Review of “How To Preach A Dangerous Sermon” By Frank A. Thomas
The Rev. Frank A. Thomas will be speaking at the Nazarene Theological Seminary in September, at the annual event sponsored by Praxis. It used to be called Center For Pastoral Leadership, and I was reminded that Praxis is a Marxist term and a practice that denies absolute truth, and is connected to Catholic social justice and Critical Race Theory. Based on their current activities, it is an apt change of name that matches where NTS is heading.
The NTS FaceBook page has an announcement about the seminar, and some interesting discussion:
How To Preach A Dangerous Sermon, Sept 27-28, 2022
“How To Preach A Dangerous Sermon” is not about how to preach exegetically through the scriptures. This book is not a book to encourage pastors to be faithful to the word, and to preach the word with fervor and truthfulness. This book is a recipe for presenting messages to believers using what the author calls “moral imagination”, but this type of presentation fails because of the ideology behind the instruction. To preach “dangerous sermons” according to Frank Thomas, would require an adherence to a certain type of political ideology, not a biblically-grounded ideology.
Every chapter in this book is grounded on the core principals that come out of Critical Race Theory. To Frank Thomas, “whiteness” is a major problem. White people are almost all responsible for the racial ills in this country. He said that white supremacy was elected to the White House in 2016. He believes that white people need to come to terms with their racism, even if they do not realize it. This is the thought process of a racist system, not a sound biblical system.
The foreword was written by the Rev. William Barber II, a social justice active, CRT proponent, and well known for his yearly appearances at the heretical Wildgoose Festival, a gathering of emergent church types such as Brian McLaren; LGBT activists; and blended religious systems. Like Thomas, Barber is a supporter of LGBT “rights.” He believes that the “white men” who signed the Declaration of Independence were never faithful to it. He believes President Trump was a racist. In fact, he believes Trump was elected because of a racist Electoral college system! He is just another radical racial opportunist. Barber is just one of the associates of Frank Thomas that can give you a pretty good insight into the hardcore leftist values that Thomas holds dear.
Introduction: The Critical Value of Moral Imagination
Thomas lays the groundwork for his approach to the rest of the book in the introductory chapter. After explaining what moral imagination entails, he soon reveals his political (not scriptural) approach to what should be a “dangerous sermon.” In chapter one, Thomas gives his definition of moral imagination: “the ability of the preacher, intuitive or otherwise, in the midst of the chaotic experiences of life and existence, to grasp and share God’s abiding wisdom and ethical truth in order to benefit the individual and common humanity.” It is this principle that Thomas uses to develop his “dangerous preaching” style.
Thomas says that “it is human nature to limit freedom to one’s group, and to be perfectly contented that freedom is limited, restricted, and privileged to a few.” Here is the start of a continuing theme on such things as “white privilege”, and a supposed ingrained racism that refuses to accept freedom to anyone but those in your group. In this book, that will really mean only one group: those who would be identified as white.
Thomas is a far left liberal, as evidenced by the following statement:
“I find most conservative ideas not inclusive of my interests and my reality, principally because the most recent expressions of the conservative movement have articulated opposition to support for diversity, social programs, equal rights for women, environmentalism, public education, LGBTQ communities, ethnic minorities, a woman’s right to choose, Planned Parenthood, gun control, and so on.”
He then complains and criticizes conservatives that their movement “never seems to include critical analysis of race, misogyny, patriarchy, immigration, discrimination, capitalism.”
What I believe he is really saying is that he knows that conservatives analyze all these issues, but he does not like the way they come to their conclusions. He is also offended that conservatives lament and disdain “identity politics”, which they certainly do! Rev. Thomas clearly despises the conservative approach to the culture and politics, and also reveals his support for LGBTQ activism, abortion, and his disdain for conservative principles.
Rev. Thomas links America To White Supremacy and White Privilege
Quote: “White supremacy and white privilege are the default positions of America and remain fundamentally unaddressed, basically because man, especially whites, vehemently deny their existence.” The default American position! This is astounding, and racist in nature. It is straight out of the Critical Race Theory (CRT) playbook that America (white America) is inherently racist in its core.
Further on, he states “the fundamental cultural myth of America is a city set on a hill, blessed by God to be the light of the world, with the spiritual values of optimism, hard work, frugality, capitalistic economic striving, and a virgin land as assets to bring the kingdom of God to earth.”
In other words, he derides most of the ideals that are the underpinnings this country was founded on. (Other than the kingdom of God to earth statement, I believe all of those other virtues are solid and are generally being lived out in America. But racially based, CRT-focused people like Rev. Thomas believe that adhering to these basic principals apparently “limits their perspective, and in some sense blinds them.”
Thomas says the following are examples of white supremacy:
“Mass incarceration, police shooting and killing unarmed African American people, tactics of voter suppression, and the race-baiting and hatred of alt-right groups, to name a few.”
These are over the top generalizations by a man who is highly educated and intelligent. But he lacks wisdom with these kinds of generalizations, and so here he blames the vast majority of blacks in prison… on white supremacy. He blames the entire small number of unarmed blacks killed by police… on white supremacy. He blames any voter law that holds voters accountable…on white supremacy. And surely there are racists that may be part of an “alt-right movement”, but aren’t there racists out of the BLM movement, or part of the antifa faction? Of course, but to Frank Thomas, the only racism needing to be addressed is by white people.
To Frank Thomas, white people are guilty of apathy and racial indifference.
Rev. Thomas supports this idea by referencing Michelle Alexander, who “posits racial indifference and the “comfort of apathy” as overarching sources of the refusal of the vast majority of white Americans to take up the challenge of equality.” Rev. Thomas never supports these accusations with any kind of evidence.
Thomas then refers to the late Derrick Bell, one of the founders of Critical Race Theory who “made the argument that whites will not support civil rights policies that may threaten white social status.” Do you see how racist this thinking is? How does Frank Thomas aim to be any kind of uniter at Nazarene Theological Seminary when he is firmly grounded in a belief system that accuses white people of racial indifference and apathy? He continues by pointing out that Bell “believed that white people would support racial justice when there is something in it for them.” Again, no evidence for any of this, and it is a broad brush to paint an entire group of people with such racist accusations.
He finishes the introductory chapter with this:
“what has and always will hinder the moral imagination of America is white supremacy that reserves the rights and benefits of America only to a few. The election of Donald Trump- who trumpets cynicism; white nationalism; patriarchy; ridicule of immigrants, women, and disable persons; a Muslim ban; and the support of Trump from the KKK and alt-right racist groups-is indicative of the pervasiveness of the idolatrous and diabolical imagination. Let me be crystal clear: racism, misogyny, cynicism, xenophobia, patriarchy, and anti-immigrant blame discourse always surges from the heart of the diabolical imagination.”
Frank Thomas has not simply condemned Donald Trump with this statement. He has condemned millions of Christians and conservatives who do not agree with the left’s twisted view of social justice. If you are against illegal immigration, you are anti-immigrant, or you are anti-Muslim. Anyone who does not agree with the ideology of Frank Thomas cannot sit at the table with him, because they are racist, bigoted, anti-woman, and anti-anything that in the eyes of Frank Thomas and his ilk is good.
This is only the Introduction. There are five chapters remaining.