August 28, 2017
The recent events in Charlottesville, West Virginia ignited a firestorm of response in this country. Talking heads and outspoken pundits voiced their views on who was responsible for the confrontation and tragic loss of life, and in most cases used the opportunity to pursue political gain. While a few leading Christian leaders spoke out regarding the shame of racial hatred and bigotry, the Christian church has remained relatively silent. Christian author and speaker, David Platt, has been speaking to the church in recent years regarding the social climate in this country. His series entitled, Counter Culture, addresses the social issues of our day and the position that Christians should take as they focus on these issues from a biblical perspective. In light of the current national conversation regarding racism, it is time for us, as the Christian church, rather than add our voice to the political discussion, focus on how God’s Word weighs in on the topic.
The Bible says in Genesis that God created a man and a woman, who subsequently chose to disobey God, which resulted in sin entering the world. As a result of man’s sin God sent a great flood that destroyed rebellious man, saving only Noah and his family. According to Genesis every living person born after the flood is a descendant of Noah and his sons, and that they were descendants of the first created human beings, Adam and Eve. Paul later spoke about this fact in Athens when he said, “From one man, God made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth,” Acts 17:26. The fact is that the Bible clearly reminds us that regardless of skin color, we all have the same common ancestors, we are all part of the same race (the human race), and we all need the same gospel.
In today’s world it is possible, through DNA testing, to determine what “ethnic” groups make up a person’s background. The traditional view of race (red, yellow, black and white) has been shown to be invalid. “The truth is, that the result of globalization and the migration of people from continent to continent from different nations, has resulted in people from many varying backgrounds living together in the same geographical location. Some anthropological scholars have identified between eleven and sixteen thousand people groups in the world who have a common history, customs, patterns and practices based upon two primary characteristics, ethnicity and language.”1
The Bible has a lot to say about the position of every human being in the eyes of God. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created him; male and female he created them,” Genesis 1:27. Speaking to the nation of Israel God said through Moses, “You will not oppress a sojourner (immigrant). You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt,” Exodus 23:9. In the New Testament we are commanded to “Go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19. In Isaiah 58:6-7 God’s Word says, “..loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the straps of the yoke, let the oppressed go free, and break every chain. Share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into your house and cover those with no clothes.” Clearly God’s Word does not embrace oppression and bigotry.
The church cannot be silent on the issue of racism and oppression. There is no room for any form of bigotry and hatred in the family of God. In Christ we are brothers and sisters whose mission is to love people into the kingdom of God by demonstrating the same love for all people that Jesus Christ demonstrated while on the earth, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all people.
Years ago theologian and philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, wrote to the Christians of his day. He said, “We as Bible-believing Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman’s discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. But do we really believe that we are in a life and death battle? Where is the clear voice speaking to the crucial issues of the day with distinctly biblical, Christian answers? With tears we must say it is not there and that a large segment of the evangelical world has become seduced by the world spirit of this present age. And more than this, we can expect the future to be a further disaster if the evangelical world does not take a stand for biblical truth and morality in the full spectrum of life.”2.
Racism will not be truly overcome until Jesus Christ returns to the earth to rule and to reign. But God forbid, that until that day, we as His church stay on the sidelines and watch. We cannot be silent on this issue if we are to carry out the Great Commission that Jesus left with us to preach the Gospel to every person. As Christ followers let’s act out Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew, nor Gentile, slave or free, there is no male or female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 David Platt, A Compassionate call to Counter Culture in a World of Racism, Tyndale House Publishers, 2015.
2 Francis Schaeffer, A Christian View of the Church, Crossway, 1982.