A Summary and Analysis of Key Themes in Critical Race Theory
Despite about a decade as a student of racial issues and a practitioner of multiethnic ministry, I had not heard about Critical Race Theory (CRT) or Intersectionality (I) until a few years ago. And I have had no desire to read or write about CRT, saying off-hand a number of times that I do think this moment will pass, much like the brouhaha about the emerging/emergent church fifteen years ago. That said, we are still in this moment, and I have felt compelled to engage more deeply than I initially wanted. After pastoring a majority-black church for almost a decade and writing a dissertation about the multiethnic church in light of the Trinity, I still feel passionate about the issues surrounding “the CRT conversation.” Ultimately, my passion does not flow from my experience. My passion flows from Scripture. I believe that the Bible and the gospel beat with the heart of divine desire for the reunion of a new human family with God in Christ. Whether I like it or not, “the CRT conversation” has become a part of the larger cluster of issues surrounding this theme, so here we are.
I will not to pretend here that I am an expert in CRT. That would take, I believe, a formal education in at least law and maybe philosophy. I am a church planter, a pastor, and a theologian, one who has now read and thought about hundreds literally stacked upon hundreds of pages of primary sources on the subject of CRT. Given the confusion and conflict swirling around this topic, and given my story and my studies, I think I might be able to provide some help. My aim here is to provide some context for and analysis of CRT in service to the mission of the church of Jesus in bringing people to God and bringing people together through the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ. I intend my analysis to be thoroughly biblical in its reasoning, rooted in the storyline and scope of Scripture in humble submission to the Spirit. Sometimes this will mean an appeal to a specific text, at others to a biblical theme, and sometimes the connection may be mainly implied.
A general summary of the history in Critical Theory, Critical Legal Studies, and the diverse perspectives called “Critical Race Theory” would take the entire article and probably lose your interest before I finished. (Here I will direct you to any number of sources you can easily find via Google, including blogs and articles by Nathan Cartagena, Bradly Mason, Neil Shenvi, and at Ed Stetzer’s blog). Instead, I am going to touch on some of the literature’s main themes from a vantage of both summary and analysis. For each theme, I will attempt to summarize a general sense of the CRT literature on the theme, and then provide my own analysis of that theme. This is based mainly on the two volumes edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, et al (“the big red book”) and Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic (“the big green and gray book”), respectively. Keep in mind that the themes I address overlap and mutually interpret each other, and that a good deal of diversity exists within the CRT conversation itself. With all of that in mind, though I will do my best to be thorough, I know this analysis will not be exhaustive. (I likewise hope it will not be exhausting!) Finally, I will also aim to be nuanced, which I know makes for bad clickbait and may open me up to misinterpretation. So be it. I intend first of all to be faithful to God and to be intellectually honest. I hope you read this analysis in that light.
Race and Racism
Summary. For hundreds of years, race has been assumed to be a biological reality based on any number of physical features, most notably, skin color. At its heart CRT argues that race has actually functioned as a way of defining persons and groups in terms of value compared to other persons and groups. The primary historical mode of this construction has been the “white-black binary.” Black has been defined as “not-white” and white has been defined as “not-black.” Thus CRT envisions identity as something people and groups with power make of themselves and others. For example, “blackness” exists because powerful white people defined blackness, along with certain negative aspects, such as being legally enslaveable or intellectually inferior.
Many authors in the CRT genre argue that race and racialization have been woven into the fabric of our culture, such that certain people or groups are consistently subjugated in society, sometimes consciously but often simply by default. White is seen as normal and desirable, and anything less (black, brown, Asian, etc) is seen as different and less desirable. Racism can thus be conscious acts of inflicting physical, emotional, or psychological pain on another person or group because of some characteristic perceived as racially inferior. But racism can also be and in fact is embedded in systems and structures such that racially inferior persons or groups remain so (such as income inequity, police brutality, employment, education, housing opportunities, etc). This is a key point: CRT envisions the systems, structures, and institutions in (American) society have been defined along racial lines, such that minorities are sometimes intentionally (de jure) and many times (or always) unconsciously (de facto) subordinated in any number of way that are important for human flourishing (as I said, for example, income, housing, or employment).
