Critical Theories in the Light of Scripture

Critical Theories - Sunday, August 13, 2023. - YouTube

An excellent presentation by Rev. Andy Mueller at Beautiful Savior, Las Vegas (WELS). You should really watch the whole thing, but I'll pick off some of the high points.

Rev. Mueller starts by correctly identifying Critical Theory as being spiritual and not simply political. 

"Critical Theory is an ideology: that is, it is a belief system. It is a false religion which views everyone and everything through the lens of oppressor and oppressed. It is a false theology hidden in plain sight, conspicuous within domestic, academic, civic, economic, biologic and anatomic (in other words, health care) and sadly even sacred arenas."
In further defending his view, Rev. Mueller articulates clearly that overlapping with politics does not make something purely political (and thus - to some Lutherans - do be dismissed as solely dealing with the left-hand kingdom). He also points out how several of their luminaries, including Antonio Gramsci, believed that Marxism was the perfect replacement for Christianity. 

(As an aside - the whole "it's political, so it's left-hand kingdom" argument is a form of quietism that unfortunately gives issues like abortion or greater rights for LGBTQ+ a pass in our pulpits)

Rev. Mueller brings up Onesimus to provide a contrast of the Biblical principle of spiritual freedom from sin with Critical Theory's liberation from oppressive structures. (This is a similar contrast we have discussed in the past regarding Savior Theology and Liberation Theology.) Of course, in other places Paul does say that if you have an opportunity to gain freedom, you are free in the Lord to do so (1 COR 7:21).
"Paul witnesses to [Onesimus] about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember, Onesimus is still a slave and the one that's breaking the law. What does Paul do he doesn't tell him you know Onesimus you have been systematically oppressed what you're doing is good you should stay on the lam and never return, no, he says you're serving God not people go back reconcile with your owner. And then he writes the slave owner Philemon he says welcome him back with open arms because what Paul was not focused on was the worldly circumstances in which Onesimus found himself he was focused on the faith that Onesimus now shared with the slave owner."
Rev. Mueller about 35 minutes in starts defining six ways CT opposes Christianity:

1) Critical Theory denies the doctrine of anthropology and replaces it with different races as though we do not have a shared background. In this sense it is an evolutionary theory.

2) Critical Theory teaches oppressor-and-oppressed and as such denies original sin

3) Critical Theory denies justification through Christ alone

4) Critical Theory replaces truth with power

5) Critical Theory calls truth a construct, a systematic institutional construction of the oppressors

6) Critical Theory calls equity, not equality, the highest good

Two choice quotes:
"Just because you hear a term that can be understood biblically well, doesn't necessarily mean that that's the intent behind it from the world's perspective, which is why the question becomes not so much can their terms be understood or even employed in a in a way that a God-fearing person might hope. The question is are the negative ways that they're being used harming you your family or our people. And if so: Mark and avoid. Mark and avoid."
"If Jesus was born an oppressor he couldn't have been without original sin if Jesus was born inherently a structuralist institutional hegemonic patriarch more privileged than others then Jesus could not be our Pure and perfect savior"
Watch the whole thing in preparation for upcoming articles where we will contrast various takes on critical theory within the Wisconsin Synod.