Kristin Kobes Du Mez is a professor of history and gender studies at the increasingly liberal Calvin University, so she’s ostensibly an academic scholar, a trained historian. She is the author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. It was published on June 23, 2020.
In the book, Du Mez argues — and read this slowly — that “white evangelicalism is characterized by patriarchy, toxic masculinity, authoritarianism, nationalism, anti-gay sentiment, Islamophobia and indifference to Black people’s lives and rights.”
The claims that “scholars” like Du Mez, Gushee, and Jacob Allan Cook are making are so cynical and unbiblical, not to mention corrosive to constructive discourse, that they merit attention and correction.
Because a Christian worldview is not and has never been about “whiteness.” It’s about being faithful to God’s Word in all of life. And we shouldn’t let any progressive, elitist academic tell us otherwise.
Du Mez is not the first, it began with David Gushee, professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University and senior columnist for Baptist News Global, publishing a piece called “The deconstruction of American evangelicalism.” Now, that title alone should raise your eyebrows.
In his article, he highlights a rogue’s gallery of recent authors (Du Mez, Jemar Tisby, Samuel Perry, Andrew Whitehead, Beth Allison Barr) and their newly published books (The Color of Compromise, Taking America Back for God, etc.), contributing to this “deconstruction.”
Arguably, each of these books makes the same, progressive, new-but-old argument, just from a different intersectional lens, depending on the book: “You (white) Christians think you are being biblical, but really you’re just a bunch of bigots.”
But Gushee makes a point to pay special attention to a book by a former student of his, Jacob Allan Cook. In Cook’s new book, Worldview Theory, Whiteness, and the Future of Evangelical Faith, Gushee exclaims that:
“Cook shows quite powerfully that what white evangelicals have labeled ‘the Christian worldview’ bears a striking resemblance to ‘whiteness,’ that is, white-centered and white-hegemonic ways of viewing and arranging the world and responding to human difference. In other words, all those worldview conferences and seminars really may have been about teaching us how to think like white people, not like Christian people.”
That’s right. Your Christian worldview isn’t actually a Christian worldview. It’s just whiteness.
This type of thinking, and pseudo-scholarship, is running rampant in some evangelical circles. They functionally deny Sola Scripture (by Scripture alone). They are sociologists and historians masquerading as theologians.
A Christian worldview, when applied correctly, both
1. interprets and challenges the culture, calling it to repentance, and
2. convicts the Christian when they, too, are out of line.
The newly formed Center for Biblical Worldview at the Family Research Council defines it like this: “We believe a person exhibits a biblical worldview when their beliefs and actions are aligned with the Bible, acknowledging its truth and applicability to every area of life.”
Dr. Andrew Walker, professor of ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in his pushback on Du Mez, said it well:
“It is astonishing to me the incredulity of scholars who are unable (or unwilling) to understand that individuals might hold a good faith conviction due to honest biblical interpretation, and not out of some ulterior motive to protect one’s power or privilege.”