Analysis. Scripture recognizes distinctions in human groups according “nation, tongue, tribe, and people” (Rev. 5:9, 7:9), according to Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:11–22), and according to “in Adam” and “in Christ” (Rom. 5:12–21). But as some have pointed out, biblically, “race” has its roots in the language of “kinds,” such that the Scripture envisions a single human race. Thus, a vision of humanity as made up of divergent and unequal “races” wrongly divides people where Scripture itself does not. That said, Scripture does have a category for racism, which many have pointed out is basically the sin of partiality. Everyone agrees this can happen in individual acts, but perspectives diverge when considering the issue in terms of systems and structures. Some say only individuals can be racist, but Scripture would seem to acknowledge that systems can be broken. The doctrines of human depravity and original sin almost guarantee it, in fact. If in Adam sin infects all of creation, that would include the institutions and systems people create. We can see this, for example, in Daniel 9, where Daniel intercedes for his people for their collective sin, in Nehemiah 5, in which wealthy Jews created a system that financially harmed poorer brothers, and in Acts 6, where even without any specific sin injustice crept into the distribution of needed resources for Greek-speaking widows. Thus, even if CRT does emphasize systemic injustice, it does not have the market on diagnosing systemic injustice.
Long before CRT, many, including (as I argued above) the inspired authors of Scripture, affirmed the reality of systemic injustice and racism without following all the contours of CRT’s analysis. At this point, someone might contest: “Well, then, we don’t need CRT. We can just go to the Bible.” In principle, I agree. We can find these things in Scripture and many, in fact, have done that. So, do we need CRT to help us see racism in our society? No. Not any more that the the fourth-century church “needed” Greek philosophical concepts to create a way of talking about the biblical judgments about the Trinity. That said, the church did use those concepts, redeployed them, and centuries of Christians have been helped because they did so. In this way, CRT is an unnecessary but possibly helpful tool to see what we might miss about our society and the way the Bible intersects with it. (This is an analogy, not a claim that this conversation is of the same significance as the doctrine of the Trinity). CRT reminds us that we cannot settle for colorblindness, because of the way color and “race” have been used in our culture. Insofar as CRT gets this right, it merely mirrors Scripture’s own chronicle of God’s delight in the distinctions of his creation in general and his humanity in particular, such that the throng gathered around the throne of King Jesus in heaven praise him, in part, for his reconciling of a diverse people to himself, united in humanity, divided by sin, and reunited in saving union with Christ.
White, Whiteness, Blackness, White Privilege, and White Supremacy
Summary. CRT argues that our culture has created the construct of “race,” in which certain people (“white” people) are superior and in which certain other people (historically, “black” people) are inferior. Whereas in European history, peoples and groups were Anglo, or Saxon, or French, or Spanish, or Italian, or Russian, or Scandinavian, our culture took one aspect of people of various European heritage and put them all in a category called “white.” This construction was based on a general sense of a certain color of skin tone, a certain heritage (broadly European), and a certain cultural context (again, broadly European). Those without these features, specifically physical features, were bucketed into other categories or “races,” such as “Indian” or “black.” In such a context, “white” basically meant someone could not be legally enslaved and “black” meant that someone could be legally enslaved, with something like a spectrum between white and black (including Native American, Latino, and Asian). Of course, this also entailed ideas of superiority and inferiority, and normality and abnormality.
Thus, when CRT authors use the terms “whiteness,” “white privilege,” and “white supremacy,” they are tapping into this historical framing of “white” as someone who could not be enslaved, and, after Emancipation, could not be marginalized because of “race.” This “whiteness” conferred a certain sense of normality, superiority, or “supremacy” for anyone categorized or racialized as “white.” And this also entailed a certain sets of benefits or certain amount of “privilege.” CRT authors argue that this pattern of racial supremacy and inferiority continues to this day, such that the systems, institutions, and structures of our society (government, education, law enforcement, the marketplace, etc) are still wired such that “white” people receive certain benefits because “whiteness” is the normal and superior mode of human existence. Some voices in CRT argue that whiteness is inherently oppressive and complicit, such that white people are guilty of participating unconsciously in racism both individually and collectively, inheriting the benefits of racism and in fact contributing to racism and being “racist” in the sense of being conditioned to consider “white” superior and normal. Here there may be no such thing as an innocent white person, they argue, or an undeserving black person.
