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13 Reasons to Reject Jemar Tisby’s “Color of Compromise”

By: J.O. Smith

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality
-1 Timothy 5:21

In the wake of the tragic, evil killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, many in evangelicalism have been citing “The Color of Compromise” by Jemar Tisby  as an excellent source of knowledge for critically engaging American culture as Christians. [1] Pastor and apologist Voddie Baucham sarcastically refered to Tisby’s work as one in the “new canon” of books that woke evangelicals  cite as one of “those books” need to be read for understanding the issues of our day, including effective proclamation of the gospel. [2] However, the book itself did not make its way into my radar until it was recommended by the church to which I am a member. Therefore, as a matter of prudence and conscience, I gave it a fair reading, trying to glean any kind of wisdom possible I could from it. 

I would like to be up front and clear that this book review is written from my perspective, which presupposes the Holy Scriptures as being authoritative, inerrant, clear, and sufficient for everything pertaining to life in godliness. Primarily, this work is written for those who hold the same assumption, and who have been told that “The Color of Compromise” is something they should read.  

This issue of woke worship is of peculiar significance to me because I was once a member of a woke church before I was a genuine Christian. In my junior year of college, I enrolled to become a teacher of English and history to help the marginalized youth in the city of Detroit. As I studied the history of Detroit in preparation for the teacher education program at the University of Michigan, I noticed that preachers played a key role in shaping the sociocultural and political views of people living there today. I was impressed with these leaders, particularly the ones who took after Martin Luther King, Jr., who utilized peaceful demonstrations in order to agitate for social change in Detroit. Naturally, I was attracted when Oxygen Network produced a show called “Preachers of Detroit” in which the lives of several modern Detroit pastors is documented. In particular, one preacher caught my attention. This man possessed unrivaled passion, and went out of his way to feed the poor in his community. He talked about action over mere talk. He put into practice exactly what he believed.

These qualities attracted me to his church. Even though I was the only white member, many made me feel welcome there, and I was excited to get behind a man who, in my eyes, seemed like a modern day civil rights hero. A real change agent. The problem is, it was all a sham. Naive as I was, and considering how kind some of the congregation had been to me, it took me nearly two years of attending that church to figure out that the pastor was a Marxist, hated white people, did not believe in the authority of the Bible, and focused solely on social and political issues behind the pulpit. His vision of society was founded on the precepts of Black Liberation Theology and the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, James Cone, Louis Farakkhan, and Jesse Jackson, to name a few. Simply put, he was not a Christian pastor in any orthodox sense. Today, that church is in the process of splitting, as the pastor stands accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the congregation for his own purposes. I know firsthand how dangerous and demonic this worldview truly is, and I will demonstrate how this is the very same perspective propagated in “The Color of Compromise.”

I think it is important to say that I love people of all skin colors. My wife is the most beautiful black woman in the world, and a great number of my friends are from various countries in the continent of Africa, and even more are black Americans. Despite my reservations about endorsing the theological teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., one thing he said is something I wholeheartedly agree with: “…every man, from bass black to treble white is significant on God’s keyboard.”[3]

Before I criticize the aspects of the book I find to be in error, I would like to mention some positives that I gleaned from reading it. For one, Tisby does quite a skillful job at demonstrating the evils of slavery and Jim Crow segregation, and how the church was often complicit in these evils, either directly through supporting it, or indirectly by not saying or doing anything about it. These truths are well documented in the book. Additionally, I find Tisby’s style of writing quite vivid and colorful for someone writing a mostly historical account. He is adroit at utilizing creative word choices in order to weave together his narrative. I also love Jemar Tisby as a fellow man, and I pray that God would open his eyes to the truth.

My intention is not to go bashing brothers and sisters in the faith, as there are many who would disagree on this issue, whom I love dearly. If you do disagree, I only ask that you read this whole book review before you judge it, and remember that “if one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”[4] I could only hope that if those who would still disagree with me after reading this are true believers, then they would love me anyway, because “we know we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers.”[5] However, out of love for God, his church, and the truth, I must strenuously object to a multitude of problems in “The Color of Compromise” which are stated as follows:

1. The gospel is nowhere presented or emphasized. The message that two thousand years ago, Jesus came to earth, fully God and fully man, to live a perfect, sinless life, then to suffer, die, and rise again on the third day, in order to fully satisfy the wrath of God, which paid the debt we owe to him because of our sin, is a message completely missing from “The Color of Compromise.” Sadly, the closest thing Mr. Tisby writes to the actual gospel is by quoting from James Cone, the father of Black Liberation Theology[6], regarding the death of Jesus on the cross: 

“Cone goes on to explain ‘The cross helped me to deal with the lynching tree, and the lynching tree hleped me to understand the tragic meaning of the cross.’ Cone showed that black people could better understand Christ’s suffering by recalling their own sorrow as it related to the lynching tree. At the same time, the cross provided comfort because black people could know for certain that in his life and death, Christ identified with the oppressed.”[7][8]

Notice how there is no mention of God satisfying his wrath on behalf of penitent sinners who put their trust in Jesus.

In fact, salvation, according to Black Liberation Theology, is not found in the person and work of Jesus Christ at all; it is found in the extent to which we work to liberate oppressed groups in the here and now. Cone writes, “Life-giving power for the poor and the oppressed is the primary criterion that we must use to judge the adequacy of our theology, not abstract concepts.”[9] In other words, making life better for blacks in the here and now is the central focus of Cone’s gospel, not the saving work of Jesus who died for the sin of the world.

In addition to believing a false gospel, Cone hates white people. This vitriol comes to the fore when he refers to white people as “white devils” and “antichrists”.[10][11] It is concerning to see Tisby quoting from a man with such a hateful outlook. By contrast, Jesus emphatically declares that Christians are called to “stop judging by outward appearances. Instead, judge righteously.”[12] Clearly, the gospel is not even mentioned within the pages of Mr. Tisby’s work, but is replaced by the doctrines of a false teacher who judges people by the color of their skin instead of the content of their character.

2. Racism is redefined in order to fit into categories consistent with Black Liberation Theology and Critical Race Theory (CRT)[13]. Many evangelicals are not familiar with CRT, and so they wonder, “why am I being accused of racism when I didn’t say or do anything that is racist?” This may well be because many leftists and proponents of CRT have redefined the term “racism,” and Mr. Tisby has certainly done that as well:

“What do we mean when we talk about racism? Beverly Daniel Tatum provides a shorthand definition: racism is a system of oppression based on race. Notice Tatum’s emphasis on systemic oppression. Racism can operate through impersonal systems and not simply through the malicious words and actions of individuals. Another definition explains racism as prejudice plus power.”[14]

In other words, you don’t have to actually do or say anything that is overtly racist. If you are the wrong skin color (white) or believe the wrong ideas (conservative), then you are racist according to this definition because you are complicit in a system which disproportionately disadvantages people of color, at least from their perspective.

This definition of racism is eerily similar to the one found in CRT activist Robin Diangelo’s number one selling book, “White Fragility”:

“So let me be clear: if your definition of a racist is someone who holds conscious dislike of people because of race, then I agree that…you are not racist…racism, like sexism and other forms of oppression, occurs when a racial group’s prejudice is backed by legal authority and institutional control. This authority and control transforms individual prejudices into a far-reaching system that no longer depends on the good intentions of individual actors; it becomes the default of the society and is reproduced automatically. Racism is a system.”[15]

According to this ideology, being part of the system and not actively fighting against it is enough to peg you as a racist, especially if you are white. Furthermore, whites are automatically racist because the history of slavery and Jim Crow is in our bones, and we must continually do penance for our white guilt; otherwise, we are evil perpetrators of the racist system in which we find ourselves.

