Fault Lines is a winsome and withering analysis and refutation of Critical Theory and its related ideologies, particularly, but not exclusively, critical race theory, intersectionality, and antiracism. Voddie T. Baucham draws from lessons he learned from his own upbringing and experience (chs 1-2) and from decades of study of the Scriptures and sociology. In so doing, he clearly demonstrates that these godless and anti-biblical categories of thought are worldviews, not merely analytical tools, that have pervaded the social air that we breathe every day.
Chapter three discusses the requirement all image bearers have before God to seek true justice and the lamentable mischaracterizations of justice that plague the current “cultural moment” (42). Through careful documentation and measured explanation, Baucham explains the need for truth and the widespread danger of false narratives. While always upholding and affirming the worth and dignity of human life, Baucham reviews the cases of well-known officer involved killings, including Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, and George Floyd. His goal in doing so is neither to condemn nor justify the police; rather, he highlights the vast disparities (and thus injustice) in the narratives woven about these names, while other names remain largely unknown for lack of publicity (47). In the following chapters, he identifies the underlying worldview assumptions driving the widespread acceptance and propagation of dangerous false narratives (63).
The reader will find the theological backbone of this book in chapters 4-6. In Machen-esque fashion, Rev. Baucham outlines how the ‘Cult of Antiracism’ is a new religion, entirely distinct from biblical Christianity. According to the author, “this new body of divinity” includes its own erroneous versions of original sin, law, gospel, martyrs, means of atonement, new birth (wokeness), liturgy, canon, theologians, and catechism (67). He enlarges upon and carefully documents all these topics, citing widely from proponents and adherents of this new religion. Baucham also introduces a term unique to him, Ethnic Gnosticism, providing the following definition: “the idea that people have special knowledge based solely on their ethnicity” (92). This is similar to the notion of standpoint epistemology, which holds to the unbiblical idea that one’s experience of oppression becomes the gateway to possessing special knowledge not available to more “privileged” persons.
In the remainder of this excellent work, Baucham continues to utilize the imagery of a fault line and the earthquakes that occur near them. In so doing, he explains the damage that these fundamentally un-Christian ideologies have caused and will continue to cause if Christians continue to accept them. His discussion of abortion in chapter 9 and critique of the Black Lives Matter in chapter 10 are exceedingly helpful. The final chapter is one of the most powerful, Christ-exalting, truth proclaiming statements this reviewer has read related to these serious matters. The right way to deal with racial enmity—the existence of which none can deny—is through the Gospel of free grace in Jesus Christ. The framework through which Christians need to interpret even the most heinous actions of the past is the unsearchable providence of God (Acts 2:22-24). Through forgiveness, love, biblical repentance, and pursuit of true justice, the Christian Church can lead the way in dealing with the heart of these issues, if she stands fast.
Voddie Baucham’s Fault Lines is full of solid principle, godly directions for practice, and desperately needed polemics. Concerning the latter, the reader will perhaps be surprised at just how many names Rev. Baucham names, and whose names they are. But this is legitimate. While naming names, he does not call names. Rather, he sets their words forth clearly, in many cases affirms his love for those within the Church with whom he disagrees, but then lets the weight of truth do its vital work. No Christian, and no American, can afford to remain unschooled concerning these demonic ideologies that the author address in his book (230). It is in fact one of the most serious and far-reaching issues of our day.
During a conference address on January 3, 2019 in which he discussed cultural Marxism, Voddie Baucham read from 1 Chronicles 12. There we are told that among those coming to pledge their fealty to King David were “sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chron. 12:32). I thank God that He has called and equipped Rev. Baucham with unique understanding of our times and insightful knowledge about what Christ’s new Israel needs to do in the face of widespread deceit, racial tensions, and looming divisions. I bless God for Baucham’s courageous willingness in writing this timely and excellent book and warmly commend it to all.
For more from Rev. Baucham, listen to his lectures on Cultural Marxism and Social Justice.