Analysis. Here CRT is not necessarily unique in pointing out the abusrdity of collecting a group based on one or two chosen characteristics and elevating them as the master race. In fact, I would argue that CRT is only following a line of logic in a long tradition of abolitionist and civil rights discourse, some of it distinctly Christian. Sometimes the buzzwords of “whiteness,” “white privilege,” and “white supremacy,” as defined by the CRT movement are off-putting to people who have been generally identified as white. Folks chafe at the idea of “repenting” of whiteness, white privilege or white supremacy, because they think, “I didn’t do anything wrong. I worked hard for what I have. I’m not a bigot.” I resonate with these responses. That said, I also think if we understand what I believe some of the CRT literature is saying here, we might find it more helpful than our initial reaction. Here I’m pointing to some of the work of CRT in diagnosis of this issue, which is not the same as affirming the solutions or prognoses that CRT may provide.
Let me illustrate this point. I am a “white” American, born and raised in California. My grandparents were Croatian (my last name), Scandinavian, and Welsh, and all of them were from families that immigrated not long before they were born. They didn’t have wealth or “privilege.” But when they came to America, they were no longer just their cultural, ethnic, national origin, or even just “American.” They were also seen as “white” Americans. In the first half of the twentieth century, their ability to assimilate into generally “white” American culture provided them with significant opportunities in employment, the marketplace, and housing. They were able to work very hard and accrue a modest amount of wealth. Similarly, my wife’s family is of European origin, immigrated to America at some point, worked hard, opened businesses, bought land, and accrued a modest amount of wealth. I am the beneficiary of my family’s and my wife’s family’s ability to work hard and accrue assets and wealth because of the ability of our respective families to be seen as “white” when they came to America. Compare this to a similarly aged black man. His family for years was enslaved, accruing zero assets for their labor. Then after slavery during Jim Crow, his family was unable to accrue wealth and assets in the same way as my family, being excluded from the same opportunities for employment, marketplace entrepreneurship, and housing. This helps to explain why the average black (or Latino) family in America has 1/20–5% — of the wealth of the average white family. This is in part what “white privilege” means. It means that cultural and physical features have lead to a family history and present identity as “white” and this has provided opportunities which a person who is “black” (or minority) has not generally had. Even now, we look at any number of important indicators of high-level positions of influence and earning-power. The vast majority of CEOs, Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents have been and are white. You can name on a hand or two the exceptions. It seems pretty clear to me that our culture is still a culture in which it is more beneficial to be “white” than “black” (or “brown”).
How should we think about this biblically? I already noted above that the Bible does not give credibility to the idea of “race” in the sense that our culture has defined it for several hundred years. Instead, Scripture envisions a single human “race” united by the image of God and yet divided because of sin and rebellion against God. The idea that a dozen or more ethnic and national groups (from Europe) could be bundled together as “white” and defined as superior and “not-enslaveable,” while another dozen and more ethnic and national groups (from Africa) could be bundled together as “black” and defined as inferior and “enslaveable” is at odds with the biblical vision of human dignity. Is this the same as affirming the charge that every white person is “racist” in the sense that they are saturated in a mindset of white supremacy and privilege? Do white Christians need to reject “whiteness” and repent of this “racism”? I would argue that while no one alive today created the system of slavery and few alive today were complicit in the egregious indignities of Jim Crow, any person whose family has been able to be defined as “white” has benefitted from the past, wicked way of grouping people together in racial categories. At the very least, “white” people like me should recognize this pattern and how we may have benefitted from it. Likewise, we should learn how this pattern has disadvantaged––and still disadvantages––our black (and minority) neighbors, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
At the same time, as Christians, we all, white or black or brown, trust in the sovereign goodness of God, and the dignity of our common humanity as those who bear his image and the distinct beauty and brokenness of our differing histories and heritages. For example, even in a society which tends to view “white” as “normal” or even “preferable,” we must remember that God does not see us that way. He has given each of us our identity, despite any attempt of society to construct our identity for us, or any rightheaded or wrongheaded attempts to de- or re-construct or rehabilitate our identities for ourselves. Here, I think the CRT literature starts getting into a dangerous place and sets itself on a dangerous trajectory. Instead, even if we have wrongly had an identity placed on us, we do not have the freedom to simply build our individual or group identity as we so desire. We must reject the notion that our personhood can be fundamentally constructed by any human, whether by someone in power over us, or by our own attempt to grab power back for ourselves. Instead, we see our identity as God-given, a good gift, and trust that he will wreck and reckon with those who would wickedly pervert his image bearers for their own gain.