Does this sound silly to you? This is a mainstream ideology that is adopted by the majority of media, professors, and teachers who are responsible for shaping the next generation[16]. Even worse: it’s creeping into the church.

Scripture never allows for people to be responsible for the sins of others, so this definition of racism should never be accepted by believers. According to the apostle James, the true cause of racism is what causes all quarrels among men: “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel”[17] To echo the sentiment of  Darrell B. Harrison, “The problem is enmity, not ethnicity.”[18] Nowhere in scripture does it say that we are to repent of sins which historical injustices, and allegedly racist institutions and systems, may or may not be responsible for. Instead, we are to repent of our individual sins. If anyone feels enmity toward another person due to the color of their skin, then that person is evidencing that they do not know Jesus, “for he himself is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…”[19]

For the rest of this book review, when specificity is necessary, I will be utilizing 2 definitions of racism: prejudice on the basis of race will be referred hereafter as racism 1. The sense of racism as defined by Jemar Tisby and Robin Diangelo, will now be referred to as racism 2. Any ambiguous sense of the term that could include both of these definitions will simply be referred to as “racism.”

3. Quotes from the Bible are mishandled, mangled, and taken out of context in order to make the unbiblical case for reparations. “Context is something Bible believing Christians should understand better than anyone…We want to know the historical-grammatical situation of the text so that we can accurately explain and apply it.”[20] These are the words of Jemar Tisby himself, to which any genuine believer would say “amen”. However, context does not seem to matter to him when he quotes from the Bible in “The Color of Compromise.” If you are unfamiliar with reparations, it is the idea that there should be some kind of restitution provided to black Americans for the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, either by paying black Americans money, or in building of institutions which forward the cause of black advancement in America. The main thing to remember is that the concept is basically to redistribute money from white homes to black homes in order to even out the playing field.

This is supposed to help redress the legacy of slavery: in Tisby’s words, “Reparation is not a matter of vengeance or charity; it’s a matter of justice. The concept of reparation has biblical precedence. Under Old Testament law if a person wrongs another person, the wrongdoer should confess the sin. But saying ‘I’m sorry’ is not enough…The law goes on to state that the wrongdoer must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged” (Num. 5:7)”[21]. This mishandling of Numbers 5:7 is an example of eisegesis, a theological term for adding your own prejudices or thoughts on top of the ideas found in scripture.

If Mr. Tisby had started in verse 5 in order to give the proper context, the true meaning of the law would have been abundantly clear: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.’” Did you catch it? This passage is speaking of an individual “man or woman” in the nation of Israel who wrongs another individual in the nation of Israel. This law of God is about individuals, not nations or people of a certain skin color. To insert the idea of reparations into Numbers 5 is a gross form of eisegesis that confers guilt and sin onto parties who are not responsible for inter-generational injustices.

As if that were not enough, Mr. Tisby utilizes yet another Bible passage to justify the concept of reparations. In this next text, Tisby expresses that “The prophet Daniel prayed for forgiveness not only for himself, not only for the people of Israel, but also for ‘our princes and our ancestors’ who were ‘covered with shame’ (Dan. 9:8). Daniel made the petition in light of both present injustice and that of his forebears. Within Christianity, then, is a sense of corporate and communal participation.” What’s interesting about this reference to Daniel 9:8 is that the actual quote itself is left out. This is what Daniel 9:8 actually says: “To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.” All Daniel says in this passage about the “fathers” is that they have “sinned against (God).” It does not say “I am somehow guilty of what my fathers have done, and I am repenting on behalf of my ancestors for what they did to people who are no longer alive today.” To believe Daniel meant that is not only illogical; it’s unbiblical.

In fact, this misreading of Daniel is in deliberate disobedience to Ezekiel 18:20, which establishes that “The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” It is not ambiguous at all: people are responsible for their own sin, and any attempts to dismiss this text are to refuse to take God at his word. This issue is even further complicated by the historical fact that at the time of American slavery, there were black slave owners and white slaves all around the world. Why pretend that American whites enslaving blacks in the south is a unique evil when it had been going on since the beginning of world history? Nevertheless, these attempts to redress prepackaged grievances that occurred before anyone was born in the world today, are a covetous form of vengeance masquerading as biblical justice. In reality, the idea of reparations is morally bankrupt.

4. Tisby dismisses plausible objections to his claims without attempting to answer them by calling them “racist.” The convenient thing about racism 2 is, it gets you out of squabbles over “facts” and “reality.” All you have to say is “racism,” and all the arguments magically disappear. Mr. Tisby epitomizes this notion when he asserts:

“The same arguments that perpetuated racial inequalities in decades past get recycled in the present day. Critics will assert that the ideas in ‘The Color of Compromise’ should be disregarded because they are too ‘liberal.’ They will claim that a Marxist Communist ideology underlies all the talk about racial equality. They will contend that such an extended discussion of racism reduces black people to a state of helplessness and a ‘victim mentality.’ They will try to point to counterexamples and say that racists do not represent the ‘real’ American church. They will assert that the historical facts are wrong or have been misinterpreted. They will charge that this discussion of race is somehow ‘abandoning the gospel’ and replacing it with problematic calls for ‘social justice.’ After reading just a few chapters, these arguments will sound familiar. These arguments have been used throughout the American church’s history to deny or defend racism.”[22]

In one stroke of the pen, Tisby has dismissed seven objections by saying “racism” instead of answering each one with a better argument. The scary thing is how aware Mr. Tisby is that there are problems with the factual claims in the book, and that the gospel is not present. But he dismisses all of these reasonable objections out of hand, as if they are not worth answering, because he thinks they are racist, at least in the sense of racism 2.
This is not the only time Mr. Tisby has engaged in such scornful disregard for opponents’ argumentation. Consider the “Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.”[23]  In this statement, sound Bible believing teachers, bloggers, and elders such as John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, James White, Tom Ascol, Josh Buice, signed a statement affirming the sufficiency of scripture and the gospel, while denying the necessity of CRT or ethnocentric pandering in the church.

Again, instead of engaging with the ideas in the statement, Tisby dismisses all of these people when he proclaims:

“I’m tempted to refute the recent statement on the gospel and social justice point-by-point — showing how it falls short of the Bible’s call for justice. But I think our time would be better spent on other pursuits. There’s too much work to be done — work that will be delayed by endless debates. Here’s my advice. Many of the people who authored and signed this statement have large ministries and platforms. Avoid them.”[24]

Apparently, Mr. Tisby has better things to do than offer counterclaims to some of the most well respected Bible teachers and heroes of our day, so instead, he just says to stay away from them. God’s word has a different take on the matter. According to Ephesians 4:31, Christians are commanded to “ Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Tisby is clearly slandering mature brothers in the faith, and disobeying the Lord’s commandment here. By saying to avoid them, he is treating these signers as if they are false teachers, who we are commanded by scripture to avoid.[25] It is clear that this slander has had the effect of sowing discord among Christians, which God also hates.[26] Cancel culture has no place in the bride of Christ.

