Have you ever been asked who you are? Or maybe, where are you from? What is your identity is what people seem to be asking.
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #90 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Identity politics argues that demography is destiny. Human beings are all reducible to our race, ethnicity, gender, and beyond this, our individuality nolonger matters, what matters is the group identity. This is identity politics.
Identity politics refers to the political movements and ideologies that focus on the interests and perspectives of specific social groups based on their shared characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or other aspects of their identity. It involves organizing and advocating for the rights, representation, and social equality of often self-defined marginalized or underrepresented groups. Identity politics argues that different groups experience social and political issues differently due to their differing historical, cultural, and systemic contexts.
Proponents argue that recognizing and addressing these differences is essential for achieving social justice and challenging systems of oppression.
Critics of identity politics argue that it leads to a narrow focus on individual group interests at the expense of broader unity and shared goals. They argue, with considerable evidence, that emphasizing group identities can contribute to polarization, exclusion, and a fragmentation of society. Critics also contend that identity politics perpetuates divisions and hinders constructive dialogue between different groups.
Identity politics asserts identity is wholly socially determined. We are products of our sex, race, and something socially invented called gender identity.
But Christians believe we are made in God’s image. “The Bible affirms the importance of every individual.”
In Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice, Scott David Allen says, “The groups we belong to shape us. They do not define us. The bedrock of human identity is found in our common creation (we are all created in God’s image and likeness, with equal value and dignity) and in God’s gracious open door to redemption.”
Identity politics, and its intellectual suite mate, critical race theory, teaches a person’s identity cannot be separated from your group. No individuality. These ideas are antithetical to Christianity.
For identity politics, redemption is separating a person from oppressors not being freed from sin. Salvation in the radical view of identity politics is to gain power over your oppressors.
In his book, We Will Not Be Silenced, Erwin Lutzer observed, “The Gospel does what critical race theory (and identity politics) can’t do…We believe the root cause of evil is not only external systems, but rather, the sin that lies within every human heart. Therefore, we strive for commonality among the races, not accentuating our differences. At the foot of the cross we confess that there is common ground between all the racial and ethnic diversity in the world. We stand together as sinners confessing our common need of personal redemption. We see the source of evil not outside us, but within us. We acknowledge, as someone has said, that we don’t have a skin problem, but a sin problem.”
Identity politics has contributed to race division, hatred, and confusion. But worse, identity politics, and its supporting cast in critical race theory and the sexual liberation movement, have turned the world upside down for children.
“Perhaps nowhere do we see the work of Satan in America as clearly as we do in the specialization of children—destroying their identity, confusing their gender, and creating unresolved guilt and self-hatred.”
Focusing upon ones “identity,” self-defined or socially determined, rather than understanding who we are created in the image of God, leads, sometimes in stages but inevitably, to narcissism, neurotic self-indulgence, increased anxiety, fear, detachment, alienation, suicidal actions, and nihilism.
The emotional/psychological/spiritual impact of celebrating ones “identity” to the exclusion of other values and considerations, is one of several reasons we’re seeing a developing mental health epidemic, one of several reasons we’re seeing more young men reacting in killing sprees of emptiness, loneliness, and rage, and one reason we’re seeing young people hammer themselves with toxic drugs.
Meanwhile, Scripture offers an entirely different formula, one that actually fits the reality God created and therefore meets the need of the human heart. We are to find our identity in Christ.
The biblical view of identity in Christ is rooted in the teachings of the New Testament, particularly in the letters written by the apostle Paul. According to the Bible, when a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ, they experience a profound transformation and their identity is fundamentally changed.
Christian believers are made and called a New Creation: In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" This verse emphasizes that when a person embraces Christ, they are spiritually reborn and given a new identity. The old sinful nature is replaced by a new nature that is aligned with God's righteousness. There is nothing. Let me repeat that, there is nothing that a person can do—short of deciding to reject Christ—that can place a person beyond the power of the Holy Spirit of God. There is nothing we can get ourselves into that is too big a mess for God to fix. There is nothing we face or may face in this world, no circumstance, no persons or power, no sin on our part, that makes it impossible for God to make us a new creation in him.
Think about what the Scripture promises—a “new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.”
That, my friends, is reconciliation and hope writ large.
Christian believers are made and called a Child of God: In John 1:12, it is written, "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Through faith in Christ, believers are adopted into God's family and become His children. This identity as a child of God brings with it the privileges, responsibilities, and assurance of God's love and care.
Christian believers are united with Christ: Paul often speaks of believers being united with Christ. In Romans 6:5, he says, "For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his." This union with Christ means that believers are connected to Him in a profound and inseparable way. They share in His death, burial, and resurrection, experiencing the power of His victory over sin and death.
Christian believers are made and called Ambassadors of Christ: In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul describes believers as ambassadors for Christ, saying, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." As ambassadors, believers represent Christ to the world, carrying His message of reconciliation and demonstrating His character in their lives.
Christian believers are made and called part of the Body of Christ: The Bible also teaches that believers are members of the body of Christ, with Christ as the head. In 1 Corinthians 12:27, Paul states, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." This imagery emphasizes the interconnectedness of believers and the importance of each person's unique role and contribution to the functioning of the body.
The biblical view of identity in Christ emphasizes that believers are new creations, children of God, united with Christ, ambassadors for Him, and part of the body of Christ. This identity shapes their worldview, purpose, and behavior, as they seek to live in accordance with God's will and bring glory to Him.
Identity politics advances our sex, race, ethnicity – to what end? Perceived political gain that in the end is nothing but a path to power for those who promote it. There is no ultimate meaning or satisfaction, only disappointment.
A Christian sociologist once said that all human beings, living in a fallen world as sinners in need of grace, are beset with a “relational dilemma.” Like Adam and Eve being sent from the Garden, we are cut off from God. Accepting Christ immediately addresses that relational dilemma by establishing our identity in Christ. We are a new creation.
We are not without trials and troubles in this old world, but we are loved, forgiven, blessed. We are sons and daughters of God, part of the family of God, the Body of Christ.
Your identity in Christ is forever.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
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