Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2022 Volume 18 :: Article 6
2022 Volume 18, Article 6
Voddie Baucham and the Gnostics Who Have No Love: Boundary Work and a Rhetorical Exposé of Social Justice within Evangelicalism

Author: G. Brandon Knight (William Carey University)

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Dr. Voddie Baucham warned of fractures within the evangelical community when delivering a sermon at the 2019 Southeastern Founders’ Conference introducing a newly coined concept called “Ethnic Gnosticism.” To Baucham and other leaders, the current social justice zeitgeist, which has influenced many evangelical leaders, is ideological in nature and rooted in ideas antithetical to the gospel. In what follows, I analyze the unfolding disagreement within evangelicalism regarding social justice and the boundary work currently ensuing. Through a brief review of James Cone’s black liberation theology and its direct relationship with the religious discourse of anti-racism and social justice, evidence mounts to the formulation of a new religious orthodoxy within evangelicalism. Due to this communal disruption, I utilize Sullivan’s (1999) rhetorical exposé to describe Baucham’s translation of Ethnic Gnosticism and its contents before interlocutors to ultimately create disassociation via a scapegoat thereby purifying the community.

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