5. Views of conservative evangelicals are routinely misrepresented in order to portray them as bigoted and racist. It is always easier to create a strawman; a fake argument that your opponent doesn’t really believe, in order to refute the fake argument rather than what your opponent actually believes. This intellectual sleight of hand is displayed when Tisby, addressing the topic of slavery, maintains that “The human cost in terms of suffering, indignity, and death caused by this commerce can never be fully comprehended, but the experience is often misunderstood or downplayed in the present day.”[27] Now, think about all the conservative Christians you know. How many of them would downplay slavery as not a big deal? If zero is your answer, you are not alone.

I don’t know any genuine Christians who believe that either. But Tisby shames conservative Christians in order to avoid the question of the extent to which historical slavery affects Americans in the present day. The answer is obviously unknowable, because only God knows how much slavery has affected today’s world. As we will see, one of Tisby’s main arguments in his book is that if you disagree with him that America is racist at its core, that from slavery to Jim Crow to now, racism has never really gotten better; it has merely changed forms, then you are “downplaying” the effects of slavery on our present day. This ad hominem argumentation cleverly precludes Mr. Tisby from ever having to prove the extent of the present-day effects of slavery, and also makes those who would dare to disagree into evil villains who would selfishly downplay human suffering in order to achieve political gain. It truly is a dishonest way of getting your point across.

Additionally, Tisby lumps all conservative evangelicals into one category, in order to avoid the nuance of having to address the actual argumentation they might employ. A case in point comes from Tisby’s reaction to a series of articles published by Princeton Theological Seminary in the early 1910s: 

“…(these articles) both echo and foreshadow the sentiments of many theologically conservative Christians, who insisted that converting individuals to Christianity was the only biblical way to transform society. Fundamentalists dissuaded other Christians from certain forms of political involvement and encouraged them instead to focus on personal holiness and evangelism.”[28]

Throughout the text, Mr. Tisby creates another strawman by misleading the reader into thinking that conservative evangelicals are all about personal holiness, while true Christians who care about justice engage the culture through collective action. This is a false dichotomy. Pastor Jeff Durbin epitomizes the bankruptcy of this argument. He believes in “personal holiness and evangelism,” yet routinely engages in protesting outside of abortion mills, preaching on sidewalks to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and encouraging members of his church to speak up at city council meetings to enforce Arizona law, which still holds that abortion is illegal[29], and started a rehab which got countless people off of drugs and converted to Christ. There is a ditch on both sides: focusing on personal piety with no actual desire to help others is an error, but so is desiring to change the society and the culture, with no desire for grace based personal holiness. But to paint all conservative Christians with the same broad brush as a bunch of pietistic do-nothings is dishonest and slanderous.

6. The Constitution is depicted as a racist document with no evidence.
In order to evaluate whether the United States was founded on racist principles, this would require one to investigate the founding documents that the country is based upon. If those documents were shown to have racist ideas in them, one could make the case that America was founded on some form of racism. Naturally, social justicians and woke evangelicals attempt to argue that the Constitution is a racist document, in order to make America out to be a racist country. Tisby does this when he writes, “Without question the Constitution had the rights of wealthy, white men in mind while other groups like indigenous peoples, women, and enslaved blacks held a lesser status”[30] It seems apparent that Tisby does not have a favorable view of the Constitution. Notice how he does not address any ideas in the constitution, but instead judges, a priori, the intentions of the writers and signers of the document, as if they were all of the same mind. Conveniently forgotten are founders like James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, who were staunchly against slavery and wanted it abolished[31]. But again, that is not relevant to the question of the content of the constitution, whether the ideas promulgated therein are racist.

By contrast, Martin Luther King Jr., who is highly praised in “The Color of Compromise,” would disagree with Tisby on this point because King believed that  it was actually the principles in the Constitution that inspired men such as Abraham Lincoln and the Union Army to fight and die to help free the slaves. In an award winning speech King gave in his junior year of college, he discusses the relationship between black Americans and the Constitution. In King’s own words regarding the emancipation proclamation, the executive order which freed the slaves, “The new order was backed by amendments to the national constitution making it the fundamental law that thenceforth there should be no discrimination anywhere in the ‘land of the free’ on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”[32] In other words, King believed the Constitution was a document that had the correct principles for good government, and it was amended in order to come closer to living up to those “land of the free” founding principles.

Most people who criticize the Constitution have never read the document for themselves. Go read it. You will not find the racism Tisby ascribes to it. This is a historical falsehood promoted to prop up the narrative that America is a terrible, racist country. Perhaps Mr. Tisby does not acknowledge that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”[33] Everyone under the sun, from Christopher Columbus to George Washington to Colin Kaepernick, deserve the eternal wrath of God for their sin against him. When we stand in condemnation over the lives of men past, with no nuance regarding the good they accomplished that laid the foundation for this prosperous country we enjoy every day, we are acting like a lawgiver and a judge, which God also does not like.[34] Alternatively, I posit that America was founded on largely biblical principles which sinful men have failed to live up to, but came closer to fulfilling as the years have progressed.

Frederick Douglass, a black former slave who endured far more oppression than most in today’s America have, escaped from slavery and became one of America’s most powerful orators. His timeless words contradict Tisby’s narrative: “If the Government has been governed by mean, sordid, and wicked passions, it does not follow that the Constitution is mean, sordid, and wicked…instead of encouraging slavery, the Constitution encourages freedom…”[35]

7. Quotes from individual Republicans are used to represent all Republicans, as if they were a monolithic group who have the same motives and intentions. The most egregious case of this occurs when Tisby discusses the implications of a quote from former Republican strategist Lee Atwater:

“Before his untimely death from a brain tumor in 1991, Atwater had laid bare the racially coded appeals used by some Republicans to recruit voters: ‘you start out in 1954 by saying ‘n*****, n*****, n*****.’ By 1968 you can’t say n*****–that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract.’ He said all of this in an interview recorded in 1981. ‘Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites,’ he continued…Atwater articulated what has become known as ‘color blind’ conservatism. By excising explicitly racial terms like ‘black,’ ‘white,’ or ‘n*****’ from their language, practitioners can claim they ‘don’t see color.’ As a result, people can hold positions on social and political issues that disproportionately and adversely harm racial and ethnic minorities, but they can still proclaim their own racial innocence… Today, it has become second nature, and the unconscious practice of many American Christians.”[36]

Notice how Mr. Tisby utilizes one man’s opinion to indict all conservatives, as if they are all secretly perpetrators of racism, but they use coded language so as not to make it obvious. He could well have used used quotes attributed to Lyndon B. Johnson to bludgeon the Democrats but that was not his desire. Somehow, today, conservative evangelicals are “unconsciously” being as racist as Lee Atwater by disagreeing with Jemar Tisby on political issues. How could he possibly know what goes on inside people’s heads? The fact that Mr. Tisby believes that he can discern the unconscious thoughts and intentions of millions of Americans would mean he thinks he is basically omniscient, since only God would have access to such information. Furthermore, how can one man’s evil opinion then be applied to all Republicans? What Lee Atwater said was vile and disgusting, but to impute the same motives of Atwater to millions of Christians across America for not voting the same way you do is equally grotesque.

