All weekend, I saw comments on social media about the white nationalist incident in Charlottesville and its tragic aftermath. Comment after comment rolled through the feed from friends who lean both left and right. Of course, all of them to one degree or another are denouncing the evil of racism and then proceeding to place blame on people with the opposite world view. For the few of you who care, I want to make a few observations.
1. Racism is an evil sin.... Duh! If you're under 55 years old you have been taught in school since you can remember that racism is bad and that everyone is equal. The fact I have to publicly denounce racism or some people might think I approve of it shows the sad state of political correctness.
2. The Bible is pretty clear about it being a sin. DUH again!
In Acts 17:26 Paul is speaking to a group of secular philosophers, secular pagan philosophers:
"From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands." Acts 17:26
Paul makes the case that God created all the races “from one man.” Paul’s Greek listeners saw other races as barbarian, but against such views of racial superiority Paul makes the case that all races have the same Creator and are of one stock. Since all are made in God’s image, every human life is of infinite and equal value (See Genesis 9:6).
Another example is Jonah putting the nationalistic interest of Israel second to the spiritual interests of the pagan Ninevites. God persuaded him otherwise (Jonah 4:1-11).
The Gospel always confronts the racial biases that separate people and calls the believer to become part of a new humanity that consists of all different races.
"14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit." Ephesians 2:14-18
The Bible also explains that it is a sin to do anything that supports the building of racial barriers! This is why Paul confronted Peter and chewed him out for losing sight of the Gospel by trying to force Gentile believers to be culturally Jewish.
The truth is, Tim Keller and John Piper have both written on this in far more depth and thought. A simple google search can help you see everywhere in scripture where racism is contrary to God's call to racial unity in Christ. My guess is that most of you don't need much more Biblical truth to know that it's wrong.
So Here is what I suggest to us all (especially White Evangelicals)
- Stop grandstanding on social media and do something.
- Model reconciliation in the ways you can. I am part of a group of Caucasian, Latino, and African American pastors who meet and get real with each other. Race, culture and our sin nature naturally separate us, but our common faith in Christ brings us together as brothers. Make a point to have relationships with people different than you. I recently had coffee with someone from the gay community who was offended by a sermon I gave. After coffee, we did not agree on sexual ethics but we had a deep mutual respect for each other and were able see how each of us could believe what we believe.
- Ask questions and Listen to your African American Friends (and vice versa). No judging, or faking that you can relate. Simply sharing and listening to each other can be transformative. It is amazing what can happen when someone feels heard. Hearts are changed and melded together. We all have biases and foolish opinions on the world to one degree or another. The problem is we don't know which of our views and biases are stupid, but listening really helps knock them down.