A Christian Response to Racism

biblePerhaps a better title would be A Scriptural Response to Racism but this is copied and pasted directly from a Facebook post I put up yesterday. There is so much upheaval in the world today and we are bombarded with information from traditional media to social media 24/7. When it gets to be too much, the Christian believer needs to step back, take a breath, and remember that we are in the world but not of the world. 

I don’t mean an official resolution passed by any group of representatives from any church denomination; my congregation will tell you that we read a lot of scripture. Every sermon, every Wednesday night Bible study, every Sunday school lesson begins with reading scripture and keeps going back to it. So this is not any particular Christian leader’s response to racism, this should be “our” response to hate and racism anywhere based on the inspired Word we live by.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, -Revelation 7:9 ESV

Our purpose, while studying the scriptures and being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit, is to build the Kingdom. We are sent into the world to share the Gospel. Not with people that look like, dress like and speak like us, but with all people everywhere made in God’s image. Our call is to love others as we have been loved. According to the Great Commission Jesus gave his followers:

Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. -Mark 16:15

Because as Paul wrote to the church at Galatia:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 3:28

The differences we see when we look at each other are temporary. Paul goes on in Galatians 3 to say that those of us who are in Christ have put on Christ. That’s what matters. Skin color, economic status, national origin, language, gender and so forth are categories we divide each other into in this world, during this lifetime. The critics of Christianity will tell you that the Bible endorses slavery and demeans women; those criticisms are meant to keep us divided and prevent people from hearing the Good News which is that none of those distinctions matter. Hearing and believing the Word of God matters. Receiving mercy, grace and salvation matters. Everything else is details. Life is short while the Kingdom of God John saw in Revelation will begin when heaven and earth pass away.

God looks past all the outside things and sees the condition of the heart. There are only two kinds of people; those who have received Christ and those that need to. God sees either a person he loves who loves him in return or a person he loves that refuses to accept that. Our response to racism should be: get past it. We need to love people of other races and we need to love racists. Wait, what? Yes I said that. We need to love people of every color, gender, language and ideology, include those that agree and disagree with our own. Klan members, Nazis, illegal immigrants and radical Islamic terrorists are made in God’s image and Jesus died so they could live. That’s a statement that is bound to be unpopular but do this: read that Revelation 7 text again. Study the words of Jesus to his disciples and the letters of Paul to the churches. Then come back and tell me who are we are supposed to hate.

It may look like the whole world is going nuts right now. What else is new? Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of God will not (Mark 13:31, paraphrase my own). Chose this day whom you will serve (see Joshua 24:14-25) and in our case it’s not a choice between the Lord and the gods of Egypt; will we serve the media hype, a political party, the culture and societal norms, our own selfish ambition… or will we serve the cause of the Gospel, the coming Kingdom, the Maker of heaven and earth?

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6 thoughts on “A Christian Response to Racism

  1. A great many White Nationalists are also Christians. A popular belief in Christianity is Complementarianism, which says that men have the role of leadership and women have the role of followership. Racism and Sexism are twin evils that run rampant in the Christian church.

  2. Many white nationalists are Christians. And I agree that there are many evils running around in Christian churches. But my post is about how we should respond based an accurate study of scripture. What does the God of the Bible believe about racism? He is not racist and we are commanded to be conformed to his image. We are not called to be like other Christians, we are called to be like Christ.

  3. He might not be racist, but he did tell the israelites that they may make their neighbors into slaves but forbade them from making each other into permanent slaves (temporarily was okay to pay off a debt.) Also, he didn’t tell the israelites not to make the gibeonites into wood-cutters and water-carriers. He also established how masters and slaves ought to interact in the new testament and had Paul send Onesimus back to Philemon – so it wasn’t a resounding: “I am God, I hate racism, I abhor slavery. Therefore, I forbid it.”

  4. On the subject of slaves and masters in the New Testament, both are warned that God is paying attention and masters are warned not to threaten.

    5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:5-9 ESV)

    So once again: The subject of the post is that God loves every person made in his image and we are to imitate that behavior. We are to love as we have been loved. Do you have any comments that are on topic or shall we go on debating whether God is good or evil?

  5. Yet slavery endured in part because of the Bible’s support for it in a moral, legalized sense. If God had unequivocally stated that slavery was wrong, Christians might have spent the last few thousand years mending fences instead of enslaving their neighbors on the other side. Slavery has only recently been conquered in terms of history – and even so, it’s still not totally eradicated off of the face of this earth. A Christian cult in North Carolina was outed as using Brazilians for slave labor roughly a month ago.

  6. Slavery in the ancient world, i.e. the Bible, and chattle slavery of the American pre-Civil War South bear little similarity. When the Hebrews were enslaved to the Egyptians, families lived together; husbands and wives were not separated, children were not taken from their parents. At the end of the work day everyone went back home. Out in the wildernesses they often complained to Moses they were better off in Egypt and they missed the leeks and onions and what not that had filled their pots. When they reached Canaan and saw the inhabitants they conspired to kill Moses and elect a leader to take them back!

    This is what slavery looked like in many cultures throughout history. And like I said (even though I really don’t think you’re listening) slaves and masters were commanded in scripture to work and lead ethically, because God would respond in turn. Chattel slavery of the South was not condoned in scripture and was a new evil conceived in the Americas.

    My article is about scripture and what our response to it should be. Forming a Christian cult should NOT be our response. And even though there was a cult in NC using Brazilian slave labor (I’m going to take this story as face value without looking it up) slavery is forbidden in the United States via the 14th, 15th and 16th amendments to the Constitution. The Bible teaches Christians to obey the laws of the land and local rulers in authority unless those laws directly contradict the tenants of our faith.

    BTW, slavery is far from being eliminated. It may be gone for all intents and purposes in industrialized nations but there are probably more slaves today (in a world of 7 billion) than there were in 1865. Today it is probably sex workers and the illegal trafficking thereof but slavery is alive and well.

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