8. Tisby admits that he has no empirical evidence to back up his claims about racism 2.
I am not joking. Read it for yourself: 

“Since the 1970s, Christian complicity in racism has become more difficult to discern. It is hidden, but that does not mean it no longer exists. As we look more closely at the realm of politics, we see that Christian complicity with racism remains, even as it has taken on subtler forms. Again, we must remember; racism never goes away; it adapts…One of the challenges we face in discussions of racism today is that the conversation about race has shifted since the civil rights era. Legislation has rendered the most overt acts of racism legally punishable. Hate crimes of various forms still occur, but most American Christians would call these acts evil. Yet the legacy of racism persists, albeit in different forms.”[37]

If systemic racism exists, or what I would call here racism 2, then where is the hard evidence of racism within an actual institution or system? Tisby admits that there is no law on the books today that promotes or allows racism. In fact, as he admits, most “overt acts” of racism are “legally punishable”. Yet he still insists that  racism is still there, only in “different forms.” Christians are called to “put away falsehood” and “speak the truth with his neighbor.”[38] Evidence for an endemic racism 2 in “The Color of Compromise” is closer to a boogeyman than a historical truth, and falls woefully short of the biblical standard of truth telling.

Mr. Tisby promotes the myth of the “Southern Strategy” in order to smear Republicans as Racist.[39] For those unfamiliar, the Left’s spin on the Southern Strategy is a conspiracy theory that the racist white South started to vote republican in 1964 because Richard Nixon’s campaign team decided to appeal to racism in order to pander to the white racists. Basically, the argument is that Republicans have been the party of racism and bigotry since 1964, even though, previously, Republican majorities freed the slaves. [40] and helped pass the Civil Rights acts of 1964 which 80% of Republicans supported, compared to 70% of Democrats. [41]

Tisby here uses yet another blatantly false statement about Republicans for the purpose of furthering his agenda: “The Southern Strategy exploited racial backlash against the civil rights movement, as well as an emerging sense of white, middle class suburban identity, to mobilize disaffected white voters in support of the Republican party.”[42] The first error is the idea that southern whites began voting Republican in 1964. In fact, support for the Democratic party in the south began to wane as early as the 1920s, when the “new south” began to industrialize, moving away from an agrarian economy. By 1952, Republican Dwight Eisenhower won 48 percent of the southern vote, while at the same time supporting the Brown V. Board of education decision to integrate public schools[43]. If the south was full of racist Republicans, why did half of them vote for a guy who supported integration before the Civil Rights movement? Additionally, if these voters were voting in favor of their white identity, then why would they vote for a party that had more support for the Civil Rights Act than the Democrats did? The Southern Strategy is a lie that Democrats tell to try to whitewash history and brainwash unquestioning supporters into thinking that Republicans are the racist villains. While I’m certainly not a supporter of everything the Republican party stands for, I am honest enough to utilize historical facts rather than making up historical myths to construct my argument. Many scriptures apply here starting with, “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”[44] 

10. Opposition to the welfare state in the United States automatically makes you someone who stereotypes blacks, according to Jemar Tisby. Tisby again slanders President Ronald Reagan’s critique of the Welfare state:

“Reagan was also known for popularizing the term welfare queen, which became an oft-used phrase by the president…The welfare queen became a stand in for the president’s criticism of an undeserving class of poor people, especially inner-city black women…In addition, a stance against welfare led to stereotypes of black people and the poor as lacking in initiative and having no work ethic. As historian James German explains ‘The welfare state, in the mind of the New Christian Right, undermined the sense of individual responsibility in which public morality rested.’ Efforts to reduce funding to social support systems functioned as a subtle judgment on welfare recipients in general, but to the extent that welfare was associated with black people, it also functioned as a judgment against ‘lazy blacks’…This contributed to the overall perception among black people that Christian conservatives did not care about the concerns of a historically oppressed group.”[45]

The idea that Christian conservatives don’t care about the concerns of black people is a disgusting insult, and ought to be dismissed out of hand.
Firstly, conservatives are not concerned with stereotyping blacks as “lazy,” but with the government programs which incentivize people not to work. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson instituted a set of policies called the “War on Poverty” or the “Great Society” in which people in poverty could be given welfare to help them while they search for employment. The intention was to empower the underprivileged class to attain self-sufficiency and eventually work for a living. The opposite has been the result. Before this “war” was declared, in 1948, the poverty rate in the United States was 34%. In 1965, poverty had decreased to 17%. Since 1965, the government has spent over $22 trillion on the War on Poverty, yet the poverty rate has remained around 17%.[46] If all this spending on programs to lift people out of the underclass was supposed to decrease poverty, then why did poverty not continue to decrease like it was before the Great Society? It is because the policy has failed.

These policies also deincentivize the poor to go to work. Recipients of welfare, who are making $10,000-$40,000 a year, can lose nearly as much of their welfare money as they would gain from working by going to work or getting married. Furthermore, the more kids one has out of wedlock, the more welfare money they may receive as a single parent.[47][48] Therefore, it is not that these welfare recipients are necessarily “lazy” as Mr. Tisby would accuse conservatives of saying. It is that they are being reasonable: why work or get married when the government will take your money away for doing these things?

It is a documented fact that the single motherhood rate in the black community has increased from 24% in 1965 to over 70% today. This trend is not unique to blacks: the single motherhood rate has increased nationally since 1968 from 4 million to 16.6 million in 2017.[49] Since the Great Society has been implemented, the poverty rate has flatlined, yet the single motherhood rate has skyrocketed. As Barack Obama himself correctly pointed out in a 2008 speech at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago. 

“We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children. We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”[50] 

Clearly the War on Poverty has been an epic failure, and has contributed to the decline of the standard of living for black Americans.
However, according to Jemar Tisby, if you say that welfare has been a disaster that has disproportionately impacted black Americans, as the statistics clearly demonstrate, then you are “stereotyping” blacks. This fills the accused with white guilt, while giving the accuser a sense of moral superiority and authority. In his classic book, “White Guilt,” Shelby Steele exposes what social justicians such as Mr. Tisby are doing when they peddle this type of sentiment about the Great Society welfare programs that began in 1965:

“Neither white guilt nor the concept of global racism that blossomed to exploit it was fully developed at that time. White guilt was just beginning back then as a naive exhilaration over all that might be done by the Great Society. America still thought it could roll up its sleeves and plunge into its redemption with the same pragmatic zeal that had lifted the country out of depression…But race was not a war to fight or a depressed economy to overcome. It was a tangled ugliness of the human heart and a very complex symbiosis between two kinds of Americans and two American experiences. More simply, it was…a portal to evil, but an evil that was seemingly as hardwired into the human psyche as the simple need for hierarchy, for the idea of a God-intended pecking order.”[51]

In this new hierarchy, blacks have more moral authority over whites because of the historical injustices whites imposed on blacks in decades and centuries past. Therefore, whites are considered inferior to blacks morally, and have lost the ability to speak against bad policies such as the welfare state, for fear of being labeled a racist, the only unforgivable sin within the milieu of American white guilt.

