaries are accurate.

Having said that, I am also aware of 1 Corinthians 4:4. For that reason, I’m posting the social media push-back so that you can read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions. The only thing I will say is that the material in the “A” column does not in every case contain all the material that I was attempting to summarize. So again, I think the best thing you can do is go and listen to the podcast for yourself!