Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore condemn those in the church who deny white supremacy

Bible teachers Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore tackle racism in the church

Bible teachers Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore tackle racism in the church

Article By Arnez Hamilton // EEW Magazine // Race + Religion

Segregation in the modern-day church is as big an issue today as it was in the 1950s. So, too, is white supremacy—the belief that white people are superior to other races and should therefore dominate society.

Bible teacher and New York Times best-selling author, Priscilla Shirer, agrees that it is indeed a problem made worse by folks “denying it’s even an issue.”

The African-American War Room actress voiced her opinion on this hot-button topic in a recent tweet agreeing with another prominent Bible teacher, Beth Moore—a white woman— who said this:

There are simply no gospel grounds for defending White supremacy. None. This isn’t theological rocket science. The Savior of the world gave Himself on the cross for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God & Father, wearing a brown body.

In a grateful reply, Shirer wrote, “Thank you for being LOUD and CLEAR about this Ms. Beth,” adding, “Others ‘denying it’s even an issue’ is 1 of the main ways I experience the perpetuation of this injustice.”

Being vocal on issues of racism seems quite the turnabout for Shirer who was heavily criticized in 2018 after comments perceived to be downplaying her blackness went viral. "I do not describe myself as a black woman because that gives too much power to my blackness,” said the popular speaker and daughter of Dallas megachurch pastor, Dr. Tony Evans, adding, “I don't want my race to be the describing adjective of who I am as a woman. I am not a black woman. I am a Christian woman who happens to be black.”

When scores of African-Americans were offended, Shirer offered an apology and said, “I’m unbelievably proud to be a black woman. My identification with the African American community - the struggles and the triumphs - is something that I value greatly.”

Photo Credit: Lifeway

Photo Credit: Lifeway

The struggles of black people are no doubt well-documented—particularly in the church. In fact, Religion News Service recently published an article titled, “It’s time for Christians to confront white supremacy in our churches.”

In the piece, one of the main points is this: “The fear of white supremacy is considered to be overblown, and talking about racism is equated with progressive theology outside of the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. We’ve failed to combat white supremacy with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.”

Despite the obvious validity of the argument, such a perspective on white supremacy and the need to focus on healing the racial divide in American churches is a viewpoint many white conservative Christian scholars reject. Take John MacArthur, for example. He is one of the most widely respected white theologians who has unapologetically railed against the social justice movement, going so far as to call it anti-gospel.

In a blog series fleshing out his views, MacArthur wrote that all the talk about racial reconciliation, reparations, and campaigning for equality is “the language of law, not gospel—and worse, it mirrors the jargon of worldly politics, not the message of Christ.”

Biblical scholar John MacArthur rails against social justice advocacy, classifying it as anti-gospel.

Biblical scholar John MacArthur rails against social justice advocacy, classifying it as anti-gospel.

Though some, of course, agree with him, MacArthur has many critics, both black and white, that view his philosophy and commentary as inflammatory, narrow-minded, and in some cases, veiled racism posing as theology.

MacArthur also said, “I’ve fought a number of polemical battles against ideas that threaten the gospel. This recent (and surprisingly sudden) detour in quest of ‘social justice’ is, I believe, the most subtle and dangerous threat so far.”

Those in disagreement with McArthur are asking, how can social justice be classified as “dangerous” when white supremacy, the true threat, has resulted in vicious acts of hatred taking lives?

Case and point, a 19-year-old white supremacist gunman opened fire on Chabad of Poway synagogue, killing a woman and injuring the rabbi and two other congregants. His name is John T. Earnest, and he was a member of Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Reports say he quoted Bible verses throughout his “manifesto” before committing such a depraved act.

What about Holden Matthews, a 21-year-old white man was recently charged in the burnings of three Louisiana black churches?

Shouldn’t the word dangerous be applied to these acts and not the movement that seeks to fight against hatred?

“Anywhere you see the enemy’s signature - division, envy, lack of peace, etc. - know that he is at work behind the scenes,” tweeted Shirer in an unrelated post. “He may be invisible but he is not fictional.”

Hate crimes being perpetrated by racists are inherently evil and a real threat to humanity, and if white supremacy is to be fought, it must begin within our churches—which is in us. For we are the church, and we are called by God to promote love, justice, forgiveness, and unity.

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