Tuesday, June 11, 2019


  Revelation 7:9-10  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, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 

     When is the most segregated time in America? 11:00 AM Sunday morning.  Nothing reveals our view of race, in America, better because it is the only time of the week we are not, by law, forced to mix and mingle with those who look different than us. 

        This is a great tragedy... The church has failed to lead in the matter of Race because the church has bought into a false construct. The idea of Race is not a Biblical concept but a concept of prejudice predicated on the idea of evolution, designed to elevate one group above others based on appearance and regional heritage.  

      Racism is not necessarily ambivalence toward another group, it may be manifested in apathy as well as disdain.

     In reality, we are one race, descended from Noah and Adam before him.  Galatians 3:26-29  for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. 

             The Apostle Paul did not establish black churches in one part of town, white churches in another, and Asian churches in another.  Paul set up a church and everyone in town was welcome, regardless of heritage or appearance. How did the church become so segregated and why are we not knocking down these walls of fear and resentment?  

              It cannot be denied, America has a deplorable history, when it comes to ethnic relations. The founding fathers declared, "all men are created equal..." but failed when it came to defining men.  Our nation was founded, not by Christians, as we have been led to believe, but by Deists who denied the deity of Christ and the supernatural elements of faith.  

           Being Deist, these men were free to reject the elements of scripture with which they disagreed.  If you are feeling a little skeptical at this point, Google the Thomas Jefferson Bible and you may be very surprised at what you find.  

           Our Declaration of Independence refers to Native Americans as "Indian Savages", stripping them of basic humanity.  In 1787, the Constitutional Convention of the United States adopted the Three-Fifths Compromise, determining a slave only counted as three-fifths a person in census counting.  Once these two groups were institutionally dehumanized, any abuse, atrocity or injustice became fair game.

            So what does this have to do with the church today?  More than you might imagine.  The Southern Baptist Convention is the single largest protestant denomination in the United States.  The SBC was formed in 1845 when Baptists in the American South split from Baptists in northern states over the issue of slave owners serving as missionaries.  

            Obviously, the SBC would like to forget about it's racist roots and now officially recognizes all groups as created in God's image, but is institutionalized racism so easily shaken among the local pulpits and pews?

           Black Liberation Theology, a movement born out of the Civil Rights era, founded by Dr. James Cone of Union Theological Seminary, whose purpose was to bring the black community into fellowship with God apart from the specter of white racism.  Dr. Cone demonstrated how God was a champion of the oppressed.  Dr. Cone's vision of  BLT was meant to empower a community victimized by institutional racism, so as Dr. Cone rightfully sought to elevate those who had been traditionally held down by a white majority, he failed to encourage a bridge between two communities who resented one another.  

                Dr. Martin Luther King Jr strove to bring unity between blacks and whites, yet his flame was snuffed out by hatred before his efforts could gain the traction needed to reverse two centuries of division.  The assassination of Dr. King only reinforced division and mistrust, fueling BLTs more radical stance on race relations

             Today, as a result of the failure of church leaders, both white and black, to use the cross as a bridge to unity; distrust, division and even hate continues to festers just under the surface, and sometimes, openly above the surface.  Unfortunately, many allow politics to drive faith, when faith should drive, not only our politics, but every aspect of our lives.  

                How can we possibly claim to follow a book which calls us to view all men as made in the image of God and to love those who persecute us while continuing to draw lines of division based on skin color?  

              Obviously, atrocities committed by the white majority of days past cannot be ignored or glossed over.  As long as one group views itself superior, even in an underlying manner, true unity cannot be achieved.  

             If the Church cannot lead the way in healing, the cause is lost.  James tells us, in his epistle: James 2:1  My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 
              In context, James is talking about distinguishing between rich and poor, but can we not apply the call to abhor partiality as it relates to ethnic identity, also?  

              Once we understand the very idea of race is a social construct built on bad science and poor religious application, we can focus on the image of God found in each of His children, regardless of color or national heritage.  

              Where the church fails, the nation fails. Sin the church ignores festers in the nation.  

          What can we do differently?  It starts on the individual level. Each of us must look beyond stereotype and social construct, seeing, rather, each person we meet as a beloved workmanship created in the image of God.  It takes loving as we are commanded to love in scripture.  A love that neither request nor requires anything in return and sees beyond the outer layer to the heart.  It even means loving those who may hate us.

           Institutions are made up of individuals so as long as individuals behave institutionally, bad institutional practices will not be overcome.  What is the answer? You are! I am! You and I are the catalyst for change, but only if we surrender our hearts to God's leading and learn to love as He does.  

            Jesus said, "love your neighbor as yourself."  Who is your neighbor? Everyone you see. We are all one race - the human race- so go mix, mingle, love and share life because we are all made in the image of God!

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!




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