In 2000, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith published their book, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. The book is based upon their historical retelling of black and white relations in America, a statistical reporting of a nationwide survey of white evangelicals and their views on racism, and the author’s sociological interpretation of that history. and survey. Emerson and Smith reject personal attempts to resolve the problem of racism, deeming them insufficient to resolve the problem, and they assert that the white evangelical approach has exacerbated the problem of racial injustice because white evangelicals have learned how to hide their prejudices, all the while maintaining ideas and practices reinforced by “racialization.” The authors conclude “that despite the best intentions of evangelical leaders and some positive trends, real racial reconciliation remains far over the horizon.”
In Dividing the Faithful, David Schrock offers a chapter by chapter analysis and response to Divided By Faith. Because this book has been championed among evangelicals so often and without the necessary caveats, it has become the first book in the “woke” canon and a gateway drug to the harder forms of CRT. To see its far-reaching effect, one needs only to scan the footnotes of recent works on race and ethnicity. Without critique, Divided by Faith has become a standard work for evangelicals who want to think about race. Over the last decade, this book has been handed out, recommended, and preached from various platforms across the Reformed Evangelical landscape. And even as CRT, as a system, has been rejected by many, Divided by Faith, which is laced with CRT ideology, has found a place.
Schrock shows how this book is a poison pill that has infected many churches in America. Claiming to offer valuable insights for the church, it has overshadowed the light of Scripture with the false lights of secular scholar-ship. And because the pure gospel of Jesus Christ has suffered as a result, Dividing the Faithful aims to overturn every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God in Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). The goal is that everyone who reads this book might see the errors of Divided by Faith, so that they will not be led away from a pure devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3).
This is the twofold reason for this book—to expose error and to solidify faith in the true gospel. Divided by Faith has done significant harm to the church, and out of love for the church and the message of the gospel, Schrock hopes to persuade you to put down Divided by Faith and to find better help in Scripture and from pastor-scholars who treat the Bible as God’s Word.
What others are saying:
“The neo-Reformed movement of the last 20 years shaped so many, me included. But unbeknownst to us, Satan had a counter-attack planned. One key aspect of that offensive: a woke pseudo-gospel that would, in the name of supposed Christian unity, divide the church along the lines of skin color. Tragically, Divided by Faith played a massive role in that shift. Though a very thin book with a thesis based on phone interviews, it somehow became the ur-text of evangelical social justice. Thankfully, a response to this destructive sociological text has come at last. David Schrock’s work here is exemplary, blending close reading, biblical theology, and razor-sharp worldview thinking. In great love for straying believers and churches, I pray this book is used to overcome wokeness in the church. We need no replacement gospel, after all; we have the true one, and it saves and unites sinners like us.” —Owen Strachan, Provost, Grace Bible Theological Seminary; author, Christianity and Wokeness and The War on Men
“Back in 2018 I was concerned about the progressive direction one of my Reformed evangelical friends was going. He was writing a dissertation (at one of the largest and most theologically conservative seminaries in America) on how white evangelicals are guilty of white fragility, and he had become an activist for what he called “racial justice.” I asked him to recommend a book for me to read in order to better understand his perspective, and he cautioned me to avoid people like Thomas Sowell because such black intellectuals are marginal voices who do not represent the black view. The book he most encouraged me to read is Emerson and Smith’s Divided by Faith. I read it, and my concerns increased. I wish David Schrock’s Dividing the Faithful had been available then. I’m glad it’s available now.” —Andy Naselli, professor of systematic theology and New Testament for Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis and one of the pastors of The North Church
“I wish this book had been available in 2017. That was the year that a trusted friend and fellow pastor strongly recommended Divided by Faith (by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith) by describing how it had completely humbled and chastened him and his fellow elders about their insensitivities to—if not complicity with—the rampant, often hidden, racism that permeates our society. As I led my fellow elders through the book, to my surprise we did not share a similar experience. In fact, our ethnically diverse eldership struggled to understand why a book on sociology was replete with theological judgments—many of which are subtly made. Once we got our bearings (around chapter 3) we were able to evaluate the book more profitably and concluded that it is far more dangerous than helpful. Sociologically there are a few things to appreciate about the book. But theologically, it is a disaster. Any attempt to utilize Divided by Faith in Christian discipleship will undermine the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word and will inevitably result in “seed[ind] ideas from Critical Race Theory into evangelical soil” (9).
