What Are the “Wicked Ways” of the American Church?

Today is the National Day of Prayer, and for decades the same call to pray for our nation has gone out across America. We ask God for revival, focusing on this promise found in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Even though this verse tells us that God will heal our land if God’s people, who are called by his name, would “turn from their wicked ways,” we focus on the sins of the world—abortion and sexual immorality, in particular. Yet God said his people needed to turn away from their wicked ways. What were the wicked ways that displeased God in ancient Israel, and importantly, what are the wicked ways that displease God in the modern church?  

A few verses after the promise to heal the land in 2 Chronicles 7, God describes the sin that causes his disapproval. He says Israel would be plucked up “by the roots” and “cast out” of his sight to become a “byword among all nations.” (2 Chron. 7:20, KJV)

Why?

Because the people worshiped other gods. He answered them:

“…Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers…and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped and served them: therefore he brought all this evil upon them.” – 2 Chron. 7:22, KJV

The ancient Israelites were UNFAITHFUL to God, but the people didn’t even realize they were sinning! God used the prophets to explain how they had betrayed him. The prophet Hosea, for example, was told to marry a woman who would have lovers on the side. This was a symbol of the relationship between God and Israel. Although Israel was still in a covenant relationship with God, and they still did all the ritualistic blood offerings, burnt offerings, Sabbaths, incense, new moon festivals, etc., the prophet Ezekiel said when they built “high places” to other gods, this was the equivalent of a woman going out to a city square and opening her legs to everyone that passed by. God was so grieved that he cried out:

“How long will my people be incapable of purity?” –Hosea 8:5, NIV

Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet,” also prophesied the heart of God when he asked:

“What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they have gone far from me?” –Jer. 2:5, KJV

(What person who has been cheated on hasn’t felt the same grief and pain?) God had blessed Israel with “plenty,” and yet they had “defiled” the land (Jer. 2:7, KJV). The temple priests, the pastors, and prophets had nearly all turned to other gods. They were apostate.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH AMERICA AND THE MODERN CHURCH?

1 Corinthians 10 says that what happened to ancient Israel was written as an example to the church. Paul described how God led his people out of the bondage of Egypt and how the people drank of the spiritual Rock (Christ), and yet they still lusted after idols. Then Paul gave this warning to the church:

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.” – 1 Cor. 10:11

He then admonishes the church to “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14).

HOW DO CHRISTIANS PRACTICE IDOLATRY TODAY?

Sadly, we do it the same way the ancient Israelites did it. We keep our outward relationship with God and add other lovers on the side. We go to church. We carry the name of God, yet we add to the faith, corrupting it with things that conflict with the Word.

Incidentally, this has happened throughout church history! The early church had to contend with the Judaizers (who added Old Testament law to Christianity) and the Gnostics (who added extrabiblical dreams and revelations to the faith). As an apologist, I’m often challenged to defend the failures of church history—the Inquisition, slavery, colonialism, Nazism, etc.—and I realized it was at those precise moments of failure that the church was UNFAITHFUL to God. They didn’t keep the faith pure. They blended outside views with the Gospel and created an unholy and lukewarm blend. The result was war, division, and suffering of the masses! The root determines the fruit that will be produced. When Israel began worshiping other gods, they became greedy and cruel, and when the church became unfaithful, they became evil too.

But you might argue: the church never built high places or worshiped idols made out of wood or stone! No, but Paul explained that we are still commanded to pull down the high places. The weapons we fight against are no longer carnal or fleshly. In the letter to the Ephesians, he explained this spiritual battle: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places(Eph. 6:12, KJV).

The way we pull down strongholds now is through “casting down imaginations [the NIV says, “We demolish arguments”] and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5, KJV). The “high places” are now the regions of the mind and intellect where Satan wars against the truth.

The easiest way to destroy the truth is to blend it with something else and create an entirely new entity. It’s a form of sedition, a subtle way to cause rebellion and betrayal. The only solution is a call to purity and holiness (a whole and undivided heart).

WHAT ARE THE WAYS THE CHURCH IS BEING UNFAITHFUL TODAY?

