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Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe [Review]

Baucham Jr., Voddie T.
Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement
and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe

(Washington: Salem Books, 2021), 270pp.

While many pastors and Christian personalities in the US have not been aware of the looming threat of Cultural Marxism in the wider Evangelical church, there are many who have been diligently warning their Christians against it, and preparing them to respond in a biblically consistent and rational manner. Among those pastors and Christian personalities, we find Dr. Voddie Baucham, former pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Texas, and current dean of African Christian University in Zambia. Baucham’s intention in writing this book was not to divide, he states, but to “clearly identify the two sides of the fault line and to urge the reader to choose wisely.”1 What are these two sides of the fault line? Baucham explains –

There are two competing worldviews in this current cultural moment. One is the Critical Social Justice view—which assumes that the world is divided between the oppressors and the oppressed (white, heterosexual males are generally viewed as “the oppressor”). The other is…the biblical justice view…2

He begins his book, therefore, by explaining where CSJ (Critical Social Justice) “came from,”3 using what he calls a “thought line,”4 “a very brief sketch of the development of the ideas” Fault Lines addresses.5 Baucham ends his “thought line” by recommending some authors critical of the CSH movement (Christian and non-Christian), as well as the writings of foundational to CSJ so that his readers can get “an inside look at what CRT and Intersectionality say about themselves.”6


Baucham’s introduction proceeds by fleshing out the general state of the US as regards “racial tension,” a reality which he argues has been growing for years.7 He goes on to differentiate between the things which are not “the problem” and that which is “the problem.” Baucham argues that the problem is not “growing ethnic tensions” or “political divisions” but “Social Justice versus Biblical Justice.”8 “Our problem,” he writes, “is a lack of clarity and charity in our debate over the place, priority, practice, and definition of justice.”9

Chapter 1

In his first chapter, Baucham goes on to give a brief outline of his personal history, seeing this as necessary given the nature of various criticisms he has faced from black Social Justice Warriors (SJW).10 He explains that while he “grew up poor, without a father, and surrounded by drugs, gangs, violence, and disfunction in one of the toughest urban environments imaginable,”11 he “didn’t just survive,”12 but “thrived!”13 This was due to the grace of God shown to him via the protection, sacrifice, advocacy, and discipline provided to him by his mother.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 deals with “the question of the proper order of faith and ethnicity.”14 Understanding this, he says, “is critical to understanding the various positions people take in the broader social-justice debate—one with which all people must wrestle, regardless of their ethnicity.”15 After explaining that “the Gospel is not something that merely sits on top of our identity…”16 because when “we come to Christ, our identity is transformed completely,”17 Baucham briefly recounts his conversion. He follows this by recounting his early life as an Afrocentric Christian, “an outstanding theology student, [who wore] a T-shirt featuring Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Elijah Muhammad.”18 Baucham elaborates on his Afrocentrism, writing –

Nor did my Afrocentrism stop at wearing T-shirts. Not only was I a member of Omega Psi Phi—a black fraternity known for having its members brand a Greek letter on their arms—but I also helped get it back onto the NMSU campus after it had been suspended. I had married a woman from an historically black college and was one of the founders of the Black Student Fellowship at HBU. At that point in my life, I was most certainly more black than Christian.19

After what he calls “A Season in the Desert,”20 in which the Lord had Baucham’s “pride crushed,”21 Baucham was providentially positioned to become "a sociology major. [A fact which] would figure prominently in [his] life and ministry.”22

Baucham then goes on to detail his consistent advocacy on behalf of

…poor kids from rough neighborhoods whose fathers were not in the picture...[and] were being educated in inferior schools and living in environments where drugs, gangs, and violence were the norm…[who] had not been able to escape. For [whom], things had gotten so bad that they had to be taken out of their homes.23

He explains the reason for mentioning these things in his opening chapters, writing –

Working in those environments was a natural extension and expression of both my upbringing and my education. Both my parents spent most of their careers in social work–related fields. My mother eventually retired as a victims’ advocate in the Bexar County court system in San Antonio, Texas, and my father had several social work–related jobs in boys’ homes, community centers, and at least one juvenile detention center. When I think about my successes in life, I don’t think, “I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps.” Rather, I think, “He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and on them he has set the world” (1 Samuel 2:8).

I don’t take this truth as an invitation to simply sit and wait for God to “do something” for the widow, the orphan, or the poor. In fact, I have pursued advocacy work because I recognize that God uses His people to deliver the oppressed.