The problem is, these policies continue to hurt blacks. Few have the gall or the unction to tell black Americans that according to the Brookings Institute, if you finish high school, get a job, and don’t have kids until you’re married, you are virtually certain to stay out of poverty[52]. Instead of pointing poor black Americans to concrete actions they can take to lift themselves out of their low estate, Tisby blames it all on conservatives stereotyping blacks, thus pointing them away from solutions that could actually help alleviate the problem. This is yet more slander that fails to speak the truth with love.[53]

Tisby capitalizes on white guilt to promote the evil idea of Black Power.  In chapter 8 of “The Color of Compromise,” Tisby portrays Stokely Carmichael, the founder of the Black Panther Party, as a hero for the cause of black liberation. After being arrested for the 27th time for what Tisby calls “protesting,” he credits Carmichael with popularizing the concept of Black Power when he shouted: “We been saying freedom for six years and we ain’t got nothin’. What we got to start saying now is Black Power. We want Black Power!” As Shelby Steele points out, however, this idea of black power would not be possible without the advent of white guilt that came in the wake of the civil rights movement, with white America admitting its complicity in racism before the 1960s. President Lyndon Johnson epitomized this view in his 1965 speech on the Great Society: ”You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”[54]

This gave blacks the moral upper hand over whites, who were now considered debased and without authority to speak on issues of social justice and equality unless they continually displayed penance to the black cause of liberation from the “tyranny” of white America. Steele writes:

“Whites…must acknowledge historical racism to show themselves redeemed of it, but once they acknowledge it, they lose moral authority over everything having to do with race, equality, social justice, and so on. They step into a void of vulnerability. The authority they lose transfers to the ‘victims’ of historical racism and becomes their great power in society. This is why white guilt is literally the same thing as black power.”[55]

Stokely Carmichael embodies this attitude of capitalizing on white guilt. With no evidence, and after the Civil Rights Act was passed, Carmichael argues that black Americans have received “nothing” in the way of freedom, when in reality, for the first time in American history, discrimination on the basis of race had become illegal. This power vacuum of moral authority caused by white guilt allowed for power hungry organizations like the Black Panthers to thrive.
Tisby goes on to assert that “The phrase ‘black power’ resonated with black people all across the United States. It echoed Marcus Garvey’s exhortations of black pride and black self-sufficiency”. Lastly, he hails Malcolm X as a “charismatic” leader with “powerful insights” that “both enraged and enthused his listeners.”[56]  But was the Black Power movement, spearheaded by the Black Panther Party, really as righteous a cause as Tisby claims?

In short, no. Stokely Carmichael is infamous for inciting a riot in Atlanta in 1966[57]. Furthermore, polls in the 1960s consistently show that “only a tiny minority of blacks embraced black nationalists and militants. A 1964 survey in New York City showed that only 6 percent of blacks believed that Malcolm X was ‘doing the best for Negroes.[58]’” And as David Horowitz, a former activist on the left who worked with the Panthers contends, they were “a criminal gang that…pursued various avenues of criminal violence which included extortion, drug trafficking and murder.” Former chairman of the Black Panthers, Bobby Seale, had to have emergency surgery and go into hiding after being raped and whipped by fellow Panther Huey Newton[59]. Alex Rackley, a Panther member falsely accused of informing the FBI about Panther activities, was tied to a chair, beaten, had boiling water poured on his chest several times, before he was finally shot in the head and chest, left to gasp for air for approximately four hours before he finally died[60]. As if this bloody history is not enough to label the Black Panthers as a terrorist organization, they were also responsible for killing at least 16 police officers[61].

Yet these gory details are conveniently left out of Tisby’s “historical” account of the black power movement. This is not because he wants you to know the facts; it is because he is trying to push a narrative that black power is good, and that anyone who might say otherwise is on the side of evil. In reality, the Black Panthers were a criminal organization with a long history of mob violence, death, and thuggery. Whitewashing this historical fact is tantamount to calling evil good, and calling good evil, which scripture roundly condemns.[62]

12. All racial disparities are assumed to be directly caused by racism 2 without hard evidence. According to Tisby, white Christians are not only guilty of keeping black Americans down; we are also guilty of not recognizing our complicity in the system: “The longstanding failure among many white Christians to acknowledge ongoing discrimination embedded in systems and structures means black and white Christians often talk past each other. One group focuses on isolated incidents; the other sees a pattern of injustice.”[63] After speaking with such certainty, you would think that Tisby has smoking gun evidence of “systems and structures” that are rife with racism. Furthermore, he accuses “white evangelicals” of only speaking about “isolated incidents” as if all conservative evangelicals are white, and as if they have no facts or data to support their position, only single incidents to base their beliefs upon.

So what is the evidence of racism Tisby so heavily relies on that is embedded within the structure of America? Primarily, he refers to the disparity in wealth between whites and blacks. 

“In accounting for the black-white wealth gap, for instance, black and white Christians have remarkably different understandings of the problem and the solution. Sixty-two percent of white evangelicals attribute poverty among black people to a lack of motivation, while 31 percent of black Christians said the same. And just 27 percent of white evangelicals attribute the wealth gap to racial discrimination, while 72 percent of blacks cite discrimination as a major cause of the discrepancy. The differing cultural tool kits applied by black and white Christians help illuminate some of the conflicts over racial justice at the dawn of the twenty-first century.”[64]

Mr. Tisby is correct that there is a disparity in wealth between whites and blacks; no one would dispute that. According to a recent study from the Brookings Institute, on average, whites have ten times the amount of wealth that blacks have.[65] However, this can be misleading if taken at face value because the average median income for blacks in 2018 was $41,511, a far cry from the ubiquitous abject poverty caused by racism 2 that Tisby alleges[66]. But what do people’s views on the causes of poverty have to do with the actual causes of poverty? This is the misleading nature of utilizing surveys instead of hard evidence in answering an empirical question.

What Tisby does not want you to know is that Asians have more wealth, on average, than whites.[67] If that simple fact were known, then the whole myth of white privilege would be called into court as an empirical question, rather than a dogma to be believed without reservation. If America is rigged to favor the white majority, then why is the Asian minority outdoing blacks and whites in terms of wealth? Is it because America is rigged to favor Asian privilege? Or, do Asians generally make better choices, work harder, and have a culture which encourages them to exhibit behaviors that will earn them more money in the long term? There is no one answer to these questions, but to assume that it is only, or even primarily “racism” that causes the white-black disparity, is to conveniently leave out that Asians are richer than whites.

Furthermore, as aforementioned, the single motherhood rate and the welfare state has disproportionately affected black Americans, and has contributed to their poverty. No one is forcing some blacks to have children out of wedlock, or to benefit from the welfare system in lieu of getting married, graduating high school, and getting a job. To blame poverty on whites is to promote white racism 1, and to point black Americans away from an effective solution to the problem. In fact, among married blacks, less than 10% are in poverty, making their poverty rate virtually tied with whites.[68]

Notice how I have not once provided any “isolated incidents” to make my point that the black white wealth gap is not caused by racism; I have demonstrated this reality by using facts and statistics of millions of Americans across the country. Tisby would like you to think there is no factual basis for believing that racism doesn’t cause wealth disparities  in America. He wants you to think that everyone who disagrees with him can only point to personal anecdotes to make their case. But if people were exposed to the facts more frequently, they would perhaps have a different opinion.

Another disparity that Jemar Tisby is convinced proves the case for systemic racism, is black imprisonment. In his own words, Tisby points out that “People of color are incarcerated at disproportionately high rates.”[69] However, as Thomas Sowell points out, today, a higher rate of black young men are imprisoned today than in the 1950s[70]. If poverty and discrimination were the cause of today’s disproportionate prison rate, then why is it higher today than in the 1950s, when poverty and lawful discrimination were much greater than they are today? After the civil rights laws of the 1960s, and the poverty rate among blacks has declined since the 1950s, black imprisonment is higher. Racism cannot explain this phenomenon, especially because, as I will later demonstrate, Tisby does not account for the uncomfortable fact that blacks commit a statistically disproportionate number of violent crimes.

