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Notes from Jonathan Leeman’s 2020 T4G address:

1. What Is Identity Politics?

  • It is an approach to politics based on one’s group identity.
  • It comes with a basic worldview which measures life in terms of power generally and the division of groups between oppressor and oppressed specifically.
  • It views life and truth as socially constructed.
  • The primary political activity of oppressed groups is consciousness-raising and collective action.

2. Identity Politics Is an Unexpected Ally

  • It reminds us of what the Bible teaches about the pervasiveness of sin.
  • It helps us better understand the Bible’s call to repentance and the unity that only come through repentance.
  • It encourages us to consider more carefully the prominent role the Bible gives to justice.
  • It helps us better understand what the Bible teaches about authority, at least perversions of authority in the fall.

3. Identity Politics Is a Misleading Ally—An Anti-Theology

  • Its doctrine of creation: It treats both group and the individual as god. Therefore, there is little basis for human unity or dignity.
  • Its doctrine of sin and the fall: It offers a different list of sins than the Bible’s, which creates new injustices. It also overlooks the universality of sin.
  • Its doctrine of redemption: It offers salvation by merit, which yields self-righteousness. And it insists on political agreement, which yields division.

Are our present divisions the fault of identity politics?

Identity politics is a cause of some of our divisions.

But identity politics is also the symptom of older sins, sins which are also responsible for our present divisions.

4. Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Preach the political power of justification by faith alone, which is the source of the church’s spiritual and political (not partisan) unity.
  • Point to the church as the political hope of the nations and where we find our primary identity together in Christ.
  • Preach the whole Bible.
  • Maintain both love and truth.
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