Dialoguing with Critical Race Theory: Constitutional and Christian Links

by Mark Ellingsen (Interdenominational Theological Center)

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Dr. Mark Ellingsen offers a historian's perspective of CRT through the lens of Christianity and the U.S. Constitution. It is a fresh view of a current ideological divide. He provides a safe space to wrestle with CRT across the divides and help move communities toward dialogue and genuine understanding.

Dr. Quintin L. Robertson
Director of Black Church Studies
United Lutheran Seminary

“Dialoguing with Critical Race Theory” is a brilliantly-written read that walks readers through not only the often misunderstood fundamentals of the infamous legal concept, but also brings the principles of our Constitutional Republic and Christian faith into relationship with it. Dr. Ellingsen gives us unique insights into how we can use these systems to ultimately improve the human experience and condition.

Rev. James Woodall
CEO, The Major Wish Group
Public Policy Associate, Southern Center for Human Rights
Former State President, Georgia NAACP

This scholarly study of Critical Race theory is foundational for understanding the concept and its history. A premier scholar of Christian history and philosophy, Ellingsen's brilliant discourse illuminates an often ignored, but necessary, aspect of the subject. This dialogue with Critical Race Theory should be required reading for all undergraduate-level students and discipline-specific graduate students.

Dr. Riggins R. Earl, Jr.,
Author of 'Dark Salutations: Ritual. God, and Greetings in the African American Community', 'Dark Symbols, Obscure Signs: God, Self, and Community in the Slave Mind' and '"The Jesus Crisis in Black Consciousness: Its Theological and Ethical Challenge"'

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is certainly a hot topic. No longer just the legal theory it was originally designed to be, it has become an icon for determining which side you are on concerning racism. Most of the loudest voices, especially in the debate about CRT in our schools, seem not to have actually studied the theory. This is a book to get you into the heart of CRT’s actual analysis and prescriptions. It’s a book to get Americans to stop all the shouting and really find out what CRT teaches. It might also contribute to getting more civility into our public discourse.
Ellingsen demonstrates how in fact what Critical Race Theory teaches is in line with our Constitutional system’s realism about political solutions, suspicions of our selfishness, and the majority’s tendency to run roughshod over minorities. He also demonstrates that these commitments are consistent with Christianity’s understanding of original sin and the quest for social justice. Consequently, if critics do not want CRT taught in our schools or to be part of our public discourse, we had better stop teaching the Constitution and Christian values in our schools, to rule these commitments as out of order in our search for common values! Get ready for a stimulating, controversial, well-documented read.

Chapter 1 Critical Race Theory: What Americans Are Saying About It
Chapter 2 Critical Race Theory: What It Teaches and How It Began
Chapter 3 Critical Race Theory and Our Constitutional System: Friends or Enemies?
Chapter 4 Christian Faith and Critical Race Theory: Some Surprising Compatibilities

Mark Ellingsen is a recently retired professor at the largest historic Black seminary in the nation, the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. With a Yale Ph.D., he has taught there for over 3 decades after extensive international experience as a theological and social-ethical researcher and as a liaison for interdenominational relations. The son of Norwegian immigrants, Ellingsen is the author of 28 books and hundreds of articles, many dealing with political and social issues on topics like how the Christian view of Original Sin is crucial to our Constitutional system, how the various religious bodies address social issues, and how white Christianity came to be associated with Republican politics. He has also written on abortion as well as gay rights and faith. Most recently, he co-authored a book on racism with a young Civil Rights leader who knows the political ropes (a former student) titled “Wired For Racism? How Evolution and Faith Move Us to Challenge Racial Idolatry,” showing us how the combination of faith, insights drawn from the Theory of Evolution, and best practices in dealing with racism advocated by the leading Civil Rights organizations might challenge white hegemony. This book establishes his expertise in dealing with Civil Rights issues. With his rich background, radio and TV channels have called on Ellingsen often over the years to comment on topics related to this book and other subjects. In view of his background and years of study and teaching on the subjects of this book along with his immersion in Black realities, who else but a scholar of Ellingsen’s breadth and rich inter-cultural experience could write an effective volume like this one to clarify for the public a lot of the myths about Critical Race Theory? Ellingsen recently relocated to South Carolina in retirement, but during his years in Metro Atlanta he resided in Cobb County, the district served by Newt Gingrich and the bastion of the State’s resistance to Critical Race Theory, he lives and works with both sides on this explosive issue, knows how to communicate and be fair to both Right and Left.

Racism, Justice. Constitution, Law, Critical Race Theory, Critical Legal Theory, Theology

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Dialoguing with Critical Race Theory: Constitutional and Christian Links





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date

July 2024