I believe Thomas Sowell would agree with me regarding Mr. Tisby, that “Implicit in these statements are the key elements of the cosmic justice vision of the intelligentsia–seeing other people’s good fortune as a grievance, rather than an incentive for self-improvement, and seeing flesh-and blood contemporaries as simply part of an intertemporal abstraction, so that a current injustice against them would merely offset other injustices of the past.”[71] As Christians, seeing the good fortunes of whites or Asians as a grievance disobeys God’s command not to covet the property of our neighbor.[72] Furthermore, redistributing wealth from whites to blacks amounts to stealing, and stealing in this way is a sin in and of itself.[73] This covetous desire for revenge against whites also reveals the sin of showing partiality to blacks because they have a higher poverty rate, which scripture also forbids.[74]

Tisby lies about the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases in order to justify validating the ungodly “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) organization. Due to the current climate of misinformation going around, the separation between “black lives matter” the proposition and “Black Lives Matter” the organization, has been obfuscated. All Christians should agree that all black lives matter. If any Christian unrepentantly disagrees with this proposition, then they have no reason to believe they are genuinely converted. In addition, it is important for Christians to state firmly that we oppose police brutality, and that any police officer, black, white, or otherwise, who is a perpetrator of murder or manslaughter to an innocent civilian, ought to be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law. Everyone deserves to have their lives protected, not destroyed.

However, “Black Lives Matter” the organization has an agenda that undergirds, and even undermines, the proposition. Tisby admits this when he states:

 “Many Christians, including some conservative black Christians, have rejected the concept or phrase ‘black lives matter’ because of the Black Lives Matter organization. The organization that developed to channel passion into long-term change includes a strong platform advocating for gay, queer, and transgender rights, a position that is contrary to a conservative evangelical definition of marriage…As a result, many evangelicals have distanced themselves from or even opposed the Black Lives Matter organization and the phrase. But the American evangelical church has yet to form a movement as viable and potent that addresses the necessary concept that black lives do indeed matter.”[75]

Notice yet another false dichotomy Mr. Tisby sets up. “Many evangelicals” have opposed the “organization and the phrase” as if they are somehow intrinsically linked. I don’t know any Christian who thinks black lives don’t matter. However, Tisby claims that BLM is somehow synonymous with the proposition; that it is “viable” and that it “addresses” the concept that “black lives do indeed matter.” In the following paragraphs, we will examine these assumptions.

Firstly, the foundation of BLM questions its viability as an organization. As Tisby points out, the start of BLM came in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black man who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Tisby even admits that “nobody knows” what happened because there were not enough witnesses to the killing. However, because forensic evidence showed that Martin was mounting and punching Zimmerman repeatedly in the face, which was a potential threat to his life, there is reasonable proof that Zimmerman acted in self defense, so the charges were dropped against him[76]. Yet this does not stop Tisby from claiming that “In the span of a few minutes an innocuous walk to the local convenience store for snacks had resulted in a homicide.”[77] Despite there being no evidence that Zimmerman committed murder, Mr. Tisby and the BLM organization both presuppose that it happened because it fits their narrative that innocent blacks are being routinely killed by cops and civilians for no reason and with no justice.

If the Martin case started the BLM organization, the Michael Brown case transformed it into a nationwide phenomenon: “Just a year after Martin’s homicide, Patrisse Cullors first used the #blacklivesmatter hashtag, but the phrase did not become ubiquitous until 2014 when another black teenager, Mike Brown, was killed…Initial reports indicated that Brown had his hands up in a gesture of surrender when he was shot, prompting protestors to chant ‘Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!’”[78] If this is what happened, it would have been an unjustified killing and an injustice to Brown, especially considering that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, was acquitted. Tisby writes, “The reality that another unarmed black youth had been killed and no one would face legal penalties communicated a message that black lives could be extinguished with impunity.”[79] Even if officer Wilson had done what Tisby believes, where is the proof that racism motivated it? That aside, is this what happened? Did Michael Brown have his hands up when he was shot? Is it true that Brown’s life was “extinguished with impunity”?

According to the Department of Justice under president Obama, and to eight legally credible witnesses who saw the shooting, Officer Wilson stopped Brown after he had robbed a convenience store. Brown then approached Wilson’s vehicle, tried to grab Wilson’s gun while punching him in the face, so Wilson shot Brown in the hand. This caused Brown to run away from Officer Wilson. Because Wilson thought Brown was a threat to himself and others, he decided to run after Brown to try to apprehend him. Witness 102 states he was walking to his front porch to grab a broom when he looked across the street and saw that “Brown made some type of movement similar to pulling his pants up or a shoulder shrug, and then ‘charged’ at Wilson.”[80] All seven other credible witnesses agree.

Furthermore, many witnesses expressed apprehension about coming forward because there was community pressure to go along with the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative. For example, Witness 103 stated “concerns” that the Canfield Drive neighborhood had signs posted that said “snitches get stitches”[81] Witness 108 and 109 “claimed to have witnessed the shooting, said it was justified,” but refused to testify before the court for fear of being labeled a “snitch” in the Ferguson community.  [82] 

Lastly, forensic evidence overwhelmingly supports the narrative that Michael Brown attacked officer Wilson, tried to steal his gun, then charged at him, forcing Wilson to defend his life. Brown’s DNA was found on the inside of Wilson’s vehicle, and on Wilson’s shirt, collar, and gun. Analysis of the exit wounds and bullet trajectory establish that the bullets entered the front of Brown, debunking the rumor that Brown was running away, and supporting the witness testimony that he was charging at officer Wilson.[83] Brown putting his hands up in surrender is a lie and a myth. This young man’s death was absolutely a tragedy, and my heart aches for his family and friends, but it was clearly a consequence of his own personal choices, not a racist officer extinguishing the life of a black teenager with impunity, as Tisby would like you to think.

It is reasonable to conclude from this quote that Tisby would like to see Darren Wilson behind bars for no evident reason other than the fact that he is white, and Michael Brown is black. That is social justice: it is partiality toward the “historically oppressed” group, at the expense of biblical justice. Isaiah 1:17 commands Christians to instead “treat people fairly” regardless of the amount of melanin in someone’s skin.

Therefore, since BLM was founded on two lies, its validity is already under serious doubt. Now, let’s see what they believe: “We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead…We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts…We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.”[84] As the cofounder, Patrisse Cullors affirms, “we are trained Marxists.”[85] In addition, Planned Parenthood has recently made a statement strongly affirming BLM as an organization.[86]

From the Christian perspective, this institution has absolutely no viability. Deuteronomy 22:5 states that anyone who dresses as the opposite of the sex they were born with is an abomination to the Lord. Furthermore, unrepentant homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.[87] Scripture clearly affirms the structure of the nuclear family, and is against the murder of innocent unborn babies.[88] Christians love our transgender and homosexual neighbors, and want to see them come to faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Partnering with organizations which affirm what God condemns will not achieve this end.

