A recent article on the Gospel Coalition website [link] attempted to point out the incompatibility of Critical Theory with Christianity.
Below is short video detailing some of the problems with that article. I compare it to asking,
“Is an auto mechanic’s toolbox incompatible with a broken car?”
The answer is no. Unless you didn’t know that car was broken so you think that the mechanic’s diagnostic tools broke the car. Or you only think in cars so your imagine that all of the mechanic’s tools, when put together, is a car that competes with your car.
What I am saying is: this is a confusion of categories.
Critical Theory is a set of tools to examine, interrogate, critique the structures that hold us ‘the way things are’.
So when the author says that Critical Theory is a growing threat to the church … you have to ask “what church?”.
Here are the 3 C’s that I am suspicious of in this article:
- Cognitive Belief (Enlightenment Rationality)
- Christendom Legacy (Structures and Institutions)
- Colonial Missions (Conversion-ism)
Critical Theory, then, is our salvation from that kind of Christianism (Frankenstein Christianity).
Since this article is on the Gospel Coalition website I can’t guarantee that it is a sincere attempt to address the issue in good faith – apologetics has a notorious reputation for masking its real agenda behind a facade of inquiry. It is willing to consider something new by scratching the surface in order to expose that the new perspective contradicts and is therefore incompatible with ‘classic’ Christianity (a modern imaginary).
As an ‘apologist’ you are only interested in something to the degree that it proves your predetermined conclusions. So that it is opposite of critical theory.
Please watch the video and let me know your thoughts.
October 3, 2020 at 2:19 pm
Interesting thoughts, Bo, but your analogy suffers from the same limits as those that constrain those bastions of historic evangelicalism from properly examining their status quo. Namely, it presumes that the “toolbox” of Critical Theory contains the right tools to fix whatever is wrong with the church. Critical Theory begins with presumptions about what is wrong with the status quo (the “what is”), lays out how it SHOULD look (the “what ought to be”) and then prescribes remedies to fix it (the “how to”). All of those presumptions may be wrong. So just as questioning whether those entrenched in historical Christianity may not be able to fully evaluate what is wrong with the church, so Critical Theorists may be so enamored of their tools that they can’t recognize that maybe those tools are not the right ones to fix the problems with the church. They have assumed that the problems (that DO exist) are fixable by their tools.
Sort of like having only a hammer in your toolbox and thus concluding that every problem is a nail.
In that sense, perhaps Critical Theory IS incompatible with Christianity.
(Apologies if this is a duplicate reply — computer glitched)
October 20, 2020 at 10:39 pm
I have been thinking about this comment for a couple of weeks. I keep coming back to the difference between a plumber & carpenter’s tool boxes. One can’t really say to the other “your tool box is no good” – it just depends what you are trying to do it.