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

    Posted in ,
    January 22, 2024

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

    By Jeffery J Ventrella

    While Critical Theory (aka Cultural Marxism) has been present in America for decades, particularly in academia, 2023 saw this ideology again pop on the public’s radar.  Two events triggered this awareness.  First, a divided Supreme Court rightly rejected discriminatory admission plans utilized at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.[1]  These plans, predicated on Critical Theory, disadvantaged better qualified Asian applicants.  The colloquy between Justice Thomas in the majority and Justice Jackson dissenting showcases the battle between rival worldviews, the former arguing the constitutional worldview (largely derived from Christian underpinnings) and the latter promoting barely disguised Critical Theory precepts.

    Second and more popularly, the shameful Congressional testimony of Harvard’s (now former) President Claudine Gay regarding campus Antisemitism, followed by revelations of her blatant academic fraud and plagiarism, called into question the validity of so-called affirmative action schemes.[2]

    Sadly, a number of well-intended evangelicals, seeing this cultural clash with Critical Theory, particularly after the George Floyd killing, have rather naively sought a “middle” position:  Contending that Critical Theory offers insight, particularly regarding racial matters, these folks have asserted in effect that one can ingest Critical Theory if one is careful to simply “eat the meat and spit out the bones.”[3]  The problem with this compromised approach is that it fails to understand that Critical Theory is not meat, but rather, is wholly poisonous, not salubrious, and cannot be consumed to any degree without spawning deleterious effects.  The TxC hermeneutic brings clarity to this point.  Let’s “get to the gist.”

    TxC focuses on the truth being exchanged for the lie (Rm. 1:25).  Yet this entire point appears in a context, a context that valorizes and presupposes the Christian narrative of Creation, Fall, and Redemption.  This Christian worldview and cosmology define “real reality.”  That worldview clashes with Critical Theory at every level; Critical Theory is systemically incompatible with Christianity.  There is no healthy “meat” to consume, only poison.  How so?  Let’s compare Christianity and Critical Theory in some crucial areas:  Reality, Norms, and Authority.

    As to Reality:

    • Christianity presents a structured and designed Cosmology: 
    • The foundational reality is a Binary – the Creator/creation distinction leading to a fundamental Twoism as put in TxC nomenclature
    • That creation is defined by the Creator and governed lovingly by Him
    • Mankind is created Imago Dei for a purpose and a mission:  The Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission
    • Critical Theory denies that any inherent design or purpose exists; power is the sole operative criterion and dynamic:
    • What exists is purely constructive and thus Critical Theory is anti-essentialist; there is no essence, core, or nature to any existing thing, and therefore, no design, purpose or meaning to any existing thing
    • Any distinctions one sees are not a product of design or ontology, but rather are performative; thus a “woman” consists only of a human that acts like and does things that society has attributed to being female – nothing more[4]
    • Therefore, reality is ultimately a product – and only a product – of the human mind and society; there is no higher reality 
    • Distinctions which do exist are products of power differentials and oppression, not merit, hard work, or inherent capabilities[5]

    As to Norms and Authority:

    • Christianity posits the natural law, creational norms, and the law of God; these authorities are:
    • Fixed
    • Transcendent
    • Knowable
    • Appliable to and binding on all reality at all times and in all places[6]
    • Critical Theory has a different view of authority; under Critical Theory authority is:
    • Only derived from “victims;” they alone possess authority and they alone should be referenced as authoritative
    • Defined exclusively by power differentials between “the oppressed” and “the oppressors”
    • Ultimately impersonal, which is a form of pagan historicism[7]

    Given these worldviews’ incompatible tenets, it is unsurprising that these foundational matters spawn significant implications for living and ordering real life.  This is particularly true concerning:

    • Anthropology (What is mankind?)
    • Epistemology (How and what do we know?)
    • Ethics (How should we behave?)
    • Sexuality (Is there a reproductive moral vector?)
    • Culpability (What went wrong and how can it be remedied?)
    • Education (What is its purpose for society?)
    • The State (What is its purpose for society – is it savior or servant?)

    Stay tuned:  We will explore and “get to the gist” regarding these additional implications tomorrow in Part 2.

    N.B.  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.

    For further study:

    • Pluckrose and Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity
    • Christopher Rufo, America’s Cultural Revolution
    • Neil Shenvi and Pat Sawyer, Critical Dilemma:  The Rise of Critical Theories and Social Justice Ideology-Implications for the Church and Society

    [1] Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College,

    [2] Note: it’s true that cynical Critical Race Theory academics like Derek Bell also reject affirmation action for wholly different reasons, yet popularizers of Critical Theory like Boston University’s Henry Rogers aka Ibram X. Kendi, advocate continued state-sanctioned racially-based discrimination, which too includes a form of affirmation action.  Rogers’ plan is not unlike Marcuse’s device known as “repressive tolerance,” advocating what is now known popularly as “cancel culture” and otherwise silencing dissent.  This is utterly irrational:  Purporting to end “oppression” by continuing to oppress others.

    [3] See generally, periodic remarks by NY Times columnist David French – for example,,

    Matt Chandler, see e.g.,, and even the supposedly conservative evangelical network known as Acts 29 listed CRT resources on its website for a season.    Cf., Denny Burk, Can we eat the meat and spit out the bones of CRT? [capitalization in original]

    [4] See the seminal essay by Judith Butler, Performative Acts and Gender Constitution (1988)

    [5] This is obviously absurd:  the world records for the mile run are vastly different for men and women, 3:43.13 and 4:07.64 respectively – is this distinction really due to oppression and power differentials at work?

    [6] Compare:  consuming alcohol in moderation is fine, but not while driving a vehicle; however, there is no such thing as doing genocide “in moderation.”  The latter is morally reprehensible in all places, for all persons, at all times.

    [7] This follows the heritage of Hegel and Marx.