Josh McDowell apologizes for claiming most black families don’t emphasize education

Josh McDowell speaks at Talbot Chapel at Biola University in California on January 21, 2020.
Josh McDowell speaks at Talbot Chapel at Biola University in California on January 21, 2020. | YouTube/Biola University

Christian author Josh McDowell has apologized for comments he made at a recent national meeting of Christian counselors wherein he suggested that most black Americans have not been raised to value hard work or education. 

In remarks on Saturday at the gathering of the American Association of Christian Counselors, the acclaimed writer and apologist spoke of critical race theory — known by the acronym CRT — as a grave threat to the Church because it negates the Bible’s teaching about racism.

Some have argued that CRT contradicts the Gospel since it focuses on social systems and not the condition of the human heart.

In his speech, McDowell, who has authored and co-authored over 150 books, asserted that not every American, particularly racial minorities, enjoys equal opportunity because of differences in values.

“I do not believe blacks, African Americans, and many other minorities have equal opportunity. Why? Most of them grew up in families where there is not a big emphasis on education, security — you can do anything you want. You can change the world. If you work hard, you will make it. So many African Americans don’t have those privileges like I was brought up with,” McDowell was quoted as saying.

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The author posted a statement Sunday clarifying his words. He apologized by saying that his statement about racial minorities carried some unfortunate implications.  

“Racism has kept equality from being achieved within our nation,” McDowell's statement reads. He added that when he said most minorities grew up in families that did not prioritize education and security, it was a “generalized statement that does not reflect reality.”

"I apologize and reiterate my Christian love for all races, nationalities and people groups," he wrote. “My desire is that we as Christians would deal with both racism and inequality as the sins that they are in order to restore the unity that God desires for all.”

His words come amid ongoing friction over critical race theory nationwide. Tension over the issue has struck the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as influential and large school districts.

At the SBC's annual meeting in Nashville back in June, CRT was a much-debated subject that brought about several resolutions from the floor following two years of considerable consternation among some within the convention after the passage of Resolution 9 at the 2019 annual meeting.

Resolution 9 described the theory as a useful analytical tool. Opposition to the resolution was one of the key aspects that led to the formation of the Conservative Baptist Network. The network of Southern Baptist congregations contests what they see as a drift from their theological commitments and aims to reinvigorate the denomination's historic emphasis on evangelism. 

Earlier this summer, Loudoun County, Virginia, became a flashpoint in the nationwide debate on critical race theory.

Hundreds of parents flooded school board meetings in the suburban Washington, D.C., county to voice their objections to what they believe is the indoctrination of their children into a Marxist ideology that further foments racial hostility.

Local proponents of CRT say that such training is needed in the district, given that teachers in the school system are primarily white and that the surrounding community is increasingly racially diverse. 

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