I point this out because at the heart of the current debate over racism lies a false dichotomy that says, “Either you are on the side of the oppressed” (read: an SJW), or you are 1) shutting down the conversation about racial injustice, 2) ignoring minority voices, and 3) upholding (or internalizing) white supremacy.24

And from this point onward, Baucham begins to propose “an alternative explanation.”25

Chapter 3

Baucham’s third chapter underscores the fact that “real justice requires truth.”26 He spends some time exposing the lies that have been propagated by the media, popular sports figures, and others in an attempt to lend credence or superficial substance to the claims made by Social Justice Warriors. Taking a closer look at the statistics typically cited as proof or evidence of “systemic racism” in US law enforcement throughout the country, he not only demonstrates how those stats are being manipulated in the service of a false narrative, but underscores how stories of FOIS (fatal officer-involved shootings) involving white men and women are outright ignored by the media because such stories don’t support the narrative being promoted (i.e. because those men and women are white). He helpfully, and correctly, writes –

Simply put, we must be careful when we hear and/or draw conclusions. We must reject simplistic, univariate analyses as a basis for sweeping accusations of bias. The 2.5-to-1 stat is an example of the aforementioned “single witness” being allowed to establish a charge. It is as inappropriate to use that stat to “prove” police bias as it is to use the stats on the killings of police to “prove” inherent bias in black people.27

He does more than merely touch on the subject in a general sense, however, and addresses some of the more prominent cases presented in the media and by various Social Justice groups over the past several years – namely, Tamir Rice, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, and Michael Brown, answering objections to his factually based explanations of how those shootings do not prove that law enforcement in America is systemically racist.

Chapter 4

In this chapter, Baucham details the characteristics of “Anti-racism” which he believes are essentially religious – viz. A New Cosmology, A New Original Sin: Racism, and A New Law (the “Work” of Antiracism). He underscores the reality that within Critical Social Justice there is sin but no redemption, a reality which contradicts the very core of the Christian Gospel. Baucham points out that it is the SJWs who have drawn a line in the sand by making claiming that “race and racial reconciliation are soteriological issues,”28 explaining that this means

…not only are white Christians who fail to adopt antiracist theology and repent of racism in jeopardy of being alienated from God, but those who fail to elevate the preaching of the antiracist message to the same level as the preaching of the Gospel are apparently preaching another gospel—which, according to Williams, is no gospel at all. Ironically, it is the antiracists who have abandoned the Gospel since, in their view, there is no good news of grace. There is only law.29

The “antiracists” among evangelicals, in other words, have adopted a philosophical worldview whose core tenets place it in diametrical opposition to the Christian faith, thus rendering it, essentially, a new, and false, religion.

Chapter 5

Whereas chapter 4 underscored the religious nature of CSJ, chapter 5 gets into more detail as regards the “new priesthood” of the CSJ cult, defines what he calls “Ethnic Gnosticism” (i.e. the belief that people of different ethnicities have access to special knowledge which white people lack and can only gain access to through their narratives), and contrasts these with Scriptural anthropology and harmartiology. He writes –

As Christians, we are called to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). And again in Job, we read, “Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy” (Job 30:25)? We are also told to “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:3). May the Lord grant us grace to take such admonitions seriously.

But the Bible also admonishes us to do things that fly in the face of Ethnic Gnosticism and its assumptions. The very idea of dividing people up by ethnicity, then declaring some of them wicked oppressors and others the oppressed, is inconsistent with the biblical doctrine of universal guilt


This is not the state of white men; it is the state of all men. As such, the idea that there is special knowledge or revelation available to some and hidden from others by virtue of their race or position in the oppressor/oppressed scheme is unthinkable—and unbiblical.30

Chapter 6

This chapter helpfully calls attention to the “New Canon” of “antiracism” literature that is being promoted by many professedly evangelical Christians. As he correctly notes –

The idea that we need a new canon to be able to decipher what the Bible says, or more specifically, what it means regarding race, is quite troubling. This attack on the sufficiency of Scripture should serve as a call to arms.31

From this point onward, Dr. Baucham’s book relays how there is currently a seismic shifting taking place among Christians who support CSJ and those who do not (Ch. 7), how the CSJ ideology is negatively affecting evangelical churches and society in general (Ch. 8 & 9), how churches ought to biblically approach the spiritual war we are in against CSJ and major groups like BLM which support and promote its teachings (Ch. 10), and in Ch. 11 ends his book by urging Christians on all sides to

Recognize the difference between the voice of the Good Shepherd who calls you to love all the sheep and the voice of the enemy that tells you some of them are guilty, blind, ignorant oppressors and that others are oppressed—all based on their melanin. Reject cries that take principles and stories of individual restitution (Numbers 5:7; Luke 19) and eisegetically twist them into calls for multi-generational reparations. Reject the cries of those who twist the repentance of Daniel and Ezra 1) on behalf of theocratic Israel and 2) for sin that took place during their lifetime, in an effort to promote multi-generational, ethnic guilt that rests upon all white people by virtue of their whiteness.

