Episode 116: Christianity & Critical Race Theory – “Individual & Systemic Sin.”

This is the second episode in our five-part miniseries on Christianity and Critical Race Theory or CRT for short. If you missed our opening episode, go back to episode 115 to begin the series before returning to this one.

In today’s episode, our team gathered around the mics to talk about Dr. Kelly Harmen’s article she wrote for Christianity Today in July of 2020 entitled “Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Marxism, and Biblical Ethics” discussing the first argument she posits which reads as follows: Quote: “Argument #1: Like all sin, racism originates in the human heart. Therefore, the solution to racism is for people’s hears to change. ‘Systemic Racism.’ on the other hand, is a Marxist idea.” End quote. In typical Antioch Podcast fashion, we had a lot to say about this, and some of it may come as a surprise, or … perhaps not. I’ll let you decide for yourself.


Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Marxism, and Biblical Ethics
Looking at Marxism and Critical Race Theory in light of the problem of racism in America.


(Approximate minute markers noted in parenthesis)

  • (8) How would you answer a person who asked, “Why do you keep talking about race? Isn’t talking about it just creating more division in the world when we need to be looking at our unity in Christ instead?”
  • (12) Why does the podcast team believe that asking the question “Who is missing” is important? How do we each center ourselves when reading scripture? What might we miss by centering ourselves in scripture? How might identifying with difficult characters in the Bible shape our own character? As the podcast goes on, notice the examples of how imagining oneself as a character in a Bible story happen in this podcast.
  • (16) What is the difference between the sin of individual racism and the sin of systemic racism? Why might it be important to make this distinction?
  • (20) What might you say to someone who alleges that the sin of systemic racism is actually a Marxist idea? According to the article and the podcast team, what does Marxism ask questions about? What does “conversations about systemic racism” (which is another way of talking about Critical Race Theory) ask questions about?
  • (22) How does history affect our hearts? How does history affect injustice? What scriptural example is used in the podcast to make this point?
  • (26) What example is given of how individual racism may come to affect a system or institution? How may boardrooms of people – who have a shared negative impression or prejudice – create policies that enforce their prejudicial beliefs? Can you think of examples in history or the church when a group made decisions that affected another group negatively for a lengthy period of time? Describe these examples with the group. (If you can’t think of any, why might an institution keep these kind of stories a secret?)
  • (26) Did you know about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments (your answer may have a strong correlation with your race)? What are the reasons you do or do not know much (or anything) about this incident? If you don’t know anything, do a quick search on the internet to find out more before answering this question.
  • (28) Why do you imagine that white people often struggle with talking about privilege? What mistakes may someone make if they don’t know how to recognize or talk about their privilege? What problems might groups of people who are unable to recognize or talk about their privilege create?
  • (31) What are some of the costs of being a Person of Color (POC) in a predominantly-white environment? Did this information surprise you? What other kinds of negative effects may come from being marginalized in a school, workplace or church environment?
  • (34) What is the “scary question” people in power are afraid to ask, according to Pastor Reggie?
  • (35) What is different between CRT and Marxism, especially for Christians?
  • (36) How is the book of Acts an example of how a new system tries to address sin problems?
  • (40) Pastor Reggie said, “If me becomes more important that we, we aren’t talking about Christianity.” What makes this truth difficult to accept? How might we be convicted to act differently the more deeply we believe this truth? Discuss how you personally might live differently as you allow this scriptural idea to affect you more deeply.

Photos of Favorite Childhood Toys

Michelle: 1966 Mattel Yackers Skumk Pull String Toy

Reggie: Cuddly Duddly from “Ray Rayner and Friends”, WGN Chicago, mid 1960’s

Eric: Playskool Doll – Dapper Dan, 1970’s

Libby: (Angry) Mufasa Figurine, 1990’s