Refugee? Mixed-Race? Please stop co-opting Christ

"...when it comes to identifying Christ as a mixed-race savior or as a refugee, I can understand the desire to do so....It might be simply that they are saddened for the refugees around the world and want to make Jesus more attractive to the refugee they are evangelizing. But even with these motives it is quite dangerous." - Cripplegate

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Some good points there, but...

When you have to flee your country for shelter in another, that's literally what a refugee is. ... It's a fact that Jesus was, during part of His early life, a refugee.

Mixed race... well, that one's a stretch.

A huge point of the humble aspects of Christ's incarnation was for Him to experience life as we do and for us to identify with Him. (Heb. 4:15, Phil. 2:8).

And His sufferings in life as a human in a sin-broken and sin-cursed world are a vital part of the larger gospel message. The gospel isn't just "Jesus saves." It's also "the world needs saving."

But sure, there are temptations to attach Jesus to a social or political project to validate it, and that could be a misuse.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joel Shaffer's picture

I'm frustrated at this article because it assumes some social justice agenda on the part of those who refer to Jesus as a refugee or those who refer to the Gentile blood that is within Jesus' lineage.  This ERLC article from 4 years ago written by Casey B. Houghhttps://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/the-diversity-in-our-christmas-story/ is what the current anti-social justice crowd is getting upset at after it was reposted on twitter by the ERLC.  There has been an onslaught of attacks against Hough, calling him a blasphemer and heretic. Although the Cripplegate article doesn't go that far, it's very general and doesn't specifically address Hough's arguments but rather jumps to Luke 4:18-23.  By the way, Hough clarifies what he believes https://twitter.com/caseybhough/status/1342920564101541890 where he affirms Jesus' Jewishness, among other things, but unfortunately, his name was already tarnished by the SBC/Founders/MacArthur crown since so many of them viewed it through their witch hunt lens believing it to be another example of ERLC's compromise to CRT/Woke ideology.  

Interestingly, Hough was quoting the evangelical urban missiologist Ray Bakke's "Urban Christian," which was written in 1987, years before CRT had emerged in academia.  Having met Ray Bakke and heard him speak several times, one of Bakke's sources for his explanation of a "mixed-race savior" was Charle Spurgeon, where Spurgeon comments on Matthew 1:5 "We note that two women are mentioned in this fifth verse: a Canaanite and a Moabitess. Thus Gentile blood mingled with the Hebrew strain...Our King has come to break down the partition wall. As Gentiles we rejoice in this. Jesus is heir of a line in which flows the blood of the harlot Rahab, and of the rustic Ruth...He is akin to the fallen and to the lowly, and he will show his love even to the poorest and most obscure. I, too, may have a part and lot in him.”   

"Mixed Raced Savior" might not be the best way to describe Jesus, especially in such times where so many conservative Christians don't practice authorial intent when reading current writers, but rather bring their subjective bias baggage into current conversations about the Bible and culture.  

As for Jesus being a refugee, one of my friends wrote this, and I agree: "though both Judea and Egypt were part of the Roman Empire, the Empire was not simply the first-century equivalent of a modern nation-state as we conceive of it today. Though ultimate sovereignty was reserved for Rome alone, it was comprised of city-states that were able to maintain a large degree of local sovereignty, autonomy, and jurisdiction. Each city-state was largely self-governed, provided that they gave their ultimate allegiance and fealty to Caesar. The holy family fleeing to Egypt, then, was not simply the equivalent of moving from one state to another (unless you are making the analogy of a black slave fleeing from the Antebellum South). Though not unanimous, many conservative biblical scholars judge that by these standards, the title of “refugee” is by no means an inappropriate one."

TylerR's picture

Editor

Double post; see below.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Joel wrote:

his name was already tarnished by the SBC/Founders/MacArthur crown since so many of them viewed it through their witch hunt lens believing it to be another example of ERLC's compromise to CRT/Woke ideology.  

This is precisely my concern. I now immediately distrust Tom Buck, Tom Ascol and the Founders folks in general because they appear to have gone mad. Everything is CRT. It reminds me of some history texts I've read about the Red Scare. My 14 year old just read me something the other day. He saw an article that explained the House Un-American Activities Committee investigated some translators associated with the then-new RSV translation for fear the translation had Communist influence! We see this same depth of rabid hysteria today with CRT.

Dreher (et al) and Trueman, in their own ways, have done invaluable service for the Church with their respective major works in 2020. Tara Burton, too ("Strange Rites") has helped. But, I do fear some Christian's have truly gone mad. Tom Buck even posted about CRT via Twitter on Christmas Day. This is unhealthy. 

I read four major books on Jim Crow and Reconstruction in 2020 to better understand these matters. I have a new one by Princeton historian Kevin Kruse ("White Flight") that I'm looking forward to very much. The more I read about this, and then turn to history texts that explain the context for why ecumenical Christianity became the ceremonial deism of the Republic from the 1930s+, and then consider how these same people tolerated and sometimes abetted Jim Crow, I am horrified. 

That doesn't mean I endorse Robert Jones ("White Too Long") et al. But, it does mean I see Founders folks and all I see is well-meaning shallowness.

It's hard to be a moderate on these issues today!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Who are some people that Founders, MacArthur, etc., have slandered/mislabeled? I'm not arguing they haven't. Voddie in particular seems to paint with a pretty broad brush. I guess I'm really asking, who are being labeled as CRT who are not? 

TylerR's picture

Editor

You'd have to follow Ascol and Buck on Twitter to see it. The usual suspects are any SBC seminary president besides Mohler (they have a special antipathy for Akin), and especially Russell Moore. T4G and TGC are also usual suspects. They are convinced there is some kind of insidious, theological CRT deep-state among SBC professors. Thus my analogy to the Red Scare.

They see CRT everywhere. Buck has repeatedly criticized MidWestern and demanded its President, Jason Allen, explain why the institution picked Esau McCaulley's "Reading While Black" as its book of the year. McCauley is a professor at Wheaton.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

Stop listening to Ascol (whom I've heard of) and Buck (no clue).

josh p's picture

Ok thanks. I think I’m not connected enough with the stream of evangelicalism to really keep up with what’s going on. I’ve read a lot of books about ethnicity and ethnic reconciliation over the last few years and was just wondering where the divide was.

TylerR's picture

Editor

The pressure is largely coming from those folks via social media. Founders has also released two documentaries chronicling their concerns, one of which has an accompanying book. My summary is "good men who have temporarily (?) gone mad."

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

TylerR wrote:

The pressure is largely coming from those folks via social media. Founders has also released two documentaries chronicling their concerns, one of which has an accompanying book. My summary is "good men who have temporarily (?) gone mad."

Seeing a CRT boogie-man behind every action, or the CRT advocates who think listening to pseudo-Marxists is a Christian way to analyze the body of Christ?