While John and Marti are on retreat, our good friend, Dave Roper will be providing our Catches each day. For more on Dave’s works, click here.
In every institution, there is something which sooner or later works against the very purpose for which it came into existence. C. S. Lewis
While I don’t embrace Critical Race Theory—its roots are antagonistic to the gospel—it is true that evil exists within systems. Patterns of sinful behavior and oppression can become entrenched and once these patterns are in place, they make it easier for individuals within that system to sin with impunity.
But the Bible makes it very clear that we are responsible for our own sins (Deuteronomy 24:16). I may be the product of an ungodly family or a member of a corrupt organization, but systemic evil is never a rational for wrong-doing. I can, by God’s grace, resist the pressure to conform to unjust standards of behavior.
Ezekiel 18 is a case study on what happens when we place our emphasis on corporate evil: It leads to individual moral irresponsibility: If I’m not answerable for my actions I can evade the consequences of those actions. But the scriptures make it clear that I am responsible for my actions no matter what others do. “The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts” (Gulag Archipelago). Paul writes without nuance or qualification, “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23).
So, while there is systemic and corporate evil in the world I must face the fact of the evil in me and the consequences of it. English journalist, Malcolm Muggeridge, was asked on one occasion “What’s wrong with world?” Muggeridge replied with unambiguous candor, “I am.”