Summary. Intersectionality arose as a distinct black female voice within CRT. Most notably Kimberlé Crenshaw argued that mainstream feminism privileged white women and mainstream racial justice initiatives privileged black men. This, then, left black women in a position of subjection to both prevailing narratives, having to identify with either the feminist cause of white women or the racial cause of black men. Instead, Crenshaw and others highlighted the notion of “multiple consciousnesses” or intersectional identity. A black woman would be doubly disadvantaged, as both a woman and as a black woman.
The junctions of intersectionality have multiplied in any number of ways as class, culture, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more have been added to the list of ways different individuals can experience oppression or marginalization. So a middle-class, black, lesbian, woman would experience the marginalization of being black, female, and homosexual, but would not be marginalized because of poverty. This intersects (pun intended) with the baseline understanding in CRT of non-essentialism in race in general and identity in particular. As I mentioned above, this follows in part as pushback against the historic construction of identity in racial terms such as “white” and “black.” That said, a key theme in CRT is the argument for moving “beyond the black-white binary” into discussions of the diverse ways identity plays out in society.
Analysis. At its best an intersectional approach recognizes persons are whole persons not segmentable into discrete categories of identity. A biblical exemplar here would be Ruth. Ruth personifies the OT “quartet of the vulnerable:” poor, widow, orphan, resident alien. Each aspect of her identity compounds her vulnerability. A poor person is more vulnerable than a rich one. A poor widow is more vulnerable than a poor man or a poor wife. A poor widow without a father is more vulnerable than a poor widow with a father. A poor widow without a father in a foreign land is more vulnerable than a poor widow without a father in her homeland. Whether you call this “intersectional” or not, you have to wrestle with the compounding nature of these layers of identity and their attendant vulnerability. This is embedded in the Bible itself. Wrestling with it is more Moses than Marxist (because I have read the revisionary Marxist readings of Ruth, and they are very different than this simple analysis).
That said, while as a descriptive claim intersectional analysis might be helpful to a certain extent, it certainly runs the risk of devaluing institutions the Bible finds non-negotiable as well as multiplying categories of identity that are neither helpful nor biblical. For example, early articles on intersectionality focused on pregnancies for single black women. Some material on this point has discussed historic oppression and abuse of black women, but in so doing it has also rejected any claim that the breakdown of traditional family structures is a net cultural negative. While conservative tropes may wrongly blame only the breakdown of family, such arguments from CRT/I wrongly refuse to place any blame on that breakdown. Both are incomplete, and in certain ways, incorrect.
Additionally, the intersectional approach centralizes LGBTQ+ concerns at this point in a way that are, quite frankly, quite concerning. We can dislodge the sinful ways race has been used in culture without falling into a relativity of all reality or identity. The CRT movement is unmoored at this point from reality in the sense that it grounds all truth in either an individualist or communitarian frame, arguing that universals do not exist. Christians reject this in the strongest possible terms. Instead, we can affirm that different aspects of our identities are real, but so is the universal reality of a common humanity created in the image of God and a biblically historic ethic of Christian sexuality and identity. The doctrine of one blood may deconstruct our culture’s wrong understanding of race, but it cannot deconstruct the biblical vision of sex and gender. The trajectory and practice of the CRT here is dangerous if we want to stay moored to the biblical vision of reality. On this note, the trajectory of the CRT literature seems to me to become more militant as it goes along, allying itself with ever-more oppressed groups in a way that seems at times to have no end game other than a total eclipse of Christian morality.
Truth and Worldview
Summary. CRT is a movement self-consciously working from the “left,” and from a generally postmodern epistemology. In light of the abuse of universal claims about “whiteness” and “blackness,” many here see any universal claims as dangerous. It defines the “truth” as contextual and socially defined by either communities or individuals. Related here are the continued advisements in CRT discourse to listen to voices at the margins or the voices at “the bottom” (to quote a famous article from Mari Matsuda). In one example Charles Lawrence relates the story of a woman who finds a certain collection of assigned reading materials offensive. She sends this memo to her colleagues: “I am offended. Therefore, these materials are offensive.” Additionally, the CRT movement tends to employ playful ways of writing, including narrative, parable, hip-hop, and other genres traditionally seen more as creative rather than as legal discourse. Proponents argue that such modes of discourse convey the “truth” of a given community more helpfully than any empirical legal analysis could do. Moreover, in its analysis of texts, CRT posits a creative and transformative reading of documents like the Constitution (Matsuda) and Scripture (Cook).
