Sunday, June 30, 2013


Whenever a person dies in America due to violence it is a tragedy.  Whether or not Trayvon Martin was attacking George Zimmerman or George Zimmerman was overzealous in his neighborhood watch duties, the fact that we have a culture in America that needs neighborhood watches and pits one group of people against the other is a a condemnation of the church and it's self imposed segregation.  I am not going to weigh in on the merits of this particular case, I do however have strong views when it comes to personal ownership of guns and the right to protect person and property.  What I would like to demonstrate is that we who call ourselves believers in Christ are the only ones who could have overcome the racial divide in this country that causes a case like this to become a national sensation, one that demonstrates and adds to the polarization of America

This tragic event has highlighted the division in America. Most of the news reports and commentaries concerning this event and the subsequent trial focus on the so called racial aspects rather than trying to find common ground.  The media has been fueling the fires of prejudice in order to sell the news. The fundamental flaw in "racial" thinking is that there are separate races in the first place.  According to the Genesis account, there is one race, the human race, descended from Adam and Eve.  Unfortunately, there are some religious leaders who seem to encourage this ethnic and cultural divide.

The Bible is very clear that at the cross, all are equal.  The churches in America has made it very clear that  it believes, "you worship with your people and we will worship with our people." This  should be considered blasphemy as it directly violates the Biblical principal that all are one in Christ.  Nowhere in scripture do we see the apostles establishing churches that separate along ethnic or national lines.  Here in Knoxville the blacks, for the most part worship with the blacks and the whites, for the most part, worship with the whites.  We even have churches that are for specific ethnic groups, right down the street from where I live is the Slavic Gospel Church.  I often have the urge, as I drive by, to go inside and see if a non Slavic person would be welcome. 

The church lost it's greatest opportunity to be at the forefront of the civil rights issue way before civil rights ever became a national issue. Had churches in America realized a couple of hundred years ago that there is no division in the Body of Christ, I believe we would have a very different culture than we have today.  Imagine if the churches across America had integrated back in the 1800's even prior to the civil war.  Who could honestly sit in a church and worship with a man on Sunday and then call that man the property of another man on Monday?  I believe that slavery would have died a natural and much deserved death as people began to look at each other as brothers and sisters.  Paul demonstrates this in the book of Philemon.  Philemon had a slave named Onesimus who fled.  Onesimus met Paul and accepted the Gospel.  Paul wrote on Onesimus' behalf to Philemon that Philemon would no longer consider Onesimus as property but as a brother in the Lord.  Yes I digress, as what the church should have done or could have done is water under the bridge.  What truly matters is what can and should the church do NOW!

I am sure that it would take a miracle to undo this divided culture in the church, but God is in the miracle business. As the church goes, so goes the country.  Many  churches have embraced the concept to relativism so we live in a relativistic society. Many churches have chosen to overlook sexual sin in it's midst so we now live in a sexually promiscuous society where dating has become synonymous with sexually active.  Many churches have divided over racial and ethnic lines so we have a divided America.  The church has lost the culture war because it failed to police it's own camp.  

What can be done?  Just as in anything we do as believers, we have to be intentional about our behavior.  Doing anything God's way normally violates our natural tendencies.   Our hearts are naturally wicked above all things.  We are naturally distrustful of anything different and we tend to want to avoid awkward situations.  The secular world attempted to bridge this divide with multiculturalism.  As far as I can tell, this has been an abysmal failure as it tries to force people to accept all aspects of all cultures.  This model fails primarily because it focuses on what makes us different rather than helping us find common ground.  In the case of the church, what more common ground can we have but that of faith on Christ?  If we can start there, we can build on a solid foundation.  Multiculturalism does not completely dismiss Christ but throws Him into the mix as just another viable faith figure or god.  Once you relegate Christ to a pathway among many, you lose the central tenants of the Gospel and you build on sand.

I do not know how to even begin to bring the church in America together as a unified body that ignores cultural and ethnic lines, nor would I have the power or resources.  God knows how, God has the power and resources, it may be that He is waiting on us to care.  I have no ability to serve God outside that which He has enabled me, nor does anyone else, but I have the power to pray for  reconciliation, to pray for unity in the Body of Christ, and to pray that men and women from all backgrounds and heritages can be united under the banner of Christ.  I would like to invite you to pray along with me that God would heal the church of this terrible division and in so doing the country would heal as well.


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