Revelation 7:9 says, "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 hand." This is what it will look like in God's eternal kingdom, and this is what glorifies God. Unfortunately, our world does not look like this.
We have made strides towards more unity, but we come from a hurtful past. The Southern Baptist Convention was birthed out of a commitment to preserve and defend slavery. The South drifted at the end of the time of slavery through Jim Crow laws to segregation, and finally forced integration. If we are honest, it is difficult for a black Christian to lli deeply into the history of Christianity in America and not be profoundly disturbed. As a result of our past, and our naivety that things have changed for the better, the church was not prepared for this most recent explosion of the "race issue". As the church, we must offer a compelling solution.
God has given us from the beginning a way to look at this issue. Genesis 1:26-27,31 speaks to the creation of man who is made in the image of God. This leads to two implications:
- Every human is a valuable image bearer of God - every human deserves dignity and respect.
- Every human being is a descendant of Adam and Eve
a. all of us are 99.9% genetically the exact same, which means we are of the same race
b. Acts 17:24-26 says, "And he made from one man every nation (ethnos) of mankind"
c. If we believe the creation story, racism makes no sense
Claims of racial superiority are an assault on God's glory in creation. The separation of human beings into ranks of superiority and inferiority differentiated by skin color is a direct assault upon the doctrine of creation and an insult to the Imago Dei.
A Christian worldview believes that God created everything, and humans are valuable because they are made in God's image. A secular atheistic worldview (naturalist or critical theory) would say that humans only have dignity and worth if someone chooses to assign them dignity and worth.
Race is not a biblical word. We are one human race with multiple ethnicities (ethnos). Ethnos is defined as "Nation, People, Ethnic Groups". In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands believers to go and make disciples of all ETHNOS.
When the church demonstrates true neighborly love and fellowship across lines of race class, and ethnicity, it undermines unbiblical worldview models, like critical theory. We must build trust as the church over time with the repitition of loving, selfless action on the world's behalf.
Many of us have grown up around racism and an "us vs them" culture. Overcoming sin always starts with repentance. We need to be open to change, correction, or rebuke.
What will you do?
- Will you stand up for those who are being mistreated because of their ethnicity?
- Will you refuse to tell or to laugh at a racist joke?
- Will you strive not to prejudge someone based on the color of their skin?
- Will you love your literal neighbor?
- Will you apologize, even if it is something you did years ago?
- Will you be gracious to those who hold a secular worldview?
The road to unity in diversity starts with small acts!