Analysis. Here we find a cluster of themes that Christians will rightly find problematic and concerning. Those most critical of CRT, some calling it dangerous and anti-Christian, in my view find their evidence at this point. Some argue against “standpoint epistemology,” “ethnic Gnosticism,” or the CRT “worldview.” Here, at its worst, CRT reduces all discourse to the politics of power and identity. While CRT generally renounces the existence of universals, Christians can — must — affirm universals as embedded ultimately in the character and the word of God. Likewise, instead of flattening away any claim for absolute or universal truth, we instead say with humility that the majority or consensus perspective is not necessarily identical with universal or absolute truth. In other words, we can dethrone the hegemony of majority oppressive mindsets (to couch it in CRT-type language), but do so without dislodging the reality of objective, universals. When the only place to locate authority is in community because of an allergic reaction to the abuse of “universals,” every community has equal authority (so thus the LGTBQ+ rights movement has become wrongly conflated with the Civil Rights movement in much of the CRT literature and also popular culture).
Christians, instead, believe that truth is “understandable” but not “comprehendible.” We can “stand under” the truth as objective reality, but we cannot “comprehend” or wrap our minds around the totality of it. Only God knows all truth truthfully. We trust his revealed word, the general word of creation and the specific Word of revelation in the inerrant Scripture. This means we can be closer to the truth or further from the truth. For example, we do not need to follow — in fact, we must not follow — CRT’s assessment of texts as needing creative re-readings. Instead, I would argue texts like the Constitution and the Bible have principles of freedom embedded in them, whether inconsistently and in need of amendment (the Constitution) or inerrantly and consistently but sometimes wrongly interpreted (the Bible). Likewise, even if CRT may function as a worldview, this point does not mean that it must function as a worldview. Totalizing the worst end of the CRT spectrum and extrapolating to its worst implications is not the only assessment of CRT. Some of the voices in the literature could be distilled in my opinion to a simple assessment that varying cultures matter and have an impact in our lives and our world.
Next, CRT emphasizes storytelling and narrative modes of discourse. In one sense storytelling as legal writing is a biblical genre, in the sense that the legal codes of the Torah are embedded in the narratives of the people of Israel. In other words, Hebrew legal writing is a sub-genre of narrative, specifically, theologically historical narrative. Related here is the theme in CRT of privileging voices on the margins, or at the bottom, saying there is a unique perspective from those voices. This seems to me helpful and true. But the question that arises is whether these voices have an authority that amounts to a veto of other perspectives. This is not true, and Christians cannot go there. To illustrate, think about the the Gospels. There is one Gospel, narrated according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are not gospels, plural. There is one Gospel, narrated from four different perspectives. Thus a “gospel epistemology,” if we can call it that, puts us on a very different footing than the communitarian epistemology in the CRT literature. While in the frame of CRT it might be sensical to speak of “truth” with personal possessive pronouns (“my,” “your,” “their”), it is logically and biblically nonsensical to speak of truth in this way. There is one, total truth, perfectly aligned with God’s character and Word. We must “stand under” this truth without brashly and arrogantly claiming we “comprehend” it. In other words, we stand on truth, but we should also be humble in our under-standing.
Finally on this point, I noted that CRT is a self-consciously “leftist” movement. I find this concerning, because I am a traditional, conservative Christian. That said, I wonder if the leftism of CRT stems in part from the failure of conservatives to be a willing home for racial justice. The black community has an embedded conservatism, as some voices in CRT readily acknowledge. Despite this conservatism, however, liberals have been the ones who have consciously aimed to help the black community. Here I am making a mainly political rather than theological point. Today as political conservatives distance themselves further and further from any acknowledgement of systemic injustice or racism, I believe historic definitions of political (and theological) conservatism recognize systems and structures that can be good or corrupt. As a correction to individualist liberalism, historic conservatism was focused on regaining the importance of wisdom embedded in structures and tradition built over years through gradual adjustment (or sometimes more dramatic change). Thus, I think systemic problems and the notion of systemic racism is completely intelligible in a conservative milieu. Although minorities seeking redress from racial injustice have not found allies in conservatives, I believe change is possible here.
