June 2022

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Critical Race Theory

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A few years ago I would have said that CRT stood for Christian Reformed Theology or even Cathode Ray Tube, but now I know that it usually means Critical Race Theory.

At first, I was aware of CRT as an academic area of study. Later I started to notice some of its social and political manifestations such as the Black Lives Matter in the United States. Now it seems to have become so prominent in the USA that it is provoking a substantial backlash. Nine states have passed legislation banning CRT from being taught at their schools and a further 19 are in the process of doing the same. Five Southern Baptist seminaries have issued statements that CRT is incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message, and more church groups are following this lead. More recently, CRT has surfaced openly in South Africa and is starting to gain traction.

So, what is Critical Race Theory, is it incompatible with the Christian worldview, and is it bad? I guess that in the latter part of this question I am flagging my initial stance on the issue, but I want to explore the subject with you.

This article is my attempt to learn about CRT and to form an opinion concerning it. Some of the questions I seek to find answers for, at least in part are:

  • Is CRT a valid lens through which to view history?
  • Is it a genuine attempt to analyse and find solutions to the problem of racism?
  • Or is it, in the main, an expression of Marxism aimed at revolution?
This article will definitely not be a thorough analysis of CRT in all its variations and manifestations, but rather a CRT101 Introduction. In essence, I am inviting you to share my learning experience as I explore this subject for the first time. 

What is CRT?

One of the obstacles to getting to grips with CRT is that it is defined and formulated differently by its various champions and critics.

One definition is: Policies and practices that exist throughout a whole society or organisation that result in and support a continued unfair advantage to some people and unfair or harmful treatment of others, based on race.

Another, simpler,  understanding of CRT is that it is a philosophy and practice that frames the human story in terms of oppressed versus oppressor, with all members of society falling into one of those two categories. However, it is in the main tenets of CRT that the fuller definition emerges. For instance:

  • CRT understands history as moving towards revolution and the destruction of oppressive power structures to the benefit of the disadvantaged.
  • Most CRT variations hold that white-skinned people are gene oppressors and black-skinned people are oppressed. However, some versions focus on white cisgender (their sex matches their gender), heterosexual (straight), able-bodied, Christian males as the oppressors.
  • CRT believes that although this oppressor group, as defined, is not in the majority in Western nations, it does control the dominant ideology of society executing its power through systemic control over the legal, cultural, and financial institutions.
  • Critical race theorists believe that the idea of objective truth is a construct used by the oppressors to advance their interests.
  • Because the oppressors benefit from the systems they have entrenched in society, they are blinded by their bias and prejudice. Therefore they cannot rely on their own understanding and should instead yield to the understanding of the oppressed.
  • CRT academics teach that race is socially constructed, not biologically neutral, as an artificial correlation between a set of physical characteristics such as skin colour, facial features, hair texture, and so on.
  • CRT holds that the racism that ensues is normal and not aberrational in that it is the ordinary experience of most ‘people of colour’. These people (blacks, Hispanics, etc.) are routinely discriminated against and treated unfairly in both public and private settings.

These are just some of the components of Critical Race Theories’ self-definition that have profound consequences for society in general. For instance:

  • Most CRT protagonists place black and white people in conflict with each other, with white people being the oppressors. They think in terms of racial group identity and not on an individual level, so they see all  black people as oppressed and disadvantaged and all white people as privileged oppressors. This, in itself, is a profoundly racist idea.
  • CRT does not accept objective truth but holds rather that societal truth is established subjectively by those who are oppressed. Only the oppressed can discern and formulate truth because it is their lived experience and they are not blinded by the motives and prejudices of the oppressors.
  • CRT holds that racism directed against them is the normal and constant experience of the oppressed.
  • Critical Race Theory sees reality through the lens of power and divides all people into the powerful and the powerless depending on their race, class, gender, or sexuality. These powerless groups are not normally subjugated through physical force but by the ability of their oppressors to exercise their power through imposed norms, values, and authority structures.

Race Theory versus Racism.

If CRT concerned itself only with the elimination of racism, then I wouldn’t have as many problems with it as I do.

One definition of racism is ‘prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalised’. This is not good for society and violates biblical and moral values.