Now that the idea of BLM’s validity as an institution has been dismantled, let’s see how well they address the concept that black lives actually matter, as Tisby argues. Nowhere on their platform does BLM advocate for black Americans to stop committing homicides against other blacks. Although being only 13% of the population, blacks account for half of America’s murders, and the victim is almost always another black person.[89] In fact, 6318 black Americans were victims of homicide in 2018.[90] John Ayala, whose 11 year old grandson was cruelly shot and murdered on the 4th of July, sums it up perfectly: “Black lives matter it seems like only when a police officer shoots a black person. What about all the black-on-black crime that’s happening in the community?”[91] That is a really good question: if black lives matter, why is there no mention of black on black violence? Not only does BLM not mention the homicide rate on their website, neither does Jemar Tisby in “The Color of Compromise.”

Some may object, “these numbers seem convincing, but they do not erase all of the horrible stories I’ve seen in the media.” This is true in a sense: there are unjustified killings, most of which are assumed to be racially motivated without evidence, that we see in the mainstream media several times each year. What’s more, it is clear that most of the victims shown are black. Each of these cases, in the rare occasion there is an unjustified killing of an unarmed black person, is egregious and tragic. But the fact that the victim shown is black, and the officer is white is often by design.

According to the Crime Research Prevention Center, “While the evidence indicates that black officers are no less likely to shoot suspects than white officers, local news coverage of black officers shooting black suspects gets picked up by the national news in just 9% of cases. By contrast, 38% of the cases in which local news reported on a white officer shooting a black suspect get national coverage.”[92] The reason you probably have not seen many white victims or black perpetrators of police brutality on the national news is because the left wing media has an agenda: they want you to think that white police officers are routinely killing innocent blacks and getting away with it. We should never downplay how horrifically sad each individual case of injustice is when it actually happens, and we should call on our elected officials to carry out justice when it is needed. However, we also should ask why our media downplays victimization of specific races in order to push a particular narrative.
BLM is first and foremost preoccupied with ending police brutality toward blacks. I am strongly in favor of that too. However, it is also important to be honest in these conversations because truth should matter to Christians. The idea that police are rounding up blacks and murdering them in large numbers with no consequences is simply a myth. Firstly, police are more likely to fatally shoot an unarmed white than an unarmed black person.[93] Additionally, a black person is 18.5 times more likely to kill a police officer in the line of duty, than a police officer is to kill an unarmed black man[94]. Why is BLM so preoccupied with police brutality when only 13 unarmed blacks were fatally shot by police last year?[95] Of those 13, it is unknown how many were attacking the police officer like Michael Brown was. It is a very small number of innocent blacks who are killed each year by the police. It is always a tragedy when someone is killed unjustifiably, as in the case of someone like George Floyd. But shouldn’t BLM, if they think that black lives matter, be more worried about the vastly larger 6000-7000 blacks who are murdered each year, almost exclusively by other blacks? Ignoring this reality, BLM cries that we should “defund the police,”[96] and at a Minnesota rally in 2015, they chanted “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em up like bacon” referring to cops as “pigs” who should be killed[97].

BLM  would disagree with the apostle Paul, who asserts that police are “the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”[98] Statistics confirm what Paul is saying: from 1990-2010, crime rates dropped because more police enforced the law in more high crime areas.[99] When the police are there and are allowed to do their jobs, police make a positive difference in their communities. There are always going to be a few bad apples, and I’m open to a conversation about better training for the police. But the idea of defunding the police is counterproductive and untethered to objective, biblical reality.

Lastly, and as previously stated, Black Lives Matter as an organization, does not care that millions of black babies have been slaughtered in the womb since 1973.[100] In fact, as we’ve seen, they promote it. The BLM organization advocates a platform that is against biblical Christianity in every possible way. I vehemently oppose Mr. Tisby’s contention that these people address the concept that black lives do indeed matter. They almost only cry out that black lives matter when a black man is killed by a cop, but are silent about intraracial murder and abortion. Genuine Christians believe that all black lives matter, so we advocate for a regeneration of the heart brought about by Jesus Christ, who transforms fathers, mothers, and children to create a cohesive atomic family that lowers crime, poverty, and most importantly, prevents spiritual destruction.[101]


When Paul addressed the church in Colossae, he pointed out that in Christ, “there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”[102] Before coming to Christ, Jews and gentiles, as well as barbarians and scythians, had social barriers caused by injustices, enslavement, war, and cruelty between these ethnicities. These people had lots of reasons to hate each other; not for injustices that had been done 200 years in the past against their great-great-great grandfathers, but for real oppression that was taking place in that particular time. But Jesus Christ shattered the enmity between people groups on the basis of a shared spiritual unity within his body.

The worldview Mr. Tisby pushes can only divide Christians, not unify. In the words of Christian apologist James White: “As we look at what is being demanded by the social justice movement, it is clear there is no end game. There is no final forgiveness or redemption. You have to completely capitulate to all the fundamental assumptions, then you have to do a lifelong experience of penance. There is therefore now much condemnation in the woke church. If there is no end game, then how can the church stand against an ever-secularizing society?…All my sin has been nailed to the cross of Christ, and so has my brothers’ and sisters’. I have no grounds to demand penance for myself, let alone the sins of my grandparents.”[103] By contrast, in Christ, there is true forgiveness that requires no penance on the part of believers on the basis of their skin color. There is true love that is shared when believers understand that they have been forgiven by a holy God.

My prayer is that readers will take away the notion that the ideas presented in “The Color of Compromise” are inconsistent with the biblical worldview, and that they continually sow discord between brothers. Rather than focusing on what Thomas Sowell called “prepackaged grievances” against “intertemporal abstractions,” Christians are called to love their flesh and blood neighbors in the here and now. Let’s take our eyes off of ethnocentrism and tribalism, and fix our eyes on the savior, Jesus Christ, who is able to “save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”[104]

