These questions, however—important as they are—do not yet capture the essence of our disagreement. In our view, our disagreement lies not in the questions themselves, but in the starkly differing ways in which we respectively relate to them. Namely, while DeYoung appears to view the “unresolved ambiguities” around reparations as the grounds for dismissing reparations altogether, we believe these same ambiguities to be an exciting occasion for the ongoing creative work of theological reflection. Here we ask the reader to pause and to ask why this is. Why is it that when faced with the very same conceptual ambiguities DeYoung chooses to close the door on reparations while we seek to open it further? This is a critical question. Indeed, it is in our judgment the critical question. And it is so because it suggests that the essence of our disagreement with DeYoung is not about the technical questions raised by reparations—again, questions that we share—but about how we approach those questions, about our respective dispositions toward them. In other words, the essence of our disagreement is not formally substantive, as Reverend DeYoung seems to believe it to be, but fundamentally methodological. And it is, in this respect, much more serious.
Because of this, in what follows, our intent is not to answer specific technical questions about reparations per se, but to expose and critique the method with which Reverend DeYoung approaches them. As we do so, we understand that some of our critics may see this as a form of evasion, as an attempt to escape the force of probing examination. But this is false. To the contrary, we engage these questions—and are engaged by them—every day. The actual reason for our approach is this: We believe that the methodology Reverend DeYoung employs actually keeps him from taking these questions seriously as an occasion for true theological reflection. In fact, it guarantees that he cannot do so. And we believe that until this methodology—a methodology broadly employed in current evangelical conversations on race—is seen, understood, and renounced, the true answers to these important questions will never be found. Indeed, they will never be sought.
Put most simply, our view is this: While Reverend DeYoung’s subtitle indicates that he believes his review to be an expression of a theological project, we believe his review actually to be expressive of a cultural project that seeks perennially to justify itself on theological grounds. And that cultural project is, in one inelegant and highly disturbing phrase, white supremacy. Read more»
Gregory Thompson and Duke Kwon | “Sanctifying the Status Quo: A Response to Reverend Kevin DeYoung” | The Front Porch | July 19, 2021
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