Another definition of racism is ‘the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another’, and I am opposed to this as well for the same reasons. However, CRT does not appear to simply be opposed to racism. From what I have learned so far is that it is a recent expression of Social Marxism similar to Radical Liberalism. It is also a worldview that stands in direct opposition to the Christian worldview.

Racism is abhorrent but it is an individual mindset rather than a group characteristic,  although racists may well group together for mutual support.

Racism, in biblical terms, has nothing to do with skin colour; Adam’s colour is unknown and irrelevant, and Jesus was probably typically Middle Eastern beige in colour . Racism is presented in the bible as a sin of partiality (James 2:1. 8-9), hatred (1 John 4:20), and injustice (Micah 6:8).

The CRT Worldview

Critical Race Theory presents a worldview very different from that of biblical Christianity because it sees life through the Marxist lens of oppressors versus the oppressed and revolution as the means of doing away with oppression.

CRT places all members of society into one of these two groups based on race, religion, gender, and status rather than on individual responsibility in actual acts of oppression. CRT seeks to provide answers to questions such as who are we, what is our fundamental problem and its solution, and what is our primary moral duty? However, it answers these questions from a Marxist perspective.

Critical Race Theories’ metanarrative runs from oppression to liberation. All of us are either members of a dominant group or a marginalised group. Therefore if we are part of the oppressor group then we need to divest ourselves of our power and transfer it to the marginalised. If we are part of the oppressed group then we need to acquire power by dismantling all structures that embody the power of the oppressors. The greatest sin is oppression and the greatest virtue is liberation.

The bible presents us with a very different worldview that sees life through the lens of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of humanity is either ‘in Christ’ (born again, saved) or not in Christ, of the Kingdom of God or of the kingdom of this world. However, transfer from one to the other is through individual repentance, acceptance of who Jesus is and his salvation and lordship, and receipt of spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit. While CRT believes that the world will culminate in a form of communistic utopia, the bible teaches an ultimate restoration of the rule of God in a new HeavenEarth.

Christianity provides an overarching metanarrative from creation to redemption from our individualised sin of rebellion and into eternal relationship with God and each other.

The CRC worldview regards all people in terms of their group status of oppressor or oppressed while the Christian worldview regards all people in terms of their individual status of saved or unsaved. CRT views our identity as defined by our power group classification while Christianity views our identity primarily as our relationship with God. CRT holds that truth is subjective and determined only by the oppressed while Christianity holds that truth is objective and defined by the Word of God.

CRT in South Africa

Critical Race Theory in South Africa, my land of birth and citizenship, is similar to its USA father, but different in some significant ways:

  • The vast majority of people living in South Africa are black Africans (over 80%) while our white South African population is less than 8% and declining rapidly. However white South Africans controlled government, industry, and commerce for a long time before the African National Congress came to power about three decades ago. The previous government’s policies of segregation and discrimination resulted in many, but not all, white people being in privileged positions. That government entrenched racism in its laws and structures to the disadvantage of black people and this is indeed part of the legacy of apartheid that still has some lingering effects on the population.
  • In 1994 the country adopted a new constitution which was elevated above parliament as the highest source of authority. Nonracialism was a founding value in this new inclusive democracy.
  • In the most recent polls, only 3% of black respondents identified racism as a key unresolved issue yet it has been placed at the very centre of current national discourse by politicians, CRT academics, and much of the media. In terms of a 2018 Institute of Race Relations survey, the black respondents identified the top government priority as Creating more jobs (27%), Fighting corruption (14%), Improving education (11%), and fighting crime (10%)
  • In a very recent article by Dr Anthea Jeffry of the Institute of Race Relations, ‘CRT’s real goals have little to do with helping disadvantaged black people. Instead, one of its overarching aims is to bring about the collapse of liberal democracy’. Later in the same article, she wrote that. ‘CRT’s second and most important overarching aim is to end capitalism …

Stripped to its essence, CRT is simply Marxist dogma dressed up in the language of race instead of class, with the oppressor group framed as the white population with its overweening “Supremacy” and “systemic power”, which must be overthrown’.

  • The Radical Economic Transformation faction of the ANC party and some minority parties aggressively push the Marxist agenda and CRT fits in snugly with their worldview and policies.

The Role of The Church

Whether or not the nation’s constitution enshrines nonracialism, Christian churches certainly should. If the local church is to be the model of godly society and a light to society, as it is intended to be, then membership, leadership, and ministry participation cannot be restricted to only certain racial categories of people. The church services should reflect this key value and the leadership should teach, model, and embody it.