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Corinthians 5:16). And why is this? Because “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:28–29).32

This last chapter is followed by three appendices which contain material he references throughout the book (namely, The Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, the Original Resolution on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, and the SBC Resolution 9 on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.

Some Comments

While Baucham’s book has been criticized as engaging in plagiarism and misrepresenting the teachings of Critical Race Theory, neither of these points is true. As someone who has been engaging postmodern philosophy since about 2000-2001, and who was an ardent postmodernist during the time of my estrangement from Christ, and who used Critical Race Theorizing to justify a slew of sins (e.g. laziness, lust, covetousness, theft, and many more!), I saw nothing in Voddie’s book that indicated he was trying to “make CRT look bad.” Rather, I saw a man who was dealing honestly with CRT, history, statistics, and who placed priority on the Scriptural worldview, subordinating and judging all other views by this highest standard.

What is surprising, given some of the criticisms of the book, is how openly Baucham encourages his readers to read more widely, even telling them to research the matters he is talking about on their own by reading the primary sources. If his intention was to deceive others, as some have claimed, then he did himself a huge disservice by encouraging them, in essence, to test whether or not he was accurately representing their views. Had he discouraged the reading of those materials, I might have thought something was fishy. But he did no such thing.

One of the most refreshing aspects of the book, additionally, is the fact that Baucham does not undermine the reality of racism, the reality of ethnic differences, cultural differences, and the importance of being aware of how those realities can affect members of the body of Christ. If you were to only read his critique, you would think that Baucham was completely indifferent to such matters. But that is also not the case.

Baucham openly and vulnerably talks about the problems he and other black Christians face on a personal level when it comes to understanding the proper relation of one’s ethnicity to one’s position in Christ, as well as dealing with personal instances of racism inside and outside of the body of Christ. Yet he also clearly and Scripturally explains why the CRT and Social Justice “solutions” are not solutions at all but cultic/religious dogmatic practices that are antithetical to the Christian faith in several very important ways.

Baucham’s understanding of sociology comes through in this book, standing as a testimony against his critiques and detractors who have been trying to paint him as an ignorant dogmatist, a racial sell-out, or an ideologically driven deceiver. Baucham’s is problematic not because he is a deceiver or a plagiarist or a sell-out – but because his life testifies to the truth of the Scriptures and, thereby, dismantles CSJ’s narrative regarding poor, underprivileged black men in America. It is also problematic because it clearly identifies CSJ for what it is: A Marxist ideology that rests upon not merely cosmological, epistemological, and anthropological falsehoods, but also upon a tissue of historical and statistical lies.

While he does identify many prominent evangelical leaders by name, he does so graciously, and gives them the benefit of a doubt. This is not to say that he approves of their behavior. Baucham criticizes their behavior, their abuse of Scripture, and their undermining of the sufficiency of Scripture to address societal problems like racism. However, he does so while also assuming that their intentions are, however misguided, are good, since they seem to want to know how to better love their non-white neighbors.

And that is the one problem that I did have with the book. I don’t think the men he criticizes are actually seeking to love their neighbor. There was a time when I did, but that was over four years ago. At this stage in the game, I think their intentions are clear. But, then again, I don’t know these men on a personal level. Voddie Baucham, however, does know them on a one-on-one basis, and he still gives them the benefit of the doubt regarding their intentions. Maybe he knows something I don’t. And if that’s the case, or if it’s not the case, we ought to be praying that these evangelical leaders see the truth, repent of dividing the body of Christ, and be empowered by the Spirit of God to preach not “anti-racism” but the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Fault Lines, 7.
2 ibid., 6.
3 ibid., xii.
4 ibid.
5 ibid.
6 ibid., xviii.
7 Baucham –

I started writing and speaking on political issues in 2008, during Barack Obama’s first run for the White House. At that time I warned repeatedly of his culturally Marxist worldview. I also warned that an Obama presidency would not heal, but rather deepen ethnic tensions in America. I also warned much the same regarding both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016.

[Fault Lines, 4.]
8 ibid., 5.
9 ibid.
10 Baucham –

…addressing this topic usually leaves me open to attacks from people who will accuse me of “being a sellout,” “trying to curry favor with white people,” not being informed about the struggles black Americans currently face, or just not understanding “the black perspective.” Anyone who knows me will find those things laughable—so let me begin by telling you my story.

[Fault Lines, 7.]
11 Fault Lines, 19.
12 ibid.
13 ibid.
14 ibid., 21.
15 ibid.
16 ibid., 22.
17 ibid.
18 ibid., 25.
19 ibid.
20 ibid., 26.
21 ibid.
22 ibid., 27.
23 ibid., 29.
24 ibid.
25 ibid.
26 ibid.
27 ibid., 52.
28 ibid., 87.
29 ibid., 89.
30 ibid., 111.
31 ibid., 130.
32 ibid., 231-232.