Civil War in the American Church
“I think we’re seeing a civil war in the American church over social justice,” Cooper said, something he believes began in 2012. He says he researched culture, philosophy, and other things that raised red flags within his personal church circles.
“I knew that I wanted to be a light to the world and I want[ed] to share the Gospel of Christ. And I believe a part of that is loving people, and helping the poor, and so on and so forth. But there were things about the social justice movement that gave me a lot of red flags,” Cooper stated.
Definitions for terms like Black Lives Matter and systemic racism are important to pin down, especially within the church, Cooper said. “It took me several years to realize that people were just changing definitions of terms. You might be talking about justice, and I might be talking about justice, but we might mean two very different things. So, I think some of it is asking for clarification of people’s terminology.”
What Kind of Christian Isn’t Against Racism?
A Christian not against racism would be a strange thing to encounter, Cooper said. “What kind of Christian isn’t against racism?… But I need to know what you mean when you say [you oppose racism], so that I know what I am marching for or what I am standing up for. Can we have a definition of terms?” Cooper added that can only take place by having honest conversations, something that can be challenging in today’s culture.
Cooper said he believes secular terms began to seep their way into the Christian language because the Church took on a timid posture about social-justice issues.
“I do think [the terminology confusion] also happened because a lot of people [today] have, I believe, good intentions,” he said. “That means that [today’s Christians] look back at America and our history of racism in this country and the church. All of the times that the American church did not step up as I believe she should have…and [they] say, man, the church missed some big opportunities to be a light to the world — to have stood up during Jim Crow laws, and during redlining, and during all of these various things.”
Because people in the church didn’t want to be on the wrong side, Cooper said the Church is going along with “woke theology.” The danger is, he said, “They were going along with the terminology without understanding what they were going into, and now I think that’s becoming very clear.”
John Cooper Describes Critical Race Theory
“Critical Race Theory has become this boogeyman term, and some people get really mad when you bring [it] up,” Cooper said. He referenced the recent Christian bestselling book by a Black Christian woman and professor of theology, Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, titled A Rhythm of Prayer. Her book includes a prayer saying, “God, please help me to hate White people.”
Cooper indicated that CRT seems determined to convict people of wrongdoing, no matter what. “A conclusion of CRT is that majority-White churches that don’t have Black leadership are racist. But if they do have Black leadership, they may be racist because they’re tokenizing Blacks…CRT is the reason when Trump tapped Amy Coney Barrett to be a Supreme Court justice, Ibram Kendi tweeted, ‘You know, many White people adopt Black kids — because Amy Coney Barrett has two adopted Black children — many White people adopt Black children to use them as props. It doesn’t mean they’re not racist.’ ”
Cooper said what should be seen as a completely separate worldview from Christianity is merging as one. “People are using Bible scriptures along with that worldview, but they don’t actually go together,” he said. “They’re kind of imposing a wrong worldview with the words of Christ. So now, the words of Christ don’t mean the same thing as they historically have meant.”