  1. We’ve corrupted the Gospel with other ideologies, philosophies, “truths,” or beliefs. Think about the church of the last decades. We’ve blended biblical truth with psychology, science (such as evolution or quantum theory), business principles, mammon (through the prosperity gospel), philosophy (through Critical Race Theory), new revelations, dreams, and visions (such as The Final Quest), fiction (such as The Shack), other religions (COEXIST), environmentalism, Old Testament law, political ideologies, and on and on. This list is not exhaustive.
  2. We’ve joined with other religions to bring about peace, prosperity, and the transformation of society or culture. This was the root of the sin of ancient Israel. They worshiped the gods of the surrounding tribes alongside their worship ofYahweh. Baal promised new life, prosperity, and security to his worshipers, so the Israelites joined in. They never denied God, they just blended with the other gods . . . and it broke God’s heart. What is the source of our peace and prosperity? Is it unity with other religions, like a modern-day Tower of Babel, or is it faithful love toward God and his Word?
  3. We’ve added mystical experiences to the blood of Christ. Why do we need to add our own religious efforts to the sacred way provided by Jesus? Contemplative prayers, soaking prayers, labyrinths, the “silence,” centering prayers, and breath prayers are all ADDITIONS to the Gospel. They are equivalent to the “strange fire” offered by Nadab and Abihu to the blood offering of the lamb.
  4. We’ve embraced a slew of false prophets and false teachers. These men and women claim to be hearing from God, yet their prophecies seldom come true. Why do we need these extra-biblical revelations from God? Why do we need the signs and wonders (as found in the heretical book The God Chasers by Tommy Tenney)? Just like the Pharisees, the Word isn’t enough. Christians run off after these lying signs and wonders. But Jesus called them adulterous for this!

These are just some of the “wicked ways” of the modern church. All of them point to a divided heart, but Jesus said that the greatest and first commandment was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt.22:37-38, KJV). Israel went through a time of revival when King Josiah discovered the lost scrolls (the Word) and obediently destroyed all the high places. This was pleasing to God, and the prophetess Huldah revealed God’s heart of grace towards Josiah:

“Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.” – 2 Chron. 34:27, KJV

Is YOUR heart tender toward God. Do you have a divided heart and mind? The American church, just like ancient Israel, needs a true revival of holiness unto the Lord. God is still crying out:

“How long will my people be incapable of purity?” – Hosea 8:5, NIV

30 Comments

  1. Diana as long as I’ve known you your heart has always belonged to the Lord . I just love talking to you and Greg about our savior Lord Jesus. ♥️ till we talk again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diane, I just “met” you as you are trying to promote your pamphlet on Bradley Mason’s Twitter feed under some man’s political rhetoric that uses all the bs buzzwords to keep people following a bigoted course that harms others.

      I don’t expect you to publish this comment although I realized ze you might.

      I just wanted to connect with you.

      1) Please email your degrees details as on the Amazon bio under your pamphlet your claim that your degrees give you the cred to be able to publish & sell an accurate pamphlet on CRT and the biblical opposition to it.

      2) Re your reference to 2 Chronicles 7:14 and subsequent verses — God was speaking to Israel about the OT Laws & statutes and their land covenant not to the Church and the US of A’s “modern church”. I understand that you are using it as an analogy to fit the rest of your blog that talks about the “wicked ways that displease God in the modern church,” but why? Why do you take God’s land covenant to talk about the “wicked ways” in “the modern church?”

      3) You mention Hosea and connect his wife’s prostitution with being in bed with idols, yes? Well, is that not using again, God’s land covenant with Israel which he will eventually punish? So the analogy would be that we should fear God’s punishment of taking away our new covenant with God because we are being idolatrous with ideologies? I thought this covenant can’t be taken away?

      4)in your use of Ephesians 6:12, I think it is an incorrect stretch of the imagination to call the high places our minds. Closer to literal versions write “heavenly places.” I don’t know the Greek or Hebrew, but I think you can’t make that leap in interpretation.