Individual Christians can nullify CRT influence and societal prejudice by treating all people with dignity and equity irrespective of their race, gender, sexual orientation etc. All needy people should be subject to the grace and largess of caring Christians irrespective of their skin colour.  As individual disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and as members of his church we can embody the truth by speaking it and living it out in our nation.


These are some of the things I have learned about Critical Race Theory and I have attempted to pass on the key points in an understandable way. In doing so, I have expressed my personal view and stance on these matters. However, the purpose of this article has been to inform those who have probably heard the term CRT but not really understood what it is. Now, hopefully, you know enough to decide for yourself or to seek further information.

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TruthTalks: How to Evaluate Truth Claims

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Last week Dr Christopher Peppler wrote THIS post called “How to Evaluate Truth Claims”, this is the audio version of that post.

So, I have to ashamedly put my hand up when asked if I have ever bought into conspiracy theories. Sometimes the world seems just crazy enough that my thought process (for example) is thus: “So my friend sent me a warning about people dressed as bunnies hijacking cars now” – “hey, why not?” (shrug).

Of course, I am in the great position of asking Christopher Peppler (Dad) to do the grunt work of researching these furry felons, and in this TruthTalks podcast he tells us how to do just that.

By the way, you too can ask him for clarity on anything if you can’t find the answers yourself – it always works for me.

Please scroll down to listen to the audio here, or subscribe using the top buttons and never miss an episode. TruthIsTheWord.com is non-profit and we rely on YOU to help us spread the word, so please like, comment, subscribe and interact with us.

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How to Evaluate Truth Claims

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Learning how to evaluate truth claims has never been more important than in the 21st century.

COVID-19 may be on the wane but theories of its origin, purpose and composition are still circulating as fast as airborne viruses. In the past, we only had to contend with flat-earth poppycock, faked moon landings, and so on. Now we are faced with conspiracy theories and misinformation that would make Joseph Geobbels envious.

It would be OK if the tidal waves of misinformation washing through our brains via social media were just entertaining distractions, but they aren’t. They confuse, increase insecurity, raise tension levels and can cause both physical and mental harm.

In May 2020 I wrote an article titled So Pass It On where I gave some advice on what information not to pass on to others, and why we shouldn’t. Since then I have been obliged to view dozens and dozens of posts and videos covering such things as why all COVID-19 vaccines are actually deadly venom injections, how a cabal of all-powerful people are taking over the entire world, how the end of the world will come in a matter of months, and so on. During a recent discussion regarding these matters, I was asked why ‘the church’ had not taught us how to evaluate such claims. Now, I am not ‘the church’, but I accepted the challenge to write something on evaluating truth claims … so here it is.

Logic versus Emotion

If it were only a matter of applying logic then it would be relatively easy to filter out the, well you know what, from the media posts, but it isn’t.

Emotions play a big role in whether a person will accept disinformation as valid and unfounded theories as truth.

There is an interesting article on sciencefocus.com where the author sets out a few researched emotional reasons why some people are more prone than others to conspiracy theories. I think that the prime culprit is fear, specifically the fear of not being in control and of being helpless in the face of impending catastrophe. Ironically, the thing that eases the fear of not being in control comes from buying into the idea that a shadowy elite group is in control. They then find a sense of worth and validation by passing on information to like-minded people and warning sceptical friends of the impending doom. Of course, this just increases the general level of stress and anxiety and fails miserably in providing practical help and solutions.

Emotions aside, what we all can and should be doing is applying critical thinking to truth claims that come our way.

Critical Thinking Skills

Two essential preliminary steps to take when exposed to new information are;

  1. Test the premises: A premise is the base of an argument or theory and a good way to identify it is to a work backwards to a previous statement or proposition from which it is inferred. What you are doing here is checking the validity and connectedness of the statements made. i.e. If this is true then that would also probably be true. For example, I recently read a claim that an un-named ‘Spanish lab’ had tested the Pfizer vaccine and found that it was 99% Graphine Oxide. The person spreading this ‘fact’ across the world went on to state that this particular chemical was lethal. So the ‘logic’ is that Pfizer is attempting to kill off millions of people by injecting them with deadly venom. There is reliable evidence that Graphine Oxide in substantial doses can be harmful, so the main premise in this media post is not the claim that it can be toxic, but the claim that it is a major component of Pfizer vaccines. This premise can be tested by scanning the list of contents on a vaccine label, consulting the Food and Drug Administration list, or accessing the research of an accredited laboratory that has analysed the vaccine (not an un-named Spanish lab).

