Dividing the Faithful: How a Little Book on Race Fractured a Movement Founded on Grace, by David Schrock.

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Dividing the Faithful: How a Little Book on Race Fractured a Movement Founded on Grace, by David Schrock.

August 30, 2023

David Schrock was a student of mine at SBTS and has been a treasured colleague through recent years as we fellowshipped, thought, commiserated, and celebrated together despite the fact we live six hundred miles apart. We’ve met face to face in Northern Virginia and at the SBC gathering in New Orleans, but mainly by phone and text. I’ve watched with admiration as he’s launched Christ Over All, and I’ve been honored to contribute an article on Francis Schaeffer’s The Humanist Religion” plus one on ectopic pregnancy. And here’s my commendation for this vital book.


Throughout my life, I’ve been involved with a fair number of educational institutions founded by Christians—as a faculty kid at four of them, a student at three, a teacher at six, and a campus minister at one. Some of these schools have continued strong in and for the faith; some still dabble in it; others have become inhospitable toward it. Along the way, I’ve become a student of lamentable turning points—persons, policies, events—where the world began to witness (and typically applaud) what James Burtchaell chronicled in The Dying of the Light.  And, not surprisingly, these academic downturns often track with denominational decline, each contributing to the other.


David Schrock has aptly identified a poisonous, turning-point book which has weakened Evangelicalism. Strong words, but well documented, and with opprobrium well deserved. Nothing less than the gospel is a stake. On the one hand is the biblical “faith once for all delivered to the saints”; on the other is a program of scripture twisting at the hands of utopian social activists, engaged in perpetual, grievance-mongering marinated in blinkered science and ruinous political philosophy.


Unfortunately, a host of Evangelicals have bought into Divided by Faith’s conceits. But I come back to a maxim I posted on my study wall when I was a young pastor: “Don’t attribute to malice what can be explained in terms of ignorance.” I’ve needed and also extended the grace that slogan offers. And I’ve always been grateful for those who’ve helped me sort out my cherished, well-intentioned errors—the sort of ministry David Schrock has provided to those still stuck in the thrall of this dismal book.