      Please look up what principalities mean. I’m all for holiness for the individual. Something for individuals to strive for in their relationship with God as their spirit testifies with God’s Spirit. But if you want the church to be filled with individuals striving for holiness, they should be encouraged to use their minds & hearts to get out of bed with the unholy Empire. That’s Christian’s idol.

      Who in the modern church is making an idol out of CRT. No one except those opposed to it. Those opposed to it are using scripture to claim it is more than a tool, that it is something that is worshipped. It’s not.

      Interesting that you would use Bradley Mason’s Twitter feed to promote your pamphlet.

      Like

      1. Hi Mary,

        Thank you for your interest in my views.

        Most of the questions you ask are answered in the above article.

        Have you read my booklet on CRT? If not, it’s available for free here:

        Click to access critical-race-theory-1-1.pdf

        As far as the covenant(s) with God is concerned, all through the Bible the relationship with God and his people is compared to a marriage covenant–which isn’t unconditional. Marriage is an if/then proposition. If a person is unfaithful, then the marriage can be ended. This is the point of 2 Chronicles 7:19 and the book of Hosea. This is also the position of the church. We aren’t yet married to Christ, but we are betrothed. (Mary was betrothed to Joseph and yet he was going to give her a bill of divorce.) But God cannot break the covenant, only we can, because He is always faithful. There is so much more about the teaching on faithfulness. If you’d like to understand my position, there’s more information available here:

        https://thefaithfulchurch.com/2016/10/14/will-you-be-found-faithful-caring-about-the-heart-of-god-in-an-age-of-apostasy-chapter-one/

        I think you’re right about the high places. I’m going to edit the article to have the “high places” applied to 2 Cor. 10:5 – which is interpreted as “lofty,” “elevated,” or “high” in the Greek, while Eph. 6:12 DOES refer to “heavenly places.”

        I appreciate your attention to detail!

        CRT conflicts with the teachings of the scriptures and is rooted in vain philosophy. Information about how it conflicts can be found here:

        https://thefaithfulchurch.com/2021/06/06/does-critical-race-theory-conflict-with-biblical-truth/

        May you be found faithful!

        Blessings in Jesus,

        Diana

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  2. Respectfully, I read your article and they led me to questions neither the article or you answered.

    In 2), I asked about why you took God’s land covenant to talk about the “wicked ways” in the “modern church.” You didn’t address that it is a land covenant, you just repeated the marriage analogy.

    In 3), the connection with the land covenant being expressed through the marriage of Hosea with his prostituting wife was ignored by you.

    Instead you thought I would want to understand your covenant(s) position as a condition marriage further?

    4) Your welcome. I appreciate your response.

    Respectfully, I disagree with you that CRT “conflicts with the teachings of the scriptures and rooted in vain philosophy.”

    I did go to your link and read some very disturbing premises and I definitely believe that you lie several times, perhaps unintentionally (I hope). For instance, by putting the word, storytelling, in quotation marks rather than using the word, narratives, you lead the reader into believing CRT is about telling false stories in court. That is not the goal of narratives, although narratives in legal studies was the main criticism of CRT in legal studies as it was being formed after the civil rights movement was took a hit with the assassination of MLK, the two Kennedys, and all the other sacrifices. The incremental gains, which MLK warned against, did lead those white fundamentalist Christians in the US to take the ” tranquilizing drug of gradualism,” which leads some people into thinking racism doesn’t exist because individuals in the SBC that aren’t racist can ignore that our institutions still are (there still might be some people that are racist in our institutions, just not following Christ right, yes?).

    You miss the point of CRT, a secular endeavor to continue to strive for civil rights in an endemically white supremacist system.

    To even claim CRT is a bad ideology affecting the church by comparing it to the past church justification of the African slave ownership is a slap in the face of the whole academic, legal and social movement. Or should I say it is a “whip to the back?”

