Jarvis Williams

SBTS Professor Admits That Critical Race Theory Shaped His View on Justice

Background Information:

Name: Jarvis J. Williams
Birthday: April 22
Education: B.S. from Boyce College
M.Div., Th.M., Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Occupation History: Professor at Campbellsville University 2008-13
Occupation Current: Professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 2013-present
Preaching pastor at Sojourn Church Midtown
Author, Speaker, Lecturer
Known For: Racial Reconciliation within the SBC
Associations: SBC, SBTS, ERLC, TGC, Desiring God

Overview:

Jarvis Williams is one of the professors at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary known for promoting tenets of critical race theory. Fourteen pages of his class notes were released to the public in 2019, which can be viewed here. His promotion of CRT tenets has greatly impacted the integrity and orthodoxy of SBTS in a negative way. One of the main driving forces in promoting the ends and goals of social justice within the S.B.C., Williams is highlighted as a Woke-promoter in our film, Enemies Within: The Church.

Leaked Class Notes:

In September of 2019, the news division of Pulpit and Pen released an article exposing Jarvis Williams’ in-class teachings for promoting CRT tenets and goals, and especially for confusing the Gospel with social justice. To some, this may have been surprising, given that Albert Mohler had claimed in August of that same year that “No one is going to be teaching at Southern Seminary from the ‘other side’… of postmodern critical theory.” Williams, alongside Matthew Hall and Curtis Woods, has done precisely what Al Mohler suggested that no one would be allowed to do at SBTS by promoting tenets of postmodern critical theory.

In the leaked class notes, Jarvis Williams redefines race in precisely the way that CRT redefines it: not as a biological/ancestral/national category, but as a social construct. He wrote that the “category of race should not be narrowly defined to refer to groups of people with… biological distinctions… but should be broadly defined to include any kind of ‘other’ (male, female, slave, free, Jew, Gentile, etc.)” Moreover, Williams argues that “Racial Reconciliation is part of the Gospel… It is NOT an implication of the gospel.” (Emphasis his). The 14-page document is replete with unbiblical interpretations of Paul and an emphasis on an ethic derived from social justice ideology rather than the objective moral Law of God.

Jarvis Williams’ Intersectionality:

Williams subscribes to intersectionality, which is the concept of overlapping identities and measuring privileges by various dimensions of one’s identity (race, age, sex, ability, etc.) For example, he wrote that “Though I’m a marginalized African-American man within white male-dominated evangelical movements (Southern Baptist and Reformed), I’m still part of the privileged male majority in my Christian tribe,” for Jemar Tisby’s The Witness. He continued: “My brown, marginalized identity intersects with my male identity. Though my African-American identity has caused me to lose certain privileges and has caused me certain traumatic experiences of racism in both the SBC and in the broader evangelical movement, my male identity affords me certain privileges that are unavailable for many black and brown women in white male-dominated, evangelical Christianity.”

This is based on the assumption that privileges are afforded based on racial criteria in modern America, which is a baseless and fact-less accusation levied against white Americans in particular, in no small part as an attempt to get white Americans to give reparations to black Americans. Moreover, Williams also promotes the misandrist (i.e., modern feminist) view that men are inherently privileged over women, which is another baseless accusation levied against men in order to benefit women.

Jarvis Williams’ Drastic Exaggeration of “White Supremacy”:

In an article entitled “Jesus, Deliver Us from This Racist Evil Age,” Jarvis Williams (alongside co-professor at SBTS, Curtis Woods) wrote a severe exaggeration of “white supremacy” in the United States, which reads as follows:

“Brown immigrants and people of color—families like Jarvis’s, with a Hispanic wife and a mixed African-American and Hispanic son, and Curtis’s, with an African-American wife and children—are genuinely afraid that white supremacists may murder us and our kids because of the color of our skin. These fears are present in many of our churches.”

In reality, “white supremacists” are statistically uncommon in modern America. The ideology of white supremacy is not promoted by the upper echelons of power, which have adopted the goals, slogans, and practices of social justice ideology, on the whole. This is evidenced by the enforcement of support for Black Lives Matter, Pride Month, and other anti-Christian organizations and their holidays (or holi-months, really) among virtually every major company in the United States.

The real goal, for Williams, is to gaslight Christians (especially white Christians) into thinking that they are inherently complicit in racism. The solution he proposes would turn Christians into vocal antagonists against “racism”– that is, to make Christians into social justice activists who repeat the same sort of propaganda. In his own words:

“Christians must become aware of our own complicity in racism. With God’s help, Christians must also overcome convenient silence about racism because of fear of the political, social, and financial cost.”

Reformation Charlotte posted this article, which readers might find helpful here, which refutes Williams’ claims.

Jarvis Williams’ Anti-White Racial Consequentialism:

Williams has also argued that “whiteness becomes the standard by which all ‘good’ theology is judged… Theology is written by a white scholar who is contextualizing that theology for white audiences. And so one of the things we see is… there is racism by intent, and there’s racism by consequence.”

Williams defines “racism” as a social construct, but he does not relegate it to the intentions of the person who he would claim is a “racist.” Rather, on his view, racism can be (and, in the case of theological academia, it is) enacted without anyone intending to be racist in any way.

The solution to this unintentional “racism?”

“… [D]ethroning white supremacy in all of the forms in which it shows up in Christian spaces… because when Jesus died… one of those principalities and powers… is white supremacy…”

In other words, the logical conclusion of Williams’ position is that the works of white Christian theologians must be set aside (unless, of course, they happen to promote social justice ideology) and the works of black (and brown) Christian theologians must become the new standard by which theology is to be judged.

Jarvis Williams: It’s “Unloving” to Correct Black People About False Beliefs:

The popular narrative of CRT is founded on similar assumptions to BLM– namely, that “police brutality” against black people is a rampant problem in American society, that “systemic racism” exists against non-White people, and that white supremacy is a dominant societal force. Jarvis Williams promotes this idea and intentionally encourages neglecting the data which contradicts the social justice presuppositions. In a 2020 sermon, Williams claimed that “When there are clear examples of racism and racial injustice committed against black image bearers,”– and here he refers to the “examples” touted by social justice ideologues– “the loving thing to do is not to cite statistics of black on black crime to deflect from the killing of that black body.”

To put it another way, Jarvis Williams believes that it is unloving to correct black people when they promote tenets of CRT by demonstrating the genuine facts and statistics which refute those tenets. His argument is primarily emotive, based on the idea that “love” can be defined as something like inoffensive affection, rather than a true aim towards the good of the loved person.

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