Dr. Voddie Baucham is the Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia. Last week he was a guest on the Glenn Beck radio program. Baucham talked about what he has termed “ethnic gnosticism,” and he talked about his refusal to use the phrase “black lives matter.” The radio interview can be found here.
Baucham’s refusal to use the phrase “black lives matter” is rooted in his concerns about “ethnic gnosticism,” but it’s also rooted in his concerns about the worldview that stands behind the “Black Lives Matter” organization. The following screen shot is taken straight from the Black Lives Matter website. The page is titled “What We Believe.”
Consider these four beliefs as they translate in to goals and actions:
- Black Lives Matter seeks to “make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.” Additionally, they seek to “do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege.” If you aren’t familiar with the term “cisgender,” it simply refers to a person whose gender identity matches their birth gender. That is, a male who identifies as a male or a female who identifies as a female. Black Lives Matter seeks to dismantle the kind of privilege that stands behind the idea that people should “identify” with their birth gender. Clearly this is a wholesale rejection of the sovereignty and goodness of God in creating human beings male and female.
- Black Lives Matter wants to “build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.” I think most of us would stand against sexism and misogyny. However the idea that Black Lives Matter wants to build spaces where black women are free from environments in which men are centered is both vague and problematic. How would this idea square with the biblical teaching that God intends for men to lead their families and lead their churches? Clearly this sounds like a wholesale rejection of God’s plan for the relationship between men and women at home and at church.
- Black Lives Matter intends to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.” Instead, they seek a “village” approach to caring for each other and raising children. They talk about the “comfort level” of parents and children, but what about those who are comfortable with the nuclear family? What about those who think the presence of a dad and a mom are both important? What about the fact that the nuclear family is not a Western requirement but a biblical pattern? Clearly this is a wholesale rejection of the biblical idea that in the beginning God designed the marriage relationship and the family structure.
- Black Lives Matter desires to “foster a queer-affirming network.” They want to be “freed” from the “tight grip of heteronormative thinking.” That kind of language may not be familiar to some. Essentially what Black Lives Matter is saying is that they want to be done with the idea that heterosexuality is the expected, default orientation for a person. In place of this “tight grip,” Black Lives Matter wants every person to have the freedom to determine or discover their own sexuality. Clearly this is a wholesale rejection of the biblical teaching – affirmed by Jesus himself – that God intended marriage to be the union of one man and one woman.
Back to Baucham … his point in the Beck interview was simply that the Black Lives Matter organization is based on a worldview (Marxism) that is entirely different than the Christian worldview. Ethnic gnosticism is part of that worldview, as is a rejection of the biblical account of creation and God’s good design for human beings. Furthermore, Baucham is urging Christians to think about whether or not they can truly separate the statement “black lives matter” from the organization “Black Lives Matter.” Baucham’s conclusion is that this separation is not possible. To state one is to give support to the other. I agree.
I’m happy to say “black lives have value.” I’m happy to say “black lives have significance.” I’m happy to acknowledge that black people have made great contributions to the United States of America. I’m willing (not happy) to admit that black people have not always been treated with dignity and respect in the United States. I’m willing (not happy) to admit that racism is a real problem that lives on in the United States. I’m happy to talk about the good news of the gospel that offers true dignity and unity to all people.
I am not willing to make a political statement that gives validation and support to an organization that has entirely rejected the foundation of the biblical worldview.