‘Jesus Was A Radical Revolutionary’: Ibram X. Kendi

Jesus Christ was “a radical revolutionary” dedicated to the destruction of “the American empire,” and every church should be “a home of revolutionaries,” Ibram X. Kendi, the best-selling author of How to be an Antiracist, said in a recent interview.

Kendi said he believes in black liberation theology, as opposed to “white evangelical theology,” which allegedly teaches that black people are “a backward, uncivilized, sort of, savage race, and Jesus came … to save black people” and “so-called ‘white trash’ from themselves.”

Kendi, one of the foremost popularizers of the ideas associated with Critical Race Theory, expounded on his religious views during an hourlong interview program sponsored by Uproxx, titled “People’s Party with Talib Kweli.”

Kweli began the religious discussion. “Any Gospel that does not speak to liberation is not truly Gospel,” said Kweli during the July 6 interview. “The understanding of Jesus as a radical revolutionary nowadays is more popular than it used to be,” something he credits to Cornel West, the honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America and faculty member at Union Theological Seminary.

“Can you break down the difference between, you know, seeing Jesus Christ as a figure of liberation versus like the white nationalist Christ?” Kweli asked Kendi. Kendi responded:

In many ways, you know, white evangelical theology projects Jesus as not only white — but not only a white Savior, but a white Savior of people of color and even, you know — because we, apparently, according to this theology, were a backward, uncivilized, sort of, savage race. And Jesus came, apparently, to save humanity, particularly to save black people, to save even poor whites, those so-called “white trash” from themselves, while liberation theology and black liberation theology is like, no, Jesus was a — as you stated — a radical revolutionary that came to free the people from the clutches of Babylon and oppression, and from the clutches of empire, whether it was the Roman empire or the American empire, and that the engine or the job of the church, you know, is to be a place or a space, really, a home of revolutionaries.

Kendi has expressed the same theological beliefs more cogently in the past.

Jesus was a revolutionary, and the job of the Christian is to revolutionize society,” Kendi said in a video shot in 2019. “The job of the Christian is to liberate society from the powers on Earth that are oppressing humanity.”

He then contrasted what he called “Savior theology” with “liberation theology.” Christians who hold to “Savior theology” believe that “the job of the Christian is to go out and save these individuals who are behaviorally deficient” — his term for people who commit sin. “We are to bring them into the church — these individuals who are doing all these evil, sinful things — and heal them, and save them.”

Proclaiming the Gospel that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners has been the core of the Christian message for more than 2,000 years.

“That goes right in line with racist ideas and racist theology,” Kendi said because it teaches that the reason some “black people [and] other racial groups [are] struggling on Earth is because of what they’re doing behaviorally wrong. And it is my job as a pastor is to, sort of, save these wayward black people, or wayward poor people, or wayward queer people.”

“That type of theology breeds bigotry,” Kendi said.

“Antiracists fundamentally reject Savior theology,” Kendi admitted. In its place, they teach liberation theology, which “breeds … a common humanity against the structures of power that oppress us all.”

Theologians from Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and evangelical Protestant backgrounds have condemned socialism as incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ. And they teach that the growing popularity of collectivism among young people poses a long-term danger to the Christian message.

“The revival of socialism is a major challenge of our age,” wrote Dr. Albert Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Decision magazine, the publication founded by Billy Graham. “Christians must recognize that socialism … is based on a materialist view of the world.”

Christian economists agree that economic collectivism is not found in the pages of the Bible, and Jesus’ instructions were intended for individual transformation, not social revolution.

“One can scour the New Testament and find nary a word from Jesus that calls for empowering politicians or bureaucrats to allocate resources, pick winners and losers, tell entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, impose minimum wages or maximum prices, compel workers to join unions, or even to raise taxes,” wrote Lawrence W. Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education. “Christianity is not about passing the buck to the government when it comes to relieving the plight of the poor. Caring for them, which means helping them overcome it, not paying them to stay poor or making them dependent upon the state, has been an essential fact in the life of a true Christian for 2,000 years. Christian charity, being voluntary and heartfelt, is utterly distinct from the compulsory, impersonal mandates of the state.”

Reed made the first edition of his book Render Under Caesar: Was Jesus A Socialist? available for download free. (He substantially expanded and updated the book in 2020.)

“Jesus never endorsed the forced redistribution of wealth,” Reed said when he addressed the topic in a PragerU video. “That idea is rooted in envy, something He and a tenth of the Ten Commandments railed against.”

In the July interview, Kendi also expressed no disagreement when Kweli associated him with Critical Race Theory. Kendi has sometimes distanced himself from when the term when it became more controversial, and the Left made a concerted effort to say that CRT is taught only in law schools.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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