Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe
By Voddie T. Baucham Jr.
I’m not going to waste any time on an intro to my review of Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie T. Baucham Jr. – this is a book that I highly recommend and encourage all Christians to read!
I was relatively familiar with Voddie Baucham and his ministry prior to reading Fault Lines last month but was not aware of his upbringing, faith testimony and involvement with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). In case you’ve never heard of Dr. Baucham before, he is an African-American man, a married father of nine children, a committed homeschooler, a former pastor, a church planter, author, professor, and the current Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia.
In his 2021 book, Fault Lines, Baucham uses his experience as a black man born in Los Angeles and raised in a non-Christian, single-parent home to relate to the current racial tensions seen throughout the United States. Baucham begins his book by positioning himself as a creditable witness of both racism and black American culture. He discloses his upbringing along with the admirable sacrifices his mother made to illustrate the possibility and intentionality of pursuing a life that goes against the grain of “black American” cultural norms. Additionally, Baucham shares his “coming to Jesus” moment as a college athlete and his early faith struggle between battling his identity as a black man with his identity as a follower of Christ.
The early chapters of Fault Lines lay the foundation underneath the book’s main message – racism is real and exists as a result of the Fall (Genesis 3), but racism should not be to blame for one’s outcome.
Pointing fingers, taking sides, and elevating one people group over another (i.e. victim versus oppressor, as seen throughout the various critical theories) will never lead to true justice when the problem at hand is a heart issue. Only God can heal hearts and secure the foundation upon which one’s life is built.
Baucham uses the metaphor of fault lines* to relate to the imminent divide of the Church due to the destructive influence of the social justice movement. Over the last few decades there have been signs of secular ideology seeping into the Church and threatening its traditionally biblical foundation. Baucham sounds the alarm and urges the Church to wake up – there is a catastrophe about to hit that will split the evangelical Church. The time is now to react and respond before the ground moves beneath our feet.
As a devout Christian and theologian, Baucham argues the only way to achieve justice is through the expenditure of truth – both biblical truth and factual data.
As I’m sure you’re aware, a contributing source to the social justice rhetoric is “lived experience.” While I do not intend to offend anyone or discount or discredit life experiences, I believe there is a difference between personal experiences, emotions and interpretations and statistical data and factual evidence. Both are able to work hand in hand when tackling challenging situations, but I believe an individual experience should not be the sole determinant of a circumstantial or systemic issue.
As a black American, Baucham has experienced his share of racism but his “lived experience” has not supported the current mainstream narrative of victimhood. In the chapter titled, Seeking True Justice, Baucham exposes the truths and the lies behind some of the most controversial, racial incidences involving Colin Kaepernick, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Michael Brown and Breonna Taylor. He details the false narratives capitulated by the media along with the unique nature of each individual case, the research behind crime statistics (i.e. men versus women, children and old man versus young men), the number of killings of police officers, and the objections to truth due to the believed assertion of the United States as a historically racist country.
Moreover, Fault Lines reveals the destructive influence the social justice movement has had on the United States over the last decade and most devastatingly, the Church. Baucham equates social justice to a secular religion of antiracism that is divisive in its nature and problematic messaging. Despite this ideology’s toxicity, it is somehow infiltrating the Church, redefining the gospel and sucking the life out of God’s people. This section of the book sickened me to my core. I looked up every single source cited and was incredibly disheartened and discouraged to learn of some very prominent American evangelicals falling prey to critical race theory and the greater social justice movement.
Baucham warns the ground is moving quickly and the Church needs to brace itself if it desires to remain rooted in the truth of God’s Word and stable in the foundation of the gospel’s message. He claims Christians are in a spiritual war against the evil powers that drive the social justice movement. Our sovereign God can equip His people to fight this battle but only if the Church unites under the truth of biblical justice and the power of the gospel to penetrate hearts and bring the dead to life.
The social justice movement views the world through a racial lens that blames racism for every disparity seen or experienced throughout the United States without considering other factors or statistical evidence that proves otherwise. Fault Lines is a book that fearlessly uncovers truth in hopes of shedding light on the dark evil that continues to perpetuate lies, hate, and divisiveness within the Church as well as the secular world.
This is the fourth book I have read this year that addresses the negative effects of the social justice movement and specifically, the inherently flawed concept of antiracism and critical race theory. I found Fault Lines to be an exceptional read because of the perspective, “lived experience” and theological expertise of the author. As always, I advise the reader to explore all sources cited or credited [in this book] for personal review, consideration and comprehension.
If you are seeking to understand critical race theory, the social justice movement and the difference between social justice and true, biblical justice, then I highly recommend reading both Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe as well as the book, Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice. Both books are thoroughly researched and each book offers extensive knowledge as well as further resources on this subject matter to help the reader refine the lens of their biblical worldview.
*Fault lines are the cracks in the earth’s surface where tectonic plates meet and slide past each other, also known as the area where an earthquake occurs.
**I personally purchased this book.