David Schrock provides a thorough critique of Emerson and Smith’s work as one who previously regarded it as a trustworthy analysis of racism in American Christianity. His assessment is characterized by theological precision and pastoral wisdom. The result is a correction of harmful recommendations and superficial assessments that many prominent Christian organizations, pastors, and theologians have made. Many of those he corrects are his friends. My hope is that they will receive the wounds inflicted by his ruthlessly biblical arguments as being faithful, will renounce their previous endorsements, and will make their corrected views as widely known as their previous recommendations. Much of the damage that Divided by Faith has created will not be undone in this life. But Dr. Schrock himself is an example of the way God mercifully helps His children see and own the error of their ways as they faithfully submit to the authority and sufficiency of His Word. Schrock has done pastors and church leaders—indeed all Christians—a great service by exposing the dangers of embracing Divided by Faith as a help in faithfully following Jesus.” —Tom Ascol, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL and President of Founders Ministries and the Institute of Public Theology
“Throughout my life, I’ve been involved with a fair number of educational institutions founded by Christians—as a faculty kid at four of them, a student at three, a teacher at six, and a campus minister at one. Some of these schools have continued strong in and for the faith; some still dabble in it; others have become inhospitable toward it. Along the way, I’ve become a student of lamentable turning points—persons, policies, events—where the world began to witness (and typically applaud) what James Burtchaell chronicled in The Dying of the Light. And, not surprisingly, these academic downturns often track with denominational decline, each contributing to the other.
David Schrock has aptly identified a poisonous, turning-point book which has weakened Evangelicalism. Strong words, but well documented, and with opprobrium well deserved. Nothing less than the gospel is a stake. On the one hand is the biblical “faith once for all delivered to the saints”; on the other is a program of scripture twisting at the hands of utopian social activists engaged in perpetual, grievance-mongering marinated in blinkered science and ruinous political philosophy.
Unfortunately, a host of Evangelicals have bought into Divided by Faith’s conceits. But I come back to a maxim I posted on my study wall when I was a young pastor: “Don’t attribute to malice what can be explained in terms of ignorance.” I’ve needed and also extended the grace that slogan offers. And I’ve always been grateful for those who’ve helped me sort out my cherished, well-intentioned errors—the sort of ministry David Schrock has provided to those still stuck in the thrall of this dismal book.” —Mark Coppenger, Retired Professor of Christian Philosophy and Ethics
“If you want to understand what has been driving wokeness among Reformed Baptists in the last decade and the grave dangers it presents to the biblical gospel, you need to read David Schrock’s powerful critique of Divided by Faith. While it may be a little book, Divided by Faith, has made a huge impact to shape the thinking of many Reformed Baptist pastors.
I first became aware of the problem in 2015 while attending a gathering of pastors that was led by a well-known and trusted Reformed Baptist ministry. I was concerned as they taught us that we were all influenced by “white supremacy,” and how our nation and churches were infected with structural forms of racism. When I questioned the narrative, I was introduced to Divided by Faith and learned that this ministry was training countless pastors with the poison of Critical Race Theory embedded in the pages of this book. It was disconcerting to realize that the leaders of this ministry – who I had known to view every other issue through the lens of Scripture – were viewing racial issues in our nation and churches through the worldly sociological lens of Divided by Faith.
I immediately read Divided by Faith and found it to be grossly incompatible with the biblical gospel. None of the book’s claims were tested by Scripture and it neither used Scripture for the questions it raised nor the answers it gave. Furthermore, not only is the book devoid of the gospel, but the authors also mock the basic tenets of the gospel.
I prayed someone would present a thorough and robust rebuttal to the false teaching of Divided by Faith. I am thankful that God raised up David Schrock to do just that. In his book, Dividing the Faithful, Schrock dismantles the false narrative of Divided by Faith with great biblical precision. He carefully lays out the theological problems with the book and lovingly calls out the evangelicals who have promoted its poison. We owe Schrock a tremendous debt for graciously and directly confronting the dangers of Divided by Faith. I pray that everyone will carefully read and consider Schrock’s work, that the church will reject the lies taught in Divided by Faith, and that those who have promoted its teaching will be brought to full repentance.” —Tom Buck, Pastor, First Baptist Church Lindale, TX.