“We need to look closely to determine just where and to what degree God-talk becomes the arrogant humanism that puts God at our disposal.” – Merold Westphal
25 Reasons Why Neo-Reformed White Bro Dude Theology Needs to Repent (listed in no particular order):
25. It disguises cruelty and bigotry as love.
24. It disrespects women — not as a bug in the system, but as a feature.
23. It disrespects LGBTQ+ persons — not as a bug in the system, but as a feature.
22. Every time it appeals to natural theology (e.g., God’s design of the world, especially as related to gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation), the “natural order” invoked conveniently reflects the prejudices of the ones doing the invoking.
21. It confuses “speaking the truth in love” with “I have the absolute truth and if you don’t agree with my way of thinking you’re eternally damned.” Its version of love rarely includes the practice of listening to the other.
20. It claims to take the Bible seriously but only reads bits and pieces designed to support a preexisting assumption. Circular reasoning abounds.
19. Its adherents tend to be pretty nice in person, but are disproportionately vile — if not outright dangerous — on the internet.
18. It confuses the finite for the infinite. When accused of doing this, it doubles down by stressing that its absolute truth claims are also — again, quite conveniently — those of the infinite God. In other words, it constantly traffics in idolatry.
17. It lacks the fruits of the Spirit described by Paul.
16. Its view of a sovereign God has much more in common with the devil than with Jesus.
15. It glorifies violence, including redemptive violence and abuse.
14. It passes itself off as the one true absolute orthodoxy, which is perhaps the most dangerous of all religious postures. Even though it speaks of grace, it functions as a tribalistic, works-based meritocracy based on a highly contextualized formulation of rigid doctrine in which love must be earned by conforming to the rules of the club.
13. It’s notorious for claiming that its critics only make straw man arguments against it. Yet, ironically enough, it consistently deflects attention away from such criticisms by creating straw men of its accusers. Therefore it rarely responds to the actual criticisms made against its positions.
12. It confuses proof-texting the Bible with following the Christ, and becomes an echo chamber of biblical proportions.
11. It interprets the Bible and Christianity through the lens of white privilege rooted in white imperialism, which in turn reinforces white supremacy.
10. It’s anti-science.
9. Its emphasis on a hyper-individualized salvation in the afterlife portends to nihilism in this life.
8. It doesn’t take the Bible seriously, mostly because it fails to acknowledge basic principles related to history, context, and interpretation.
7. The call for social justice and righteousness at the heart of Jesus’ ministry is secondary at best, which makes a mockery not only of Jesus’ life but also the over two thousand verses of scripture that highlight economic justice and righteousness.
6. It doesn’t trust the experiences of women.
5. It doesn’t trust the experiences of LGBTQ+ persons.
4. It doesn’t trust the experiences of people of color.
3. Its propensity to mansplain is off the charts.
2. It ascribes a level of infallibility to its leaders — John Piper, Mark Driscoll, etc. — that would leave Martin Luther spinning in his grave.
1. Instead of honoring the spirit of the reformers — who protested authoritarian structures of oppression — it dishonors the spirit of the reformers by constantly propping up authoritarian structures of oppression.
* This list was compiled with a few friends; I’m not the sole author. We are just tired of the misogyny, homophobia, and racism so often supported by what we are loosely describing here as white bro dude neo-reformed theology. It is a violent and nefarious approach to doing theology that needs to either go away or — for God’s sake and ours — repent and reform. And too many of the characteristics in this list also find a haven in white expressions of progressive theology too, and it needs to be held accountable as well.