by Monique Duson
In the summer of 2020, Matt Chandler, a megachurch pastor and former president of the Acts 29 Network, criticized anyone not supporting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Referring to Christian skepticism about BLM, Chandler stated, “It’s like this brain-broke disjoint that’s got us acting absurd and then critiquing this movement as being evil and dark.”
JD Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, shared a similar sentiment, “Southern Baptists, we need to say it clearly as a gospel issue: Black Lives Matter.”
Nearly overnight, a simple three-word phrase became a political weapon of massive social and emotional upheaval and a source of division among many Christians.
Black Lives Matter is more than a slogan or hashtag that alerted the world to racial injustice following the deaths of black men such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and George Floyd. BLM is a powerful political activist movement.
We can appreciate the strands of the BLM movement that speak up for the dignity, equality, and value of image-bearers of God. However, before we jump on board with a hashtag or movement, we as Christians need to pause and take an inventory of what we are supporting. And under this scrutiny, we see five critical contradictions between the historic Christian worldview and BLM.
1. BLM Misdefines Justice
God declares his love of justice in Isaiah 61:8. But is everything currently being decried as “injustice”’ actually an issue of justice from a biblical perspective? We must define such terms carefully and understand the biblical precedent for justice; we need to know precisely what is worth taking to the streets and “fighting” for.
Old Testament Hebrew has two key expressions for justice. The first is tzedakah, sometimes translated as righteousness or charity. It considers our day-to-day choices and relationships and what they reveal about the heart. How are we treating family members, colleagues, and friends? Are we demonstrating fairness, generosity, and equality? That’s tzedakah.
A second word often translated as justice is mishpat. It involves punishing wrongdoers and caring for the victims of unjust treatment. Mishpat concerns the world of judges, laws, and law courts.
A foundational principle of mishpat is impartiality. Judges are commanded to “Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike” (Deuteronomy 1:16-17).1
With these considerations in place, let’s look at some of the distinctives of the BLM approach to justice, as stated on their website.2
We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.
We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location. We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
These are the justice issues BLM fights for: undermining God's definition of family, celebrating sinful concepts of sex, and redefining who constitutes the oppressed, and then tipping the scales of justice to favor those groups. Anything departing from this agenda will be seen as obstructive and unjust. It also means that bringing biblical truth and historic Christian doctrine to bear on any of these matters will be labeled as unjust.
2. BLM Doesn’t Stand for ALL Black Life
I was a BLM proponent when it started in 2013, but I now realize that I was endorsing unbiblical and ungodly ideas. Yes, black lives matter. And God is equally concerned with all human life. At no time should anyone be subjected to racism, shame, abuse, mistreatment, or death because of their skin color. All humanity bears the image of God, and He desires a loving relationship with all his creatures.
In Matthew 6, we read of our Heavenly Father’s knowledge and care for our physical needs and well-being. John 3:16 speaks of God’s love for the world, and 2 Peter 3:9 affirms that He desires none to perish but all to repent. Nowhere in the Bible is God’s self-sacrificial and redeeming love connected in any way to the color of our skin.
The BLM organization does not hold to this standard. According to their website:
Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.3
The stated goal of Black Lives Matter is to work for the benefit of Black people, not all people. This jars with the focus of Scripture, which exhorts us to promote the good of all people, irrespective of color.
3. BLM Advocates for the Deconstruction of the Nuclear Family
Scripture defines the family as starting with one man and one woman. In Genesis 1 and 2, Adam and Eve are instructed to be fruitful, to multiply, and to have dominion over the created order. God’s conception of the family unit is repeated in the New Testament: “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). God’s intended and unchanging revelation of the nature of a family is of one man and one woman.
BLM again stands in contrast to Scripture. In fact, BLM appears to be directly against the formation of family as Scripture defines it:
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.4
This “disruption” of the nuclear family structure intervenes in a system directly instituted by God. When we attempt to redesign God’s plan, we create idols and undermine the foundation of our societies.