However, here is the problem for us ordinary mortals:

To adequately check the validity of a false truth claim such as the one I have just presented requires both access to the right kind of information and a level of expertise that most of us do not possess.

So, we refer to time-honoured reliable sources such as reports by well-known medical faculties at major universities available on the internet, or to articles in accredited news or fact-checking sources such as Reuters , Associated Press , Factcheck , and so on. But here comes the rub – the advocates of the theories we are testing immediately claim that our ‘reliable’ sources are not reliable at all because they have sold out to big pharma, big tech, or a shadowy cabal of supermen … and so the conspiracy deepens and widens and presents itself as unfalsifiable.

  1. Evaluate the argument logically:
    1. Falsifiable: Is there enough valid evidence to prove it wrong or are the claims made too general, vague or unsubstantiated to find against them. The idea here is that new truth claims must earn their right to be accepted by demonstrating that they can be tested, evaluated, and found to be truthful.
    2. Probable: What are the chances of this being true? For instance, most of the world conspiracy theories require that almost every authority and expertise source in the world is in cahoots – The British government colluding with the Iranian leaders, the American with the Chinese, The North Koreans with Japan, and subject matter experts all singing off the same out-of-tune hymn sheet.
    3. Generalisable: To use an old example, spotting three dogs that are black does not mean that all dogs are black. Some adverse reactions to a vaccine do not mean that everyone will experience adverse effects.
    4. Convergent: Are there several lines of research and reasoning that are all coming to similar conclusions or is the evidence emanating from just a small number of similar-minded people?
    5. Credible: Is the source of the information credible? Does it come from a well-known and generally well-regarded institution? Is the person promoting the ideas suitably qualified and experienced in that field?

To these five criteria I would add the matter of Rhetorical Malpractice:

  • Does the source attack the opposition to the idea and not the ideas themselves?
  • Does it capitalize on the fear of possible adverse consequences?
  • Does it beg the question by assuming that the conclusion is true without proving it to be true?
  • Is it peppered with inconsistent and self-contradictory statements?
  • Does it argue that because it happened after X it must have been caused by X? Does it exclude any other reasonable proposition other than the one it is promoting?
The Bottom Line

All well and good, but at the heart of the issue are some fundamental choices we all have to make:

  1. Are we prepared to do the hard work of researching and evaluating truth claims?
  2. Are we determined to allow logic and careful thinking to prevail over emotional and sensational appeal?
  3. Are we committed to refusing to pass on fear and confusion-inducing theories until we have personally verified them and satisfied ourselves that the recipients can do something positive with the information?
    Do they encourage, hearten, and fill us and others with faith. Do they point us to Jesus?
  4. Are we prepared to abide by the scriptural principles that we can easily deduce from the Word of God? For example:
  • Exodus 23:1 ‘Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness’.
  • 2 Timothy 2:16-17 ‘Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.
  • 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment’ HCSB.

I am convinced that most of us have the mental capability and basic skills to test truth claims, but I am not convinced that most of us are prepared to do the time-consuming and mentally challenging work that this requires. I am equally sure that some people find comfort in emotional validation rather than logical deduction. I also believe that most disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ want to help others, but some do not appreciate that the way to do this is not through imbibing and passing on conspiracy sewerage but by drinking and sharing the pure water of Jesus and his word.


TruthTalks: Another Question

Last week, Dr Christopher Peppler told us about another question he was asked pertaining to being slain in the Spirit, speaking in tongues and being tested.

If you have ever felt like:

  • You were being tested after growing closer to God, or
  • Why you can’t speak in tongues,
  • What it means to be slain in the Spirit, etc.

then this TruthTalks podcast is for you.

If you would prefer to read the original article please click HERE now, but we do urge you to spread the word – be it the podcast, the website, or any articles. You will find many sharing buttons on this site as well as social media platforms and we rely on you to help us tell others about www.TruthIsTheWord.com

Until next time, click the play button below to listen here, or pick up this TruthTalks podcast on whatever audio catcher you use.

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.