Exhaustion, Despair, and Hope
Summary. If you listen to the tone and content of pioneering voices in the CRT movement, you hear notes of both exhaustion and despair. This lack of hope for redress and change seems to pervade the literature, such that it takes a largely cynical and resigned posture. For example, Derek Bell, a black Harvard law professor and the pioneering voice of CRT, after outlining centuries of subjugation, commends these summary words from an older black woman named Biona McDonald: “I am an old woman. I lives to harass white folks.”
Imagine racism as a cancer. If racism is a cancer, think of CRT as a radical, experimental, possibly dangerous treatment, which many of its own practitioners are confident will fail at any rate. Your assessment of CRT will depend on a number of factors. How serious is the prognosis? Is the cancer of racism stage five or stage one? Has it spread or is it isolated? How effective will the treatment be? How destructive will the treatment be? If racism is a cancer that ran rampant for centuries and needs eradication, we will not find any easy answer. Likewise, your prescription will depend on whether you think the disease is in remission or still ravaging the body. The picture of racism as cancer allows us to imagine periods of greater and lesser health, for example Emancipation and Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Era, when the disease seemed to be remitting, along with more discouraging times of injustice prevailing in society. For example, some have argued that Trayvon created more racism, while others argue that it merely exposed it. Perhaps it could be both. Perhaps Trayvon’s death was a symptom of a cancer that had grown again and was positioned either to grow yet more aggressively or to be put toward remission, depending on the response of the cultural moment.
Analysis. It a very real sense the exhaustion and despair are understandable. Decades and decades strung together into centuries in the collective memories of black and minority communities fuel the sense that “this is just the way it is, some things never change.” The only thing left is harass a few white people before you die. On the other hand, as conservative white man, I feel and so many in my demographic feel somewhat exhausted by the constant barrage of messaging. Rightly or wrongly, with more or less justification, everyone is tired, some for better reasons than others. Add to this exhaustion the 15 months of medical and racial and political stress in our nation, and it seems like a drab future is the best we can expect. Some might find the words of Biona McDonald through Derrick Bell heroic; some might find them offensive. Personally, I find them heartbreaking. It breaks my heart that an old black woman who lives in our society finds herself with no greater hope than “to harass white folks.”
Here me: at this point, I think the church should focus less on the “danger of CRT” or the “woke” movement, and focus more on the problems that gave rise to these movements. I do not mean to say that the “white” church and “white” Christians should shoulder all the blame for our society’s failures. But we should shoulder what we have contributed to the problems at hand and at least be willing to pause and listen. We should realize that if we feel tired, our black and minority brothers and sisters feel tired times ten.
And here is exactly where the Christian gospel and the Christian church must step into the void and renounce both racism and relativism, both despair and anger. Here the gospel may fuel the church to cling again to Christ and to the cross that bring hope and reconciliation, forgiveness and healing, life and light. Here the church may be filled again with the Sprit who empowers love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and forgiveness.
I am on record as finding the analogy of “eating the meat and spitting out the bones” to be a helpful one as it relates to Christians engaging non-Christian or even anti-Christian sources. Using this analogy, it may be helpful to realize some voices in CRT have relatively more or less meat and relatively more or less bone. Some of the meat may likewise be expired. There is also room in this metaphor to ask a question about what is the essential characteristic, the meat or the bone? The anti-woke crowd clearly finds the bone to be the essential characteristic, saying that all the meat is rancid. I don’t think this is necessarily the case with CRT, or with any non-Christian or even anti-Christian source. Think about a human body. What is the essential? Is it the skeleton or the muscular system? The answer, of course, is neither and both. They form a cohesive whole. As it relates to this literature, the question is not the essential characteristic, meat and bone, but rather for our purposes can we separate the meat from the bone, and if so how? In other words, what are we required by Scripture to reject and what are we allowed by Scripture to use for God’s good purposes? I have attempted to provide something of a summary and analysis in answer to such questions here. I look forward to a continued discussion, for God’s glory and the furtherance of the gospel in the world.