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Ibram Kendi: 'Radical Revolutionary' Jesus Came to Free People 'From the Clutches of … the American Empire'

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Ibram X. Kendi, a leftist professor and author who helped popularize the mainstream understanding of critical race theory, described Jesus in a recent interview as a “radical revolutionary” who came to liberate people “from the clutches of … the American empire.”

The “How to Be an Antiracist” author told Uproxx’s Talib Kweli in July that he rejects “white evangelical theology” and believes in “liberation theology,” arguing the former teaches that black people are “a backward, uncivilized sort of savage race.”


Kweli claimed people have become more comfortable over time seeing Jesus as a “radical revolutionary.” He went on to ask Kendi to “break down the difference between, you know, seeing Jesus Christ as a figure of liberation versus, like, the white nationalist Christ.”

Kendi said:

In many ways, you know, white evangelical theology projects Jesus as not only white — but not only a white savior, but a white savior of people of color and even, you know — because we, apparently, according to this theology, were a backward, uncivilized, sort of, savage race. And Jesus came, apparently, to save humanity, particularly to save black people, to save even poor whites, those so-called “white trash,” from themselves, while liberation theology and black liberation theology is like, no, Jesus was a — as you stated — a radical revolutionary that came to free the people from the clutches of Babylon and oppression, and from the clutches of empire, whether it was the Roman empire or the American empire, and that the engine, or the job, of the church, you know, is to be a place, or a space, really, a home of revolutionaries.

This is not the first time Kendi has made remarks like this.

In March, footage went viral of Kendi claiming to reject “savior theology,” which posits it is the job of believers “to go out and save these individuals who are behaviorally deficient.” He furthermore defined “liberation theology” as a belief system that “breeds … a common humanity against the structures of power that oppress us all.”

Voddie Baucham, a Christian author and apologist who has been outspoken in his opposition to critical race theory and other philosophies espoused by Kendi, argued during an interview with Faithwire that such ideologies actually spark deeper ethnic division.

Christians, he said, should reject critical race theory as incompatible with the Gospel.

“We don’t need critical race theory to teach us on race, on partiality, on the sin of partiality,” Baucham said. “I can understand if people want to say that we want to use scientific text, for example, that speaks to an issue that the Bible doesn’t speak to; the Bible is not a mathematics textbook. There’s a whole lot of things that the Bible is not, but, when it comes to the relationships between people when it comes to sins based on partiality, the Bible is absolutely a textbook on that.”

The “Fault Lines” author suggested critical race theory ultimately warps our understanding of truth.

“In critical race theory, if you want to know the truth when it comes to race and racism, you have to elevate black voices, you have to listen to the voice of the marginalized — and this is what people are talking about in church today, right?” Baucham asked. “[W]ith critical race theory, we do this because that’s the way you know truth. Not through knowing God, not through knowing God’s Word, but through listening to the voices and the experiences of the people who we determine to be marginalized.”

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church