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The Pervasive Cancer of “White Guilt” In the Evangelical Church

by | Sep 18, 2023

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“White guilt,” you’ve heard of it. You’ve read it in the headlines. And you may know people who suffer from it. But what is it? Is it a mental disorder? Is it some other kind of ailment? Or is it sin?

The term “white guilt” is far from innocuous—it is a calculated term, rooted in the Marxist agenda of dividing society into the oppressed and the oppressors, and has wormed its way into the very fabric of our culture. Designed as a psychological weapon, it aims to cast white people as inherently guilty of historical injustices, thereby making them morally and perpetually indebted to other ethnic groups and it manifests in the silliness of white people tip-toeing around on eggshells, hoping to say and do the right thing, in an effort to not appear “racist.”

The infiltration of this corrosive idea into mainstream discourse is no accident. It is a deliberate tactic, extrapolated from a secular worldview that seeks to sow division as a means to gain control and has been festering in the underbelly of our culture for quite some time. But its seepage into Evangelicalism over the last decade should be cause for serious alarm. Aided by activists strategically positioned within historically conservative seminaries, this perspective has found new platforms to disseminate its message. Jarvis Williams, a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been pushing this ideology for years as well as Russell Moore, the former head of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

The introduction of this toxic ideology into the Church undermines the very core of biblical teaching, degrades the Imago Dei—God’s image in which we are all made—and distracts us from the biblical gospel’s life-changing message of redemption and reconciliation. These men and many like them have served as the conduit for this ideology thereby weakening the Church from within.

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The entire framework of “white guilt” is built on a crumbling foundation. To begin with, it operates on an egregious misunderstanding of sin and guilt as described in the Bible. According to Scripture, guilt is incurred through individual action, not collective or ancestral history. The prophet Ezekiel states, “The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20). Yet, advocates of the vail philosophy known as “white guilt” ask individuals to bear the weight of transgressions they did not commit, burdening them with a sin that is not their own.

And what of the Imago Dei? This concept—rooted in the Genesis account of creation—is trivialized and degraded by the adoption of “white guilt.” By forcing a certain group to be perpetually ashamed because of their skin color, we malign God’s perfect design. In doing so, the notion contradicts the Apostle Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” When one stands before God, it is not their ethnicity or skin color that is evaluated but their relationship with Jesus Christ and their deeds on Earth.

Perhaps most damaging is the subtle way that the notion of “white guilt” has been smuggled into the church under the guise of “racial reconciliation.” Masquerading as an innocuous way to “heal” perceived divisions between ethnic groups, “racial reconciliation” has actually served to undermine any inter-ethnic harmony by advancing these harmful ideologies within it and causing more division.

While the Bible is resoundingly clear on the importance of reconciliation, unity, and love among all believers, this ideology distorts those very principles. It sets forth a view of guilt that is not only false but also perpetual. It demands perpetual acts of penance that not only distract from the finished work of Christ on the cross but also work in opposition to it. The Bible offers a real solution to real guilt—repentance and faith in Christ. In contrast, the never-ending cycle of “white guilt” offers no resolution or peace, just a perpetuation of division and discord.

But what’s truly bizarre about all of this is just how easily so many have been taken captive by this vain philosophy. It is quite the spectacle to see so many white people, particularly pastors and church leaders, walking around in a perpetual state of self-lamentation due to the mere color of their skin. It’s as if they’ve taken up a perverse form of monasticism, engaging in constant self-flagellation in an absurd effort to appease non-whites. It borders on the theatrical, an act of masochism serving only to perpetuate the victim-oppressor narrative. The spectacle of people caught in this trap is nothing short of a tragic comedy, a dance of appeasement that sidesteps the robust, healing path of true biblical reconciliation.

Make no mistake—this ideology is a strategy of division, a tool wielded to disrupt unity and used to exploit and manipulate the naive and weak-minded for personal gain. For if any community, but particularly a community of faith, is divided, it becomes much easier to conquer. While its proponents may cloak their intentions in the language of justice and righteousness, the underlying premise fosters enmity rather than unity, chaos instead of order, and bondage instead of freedom.

There may be those who have succumbed to this seductive ideology, feeble-minded, taken captive according to their own will. Such people needn’t be demonized but rather pitied. Nobody in their right mind willingly chooses to victimize themselves, making themselves to be an unforgivable enemy to the populace. These sad souls have been swept away by the tumultuous currents of a pervasive and relentless worldview that has invaded and conquered their minds, consumed them, and tormented them until they saw no other option but to give in. These people need the lifeboat of biblical truth, not the sinking ship of a flawed, unbiblical understanding of guilt and reconciliation.

The entire facade of “white guilt” fails every biblical test and should be rejected outright. Its foundational principles run counter to the biblical truths about sin, guilt, and the Imago Dei. It undermines the pure, unadulterated Gospel that offers true hope and reconciliation. It seeks to divide, to perpetuate falsehoods, and to ensnare souls in a never-ending cycle of guilt and penance that Christ already broke. Reject it, and stand firm on the rock-solid truth of God’s Word. Only there will you find the path to genuine reconciliation and eternal peace.

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