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  • Director’s Dicta: January 2024, Week 4
  • Director’s Dicta: January 2024, Week 4

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    January 26, 2024

    “Eat the Meat, Spit out the Bones”??!!  Christianity, Critical Theory, and the TxC Hermeneutic

    Part 2
    By Jeffery J Ventrella

    Part 1 demonstrated that Critical Theory is not simply one innocent offering in the worldview smorgasbord.  Instead, Critical Theory offers a surreptitiously poisonous dish.  Critical Theory stands antithetically against biblical Christianity at every level, including foundational matters:  Reality, Norms, and Authority.

    Today we dive deeper and show that Critical Theory opposes Christianity at the “retail level” as well.  It cannot be incorporated into any faithful approach to Christian culture or Christian worship, whether personally, socially, or publicly.  Let’s get to the gist.

    As to Anthropology

    Christianity posits human exceptionalism:

    • Mankind is Imago Dei
    • Mankind possesses a nature that is universal, fixed, and embodied in an immutably fixed sexual dimorphism, a technical way of saying “male and female”

    Critical Theory, relying on its anti-essentialist premise, discussed yesterday in contrast:

    • Rejects human nature in toto
    • Contends instead:
    • Humans are sexually plastic and fluid without any inherent design or purpose; and 
    • One’s “identity” is wholly constructed, socially determined, and derived from group affinity and membership[1]

    As to Knowing or Epistemology

    Christianity provides reliable bases for justified knowledge, aka truth:

    • Revelation (general and special)[2]
    • Experience – empirical inquiry
    • Thinking – rationality, logic, induction, deduction

    Critical Theory confines and defines “knowledge” to the experience of “victims,” as only they are deemed authoritative.  Knowledge in this construct derives from:

    • Victims’ “Lived experience”
    • Compounding the victim’s oppressive experience. Accordingly, the more one is a victim as determined by “intersectionality,”[3] the more authoritative and the more “knowledgeable” that person is
    • Rejecting logic, truth, revelation, and religious authority.  These things are deemed “Western” ideas that only function as “tools of oppression” designed to maintain white male dominance[4]
    • Ignoring, canceling, and/or reprograming the views held by “non-victims”[5]

    Ethics:  Prime Duty

    Christianity’s ethical mandate derives from the very character of God who is love; therefore, a person’s primary duty focuses on:

    • Loving:  God and Neighbor in that order as love fulfills the law[6]

    Critical Theory sets forth a strong ethic predicated on the sin of partiality expressed by:

    • Solidarity with “the oppressed”
    • Rejecting the “oppressors” as they do not count, and fact, being a part of an oppressor class today makes one culpable for the actions of past oppressors[7]
    • Accordingly, only the oppressed are entitled to “justice” 
    • Notably, love is not part of this ethic; only power[8]

    Sexual Ethics

    Christianity, given its binary worldview and the Imago Dei, provides a distinctive call to sexual ethics:

    • Sexual ethics is a subset of marital ethics
    • The family comprises society’s central pre-political institution for ordering, stabilizing, and training the next generation[9]
    • Sexual conduct between a married man and woman, which reflects this worldview binary, is conjugal and uniquely joins and expresses the unitive and procreative marital functions

    Critical Theory is committed to sexual libertinism – anything goes – if it feels good, do it!

    • Sexual conduct is wholly a preference – mix and match, be a serial polygamist, practice polyamory,[10] “change” one’s sex,[11] etc.
    • Consent is the only operative “ethic” – certainly not “oppressive” traits like commitment, exclusivity, heterosexuality, or children

    Culpability – What’s Wrong and How can it be Resolved?

    Christianity comprehensively explains the world as we experience it, warts and all.  Mankind:

    • Committed ethical rebellion against a Holy God leading to guilt and corruption
    • Requires atonement by another – Christ – Mankind cannot rescue himself
    • Receives propitiation of his guilt and expiation of divine wrath by a loving righteous God resulting in forgiveness
    • Lives because “It is finished” in the work and person of another[12]

    Critical Theory teaches a contrasting view that is never finished:  

    • Oppression by “oppressors” is ongoing
    • This conflict never finishes
    • “Victims” do not need redemption because they are deemed wholly righteous; oppressors must be continuously punished

    Education’s Task

    Christianity, starting in the Garden, valorizes learning from God and His created order about His world, including various intellectual disciplines.  Mankind is liberated under God.  He can now:

    • Pursue Goodness, Truth, and Beauty unto God’s Glory
    • Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ

