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The New Legalism

Rules of the New Holiness Code

Read the books!

Do the work of antiracism!

Decenter whiteness!

These are the calls to holiness in our cultural moment. These are the new directives to "do better" and become better people. We even hear these messages within many churches. Last spring, I read that an increasing number of churches were encouraging congregants to do the work of antiracism—as a sort of "decenter your whiteness" campaign—for Lent.

These declarations often come from a good place, namely a concern for the victims of racism and injustice. But are these specific acts necessary to avoid being complicit in racism? Those who do not participate in them are looked at with suspicion. In some cases, they’re even labeled as apathetic about racism.

Very few are asking an underlying question: Are these acts what God actually requires of us? What does God's word say?

God's Law vs. Hedge Laws

There is wide confusion about God's law among Christians today. The following is a brief survey of Mark 7:1-23, a passage that illustrates how man-made laws don't always gel with God's law. After this survey, I will explain how I think this passage applies to the current discussion about "doing the work of antiracism."