There is a deep-rooted heresy that is gaining momentum in the Evangelical church today. The heresy is born out of Black Liberation Theology — a theology popularized by James Cone that encourages blacks to use their religion to seek “liberation” from various forms political, economic, and social oppression. This sinister theology actually disguises the gospel with a false gospel of works and self-atonement for generational sins. Two of its most prominent adherents in mainstream Evangelicalism today are Thabiti Anyabwile and Anthony Bradley.
Slave Reparations a Key Tenet Liberation Theology Movement
Slave Reparations is one of the key tenets of this movement. Oddly enough, it has gained a lot of traction, not just from blacks, but from many of the progressive white Evangelicals through liberal outlets such as The Gospel Coalition. Proponents of this movement strongly believe that blacks in America today suffer economically and socially because of slavery. I should note that it is not far-fetched to cede that historically, blacks in America have been mistreated. But where the serious error in their theology occurs is at the point they lay the guilt and the blame not just on an entire ethnic group — white people — but the multi-generational decendants of white people.
Thabiti Anyabwile recently posted a Twitter thread where he actually stated that by implementing a system of reparations in America, white people can be freed from their guilt.
Liberation Movement Built on False Premise
The Liberation Theology movement is built on the premise that man is basically good and deserves good. It is actually a subtle form of the prosperity gospel. Proponents of this movement believe that they deserve equality, not of just opportunity, but of outcome in the economic and social spectrum. This is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The true gospel actually teaches that no one is good and all deserve Hell (Romans 3:10-12). As stated above, the proponents of this movement teach that reparations are a necessary component of forgiveness and freedom from guilt.
Anyabwile, Bradley, and so many others have repeatedly tried to make the case that not only are blacks suffering today, but they are suffering because of continued oppression at the hands of white people. What they fail to understand, however, is that biblical suffering and biblical poverty are completely different than most anything that can be compared to in America today. In fact, homeless people living in the streets of America’s cities have it much better than the poor and suffering described in the Scriptures — and even around the world today. If Bradley and Anyabwile were honest, they would acknowledge this fact. But it doesn’t fit into their theology.
Liberation Theology Encourages Unforgiveness and Self-Entitlement
One of the key tenets of the true gospel of Jesus Christ is to die to yourself and live for Christ. You no longer belong to the world, you no longer seek the things of the world, but you built your treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). But the gospel of reparations and generational guilt by proponents like Anaybwile and Bradley encourage people to harbor enmity with others — especially those they perceive as having wronged them in some way.
They teach unequivocally that all white people — by the very virtue of having white skin — are guilty of the sins of white slave-owners in the past. They have relentlessly pushed this narrative. They also teach that by the very virtue of being white, one is “privileged” in our society and unless one opposes this privilege, one is guilty.
Does racism exist? Yes. There is no denying that. It does exist on both sides, but nobody denies that historically, blacks have been the victims of racism in America. That is not the argument. The argument they make, however, is that because one is white, one benefits from the racism of others, both past, and present, and is, therefore, guilty by proxy, regardless of personal involvement.
This, of course, is heresy. It is nowhere taught in the New Testament that one is guilty of another person’s sins simply because they may or may not have indirectly benefited from it at some point. The New Testament teachings of Christ are clear that the guilt of sin lays in the hands of the sinner. We’re all guilty of enough sins to separate us eternally from Christ, we really don’t need the added weight of sins we did not commit.
This idea serves only to create division between people — that unless a white person accepts responsibility for a sin he did not commit, and make restitution for it, there can be no reconciliation. And if you don’t know what the Scriptures say about people who cause divisions, see Romans 16:17.
Reparations Theology Teaches a False Atonement
As stated above, the proponents of this movement teach that reparations are a necessary component of forgiveness and freedom from guilt. Jemar Tisby, another major player in this movement, Jemar Tisby, said “Christians who genuinely want to atone for any personal acts of racism must focus on dismantling racial inequality as it persists across systems and society,” and also suggested that white people could participate in reparations not only by “writing checks to random black people,” but also by supporting his ministry.
The Bible does teach that we should make restitution to people that we have wronged in some way. But the Bible does not teach that generational descendants are responsible for making restitution to other generational descendants of the person wronged.
I make no qualms about my position. These men are introducing a completely new gospel to the Evangelical church, and sadly, many have bought into it. If these men are truly concerned about racial reconciliation — which all Christians should be — they should be focusing on the cross of Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins, and stop causing division in the body by shooting blame at an ethnic group for sins they have not committed.