4. BLM Engages in Black Spiritualism (Occult Practices)
BLM’s hashtags to “say the name” of those for whom they are advocating is a direct violation of the commandment against consulting and reaching out to the dead (see Deut. 18:11; Lev. 20:7). Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of BLM, has stated publicly that the use of these hashtags is “way more than a hashtag. It is literally almost resurrecting a spirit so that they can work through us to get the work done that we need to get done.”
The practice is religious, derived from the Western African tradition of ancestral worship, where “calling out” the name of the deceased is invoking them to be present with you. This practice of calling out the dead is not limited to hashtags; is also present in BLM protests, where the spirit of the person who was killed is conjured up so that it can be transferred to the protesters. Cullors believes that it is important for activists to be in “direct relationship with our people who’ve passed” and that “so many of them work through us.”
At least one BLM leader also engages in mediumship. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the BLM Los Angeles chapter, claims to be “intimate with the spirits that we call on.” She claims to have conversations with Wakeisha Wilson, a woman who died while in an LAPD jail in 2016, and to have received direction from Redel Jones regarding the 2015 protests due to claims of her wrongful death after being shot by LAPD.
Rather than seek mediums and necromancers to entreat the dead on behalf of the living, Scripture says in Isaiah 8:19 that we, God’s people, should seek Him. As believers, we cannot partner with an organization that is in outright and willing, almost celebratory, violation of any of God’s commands.
Listen to Monique share more of her thoughts on this issue here:
5. BLM’s Fiscal Responsibility Is Questionable
Since 2021, the fiscal responsibility of BLM has been called into question. BLM leaders have bought several luxury homes in the United States and Canada. They have been accused of cronyism for employing and contracting several relatives of BLM’s founders and board members with generous compensations. At the same time, some families of blacks killed by police have felt used and have complained that they received little or no support from the organization.
BLM’s tax filings for 2022 reported a $8.5 million deficit. While the organization still retains enough assets to remain solvent, this large deficit raises concerns about how effectively BLM is managing the funds it has received.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be good stewards. We should hesitate to place the money given to us by God where it will not be used with integrity. As believers, when we donate our money to organizations, we should be reasonably confident that the money will be used in a manner that honors God, for its intended purposes, and with transparency and honesty.
By withholding our support from BLM, are we saying that Christians shouldn’t speak out against racial injustice? No. The idea of standing for justice isn’t new to Christianity. Throughout church history, Christians have committed themselves to the service of society’s vulnerable, leading the way in establishing schools, hospitals, and orphanages.
In Isaiah 10, God’s people are reprimanded for creating unjust laws that directly affected orphans and widows, the most vulnerable group within that society.
James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Again, the highest regard for justice in society is put forward.
What’s concerning is the idea that we need organizations or movements to dictate how, when, and where we must take a stand—and what justice must look like.
Where there is a clear injustice, Christians should responsibly use their voices to speak truth and campaign for justice. However, before we partner our finances, social media accounts, or time with a “justice” movement, we must first understand their ethos and perceive how they define justice.
Here are some questions to ask:
Does this organization support the biblical Christian worldview?
Is this hashtag ill-defined (even if well-meaning)?
Will my audience mistake the hashtag as support for something that doesn't align with the Christian worldview?
Is using this hashtag promoting a violation of God’s law?
Is this organization managing its funds with integrity and transparency?
Will the money that God provides me with be used in this organization for His purposes?
Our hope is to see a distinctly Christian approach to justice and unity arise in this cultural moment, not one based on the world’s definitions.
1 It’s important to note that God’s justice standards include also caring for the accused. In Deut. 19, the Hebrews are given instruction on how to protect someone who accidentally kills another person. We must remember that God is always just and His standards for justice are perfect. Because He can’t go against Himself, God’s perfect justice is always coupled by His perfect love.
Originally Published: 6/16/2020
Updated: 12/2023 by Natalie Roman