    Critical Theory views education purely as a political tool designed exclusively, not for truth-finding, but rather to energize:

    • Activism because truth does not exist and instead all of life is polticized; and 
    • Preparing the next generation for service to the State

    The State’s Role in Society

    • Christianity unambiguously teaches the legitimacy and limitations of the State.  The State and its politics are therefore, at best penultimate
    • The State is tasked with being:
      • Servant; and 
      • Minister of God
      • All of life should not be politicized; there are realms of freedom for civil society and human flourishing without State control or direction
    • Critical Theory’s currency lies in power and the State is the ultimate repository and mechanism for shifting power and imposing a revolutionary agenda.  The State is ultimate because all of life is deemed political. Consequently, the State is conceived in totalistic terms as the :
      • Savior; and 
      • Minister to the “oppressed” by coercion
      • “Justice” consequently is partial – and only partial – by design and consists of “liberating” the “oppressed” and subjugating or “reprograming” the “oppressors”[13]

    We’ve gotten to the gist of Critical Theory.  Given this reality, it’s naïve to think that Critical Theory offers any non-rancid nutrition to the thinking Christian’s diet.  Both worldviews are not only totalistic, impacting all of reality and life, but stand in diametric opposition to one another – accordingly, there can be no beneficial imbibing of Critical Theory’s poison.  Critical Theory promises a feast, but provides only a famine.

    This sort of cultural apologetics and analysis reflect the Irenaeus Institute’s application of the TxC hermeneutic.  And, it provides a taste of the type of training the TxC Fellowship will be offering to the next generation – help us engage the culture with the Truth.


    [1] Ethnicity, “gender,” sexual orientation, weight, pigmentation, ability or disability, indigenousness or colonialist, etc

    [2] These “books,” as the Belgic Confession calls them, must be taken together – distinguished, but not separated.  As Brian Mattson explains here:  The Square Inch, “The Two Books Go Together,” January 18, 2024 (substack)

    [3] “Intersectionality” is a concept first articulated by law professor Kimberlee Crenshaw in 1989 – the idea is that almost like a bingo card, the more squares of oppression one has, the greater one’s victim status – yet in opposing Western hierarchy in this way, the Critical Theorists ironically invent and fully rely on an alternative hierarchy.  How does it work?  The more indicia of oppression, the more authoritative one can be:  a woman has more power than a man; a black woman has more power than a white woman; a lesbian woman has more power than a straight woman; a black lesbian has more power than a black woman; an obese black lesbian woman has more power than a svelte black lesbian woman; a deaf obese black lesbian woman has more power than a hearing-able obese black lesbian woman etc, etc. These are not imagined scenarios.  “Fat Studies” is now an academic discipline as are “ablest” studies.  See, e.g,. Marilyn Wann, “Fat studies: An invitation to revolution,” in The Fat Studies Reader, ed. Esther Rothblum and Sandra Solovay (New York: New York University Press, 2009), i-iv. Notice the overt incorporation of Marxist categories: “revolution.”  This is not accidental.

    [4] The logic of this is why we see foolishness claiming that mathematics is “racist” – see, e.g.,https://www.hoover.org/research/seattle-schools-propose-teach-math-education-racist-will-california-be-far-behindseattle

    [5] See note 13, infra

    [6] Rm. 13:8

    [7] Thus, a white person today is “responsible” for the ill treatment of black slaves during the Antebellum South, even if the white person’s actual ancestors were abolitionists.  This underlies the clamor for “reparations.”

    [8] Note the similarity with Islam – because Allah is singular, love is not a divine attribute but depends on creation.  Christianity, in contrast with its Triune God, posits love which is inherently divine and overflows into the creation unto God’s glory.

    [9] This is why Critical Theorists use sexual libertinism to attack the family; it’s a tactic designed to further the cultural Marxist revolution by destabilizing this core societal norm so that revolution can come for fully.  See, e.g., Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization:  A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud (1955)

    [10] How a Polyamorous Mom Had a Big Sexual Adventure, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/13/books/molly-roden-winter-more-book-open-marriage.html

    [11] This of course cannot be accomplished, no matter the amount of chemicals or scalpels utilized – this effort confuses a cosmetic change with a compositional change – it’s nothing more than modern alchemy and just as fraudulent.

    [12] Jn. 19:30

    [13] Corporate DIE [sic] policies do precisely this – these sessions are every bit as propogandist and designedly humiliating as were Mao’s infamous “struggle sessions” imposed on dissenters and others deemed “enemies” of the Party.  This is no coincidence as both are intentionally Marxist.