    And to say James Cone “misses the mark” with liberation theology is outright accusing a theologian of sin. Certainly not something new under the sun, but brazen indeed. To try and counterpoint the linked article’s claim that Cone puts others before God, I’ll post this:

    https://thewitnessbcc.com/on-the-assault-of-james-cone-black-liberation-theology/

    Did I miss an email where you answered my questions about your theological education and if you had any degrees. The Amazon bio was not clear.

    Thank you.

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    1. First of all, can I ask what you mean by a land covenant. I don’t want to make assumptions? The land covenant was based on faithfulness to God, was it not? What scripture are you referring to?

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      1. Thank you for asking about the land covenant. This article from GCU seems like a pretty good reference and probably produces land covenant verses better than I would have. Plus the theological reasonings.

        Aren’t all covenants based on the faithfulness of both parties, so yes of course to your question on faithfulness.

        Mary

        PS. I don’t have a website, so I always put down Mark Charles’s site because I think he wrote a pretty darn good book with Prof Rah, Soong Chan Rah, Fuller Seminary.

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    2. CRT was an attempt to explain why blacks were still struggling so much even though the laws of the country were changed. CRT is one answer that was given. But there are other voices that disagree with this analysis. For example, Bob Woodson is one of those voices. https://www.theepochtimes.com/how-the-tragic-killing-of-george-floyd-has-been-exploited-bob-woodson_3379519.html?utm_source=ref_share&utm_campaign=copy&rs=SHRFQJCT&. There are many more voices that disagree.

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      1. I don’t consider you an authority on CRT but by answering me back you are able to link again stuff that you would like to promote.

        And long ago I decided I would never go to epoch times. Do you know the origins of epoch times? Sometimes you need to look at your sources and their motives regardless if they say what you want them to say. Or rather especially if they say what you want them to say.

        That is good advice for any source in any discipline of any theological, political, or scientific or pseudoscientific leaning.

        Respectfully, Mary

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    3. “To even claim CRT is a bad ideology affecting the church by comparing it to the past church justification of the African slave ownership is a slap in the face of the whole academic, legal and social movement. Or should I say it is a “whip to the back?”

      Ha! Oh please…my point was that additions to the scriptures during the slave era contributed to the justification of slavery. If the church had kept the scriptures pure, they wouldn’t have been able to corrupt the understanding of the curse of HAM (https://thefaithfulchurch.com/2021/06/02/what-was-the-curse-of-ham-was-it-biblical/), use scientific racism (polygenism) to place Africans in a class of sub-humans (https://thefaithfulchurch.com/2011/11/30/enlightenment-thinkers-were-racists/), or use false racial science to promote white supremacy (https://thefaithfulchurch.com/2021/09/04/martin-luther-king-jr-on-the-science-of-white-supremacy/). As a Christian we have the responsibility to keep the scriptures pure and holy…we can’t blend it with other ideologies…or people suffer!

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      1. Another plug to reiterate your bad analogy of slavery as an ideology rather than one major example of exploitation that ce because of The Doctrine of Discovery.

        Here you are absolutely correct that the church weaponized the scripture, but you do know it was the church that also canonized this scripture?

        They weaponized not only the scripture to stand on (I suspect you might say some of their canonized books were apocryphal and the Protestants took them out to keep the other part of their canonized collection pure), but they weaponized tradition, culture, and the wealth and power structure they built by claiming divinity above the common POOR people.

        You emphasize by capitalization, so surely you understand I am not yelling about the POOR.

        Cherry-pick that verse where Jesus says we will always have the poor with us in your next reply (I repaid your snarkiness of “oh please” with some better snarkiness in my opinion.

        But if you’d rather read about some UnsettlingTruths about the Church due to the legacy we are living in in the wake of The Doctrine of Discovery, visit the Mark’s website I promote.

        But I think you just want to think your fellow image-bearers are stupider & you have all the scoop.

        Mary

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      2. I totally oppose the use of papal decrees. This is another example of mixing other views in with the Word and creating an unholy blend. It was wicked and evil and based on manmade thoughts.

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      1. I have been aware of racism since I was old enough to understand. That would be in the 60s near Atlanta, Georgia.

        I do know which specific thing you are talking about and again you are promoting your blog instead of just saying your point and then promoting your blog.

