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?

Voddie Baucham

If I went to every conference, seminar and retreat that I get invitations to I would never be at home. It wouldn’t take but a few weeks of missing church to get fired, seeing as how I am the pastor and what not. Having said that, I probably should make time for more of those than I do. So it was a pleasure on the National Day of Prayer to hear some good preaching. Continue reading

Book Review: Jesus Untangled

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Click image to view on Amazon.com

Jesus Untangled: Crucifying our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb by Keith Giles

Giles is an intelligent writer that has done his homework and presents his case well. He is right in saying that Americans have their politics wrapped up in their Christianity. There is no morally right political party and pinning all of your hopes and dreams on any party platform will leave Christian believers disappointed. Let’s begin by analyzing what he does a good job of in this book. Continue reading

On Preaching: Expository and Topical

preacherIf you’re thinking “Wow, this guy hasn’t written an actual blog post in a while” you’re right. The weekly Happy Monday posts will turn 5 this summer but I spend a lot more time now on social media (lots of Facebook, little bit of Twitter) than I do blogging. I’m pastoring a church and maintaining the church website, hopefully some readers are following that as well. There is an RSS feed in the left-hand sidebar, most of the posts are Sunday sermons.

The title of this post is not “Expository vs. Topical Preaching.” I’m not doing a straight compare and contrast of the two forms, but kind of hoping you know at least a little something about them. What I want to do is explain why I prefer one to the other without avoiding the other completely. Continue reading

Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter

img_20160923_145217Critics of the Creation Museum say that it presents a “pseudoscientific” young earth creationist view of the origins of the earth and universe “even though scientific evidence shows the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the Universe about 13.8 billion years old.” I hate taking a side in this fight. My argument is that the age of the earth is one of the least important details one can hope to glean from a study of scripture (and in point of fact the Bible does not say how old the earth is).

I can empathize with Ken Ham’s motives for organizing Answers in Genesis and desiring to build a Creation Museum. As a science  teacher in the 1970’s, Ham would take his students on field trips to places like museums of natural history. While there is much to learn about archeology and anthropology from such a museum visit, evolutionary processes and geologic time scales are accepted as fact without question. Ham moved from Australia to the United States where the population of conservative Christians is much higher and began Answers in Genesis in a small storefront office. The idea of a creationist museum was in the back of his mind for a long time. Continue reading

Acts of God

screenshot-2016-10-06-at-3-13-48-pmHurricane Matthew is about to come along the southeast coast of the United States. I was watching a guy on the news talk about what is and is not covered by various types of insurance. Some people find out after the fact, for example, that flood damage is not covered by a typical homeowner’s policy and you must specifically purchase flood insurance. Wind damage and other “acts of God” may be included or excluded in the fine print of the policy documents. And that statement got me to thinking. Continue reading

All of My Friends Are Pastors

screenshot-2016-10-06-at-10-24-58-amI was thinking about posting to Facebook the pastor appreciation lunch coming up at our church. My wife and I have been there for two years so not only is October pastor appreciation month but it also corresponds to our service anniversary. It’s an exaggeration to say that “all my friends are church pastors” but many of them are. It makes sense to form working relationships that often turn into friendship with people in the same line of work. No matter what vocation one is in, other guys doing the same job will automatically have a lot in common. And the friends I have that are not pastors are church people; they teach Sunday School, serve as deacons, work in the sound and projection booth, etc. Continue reading