Voddie Baucham, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe (Washington D.C.: Salem Books, 2021), 251 pp.
Trouble has been brewing for some while now. Social justice warriors have taken to the streets, courtroom, and universities. Most recently, social justice has penetrated the church walls. While many applaud the social justice movement, including well-known evangelical leaders, a few are standing strong and voicing deep concern. One such man is Dr. Voddie T. Baucham. In his most recent book, Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe, Dr. Baucham exposes the underbelly of the social justice movement. He sees a looming catastrophe on the horizon as scores of professing Christians begin assimilating the tenets of social justice into the fabric of their lives and worldviews.
Fault Lines has a specific goal in mind. Dr. Baucham speaks in clear terms:
The author accomplishes his goal by beginning with a personal narrative. He reveals several pertinent points about his background, including family, faith, and some of the racial tension that was a regular part of his life as a young person. Readers unfamiliar with Baucham’s background will be humbled by his candor and encouraged by a marvelous story of God’s grace.
Grace is the theme that dominates in this book. While some parts may appear combative in tone, the author’s heart is revealed throughout. This is a man who has been conquered by the sovereign grace of God. This mighty work of grace not only saved Voddie from sin, death, and hell; it has propelled him to a platform where he is quick to warn people about the dangers of the social justice movement.
Baucham clears up any misconceptions at the beginning of the book. When critics ask, “What does Critical Race Theory have to do with the church?” “What does social justice have to do with the church?” Baucham’s answer: “Everything.”
The author explains the origins of Critical Social Justice (CSJ) with the rise of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. He cites Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay who argue that these theories are “geared toward identifying and exposing problems to facilitate revolutionary political change.” Such an explanation puts “meat on the bones” and enables readers to see behind much of the social justice agenda.
The warning is set forth with evangelicals in mind. John MacArthur calls it “the greatest threat to the gospel in his lifetime.” Baucham’s task is to unveil the threat in a way that is understandable and compelling for people in the pews.
Baucham sounds the alarm, much like Paul warned the Colossian believers. He urged them to:
Baucham reveals how the various fault lines are impacting the church as leaders succumb to the spirit of the age. He unpacks the false narratives that are being promoted in the media and willingly consumed by Americans.
The author sets forth the unbiblical underpinnings of CRT, intersectionality, white fragility, etc. In the end, what is revealed is a strategic worldview that is being propagated. At the heart of this worldview is the radical promotion of the hegemony – the group of people who are white, heterosexual, native-born, able-bodied, and male. Anyone not a part of this group is considered a minority. But more importantly, this minority is numbered among the oppressed. In classic Marxist fashion, the oppressed must rise up and overtake the hegemony.
In this fabricated arrangement, there is no forgiveness. There is no gospel. The only thing left are the oppressors and the oppressed. In this scheme, original sin is redefined as “racism.” The agenda of social justice, which is presented as a worldview renders the gospel invalid and impotent.
According to Baucham, the antiracist goal is “equitable outcomes.” Readers who are paying attention to the worldview shifts in our culture will recognize these themes. Gone are the days when equality is emphasized. The new buzzword is equity. The author maintains this goal “is neither biblical, reasonable, nor achievable.” Instead of grace, the only thing that remains is law.
Baucham cites Albert Schweitzer who said, “A heavy guilt upon us from what the whites of all nations have done to the colored peoples. When we do good to them, it is not benevolence – it is atonement.” Such a sentiment drill deep into the heart and soul of antiracism. Tragically, this worldview is invading the church. It is anti-gospel.
The Way Forward
Baucham believes that the coming catastrophe is unavoidable: “These fault lines are so deeply entrenched, and the rules of engagement so seriously complex, that the question is not if but when the catastrophe will strike.” The way forward will require clear thinking and Christian courage. The way forward involves faithful allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ringing in my ears is a line from a sermon that John Piper preached many years ago, where he exhorted his readers to “out rejoice all their enemies.” Like Athanasius, we must rise up and live contra mundum. But living against the world does not suggest that we stop loving people in the world. As Baucham notes, “We must love each other with a tenacious, biblical, Christlike love.”
The author concludes by urging his readers to 1) take every thought captive, 2) confront the lie and hold to the truth, 3) listen with discernment, and 4) correct people who are peddling a worldview that opposes the truth of the gospel.
Fault Lines is a greatly needed book. Dr. Baucham’s work is a true labor of love, which is grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Readers should read this work carefully and thoughtfully and make it their aim to move into the marketplace of ideas, armed with the truth of God’s Word, and ready to make a difference in a world that is desperately in need of Jesus’s saving work on the cross.