[1] Tisby, Jemar. The Color of Compromise: the Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism. Grand Rapids, MI, MI: Zondervan, 2019. I do not have the original book, but a digitized copy, so instead of putting page numbers, I will cite the chapter to which I obtained information hereafter.
[2] A few terms that are pertinent to this discussion will be defined as we go along, but it is important, at this juncture, to note that by “woke evangelical” I mean any Christian who places emphasis on skin color and injustice in society, real or perceived, over and above, or in addition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
[3] King, Martin L. “Speech at the Great March on Detroit.” Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Global                     Freedom Struggle. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, n.d. Web. 9  
[4] Proverbs 18:13
[5] 1 John 3:14
[6] In James Cone’s words: “I would define Black Liberation Theology as mainly a theology that sees God as concerned with the poor and the weak.” Hagerty, Barbara Bradley. “Black Liberation Theology, in Its Founder’s Words.” NPR. NPR, March 31, 2008.
[7] Tisby, “Color of Compromise” Chapter 6
[8] James H. Cone, “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2011), 158.
[9] James Cone, Black Theology and Black Power (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1989), 12.
[10] James Cone, A Black Liberation of Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1970), 8.
[11] The preceding two quotes of Cone were found in the following article: Sey, Samuel. “Black Liberation Theology.” Jubilee, 2019.
[12] John 7:24
[13] “Our analysis of social justice is based on a school of thought known as Critical Theory. Critical Theory refers to a body of scholarship that examines how society works, and is a tradition that emerged in the early part of the 20th century from a group of scholars at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany”  Sensoy, Özlem, and Robin DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal? an Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. New York ; London: Teachers College Press, 2017. P. 25.
[14] Tisby, “Color of Compromise” Chapter 1.
[15] DiAngelo, Robin J. White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. S.l.: Allen Lane, 2019. Chapter 2.
[16] In a recent study of college professors, researchers found that any given college professor is 8.5 times more likely to be on the political left than on the right. Langbert, Mitchell, and Sean Stevens. “National Association of Scholars – Partisan Registration and Contributions of Faculty in Flagship Colleges by Sean Stevens,” January 17, 2020.
[17] James 4:1-2
[18] Harrison, Darrell. “The Problem Is Enmity, Not Ethnicity.” Web log. Just Thinking(blog), April 2018.
[19] Ephesians 2:14
[20] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 11
[21] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 11
[22] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 1
[23]You can read the statement here:
[24] Tisby, Jemar. “Battle Lines Form over Social Justice: Is It Gospel or Heresy?,” September 6, 2018.
[25] See Titus 3, Jude, and 2 Peter 2
[26] Proverbs 6:19
[27] Tisby, “Color of Compromise” Chapter 2
[28] Tisby, “Color of Compromise” Chapter 7
[29] AZ statute 13-3603 “A person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.”
[30] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 4
[31] “Some Of The Founding Fathers Vigorously Opposed Slavery.” The New York Times, December 7, 1986.
[32] King, Martin Luther. “The Negro and the Constitution.” Atlanta Daily World. April 16, 1944.
[33] Romans 3:23
[34] James 4:11
[35] Douglass, Frederick. “‘The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Anti-Slavery?” •,” March 26, 1860.
[36] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 9
[37] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 9
[38] Ephesians 4:25
[39] Swain, Carol. “Why Did the Democratic South Become Republican?” PragerU, July 24, 2017.
[40] Swain, Carol. “The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party.” PragerU, May 22, 2017.
[41] Stewart, Alicia W., and Tricia Escobedo. “What You Might Not Know about the 1964 Civil Rights Act – CNNPolitics.” CNN. Cable News Network, April 10, 2014.
[42] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 9
[43] Trende, Sean. “Southern Whites’ Shift to the GOP Predates the ’60s.”
[44] Exodus 20:16
[45] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 9
[46] Elder, Larry. “Black Fathers Matter.” PragerU, June 13, 2016.
[47] Rector, Robert. “The War on Poverty: 50 Years of Failure.” The Heritage Foundation, September 23, 2014.
[48] Horn, Wade F. “Wedding Bell Blues: Marriage and Welfare Reform.” Brookings, July 28, 2016.
[49] Livingston, Gretchen. “Facts On Unmarried Parents in the U.S.” Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, May 30, 2020.
[50] Obama, Barack. “Text of Obama’s Fatherhood Speech.” POLITICO, June 15, 2008.
[51] Steele, Shelby. White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.
[52] Haskins, Ron. “Three Simple Rules Poor Teens Should Follow to Join the Middle Class.” Brookings. Brookings, July 28, 2016.
[53] Ephesians 4:15
[54] “L.B.J. on Race Equality.” The New York Times, July 3, 2003.
[55] Steele, “White Guilt,” Chapter 4.
[56] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 8.
[57] Grabar, Mary. Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America. Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2019. Chapter 7.
[58] Fortner, Michael Javen. Black Silent Majority the Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015.
[59] Horowitz, David. The Black Book of the American Left. New York, NY. Encounter Books, 2013, 27, 44-45.
[60] Moynihan, Michael. “Whitewashing the Black Panthers.” The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company, July 26, 2015.
[61] Grabar, “Debunking Howard Zinn,” Chapter 7.
[62] Isaiah 5:20
[63] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 10
[64] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 10
[65] McIntosh, Kriston, Emily Moss, Ryan Nunn, and Jay Shambaugh. “Examining the Black-White Wealth Gap.” Brookings. Brookings, February 27, 2020.
[66] Berube, Alan. “Black Household Income Is Rising across the United States.” Brookings, October 3, 2019.
[67] Bernadette D. Proctor, Jessica L. Semega, Melissa A. Kollar, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015,”, September 2016
[68] Sowell, Thomas, and Thomas Sowell. “Race and Cosmic Justice.” Essay. In Intellectuals and Race, 116. New York: Basic Books, 2013.
[69] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 11
[70] Sowell, Intellectuals and Race, 116.
[71]  Sowell, Intellectuals and Race, 113.
[72] Exodus 20:17
[73] Exodus 20:15
[74] Exodus 23:1-3. See also James 2:1-13
[75] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 10
[76] “Federal Officials Close Investigation Into Death of Trayvon Martin.” The United States Department of Justice, August 26, 2015.
[77] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 10
[78] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 10
[79] Tisby, “Color of Compromise,” Chapter 10
[80] “Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation into the Shooting Death of Michael Brown.”, March 4, 2015. United States Department of Justice, 27.
[81] “Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation into the Shooting Death of Michael Brown,” 29
[82] “Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation into the Shooting Death of Michael Brown”, 32
[83] “Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation into the Shooting Death of Michael Brown,” 10.
[84] “What We Believe.” Black Lives Matter, September 7, 2019.
[85] BLM Co-Founder Admits; “We Are Trained Marxists”. YouTube, 2020.
[86] “STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD: Our Commitment to Anti-Racism and Race Equity .” Planned Parenthood Great Plains, June 16, 2020.
[87] 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
[88] Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Exodus 20:13
[89] MacDonald, Heather. “Police Shootings and Race.” The Washington Post. WP Company, July 18, 2016.
[90] “Murder Offenders by Age, Sex, Race, and Ethnicity.” Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2018.
[91] “Mother of 11-Year-Old Shot and Killed in DC Speaks Out.” FOX 5 DC, July 6, 2020.
[92] Lott, John R. “Selective Media Reporting Further Fuels Our Racial Divide.” RealClearPolitics, July 8, 2020.
[93] MacDonald, Heather. “Are the Police Racist?” PragerU, August 22, 2016.
[94] MacDonald, Heather. “Time to End the Demonizing of Police.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, July 12, 2016.
[95] “Fatal Force: Police Shootings Database.” The Washington Post. WP Company, January 22, 2020.
[96] Shapiro, Ben. “Not All Black Lives Matter To Black Lives Matter.” The Daily Wire, July 8, 2020.
[97] ‘Pigs in a Blanket’ Chant at Minnesota Fair Riles Police. YouTube, 2015.
[98] Romans 13:4
[99] Shapiro, Ben. “11 Leftist Myths About Criminal Justice.” The Daily Wire, December 6, 2019.
[100] “Abortion Surveillance – United States, 2015.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 22, 2018.
[101] Titus 3:1-6
[102] Colossians 3:11
[103] White, James. An Exegetical & Historical Examination of the Woke Church Movement. Sovereign Nations. Founders Ministries, 2019.
[104] Hebrews 7:25

2 thoughts on “13 Reasons to Reject Jemar Tisby’s “Color of Compromise””

  1. This is amazing. Thank you for the thought out and correct answers to these presuppositions that Tisby writes about. This teaching has worked its way into my church and it’s sad to see our pastor post on social media, quotes by Tisby and others.

    It’s also sad to see Tisby being featured on RightNow Media with a study on….racism!

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful, complete review. I appreciate your efforts to be fair and loving as you point out the problems in this book. It was very helpful for me to be able to read your list and the reasoning behind your concerns.

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