I wanted to call this piece “Three Books on Racism” but it really isn’t. The books are about Marxism and social manipulation. Then again, calling it “Three Books on Marxism” would scare a lot of people away. And to some it would be misleading as the topic of conversation revolves around questions of race. (At least it appears to.) Besides, nobody wants to read philosophy. So instead let’s just dive into the Three Books and see what happens.
The three books are
Christianity and Wokeness, by Owen Strachan,
Fault Lines, by Voddie Baucham, and
We Will Not Be Silenced, by Erwin Lutzer.
There’s a sense where these three books cover the same concern. For the past several years we’ve been assaulted by BLM, Antifa, and their supporters with blame, shame, and calls for a revolution. It’s like a trip back to 1969. College professors, all other levels of educational instruction, corporations, television, and other information sources, these are all creating this consensus. We in the church are a small minority that opposes these movements.
That’s where these three books come in. They all cover the same subject but do so in different ways. Also, they all repeat some of the same information. That can’t be helped as we’re all going through the same things. Though I may express some concerns about each particular book’s content they all have value.
We Will Not Be Silenced
Dr. Lutzer comes from the framework of a reconstructionist (or similar mindset) with concern that we strengthen what remains. But this is not just for the church. He also suggests it for the redemption and preservation of our nation’s Christian heritage.
The title, We Will Not Be Silenced, brings that same defensive posture. In my opinion the fundamental and fundamentalist communities, along with the reconstructionist evangelicals, have been on the defensive too long. That is, they always have been. They either withdraw or fight to protect. A few fight to advance the gospel but that seems always to be coupled with the historical defensive for which these groups are known.
That tone also comes through in the preoccupation with detail. There is so much to cover, so much to put together into a full picture that nothing gets left out. When reading it with some friends there was a tendency of some to see the events and get upset. Why? Because we’re being assaulted every day and hitting the reader with a reminder of everything reinforces that. The greater part of the book is trees and people don’t really see the forest until the get through most of it. That doesn’t work well for the average reader, in my opinion.
Even so the conclusion of the book provides a strong set of principles that themselves deserve our consideration. Work through this part of the book slowly and intentionally. That’s where the value lies.
Dr. Baucham’s book has, apparently, both won and lost friends for him, though I don’t think he really cares. (He shouldn’t.) Fault Lines covers not only events but names names within evangelicalism and calls them out for their compromises. He goes after some of the “young Calvinist” personalities that have gone woke.
This cleaning house approach is good. But because all of evangelical Christianity is fragmented (we’ve made local church autonomy an idol, to us a loss) little will happen. They’ll keep their pulpits and their publishing contracts. Book sales and conference meetings will diminish until the clouds pass over. At least that seems to be the attitude these days. So while I applaud his forthrightness toward those who have compromised, it does little. But that’s on us, not him.
The strongest part of this book, as with the first, is the conclusion. (Ok, that’s how it’s supposed to be. I get it.) Here he expresses his love for his people, for the church, and his desire to protect it from corruption. It’s the pastoral tone that even the most fundamental fundamental pastor would appreciate. You protect the sheep and you build them up.
Christianity and Wokeness
This third book is a fascinating read. While the first two do deal with ideas along with events, Dr. Strachan puts more (as I read it) emphasis on the ideas that drive the movements. This may make it hard to read for a lot of people but it also makes it better for the person who wants to make sense of movements and what is driving them. We might say “Marxism” in the simplest sense, but how that works is another question. Dr. Strachan opens that up a bit more for the reader.
Something he does throughout the book is to provide questions and challenges for the reader. Doing this let’s the reader work slowly and understand each section better before continuing. It’s an excellent educational approach.
He also has a section that is a Bible study on the subject (ch. 5). That alone would be good for an adult or youth class to deal with a Biblical foundation for the issues.
All three books give the church a challenge. But, unfortunately, none of them provide, nor can they, what the church needs: An offensive strategy. Our churches today are isolated entities that are on the defensive. We’re sending our children to their schools and giving our children their entertainment and then we wonder why society is what it is. I wish all three authors the best and ask that the follow up with more than platitudes. The same goes for readers. Let’s work toward better church education, better Christian living, and better apologetics that takes the offensive with the gospel.