There are a lot of “anti-racist” book lists floating around, but these only represent one perspective. Social justice is a broad topic and can be confusing. It often functions as an ideology that undermines the justice it claims to bring. The purpose of this article is to share resources that provide a balanced overview and encourage deeper thinking on the subject.
It is not a comprehensive list, but it is a place to start. I’ve tried my best to find information that approaches the complicated issues of race, social justice, and critical theory from a biblically sound and truthful perspective. I’ve also included many original source documents from the scholars who developed many of these ideas. I’ve read most of these, but there are others I am still working through. Those I haven’t yet been able to read in-depth have still been surveyed before they were put on this list.
I’ll keep the list updated as I find more insightful resources.
Podcasts, Videos, & Lectures:
Social Justice and Christianity
Voddie Baucham challenges the idea that minorities have access to special knowledge. He shows why the church should be weary of any claims to privileged knowledge or moral status based on ethnicity.
Another great talk from Voddie Baucham. In this discussion, he draws out the Marxist origins of the social justice movement and explains its incompatibility with Christianity.
Hosts Keri and Carter interview Samuel Sey, Ghanaian-Canadian blogger on Christianity and culture at slowtowrite.com. The conversation covers the basics of social justice, how it is making its way into the church, and why this is dangerous.
This lecture discusses social justice, the theories behind it, and their relation to Christianity.
Darrell B. Harrison and Virgil Walker break down the worldview of critical theory by doing a deep-dive into its core tenants and the places it originated. This episode is well-researched and includes many quotes and references directly from original academic sources.
These two men bring clarity, insight, and Biblical wisdom to a heated conversation about race. They help refocus the conversation on what should always be the Church’s primary focus: the gospel.
Allie Beth Stuckey speaks compassionately about a sensitive issue. While many are promoting the same solutions without much thought, this episode goes in-depth on other possible policies that could alleviate issues in the black community.
This interview with former police officer Brandon Tatum provides an insightful view on race and policing.
Things to Read:
Critical Theory — Quick Overviews
This is the best overview of Critical Theory I’ve seen from a Christian perspective. It’s about 30 pages and divided into three sections: the foundations, the conflicts with Christianity, and strategies for engaging. I highly recommend giving it a read. The link will ask for your email, but once you put it in the pdf can be accessed for free.
Neil Shenvi is a theoretical chemist and Christian apologist who is now well known for his work on critical theory. In this free online course, he does his best to provide a balanced approach, showing where critical theorists get it right while taking great care to highlight the theory’s conflicts with reason and the Christian worldview. On his website, you can also find a glossary of “Antiracism” terms and book reviews for many of the authors being recommended right now.
This organization is phenomenal. They approach issues of race, critical theory, and social justice from a solid biblical perspective. Their blog has some good articles, and they also produce video content on their website and social media pages.
This book is charitable, biblically-sound, and driven by a true desire for justice. I wrote a review on this book here.
Samuel Sey blogs at Slow to Write on Christianity and Culture. He has a lot to say on the subjects of social justice, race, and theology. In this article, he explains the roots of Black Liberation Theology and the places it deviates from a traditional understanding of the gospel. I also recommend checking out some of his other articles, including Is It Racist To Kill A Black Man? and Whiteness, Blackness, Christless.
Literature on Economics & Disparities in Society
Using empirical evidence and clear thinking, economist Thomas Sowell tackles the topic of discrimination and its relation to economic disparities. He challenges the idea that there is only one factor that does into social and economic outcomes and explains the many possible causes.
Jay W. Richards breaks down common complaints against capitalism and explains how it relates to Christian considerations.
Black Lives Matter
A research article I wrote on the pagan religious aspects behind the Black Lives Matter organization.
Exodus 23— “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute…”
Deuteronomy 32:4 — “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.”
Proverbs 18:5 — “It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.”
Amos 5:15 — “Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”
Deuteronomy 16:18–20 — “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
Micah 6:8 — “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Ezekiel 18:20 — “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
Deuteronomy 24:16 — “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”
Exodus 20:2–6 — “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Jeremiah 31:29–30 — “In those days they shall no longer say: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
Romans 5: 12–17 — “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
Race and Ethnicity
Genesis 1:26–27 — “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Colossians 3:9–11 — “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
Acts 10:34–35 — “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
Revelation 7:9–10 — “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
As firmly as I believe critical theory is a destructive ideology, I also believe it is important for every person to do their own research, think carefully through problems, and come to their own conclusions. For that reason, I encourage you to investigate these works to understand critical theory from those who helped create it.
Origins of Critical Theory
If you need a starting point for learning the history of critical theory, this is a good place to start. It summarizes the background and identifies some key authors that can be used for further research.
Marx is the foundation that many later theorists built on. The German Ideology is a basic outline of his and Friedrich Engels’ materialist theory of history.
Max Horkheimer is one of the earliest philosophers in the Frankfurt School that was instrumental in developing critical theory. His work is a basis for many concepts we see today. These essays summarize some of his ideas on power, culture, and oppression.
Modern Social Justice
This article is where the term white privilege originated. In it, Peggy McIntosh lays out 50 privileges she experiences because she is white.
Kimberle Crenshaw first coined the term “intersectionality” in this 1989 essay. The term was used as a way to explain the overlapping oppression felt by African-American women.
A popular book that explains many key ideas on white privilege, systemic racism, and social justice.
Black Lives Matter
As Black Lives Matter is one of the most prominent organizations pushing the narratives of critical theory into the mainstream, I encourage you to also look into their mission.
This defines the goals of Black Lives Matter in-depth.
This focuses on the “healing” justice they promote and touches on the spiritual practices they embrace.
There are many other modern authors you could read, like Ibram X. Kendi, Layla F Saad, and more. You’ve probably already seen their books recommended on anti-racism book lists. If you do read them, understanding earlier philosophy will help you see where they are coming from and what they are really advocating.
Final note: Don’t accept anything blindly (even the resources I have recommended on this list!). People are fallible, and no matter what you agree with, following without thinking is dangerous. Read beyond “approved” book lists and understand the history for yourself. Try to figure out what worldview is being promoted and whether or not it is true.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” — Colossians 2:8