        So maybe this weekend I’ll take a look at it.

        Respectfully, Mary

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      2. I never deny the existence of racism…especially by parts of the church. I put up links because you can more fully understand my views. I’m sorry if you think I’m just trying to promote my blog.

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    4. Concerning James Cone, I read his book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree.” It was well written and caused me to cry again and again…but when I got almost to the end of the book he made a statement that took me aback. He said: “God’s liberation of the poor is the PRIMARY theme of Jesus’ gospel.”

      I cannot agree with this. Do you?

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      1. I suspect you deny systemic oppression due to the legacy of white supremacy. The existence of racism “by parts of the church” might be getting a bit closer to acknowledging that institutions should take responsibility for their complicity in the inequity that lingers due to our country’s founding and it’s colonial ideology backed & justified by the church.

        Not only should they take responsibility for their institutions founded by racists, but they should actively try to root out any lingering effects of the past racism and its present bias.

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      2. I said “parts of the church” because the other parts of the church were avid abolitionists. Evangelicals like William Wilberforce, William Lloyd Garrison, John Newton, and so many more fought against slavery. They did so on the basis that it conflicted with the scriptures (especially on kidnapping and returning runaway slaves). Missionaries such as William Knibb also appealed to the compassion of Jesus on behalf of the slaves in Jamaica.

        Bradley Mason listed some ways that systemic racism can be rooted out, but I need to go back and take a look at what he said. It was hard to understand without digging into it more.

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    5. As far as my credentials are concerned, I don’t mind sharing them publicly. I have a B.A. in Religion from Lakeland University, a United Church of Christ college in Wisconsin. I became a Christian in 1981 and have studied the scriptures for over 40 years—beyond my college studies, which included a study of OT, NT, theology, Christian history, hermeneutics, etc. While I was in college, I was raising eight kids, yet I still earned the Student of the Year in the religion department, was listed in Who’s Who, was on the Mortar Board/National Honor Society and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a cumulative GPA of 3.94. It took me 25 years to accomplish this goal. I began my masters at Norwich University, but due to health issues and financial difficulties I have not been able to return. I also have minors in history and communications, but my love for history grew because I homeschooled my kids for nearly 25 years. The things I learned about the motivations of some of the greatest heroes of history were never taught in public schools, so I was shocked at what I was learning, and when Christopher Hitchens came out with his book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, I knew his arguments were incomplete, so I wrote a book to counter him. One of the most important points I learned while writing on my website and debating atheists was the necessity of not corrupting the Word with other ideologies, philosophies, any science that conflicts with the Word, other religions, mammon, etc., I learned that Christians who carried the name of Christ while blending in other viewpoints with their faith were the cause of massive human suffering. They were the Inquisitors, racists, slaveholders, Nazis, colonialists, and science deniers. My website and books are about presenting this argument. Because of this revelation, I’ve also become devoted to keeping the Word holy and undefiled as much as possible. I’ve written many books to defend the faith and to argue for a faithful church that loves God with ALL their heart.

      Because of my views on history, I was contacted by a publisher to explain CRT in layman’s terms, so that the average Christian could understand what was happening at the Southern Baptist Convention concerning Resolution 9. My motivations for writing were to inform the church. I studied all the primary sources and boiled it all down to a booklet which had to be under 30 pages—which wasn’t easy!

      I’m probably forgetting something, but that’s a start.

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  3. Concerning the word “storytelling,” that was Delgado’s term, not mine. I put his full quote on it in the post: “Attorneys and teachers of clinical law have been applying STORYTELLING and narrative analysis to understand how the dynamics of persuasion operate in the courtroom.”

    Like

    1. My ignorance: Yes I see they are Delgado’s words & I see that narrative is a bit different & made of of stories. But I stand by the bias to put quotes around the word. I do not think you were citing Delgado. I think it reinforced you assertion that CRT is not about truth-telling which is false.

