Josh McDowell Says He’ll “Step Back” from Ministry After Making Racist Comments September 23, 2021

Josh McDowell Says He’ll “Step Back” from Ministry After Making Racist Comments

Just days after making racist comments to a conservative Christian audience, apologist and author Josh McDowell says he will “step back” from his ministry to do some soul-searching.

A brief recap: Speaking to the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, the 81-year-old McDowell told the crowd about the biggest concerns facing Christian counselors, including “Critical Race Theory,” “Social Justice,” and “Pornography.”

That ignorance would’ve been bad enough, but McDowell was recorded saying most Black people weren’t raised to value education and hard work like he was.

… It’s not just the equal opportunity. And I don’t believe — everybody says, “Well, Blacks, whites, everyone have an equal opportunity to make it in America.” No they don’t, folks. I do not believe Blacks, African Americans, and many other minorities have equal opportunity.


Most of them grew up in families where there’s not a big emphasis on education, security. “You can do anything you want. You can change the world. If you work hard, you will make it.”

So many African Americans don’t have those privileges like I was brought up in. My folks weren’t very rich; in fact, they were [an] army family. But the way I was raised, I had advantages in life ingrained into me. “You can do it! Get your education! Get a job! Change the world!”

And that makes it [?] in different opportunities.

I discussed my own concerns with his comments the other day, but I was hardly alone. Even other Christians chimed in with their disgust for his blatant bigotry.

This wasn’t a slip-up; he genuinely believed these untrue, harmful ideas about people of color. He believed it so much that he included it in a speech to other people in positions of influence. His racism is such a part of who he is, he didn’t realize the problem until after others called him out on it.

Now that pushback has led to an actual consequence:

At a recent conference, I made comments about race, the black family, and minorities that were wrong and hurt many people. It breaks my heart to know what deep pain I have caused. It has become clear to me, along with Cru Leadership, that I need to step back from my ministry and speaking engagements to enter a season of listening and addressing the growth areas that I have become aware of through this. During this time of meeting with others and learning, I hope to personally grow and better understand how I can help contribute to the reconciliation and unity that God desires for us all.

During this season, Josh McDowell Ministry will continue in its mission with CEO Duane Zook leading all daily efforts.

He’s stepping back. That’s not nothing. But that’s about the only good thing in this apology.

He doesn’t explain what he would have said differently.

He doesn’t address the actual root causes of racial disparities or the role white evangelicals (and conservatives in general) like himself have in perpetuating them.

He doesn’t acknowledge structural racism.

He doesn’t admit that teaching “Critical Race Theory” and pushing for “social justice,” as defined by right-wing media outlets, are nothing more than scare tactics to avoid vital conversations about racism and privilege.

He doesn’t say how he plans to “personally grow.” (What books will he read? Who will he seek out for advice on self-improvement?)

He doesn’t say that Cru (a.k.a. Campus Crusade for Christ) will change how it handles race, which is a major and longstanding problem for the organization.

Somehow, McDowell wrote 151 books (according to his Twitter bio) and came out more ignorant on the other side.

But at least for now he’s not going to infect other people — including susceptible younger audiences — with his faith-based racism.

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