What Is & Isn’t Being Said: 8. Systemic Racism & the “Narrow” Spirituality of the Church

voting protest and white guy

[To be fair, this is a long post, and it ends with “To be continued….” I do believe this is one of the most important discussions within modern conservative evangelicalism, so if you have the time and inclination, I believe you will be rewarded.]


To me, the existence of systemic or institutionalized racism, i.e., “polices, practices, and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on racial minorities’ access to and quality of goods, services, and opportunities” (Vernellia R. Randal), is a simple deduction from three premises:

  1. Well documented and vast social and economic disparities between black and white Americans, as well as continued neighborhood and church segregation.
  2. All racial groups are equal; in Ibram X Kendi’s words, “no racial group has ever had a monopoly on any type of human trait or gene—not now, not ever.”
  3. The majority of Americans are not overt racists, members of a neo-Nazi party, or intentionally discriminating against black Americans due to conscious prejudice and hatred.

If we are committed to the truth of the above three premises, then we must begin to look for explanations that do not—intentionally or unintentionally—assume the inferiority of any race. And a very short walk back through history gives us all the data we need: four hundred years of legal and de facto marginalization for the sake of exploitation accords perfectly with the circumstances we find ourselves in today; in fact, how could we expect it to be otherwise? Truly, God has been fantastically kind to this Nation, given our history. Much worse circumstances could have justly been predicted.

Example of Systemic Racism: “Narrow” Spirituality of the Church (NSoC)

I had promised in “What Is & Isn’t Being Said: 7. Individual vs. Institutional Racism” to give specific examples of systemic racism, both from church and society, to further explicate the concept. But I have decided here, rather, to focus solely on the church—particularly the Reformed and Presbyterian Church, of which I am a member.

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A Layman’s Perspective on Creation and Evolution

Earth Pic

As it becomes ever more clear that the tide is turning in the Reformed world toward various forms of Theistic Evolution, I find myself in increasingly deep and troubled water as a layman and a (relatively) Young Earth Creationist. I very much would love to sink back into the plush easy chair of academic concord, prepared so comfortably by Kline, Waltke, Walton, BioLogos, and the like, but I simply find it impossible to do so. Yes, I am familiar these authors’ work—the first question I am always asked when I come clean on my archaic disposition is, “haven’t you read The Lost World of Genesis?” No, my friend and brother, I do not hold to my position because I can’t distinguish genres, or don’t have knowledge of ANE texts. Nor is it that I reject science as an enemy of the Gospel; in fact, I love science and am not among those who think scientists are proceeding on fundamentally false assumptions and/or methods. Rather, whether I like it or not, I find myself inexorably and inescapably conscience bound to (among others) the following four maxims:

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