      I don’t know how to do the clever snips from journals, but from Delgado’s & Stephancic’s Intro to Critical Race Theory, Chpt. 1, the last paragraph of F. speaks to storytelling as the “unique voice of color.”

      “The voice-of-color thesis holds that because of their different histories and experiences with oppression, black, Indian, Asian, and Latino/a writers and thinkers may be able to communicate to their white counterparts matters that the whites are unlikely to know.” ~ primary source cited above (nothing about lying).

      More from same paragraph in excerpt from (cuz “…”)

      Start excerpt~ The “legal storytelling” movement urges black and brown writers to recount their experiences with racism and the legal system and to apply their own unique perspectives to assess law’s master narratives. ~ end excerpt

      Again, the primary source. I’ve yet to see anything claiming black & brown voices lie to “blame” others. Blame where blame is due if that is necessary, but you yourself said people often have more in common than differences. I think blame is another word that aims to instill fear or resistance to hearing black and brown voices that are still pretty much drowned out by white voices. And especially in the church, the last institution in the US that is the most segregated and the least willing to acknowledge that.

      I’d have lots more to say on the bias & resistance of the American white evangelical church, but we should be listening to the theologians and historians of color, but I lament that more white voices are riding to the top trying to tell others’ stories.

      Think primary sources.

      Respectfully, Mary

      PS Even Mark Charles is half-white. I watched a webinar in ’20 that Soong Chan Rah was a part of a long with other notable non-whites teaching the history of white Christian Nationalism which evolved from fundamentalism. The white guys are we all over the news condemning Christian Nationalism. White sells. We can blame the current media, but it’s just always how it’s been.

      Time to change.

      Like

  4. I didn’t finish his book, but I did finish the other books in the Bible and refer to them. Lots of content is about taking care of the poor. I do believe God’s primary reason was humanity’s reconciliation with him. Taking care of the poor is part of that.

    I am not going to agree or disagree with you or Cone on this statement because you already linked it to the idea that Cone idolizes the 2nd greatest commandment over loving God. Here I will say you are distorting Liberation Theology and claiming Cone sinned. So I would be more apt to believe your testimony about your own sins than how you think a theologian sins.

    I will finish reading Cone’s book.

    Mary

    Like

    1. “I do believe God’s primary reason was humanity’s reconciliation with him. Taking care of the poor is part of that.”

      We completely agree on this point. ^

      Sometimes I think people are closer together on their views than they think. I mean, we agree that caring for the poor is good. We agree that racism is wrong. We both love Jesus and agree that his mission was to reconcile humanity to himself. I wish there was no division.

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    2. Thanks for supplying your credentials. Is the pamphlet you wrote to explain CRT in layman’s terms published by the publisher that had contacted you? No judgement here. Just curious.

      I had not heard of you as I had Beth Moore. That was something else yes? Hers and others’ Exodus.

      I am not from that background. I was raised Catholic, but as an adult embraced holiness through Wesleyanism in the CotN, but I no longer worship with them.

      The doctrine’s sound to me. The individual congregants don’t necessarily follow it or promote it.

      Anyway, I’m live on the lands of the Tohono O’odham & the Pascua Yaqui (Tucson, AZ) & we have a history here of knowing the CRT battle & the racist animus behind opposition to it.

      So sad the bigotry coming from Christians in the name of God.

      Like

      1. No. The publisher and I disagreed about sources. They wanted me to use more resources that were from the “right” and I wanted to use primary sources. The Bob Woodson interview was used in my booklet at their suggestion, but I only used it as a footnote. I was willing to include it since it was an interview…but I knew it was a target because of the source. If you look in my footnotes, I try to avoid news articles and opinions. I felt a little like I was punched in the gut when they let me go, but I have no regrets. I published it myself so I didn’t lose all those months and months of studying and writing. I had to do what I thought was best and what would hold up under scrutiny. (Although CRT is so divisive that it really doesn’t matter what my arguments were—battle lines were already drawn and most people have already taken sides.)

        I’m really glad you are committed to sound doctrine. I don’t have it all together, but I, like you, keep seeking. My heart is to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” from our Lord. ❤️

        Like

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